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Andrew Lawlor
108 followers -
Annoying.
Annoying.

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#wargaming #fairplay #unfair

I have a long history with online gaming from Unreal Tournament in 1999 through the entire Battlefield Series (1942 - BF2 by way of Bad Company 2), Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Far Cry and other games I can't remember any more.

Every game I ever played and especially those for which I hosted servers (UT, UT 2003/4, BF2, Far Cry) I was ALWAYS a strong proponent of anti-cheat systems and banning people who were problematic (cheaters, offensive, disruptive).

At the same time, I was also very cautious about implementing bans or simply believing "misc detections" when the evidence just wasn't strong enough. I always felt like you needed to give a player a fair shake when it came to accusations.

Fast forward to 2017, I've been playing World of Tanks with some friends now and then since it came out around 2011. Lately, I've played more of this game as money has been tight and this is a "free to play game".

A few months ago Wargaming came out with a new "fair play" policy that was announced a little awkwardly. They decided that they were going to start banning people for using "illegal" game mods but absolutely refused to tell the community at large which mods they were going to consider cheats.

Eventually they provided a short list that didn't cover very many of the hundreds of individual mods and scores of modpacks that were available on the internet.

They had 3 categories of mods but their unpublished list was a work in progress and a mod that was 'good' one day might be 'bad' the next and you wouldn't know it because they refused to tell you.

Apparently, their goal seems to be to ban as many players as possible -- which is weird since the North American player base isn't anywhere near as robust as Europe, Russia or the Far East (Asia).

One of their mods came on Reddit and answered a few questions and addressed a few very specific mods.

Having use some of the modpacks in the past I was aware that some of them contained some sketchy modifications. However, I was using one called Aslain's modpack. So far as I could tell (and according to the author) this was a completely safe modpack.

Imagine my surprise when I was issues a 7 day ban from the game. This is my "first strike" in a "two strike" ban policy.

They did not tell me exactly why I was banned. I received a very generic email that said (un-edited):

Dear Tanker,

An investigation was performed on your account and you were found to be in violation of our *End User License Agreement*. We’ve recently taken action against World of Tanks accounts that were found to be using third-party programs that automate gameplay, such as those known as “bots,” or modifications that provide an unfair advantage.


We’re committed to providing an equal and fair playing field for everyone in World of Tanks, and will continue to take actions against those found in violation of our EULA. Cheating of any form will not be tolerated. You may refer back to our *Fair Play Policy*, [*here*](http://worldoftanks.com/en/news/pc-browser/17/forbidden-mods/).

Please read the [*End User License Agreement*](http://legal.na.wargaming.net/?EULA) regarding your violation, more specifically:

- “3.2 (b) interfere with or circumvent any feature of the Software or the Service, including without limitation any security, or access control mechanism, or use any automated scripts, tools, “bots” or otherwise exploit the system for the purpose of altering the game play …. “

We have placed a 7 day account suspension for this infraction. We kindly request that you remove any extraneous files from your game client that may be considered to be a bot and/or third-party modification that provides an unfair gameplay advantage.


Please note that continued use of botting programs or unapproved modifications will result in a *permanent game suspension* on your game account.

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding regarding this matter.

Wargaming Customer Support

Best Reag

I immediately opened a support ticket, well, after venting my frustration on Reddit's WorldOfTanks subreddit.

It took a couple days for wargaming to reply to my ban appeal ticket.

Here is their response:

