SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: The Resolution

Okay. This, for real, should be the last post about this, but I make no promises, because that’s what I said last time.

If you’ve followed my story (Part 1 & Part 2), you know that the most recent update was an email from a representative at Customer Service, telling me they were trying to get in touch with me.

About 20 minutes ago, I got a call from Johnathan, and the first thing he offered was a profuse apology immediately followed with the answer to the one question I’d had: in this instance, the program they use to catch ToS infractions brought back a false positive, not once but three times.

The computer said I was hacking. Out of respect for their policies, which I will explain in a sec, I won’t say exactly how. Eventually they realized the computer was wrong–it was our persistence (yes, all of you are included), that kept them looking at it, so thank you.

On a personal level, my account has been reactivated and I’ve been given free play time. In a couple of weeks, they’ll call me back to make sure everything is still going well.

I was also assured that this experience, my honesty in my blog, and I’m sure your input, as well, has made them take a new look at how they handle these types of situations in the future. The reason they didn’t want to tell me exactly what I had done is because (as many of you suggested) the developers who make the third party programs look for clues like that to improve their programs and make them harder to detect.

However, that doesn’t excuse the impersonal, form-letter replies, or the amount of time and effort it took to get someone to really figure out what was going on, and he agreed. I told him that if I could pass onΒ anything from this situation, it would be that anyone who appeals, especially repeatedly, deserves the courtesy of a personal email, even if it says, “This might take a little while, but I promise we’re looking into it and we’ll let you know as soon as we know something.” And then actually do. Keep that line of communicationΒ open, because in the end, we just really want to know we’re being heard.

This was a customer service fiasco. I won’t say that this makes any of what happened this past week okay. What I will say is that I am grateful that they kept looking, even if it did take some prompting, and I’m grateful that I received personal resolution.

What I’m most pleased with, however, is the news that they have taken this as a wake-up call to remember that there’s a person behind the coding. I will be keeping up with other people who are dealing with violations and appeals in the coming weeks to see if this takes root and actually effects a change in the way they handle their customer service.

Thank you, guys, for being an AWESOME community, for supporting me, for giving me advice, for keeping @SWTOR very, very busy and getting the attention here so that, hopefully, things will be handled differently in the future. You guys rock.

I look forward to seeing you in-game. I’m still coming for you, Cordo Repubs. πŸ˜‰

Cipher Nine, out.


Filed under Blogstuff, Experiences, Information

60 responses to “SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: The Resolution

  1. Huzzah for good news! πŸ˜€ Now make an Imperial Agent and silently blast some fools! πŸ˜€

  2. So glad everything got sorted out for you!

  3. … which goes to prove if you know you’re right and the other person is wrong, you just need enough weight behind you and the time to wait for a resolution. πŸ˜€

    You are spot on, this was a PR disaster. Kudos to SWOTR Customer service going the extra mile. More kudos to you though for the honesty and the persistence.

    • I knew I was right beyond a shadow of a doubt–that confidence is what brought the persistence. Also, having an awesomely supportive community helped.

      It was a mess, and my ultimate goal in this is to see it not be a mess in the future!

  4. Glad to hear they did the right thing in the end, but it all sounds very stressy.

    • battlechicken

      Haha, “stressy” is definitely the right word. I hope that this will make things less stressy for everyone else!

  5. tehjburz

    Great resolution. You’ve blazed a trail in making this easier for people in the future and that is something you should be proud of!

    • Thanks! I really hope so. Not everyone has a platform and a community like I have available, so I feel like I have the responsibility to take the attention I’ve gotten and use it for everyone’s benefit.

  6. Kayeri/Kaylen

    I haven’t commented before now, but I am SO glad that all the attention worked and perhaps it will make them re-think their customer service approach. I have no doubt that the layoffs a few weeks ago hit the CS dept much harder than the more publicized ones, but that’s not an excuse for going to pure automation for something as serious as this. I’m glad you hung in there until you got the answers!

    From a fellow (now retired) Druid and Imperial Agent, even if I don’t get to play my Sniper much (mostly Pub here), I think the class is awesome and has the best storyline in the game!

