Tag Archives: disappointment

SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: A Cautionary Tale

I have checked and double checked these emails for privacy warnings, and I don’t see them. Unless they contact me and ask me to take this post down, it will stand. I have removed my name, my account name, and the SWTOR customer service identifying username, otherwise, the emails appear exactly as presented.

Update (again)The Resolution

Update: SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: Part 2

Update, Sunday, June 17th, 7:04 P.MI don’t think I even need to comment on this. I’m pretty sure it speaks for itself.  (But of course I’m going to anyway). If you’ve read this post in its entirety already, you know what the emails I sent requested. You might know that I requested the same things through Twitter, and those of you I’ve spoken with agree that the pivotal thing they’re not answering is the only question I really care about anymore: what is the name of the third party program used? And honestly, a follow-up, what was it used for? This is the email I got today:

Dear [...],

Account Name: [...]
Email address: druidambermist@gmail.com

Thank you for contacting us regarding your complaint (ticket number [...]).
We have carried out a subsequent review and investigation into your complaint and in particular the actions taken on your account. We can confirm that your case was acted on correctly, in full compliance with our policies and procedures.

Please note that we do not provide any details regarding our internal procedures.

We will not be pursuing this issue any further, and as such we consider this matter closed.

Yours sincerely,

K–
Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Terms of Service

Either they are a) entirely missing the point everyone else seems to get, or b) still shooting out automated responses. In either case, it’s not good. No tiptoeing around it anymore: it’s incompetence at best, and I have to assume in either case they don’t care about my status as a customer.

The good news is, if they don’t care about me as a customer, that will make my decision to cancel my account that much easier. My $15 monthly might not matter to them, but if this is the type of customer service they’re providing to everyone (and I doubt I’m a special snowflake), they’ll lose other people’s $15, too, and future business.

Oh well. I liked it while it lasted.

Update, 2:20 p.m. ESTEarlier this morning, some people on Twitter and some commenters here suggested I check for hacking. At around 10 or 11, I ran a full Malwarebytes scan (gah, forgot how long that takes!), and came up infection free. There’s still a possibility, but unfortunately, it’s something SWTOR will have to check through the IP that was used at the time of the infraction. I only ever log on to the game from my computer or my husband’s, so if it’s an IP different from one of those two, it should be plainly obvious. It seems unlikely, as well, since my password and account information hasn’t changed. I would expect a good hacker to change the password immediately.

I also received a Direct Message on Twitter from @SWTOR, and from what I can understand, my ticket has been escalated and they’re looking into it. It might take a little while since it’s the weekend, but I have patience. I never minded a wait as long as the responses I get are fair and reasonable, which, until I was contacted through Twitter, certainly hasn’t been the case in my opinion.

Update, 9:30 a.m. EST: I called SWTOR Customer Support. The first time I called, I went with the option that included “violation reports,” but that didn’t take my anywhere useful. In fact, when my issue wasn’t mentioned in the sub-menu, I chose “all other queries,” where a recording told me to submit an in-game ticket and hung up on me.

The second call I put in to billing, and I did actually get to speak to a rep. I explained the situation, and he told me that I had done the right thing by emailing. He then informed me that there is nothing he can do for me except send a notice to the appropriate department that I called. I asked him if there was a number I could call to speak to that department directly. According to him, the only way to contact that department is by email.

I will wait for a response to my email. If it doesn’t contain the reason I was banned (and preferably an apology), I will be canceling my account today.

——————————

This is a World of Warcraft blog, although I have certainly dabbled in MMOs, especially lately with the Newbie Blogger Initiative. One of the games that I personally play outside of WoW is Star Wars: The Old Republic. Up until the past couple of days, it has been an enjoyable experience. I got into a guild that welcomed me and my husband and employed our sniper and bounty-hunter services to great ends, or at least to defeating several bosses.

I PvPed, and though I was slow progressing, I was getting very close to Battlemaster. I crafted, I cajoled, I server transferred with my guild. I was especially looking forward to playing after my server transfer, because suddenly I had a lot of friends all on the same server.

I became an officer in my guild. I managed the guild website, took screenshots and videos of our progress, and was, as far as I can tell, reasonably well-known in my guild. Believe me when I say this came as much of a shock to them as it did to me.

Yesterday, I attempted to log into SWTOR when I had a moment of peace in what had been a busy day. I was told my access had been denied, and to read the email that was sent to me. This is that email:

Dear [...],

We are contacting you to notify you that we have found your Star Wars: The Old Republic account, […] , to be in violation of our Terms of Service.

After completing an investigation of your Account, we have identified the following violation:

Violation: Use of an unauthorised Third Party program

Due to the severity of the violation, we are suspending your account for 1 week (168 hours) effective immediately.