Unedited reply below:
Jacob Adler January 6, 2017 5:57 PM Dear skagalak,
Thank you for contacting World of Tanks Support. An investigation was performed on your account and you were found to be in violation of our End User License Agreement. We’ve recently taken action against World of Tanks accounts that were found to be using third-party programs that automate gameplay, such as those known as “bots,” or modifications that provide an unfair advantage. We’re committed to providing an equal and fair playing field for everyone in World of Tanks, and will continue to take actions against those found in violation of our EULA. Cheating of any form will not be tolerated. You may refer back to our Fair Play Policy, here.
Please read the End User License Agreement of your violation, more specifically:
“3.2 (b) interfere with or circumvent any feature of the Software or the Service, including without limitation any security, or access control mechanism, or use any automated scripts, tools, “bots” or otherwise exploit the system for the purpose of altering the game play …. “ We have placed a 7 day account suspension for this infraction. We kindly request that you remove any extraneous files from your game client that may be considered to be a botting and/or third-party modification that provides an unfair gameplay advantage.
We suggest cleaning your registry and removing any botting scripts and/or mod files from your client folders.
Follow these steps to remove any leftover registry entries from your previous installation:
1) Download CCleaner here (select the green download button and then select Piriform.com) 2) Install and run the CCleaner; In the CCleaner program, please click on registry; Near the bottom of the program, click scan for issues and then click fix selected issues; 3) While you are still inside the CCleaner software, please click on cleaner (upper left hand of application); second, click analyze, and then click run cleaner. Please note that if you are prompted to save a backup of your registry, click Yes
4) Quit CCleaner.
Please note that continued use of botting programs or unapproved modifications will result in a permanent game suspension on your game account.
We thank you for your cooperation and understanding regarding this matter.
Thank you again for contacting Wargaming Support. If you have any further questions or concerns please check out our knowledge base.
Hope you have a wonderful day!
Best Regards,
Jacob Adler
Wargaming America Support
You can always check your ticket status by logging into our Support Portal: https://na.wargaming.net/support/
Wargaming Support is now on Twitter! Follow us @WargamingCS for updates and announcements. https://twitter.com/WargamingCS It's that time of the year! Don't forget to check our holiday sales!

I love the closing dig, even though you're banned please keep spending money on our free to play game.

At any rate, their reply revealed no more information than the original notification.

So, either I was running a "bot" program -- this is a program that is used to play the game without being at the computer. A bot script will join games, move around, and appear to be a live player. My stats, tracked on various websites, disprove this as a possibility.

The next option, running security software to bypass or prevent them from scanning my system to detect 'illegal' mods. I can't really address this. I use microsoft's default windows 10 security software along with the firewall on my router.

The last option, I was cheating with an illegal mod. On this item I am the only one who can weigh in (aside from wargaming but they won't say anything useful or constructive) and all I can say is that I did not have any cheats installed on my computer.

I have spent a considerable amount of money on this game, more than I want to admit, between June 2011 and January 2017. This, however, is something that I cannot in good conscience continue to do.

Anyone looking at my very public game stats can easily see that I am not using any sort of cheat to improve my stats. But let's say that I am, why am I still playing so averagely? Even a monkey could learn this game after a few months and I've been playing 6 years now.

It's my contention that wargaming is applying a very unfair "fair play" policy that allows for ZERO challenges. It's like the kid who brought a butter knife to school and got expelled and arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon.

I freely admit that I was using Aslain's mostly for XVM and I have been told repeatedly that this is a completely safe mod.

It is important that Wargaming comes up with a system that has some sort of third party verification. Where a player can appeal the ban and get a well reasoned description with enough detail so they can mitigate the situation without wondering if, after the initial 7 day ban expires, they will start playing again and catch a permanent ban.

Wargaming can cite their EULA, which was changed recently but wasn't the EULA I agreed to in 2011 when I started spending non-refundable money on this game, but that doesn't make it a legal contract in the United States.

I have contemplated filing complaints with the FTC and BBB where Wargaming NA is located.

They are clearly set on depriving accounts from players with long standing good histories in the game and who have invested a significant amount of money on a 'free to play game.'


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i realize this is old news but i can attest that, from my observation, it's pretty damned true.  

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This wasa 'science experiment' I performed in 2006.  I wanted to know if a medical grade x-ray machine could damage a hard drive.  I think my idea was to show the running computer,then pull the drive, xray it, and put it back in the computer.

As you can see, I used a well worn computer with Windows 2000 pro installed... it had been running for at least 4 years at that point.

Worked fine after the doses of xrays.
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xrays
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Accidental portrait.... 50@50#7

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Two months in... a status update on my metal detecting adventure. 

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An interesting but unprofitable Saturday morning.

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