    • That’s the ultimate goal: to see the way they treat customers improve. I know it’s hard and time consuming, but a “we’re looking into it and we’ll get back to you” would have been a much better response than “nope, you’re wrong.”

      A druid and an agent? You are doin it rite. πŸ˜‰

  7. Tovarish

    Woot! I’m glad your back in action again and they realize their issues are actual issues that need review and refinement.

  8. I’m glad everything has worked out. I hope they keep that promise of being more responsive to the *people* playing their game and paying for their wages.

  9. Great to hear! I’m sure that’s such a relief to get this whole thing worked out, and for the better. πŸ™‚ I know I would be so upset if such a thing happened to me for a game I enjoyed. I’m glad you never gave up and had lots of support to help you get heard!

    I don’t think I’ll be trying SWTOR anytime soon anyway (not really something I’m interested in to begin with) but it’s great to hear that their CS will hopefully improve in the future thanks to your efforts. We’ll see, right? :3

    Happy adventuring~


  11. Like I said earlier, they do care. Oh, and still do the letter thing with all your documentation! They can use it as training material for their CS classes. Glad that everything worked out and BioWare woke the heck up!

    • I will definitely write a letter, I’ll include all of my posts and emails and discuss the whole thing from beginning to end, including the resolution. This is what needed to happen a couple of days ago; they just need to weed out the awful middle part, there.

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  13. Good thing that’s resolved. Enjoy the game.

    I’d hope they would also recognize that them not discussing the infraction with the potential perpetrator backfires. Nobody learns a thing if they don’t tell them what you did wrong. (see Hawtpants block πŸ™‚ You’ll be a repeat offender in no time. If the infraction one of their programs detected is to abstract to describe by and to a human being, i’d set the chances at 99% that it’s a false positive.

    • The sticking point here is the fact that I intelligently appealed and offered solutions, and I didn’t get any feedback related to that. Not even, “no, it wasn’t LastPass or Bandicam.” I didn’t QQ, I didn’t rage; I respectfully requested more information and didn’t get a respectful reply.

      I’m really hoping that changes in the future. People need to be heard, and to know that they’re being heard.

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  15. I love happy endings! Glad it worked out, and I hope SWTOR folks learned something.

  16. It’s great to see that there are many ways to hammer at a company that’s in the wrong in a situation like this. @SWTOR got tons of negative feedback, both directly and indirectly on Twitter, along with your persistence and firmness, and they had to take notice. I’m very glad that it came to some result, particularly in this positive way.

    Perhaps this will indeed be a (or “the”) wake up call that leads to a revolution in the way they handle customer complaints (people first, not robots!). That can only be good for the longevity, popularity, and quality of the game.

    I’m glad so many people supported you – that alone was pretty epic! And while this whole thing has sucked, I, too, am very happy to see that your name was cleared and you’re back! πŸ™‚

    • “People first, not robots.” YES. That. so much.

      I was and still am completely astonished by how many people stepped up to support me. I’m humbled and very appreciative. I’m also really glad to have my name cleared; it bothered me that people might associate me with cheating.

  17. This is awesome news. I’m really happy to see this entire situation end with a positive resolution. Now… go play! πŸ˜‰

  18. great news! have fun playing!! πŸ™‚

  19. Woo~ Glad it had a happy ending, after all. πŸ™‚

  20. This is awesome! Glad to see it worked out and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the game again without any sour taste. I hope that they’ll indeed improve their customer service after this, as they promised.

  21. Glad to hear you got this resolved πŸ™‚

  22. Ano

    So glad you got this mess sorted out. For my part I spammed the #SWTOR tag on Twitter on your behalf and I know some of the devs read twitter. I am hoping my action and many others helped in some way.

    To be frank the lack of customer service from EA/Bioware is appalling and I and many of my guild mates have experienced similar issues since the game launched. It is one of the many reasons why my guild (over 100 people) has abandoned SWTOR and won’t be looking back.

    On a positive note this mess prompted me to add your blog to my RSS reader as another interesting website to read. πŸ™‚

    • Oh, have no doubt that your Tweeting made a difference. I’ll be honest, when I originally posted the blog, it was just out of frustration. I just wanted one person to agree with me that this was crazy. I did not expect the amazing amount of support I got.