Our penalty system is cumulative. This means that if you continue to violate our Terms of Service in this way, the next penalty applied may ultimately result in permanent account closure.

It is our goal to make the Star Wars: The Old Republic experience as safe, secure and enjoyable as possible for all of our players. As such, we take any violations of our Terms of Service very seriously.

Please ensure that you are familiar with our Terms of Service as repeated violations may result in your account being permanently closed. Our Terms of Service can be found here:

http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

If you feel you have received this suspension in error, please contact us at swtoraccountdisputes@bioware.com.

Yours sincerely,

Z–

Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Terms of Service

I have never in my life been banned from any game or website. I’ve never even been accused of anything. I’ve never received a warning or even a questioning glance in my direction. My behavior has always been above reproach to the best of my knowledge and ability.

As you can probably imagine, this email made me extremely upset. The fact that they didn’t identify the third party source meant I couldn’t even figure out if it was something I had knowingly done without realizing it was against the ToS. So I responded to the email they provided for the appeal.

Dear BioWare Customer Service,

I received an email today notifying me that my account (under the username “[...]“), has been banned for being in violation of the Terms of Service for use of an unauthorized Third Party program. I would like to be immediately notified of what this supposed third party program is.

The only program I have ever used in tandem with SWTOR is Bandicam in order to capture videos of my guild’s progress. If that’s in violation of the Terms of Service, I think you’re doing yourselves a disservice, and I will most certainly be canceling both mine and my husband’s account if this is the case.

The only other thing I could possibly think that I have used recently is LastPass, which is a well-known, highly-regarded password security service for websites (and websites only). I use it on every website into which I sign in in order to a) remember my passwords, and b) keep them secure. If you REALLY have a problem with me using a security program for this purpose, then I will remove the SWTOR account website as part of its programming, but I will do so with great dissatisfaction.

If either of these is actually a violation of the Terms of Service, please let me know. If not, I’d like to be informed of my violation specifically, since I have no idea to what it could be referring.

Let me assure you that the next email you send to me will be very important in my decision to continue playing–and thus paying for–SWTOR. I appreciate your prompt reply.

Thank you,

[…]

I waited for a response, sure that they would at least tell me where they thought I had acted incorrectly. Since I haven’t knowingly done so, I expected them to come back apologizing for their error or at least telling me what I had done so I could decide if it was something they had gotten wrong or something I had unwittingly done (as in the case of Bandicam or LastPass).

Instead, this is the email I received:

Dear […]

Account Name […]
Email address: druidambermist@gmail.com

Thanks for contacting us regarding the strike that has been applied to your account.

We have now completed our investigation into your complaint. After reviewing your case, we can confirm that it was acted on correctly, in full compliance with our policies and procedures. As such, we will not be pursuing this issue any further.

We can confirm that your character was observed working outside of its intended capabilities. For security reasons, however, we are unable to provide any information about methods used to identify the use of unauthorized 3rd party software.

Thank you for your diligence in bringing this matter to our attention. As a valued customer, your feedback is very important to us.

Yours sincerely,

A–
Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Terms of Service

My shock, hurt, and disappointment at this is far beyond what I have the capability to express right now, but know that it is great. To accuse someone of something without giving them any details of the charge is unfair, at best.

This is my response to the above email:

Dear A–,

I am sorry, but that is completely unacceptable. I have not intentionally or knowledgeably used any software with this game, and certainly not maliciously or with the intent to cheat. Anyone who knows me in game or out could verify that. Not at least providing me with what my supposed infraction is unquestionably unfair. How can I appeal that which I don’t even know?

At this point, I have to wonder if you even read the email I sent, or just marked it as an appeal and answered it accordingly. I have been a consistently reliable customer, and as such, I believe I have the right to know the details behind my ban, and “security reasons” does not seem like a valid excuse for keeping a loyal, well-behaved, paying customer in the dark. I do not feel like a “valued customer” today.

Telling me your investigation was completed gives me no insight into what actually happened, and I have no knowledge of what third party program you are referencing. I’ve never actually been banned from anything and have a spotless record across the board, so to say I’m angry, hurt, and disappointed is an understatement.

I will be discussing this with my husband today, and this will likely be the end of our time with SWTOR.

I would say thank you, but I am feeling understandably ungracious at this time.

Sincerely,

[…]

Beyond this, I don’t know what to say. I am floored. I will be discussing this with my husband when he gets up, and we will be deciding where to go from there. Without a doubt, there will be a phone call to customer service, at which point either our questions will be answered or we will probably cancel our accounts.

