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June PvP Report

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MikeBradley's Avatar


MikeBradley
07.11.2019 , 09:35 AM | #1 This is the last staff post in this thread.  

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

Quote: Originally Posted by ColorfulCaiques View Post
Also, why haven't you guys opened up a dialogue on some of these wintraders seemingly having control on customer support? He who shall not be named has admitted to being employed by one of your EU locations, likely the one in Ireland where your ToS team is based. He has insiders that are aiding and abetting his and his friends' illegal behavior.
Quote: Originally Posted by merovejec View Post
Well the question is whether you think you really get all the appeals. I mean, I am sure you guys are not the first ones to get these, there must be some staff gathering and forwarding them to you. What the people were concerned about is whether you really get all the appeals and whether “someone” isnt able to resolve it without you knowing about it

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

Quote: Originally Posted by omeru View Post
1 week ban is not an actual punishment.
Quote: Originally Posted by JediMasterAlex View Post
These punishments are far too lenient.
Quote: Originally Posted by fabsus View Post
i think the punishment is a bit mild, don't you?
Quote: Originally Posted by Lhancelot View Post

Tougher punishments, less leniency for past offenders please.


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…

Mike Bradley | Associate Producer
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ctprock's Avatar


ctprock
07.11.2019 , 10:20 AM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post

There was 1 account that we permanently banned this month for repeated cheating offenses.
based
hell yea. GM of <Bioware Hates Powertechs>

Rion_Starkiller's Avatar


Rion_Starkiller
07.11.2019 , 10:26 AM | #3
Good read. Thanks for explaining the process.
-Beruhl, Pre-Complainer-in-Chief
ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
Lies have been corrected.

JediMasterAlex's Avatar


JediMasterAlex
07.11.2019 , 10:55 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post
There was 1 account that we permanently banned this month for repeated cheating offenses.
Woohoo. Finally.

Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post
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.
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post
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.
These statements worry me. I think you have more confidence than you should that those accounts have stopped engaging in bad behavior. For example, I know of several ranked wintraders that got a lenient first punishment for fairly blatant wintrading. Since then, it's true that they almost certainly have not engaged in that same form of blatant wintrading, but they still wintrade. They get friends to queue with them and perform well when they're on the same team, and appreciably worse when they are on opposite teams. I understand that this sort of wintrading is the hardest to detect, but it is absolutely happening, and at least in some cases by players that have previously gotten punished for wintrading. There is a top 3 jugg on Star Forge that has wintraded his way to that rating, without question.

Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post
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).
Please keep having this debate! If people are knowingly wintrading and rulebreaking, I don't think much leniency is justified. Other games do not hesitate to punish cheaters harshly.

Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post
Look for an extra report later this month regarding another special investigation we’re wrapping up. *Spoiler Alert* There will be bans.
Looking forward to it. This was your best report yet. Keep it up.

Orrrrmus's Avatar


Orrrrmus
07.11.2019 , 11:22 AM | #5
Hello,
first of all, thank you for the very detailed report. It is much appreciated
Reading this, only one instance came to mind where Mission rewards incentivise bad behaviour:
The Weekly Ossus Mission "[WEEKLY] Win 8 Medals" is not bound to actually finishing the Warzone.

Issue:
People do leave the WZ after the 8th Medal has been awarded as this is done instantly.

To fix this I would do the following:
- Award it at the End of the Warzone & require that the WZ is finished (not left).
- Once someone is over 8 Medals, tighten up the AFK/kick timer so that people are not incentivised to just "sit it out"...

As I am not doing much ranked PvP, I can't really say much about it, other than:
I would play more but I am getting deterred to jump into ranked more often by:
  • people who question your every behaviour - esecially when you are just doing your job (i.E. as a tank: switching guard to the person focused)
  • people who have to tell me what they want to be doing to/with my mother
  • people who cannot control their adrenalin and think it as "banter" when they are actually insulting the other...
Venturing the as: Kobayashi-Maru, Naegley, Ocarina and Nehalem (amongst others)
"I suggest a new strategy artoo: Let the Wookie Win"

TrixxieTriss's Avatar


TrixxieTriss
07.11.2019 , 11:41 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Orrrrmus View Post
Hello,
first of all, thank you for the very detailed report. It is much appreciated
Reading this, only one instance came to mind where Mission rewards incentivise bad behaviour:
The Weekly Ossus Mission "[WEEKLY] Win 8 Medals" is not bound to actually finishing the Warzone.

Issue:
People do leave the WZ after the 8th Medal has been awarded as this is done instantly.

To fix this I would do the following:
- Award it at the End of the Warzone & require that the WZ is finished (not left).
- Once someone is over 8 Medals, tighten up the AFK/kick timer so that people are not incentivised to just "sit it out"...