      It wasn’t a me thing. It was a community thing. And I hope in the end it effects a community level change on the part of their customer service.

      I’m sorry to hear that you guys got mixed up in the bad CS, too. I hope you guys have found something good to play!

      Thank you! ❀

  23. Good news finally! Hope they take this as a lesson to improve their customer service.

  24. Glad there was a resolution to this drama Ambermist πŸ™‚

  25. Awesome to hear you got everything well taken care of. I think that this is just another prime example to why such a policy while protects players from cheaters, hurts those who don’t. Let’s face the fact here, I really doubt you where doing anything that ran long the lines as ‘hacking’ I wonder if @SWTOR knows what hacking is but either way I’m happy to hear you got everything worked out.

    Just too bad that this is just another reason why I stopped playing and wont come back until they go free to play. This is just clearly one of many issues they have to why the game failed IMO.

    • battlechicken

      It’s such a fine line between protecting us and treating us all like bad guys, but the communication part of it would go a long way in making that fine line seem not quite so definite. Here’s hoping!

  26. sard

    Poppycock, customer service won’t change.

  27. This is great news! I’m so glad that you got a phone call and an apology! You deserved “at least” that much. /srsnod


    • battlechicken

      πŸ˜€ I’m appreciative that they did eventually take the time to listen to me. I hope it makes an impact in the long run.

  28. Mighty Viking Hamster

    Very interesting story. I might be overly cynical, but I feel that this issue was resolved purely for damage control purposes and not necessarily out of good will to make a customer happy. They realized that you are relatively influential and vocal and attempted to make amends.

  29. Brian

    Glad to hear it worked out for you. I have just sent another email asking for yet another review of my account. Hopefully I’ll get a call as well.

    Seeing that they have helped you, I have hope that I may get it also.

  30. I am glad this got resolved for you. I read your first couple of posts on this and was appalled at the lack of customer service.

    • battlechicken

      It was pretty rough, but not only was my issue resolved, but they seem to be actually trying to check into things a little more. They still need to work on the communication aspect, but it’s a start.

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  32. This exact same thing happened to me today. Such a nightmare. Anytips or left over contact numbers?

  33. DownWithTheRepublic

    Still happening to this day. It recently happened to me and my Girlfriend. At virtually the same time. We had just started playing only a few days prior, and let me say this already looks absolutely horrible. That almost 2 years later, things like this are still occurring. We’re new players, we have no idea what we could possibly have done on our level 8 characters to get banned, but we are. Permanently.
    We did the free-to-play for a couple days. Loved it. Subscribed. Less than 24 hours after subscribing, we were both banned, permanently…

  34. they havent changed their ways on what they do in an “investigation”, i received a ban 3 days ago, then i got a total account termination 2 days ago, account disputes have no sent me any emails at all even after i sent an appeal email after the first ban explaining in detail how i made my large amount of credits (all legally and provable) i had to ring CS and get a supervisor to escalate my email with a note to the supervisor of ToS / account disputes, then i got an email stated they were reveiwing my case and would get back to me, all emails from CS are just standard form emails, this is how my “ban” came about: i used my personal debit/mastercard on the swtor.com website to buy about 30K in cartel coins, then i used those coins to buy some hypercrate packs (3 or 4) off the in-game cartel market, i opened those packs and received the usual armor sets,color crystals, emotes, dye modules etc, i sold a rare color crystal for 100 million credits, then i bought 7 cartel packs of the GTN and opened them, from one pack i received ‘tulak horde’s armor set’ which after the 36hr cooldown i put up on the GTN to sell for 1 billion credits (i didnt know its worth) after 4 hrs i got the sale and received 940 million credits after the GTN’s cut, then about 12 hrs later i was booted from the server (bergeren colony) with a msg to check my email for the reason why i was locked out of the swtor servers, NO EMAIL, nothing at all, so i rang CS and received the BS run-around and went from there, atm i am still waiting for their so called “reveiw” of my case, and still no email from account disputes, just basic droid written form reply emails from CS, if anyone knows the phone number for this jonathon character i could really use it right now ;(

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