Good luck, out there. I’d say keep your noses clean, but even that’s not a guarantee that you’ll receive the service you pay for, apparently.

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The Collective Aha Moment & Two Reasons I Hate Firelands

The Collective A-Ha Moment

One of the most insightful comments I’ve seen came from Emmalise on a post I wrote last February. She talked about how she likes the teamwork aspect of raiding, how rewarding it is when 25 people all team up and get a boss fight. A week of wipes and frustration and let’s-try-this and what-about-that pays off when suddenly it all clicks. I call it the collective a-ha moment, and it’s an important part of why I raid, too.

For each player, there’s a different “epic” in the game. Maybe your epic is getting the best gear and flexing in the middle of Stormwind. Maybe it’s making such a name for yourself in PvP that the other team runs when they see your nameplate. For me, it’s raiding. It’s learning and progressing and coordinating. It’s the collective a-ha and the achievement (the kind you feel, not the kind that makes glowy swirls on your screen, though I like those too).

Why I Hate Firelands: Reason 1

I returned to Warcraft this past fall. I’d stopped playing in May-ish and missed pretty much everything from May to August. I rejoined my guild and found that they needed me almost right off the bat because of the difficulty of recruiting for 25-mans on our server. It took me a little while to get a grasp on my moonkin-ness again, but that was nothing compared to the Firelands learning curve.

By the time I came in, most of the place was on farm. They were working on Domo, I believe. I had never even seen the instance, and I had to follow the color-coded dots of my raid members to find the entrance.

To them, these bosses were thoughtless fights. They’d done them many, many times before, and it was old hat. For me, I was completely lost. I had read strats to prepare myself, had even watched a few videos, but until you actually do a boss fight, you don’t really get it.

The best way for me to learn a boss fight is to learn it as a new fight: to struggle through, figure out what works and what doesn’t while everyone else is doing the same thing. As it was, I was learning on my own, and I was like an awkward cheerleader in a dance line: always one step behind the rest. The whole thing was extremely frustrating, and I only kept coming because I knew it would get better over time. I still never fully grasped the nuances of a lot of the early fights in Firelands.

No one likes to feel like the slow one. No one likes to feel left behind. It’s not unfair that this was the way it was, but that doesn’t mean it felt great.

Reason #1: I missed out on the collective a-ha moments, and I felt awkward and out-of-place for most of the instance.

Why I Hate Firelands: Reason 2

Practically every caster in the guild was at some point in the progression of the legendary staff. There was a mage who was supposed to be getting it next, but he stopped coming, and suddenly I was being given the pieces for the first quest. This was, as I saw it, probably my only opportunity to ever see a legendary. I knew that on the totem pole of legendary staves, I was at the bottom, but I was hopeful nevertheless.

It took me a while to get all the Embers. My husband asked me to take Tuesdays off for a while to watch Biggest Loser with him, but I jumped on every time I could, and eventually got all of them.

I had basically bankrupted myself early in the expansion on two DMC:V’s for myself and my husband, and because I had stopped playing, I had never made the gold back. While I was collecting Embers, I was also diligently farming when I could for the gold to buy the items I would need for the staff.

I paid the 9k and completed the first quest and the next couple. I one-shotted the Nexus event in a moment I can only describe as freaking awesome. It came time for me to collect the foci from the raid.

We went in, and they were wearing down heroic Shannox while I ran around collecting shards. I got them, formed a focus, and I put it down, the spear hit it–and me. I never got healed and died right next to the charged focus. I asked for a rez, but my mic was broken and no one saw it in raid chat. By the time I got rezzed, the focus was gone, and the boss was dying. I was really upset.

But we moved on to Beth’tilac. I had read about this boss, but I had misread about the number of shards that drop. I collected three, but it took me so long that by the time I got up and put it on the web, Beth’tilac was coming down for the last time.

At that point, the raid gave up on me getting the rest of my foci, and wiped out the instance without looking back. I felt like an unimportant idiot. Mostly, I felt extremely disappointed.

The following Tuesday, Dragon Soul came out.

We went into Firelands last night to help other people do steps to get their staff. The race to get through Firelands as quickly as possible is not conducive to the step I’m on, and I’m not on anyone’s priority list for the staff.

Months ago I realized I wouldn’t ever see it completed, or at least not until late MoP when people get bored and I can maybe bribe them to help me. However, it’s still a disappointment, and going in there, especially to watch everyone else get their staff, is like salt in a wound.

Reason #2: Firelands reminds me of disappointment and failure.

Last night was not a fun night for me. I go because I’ve committed to raid and backing out because I’m a little butthurt would be lame. But I won’t like it.

And you can’t make me.


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