As I am not doing much ranked PvP, I can't really say much about it, other than:
I would play more but I am getting deterred to jump into ranked more often by:
  • people who question your every behaviour - esecially when you are just doing your job (i.E. as a tank: switching guard to the person focused)
  • people who have to tell me what they want to be doing to/with my mother
  • people who cannot control their adrenalin and think it as "banter" when they are actually insulting the other...
I would go even further and require them to win the match and get 8 medals.

Seterade's Avatar


Seterade
07.11.2019 , 11:51 AM | #7
I have an idea to deincentivize cheating.

1) remove loss elo entirely.

2) replace it with elo decay.

3) make the win count for rewards/elo very high.


how will this change anything: while people will still cheat to win, there is nothing you can do about that. its a compitive game mode, there will always be people looking for the easy way out. but, removing elo loss, will make people more willing to play honestly since losing will no longer slow them down. as for elo decay? this will stop all these players who queue for 3 weeks at season start, get gold and quit the game for 6 months. which I dont have to explain to you what that does to queue times, sub counts, ya da da.

The other thing Id like to point out is if a match ends with less 8 people, no one should get rating.

and the last thing. Make all pvp mats/rewards win only please. no particpation rewards. do you know what someone said to me in ranked 3 weeks ago? "I cant beat hm queen so Im going to lose 50 times in solo queue and get my crystal". if the crystal was only awarded after 10-??? wins this kind of thing would not happen. and, since you dont get it in pve for particpating you shouldnt get it that way in pvp.



please consider these things

Post edit: I thought some more about the no elo for less than 8 people matchs.... and I think to deter people from troll quiting a loss and cheating others, if you leave a match, you should get a 24 hours cd from ranked queue.

and it should accumulate. from repeated use. 24/36/48/7days max (imo, it needs to be legacy based, like squelshed. there is no reason to leave a game mode that have commited yourself too. if you do this, you obviously dont have the required free time for such a mode and should not be there.) because swtor does not have a viable rejoin option, I recognize disconnected internet would be hard but I would say a good work around is make accumulated hour cds should expire 24 hours after the cd is up. so if you disconnect, get a 24 hour cd, come back next day, and by the third day, the "36" expires back to 24 for first offence.

Mindphaze's Avatar


Mindphaze
07.11.2019 , 12:06 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Seterade View Post
I have an idea to deincentivize cheating.

1) remove loss elo entirely.

2) replace it with elo decay.

3) make the win count for rewards/elo very high.


how will this change anything: while people will still cheat to win, there is nothing you can do about that. its a compitive game mode, there will always be people looking for the easy way out. but, removing elo loss, will make people more willing to play honestly since losing will no longer slow them down. as for elo decay? this will stop all these players who queue for 3 weeks at season start, get gold and quit the game for 6 months. which I dont have to explain to you what that does to queue times, sub counts, ya da da.

The other thing Id like to point out is if a match ends with less 8 people, no one should get rating.

and the last thing. Make all pvp mats/rewards win only please. no particpation rewards. do you know what someone said to me in ranked 3 weeks ago? "I cant beat hm queen so Im going to lose 50 times in solo queue and get my crystal". if the crystal was only awarded after 10-??? wins this kind of thing would not happen. and, since you dont get it in pve for particpating you shouldnt get it that way in pvp.



please consider these things

Post edit: I thought some more about the no elo for less than 8 people matchs.... and I think to deter people from troll quiting a loss and cheating others, if you leave a match, you should get a 24 hours cd from ranked queue.

and it should accumulate. from repeated use. 24/36/48/7days max (imo, it needs to be legacy based, like squelshed. there is no reason to leave a game mode that have commited yourself too. if you do this, you obviously dont have the required free time for such a mode and should not be there.)
Cheaters need to be banned.

The person who was going to lose 50 times to get their prize is absolutely fine. No one will que if you only get rewards for winning. You will kill pvp with this dumb move.

septru's Avatar


septru
07.11.2019 , 12:23 PM | #9
@Mike

Why there is no response to emails sent to the pvpReports@swtor.com?

I for one sent a very in depth report about a player fly hacking in ranked with several links to several twitch streams. I was dismayed when no response was given. I assume it was read since the player was subsequently banned, however I'd appreciate the decency of a response. If we players are taking the time to go the extra measure and personally report cheaters and hackers to a specialized email account, why is there no acknowledgement? And I'm not talking an atomized "We are aware of the situation" type of response, but maybe some questions about clarification or detail? We take the time to write these emails because we care and we understand the situation to some depth. It's not some half baked in-game ticket.
-Prum, Satele Shan
"The real endgame is general chat."

bladech's Avatar


bladech
07.11.2019 , 03:15 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by MikeBradley View Post



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).



Iam sorry but you can't just start banning everyone you don't like without firm and confident evidence of cheating. In my experience even though i play legit many are blaming me in speed hacking (because i play sin and often get Dsync thanks to force speed) and wintrading (lately the pops are pretty low and most of people have to fight same enemies all over again so i often matched against some bad players). People are always blaming each in wintrading or other cheating when there is really no wintrade or cheating.