Thread: June PvP Report
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mishin_max's Avatar

07.21.2019 , 10:58 PM | #104
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post

Hey All,
In June we caught and punished 24 accounts for win trading or cheating in PvP. We have:
  • Suspended the accounts
  • Zeroed out all ranked ratings of every character on those accounts
  • Removed all of their Ranked PvP Reward Tokens
There was 1 account that we permanently banned this month for repeated cheating offenses.
I understand that many of you were dissatisfied with the contents of last month’s report, so I’d like to loop back and speak specifically to some points and questions that were raised there.
CS Suspicions

This is simply not true. I know our Galway team, we are in contact with them on a daily basis, and contrary to the rumors you may hear, they are one of our greatest allies in stopping cheaters in PvP, not helping them. Without going into too much detail, the tools our CS teams use have meticulous history of anything that is done to an account, it is simply not possible that “secretly helping” an account could happen or go unnoticed.
Which seems more likely… that several employees at every level of that office would risk their careers, reputations, and livelihoods to protect a cheating players’ points in a video game… or that someone is lying on the internet?
Let’s Talk About Punishments

Now that I’m sharing specifics on how many accounts we catch and what action we take against them, it’s clear that many, if not all of you, are displeased with the severity of the punishments in these cases. I’d like to talk about these punishments, what our goals are for having them, why I am also dissatisfied with aspects of them, and what we’re focused on trying to improve going forward.
Our Goals
The cornerstone of our game and our team is that we want people to play and enjoy our game. When players cheat, hack, exploit, bot, trade wins, scam, harass other players, or any other form of rule-breaking behavior, we have to make decisions on how to punish every possible infraction. In making these decisions, we look at the offense, what exactly they did, how they did it, what we believe they were trying to achieve, who was affected, how severely, and then we attempt to craft a punishment that we feel is fitting for each offense. This is absolutely an imperfect process, but it is one grounded in the goal that we want to change and deter the problematic behavior, so that as many people can play and enjoy our game as possible.
We know that not all of our punishments are completely effective at changing bad behavior, but we have pretty good evidence that many of them are. I have no problem with any conversation revolving around the effectiveness of punishments, which ones seem to work, which ones don’t, and sharing ideas for deterring or discouraging cheating. Within our team, we are constantly having discussions on these topics specifically, and I do my best to ensure that those discussions are reinforced by the ideas and sentiments shared here on the forums.
Banning Accounts
Every account we action for cheating gets an email that spells out very clearly if we catch them again, punishments will be more severe, up to and including account closure. I’ve seen a couple posts asking that I clarify where exactly that line is, and what specifically will get an account banned. I’m reluctant to go into too much detail here because I worry that rather than be a deterrent, it would reveal the exact level of tolerance we have, and that those who cheat would know exactly how far they can push the boundaries. At the end of the day, the primary reason that we are not more regularly banning accounts is that very few cross that line after their first punishment.
I’ve read sentiments that claim that we’re afraid to ban accounts that give us money (not true), that there is no amount of cheating that will get you permanently banned (also not true), or that we should lower the bar for banning accounts and do so more freely (honestly that’s a fair debate that several of us on the team are having every month).
The truth is, we do permanently ban accounts that we repeatedly catch cheating. We’ve banned around a dozen accounts just this season, and I imagine there will be a couple more before it’s over. In some instances we’ve seen bans meaningfully change behavior and in others we have seen players simply make new accounts and continue cheating, so even these punishments are not the cure-all that they may seem.
Why I am dissatisfied with some of our current cheating punishments…
I’m also frustrated with some of these punishments because they are only treating symptoms of the problems and not the problems themselves. In my view, one of the biggest problems is that in some ways our systems, leaderboards, and PvP quest rewards can incentivize bad behavior. Given the tools that we have right now, and the specific actions that we’re currently able to take, these do not feel like problems that we can realistically punish our way out of. I know that it’s tempting to believe that permanent bans are the only solution to all of these problems, but we’ve seen that is not always the case. In these instances, I think we need a better solution.
Given the bridges that I’m trying to build between our studio and this community, I’ve been asked specifically to work with our designers and analytics team to come up with some new actions that we can take against cheaters that will remove their ability to ruin the experience of others, while also staying true to our primary goal for the game. So far we have some promising leads, and while I’ll allude to some below, I’m hesitant to go into too much detail here until we can firmly commit the time and resources to them.
What we’re focused on improving going forward
As a quick caveat, I can’t promise that any of these will be enacted within a certain timeframe, but these are all specific areas that we’re doing our utmost to build consensus around within the studio. Conversations on these points are happening regularly, every week, and some are getting real traction. As soon as we have designs solidified and scheduled on our calendar, I will let you all know.
  • A way to remove cheaters from the PvP ques altogether for the duration of the season
  • How we can adjust our PvP rewards and/or systems to disincentivize bad behavior across the board
  • Extra conditionals to improve the average quality of PvP matches, even if it lengthens que times somewhat
  • Lockout timers for those who leave ranked matches or decline a que
  • Better data on 3v4 matchups, how we can track them more accurately and do more to prevent them altogether
  • How to grow overall player involvement in PvP (ranked and unranked)
I appreciate the time and effort that many of you took to submit reports to the new email address, the additional evidence provided there has been very helpful in our ongoing efforts to clean up cheating in PvP. Look for an extra report later this month regarding another special investigation we’re wrapping up. *Spoiler Alert* There will be bans.
Until next time…
I played WoW all June and only came in to farm a new location. Nevertheless, the ban came for 48 hours and reset the rating! Well done! Everyone knows that I stopped playing for several months. That's exactly why people do not believe in your pvp reports. UNSUB