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'Message From The Neverwinter Management Team' - Questions.

jaegernljaegernl Posts: 452Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
edited May 2017 in General Discussion (PC)
So, earlier today we were blessed with a message from the management team, regarding the recent banwave:
One of our main priorities for Neverwinter Online is to provide all of our players with a fair, fun, and enjoyable game experience at a consistent level. Unfortunately this experience is sometimes impacted by individuals violating our Terms of Service in order to gain an unfair advantage, thereby severely impairing the overall experience for the majority of our player base.

Late last year, we implemented additional data collection features within the game, that allowed us to better identify individuals who are clearly violating those Terms of Service, and after extensive accumulation and investigation, have recently taken steps to remove or restrict some of these accounts. In the coming months, we’ll continue to monitor and review the incoming data and plan to actively increase our focus and commitment in maintaining a safe, secure and enjoyable environment for everyone.

While we stand behind our decision in this matter, we also want to be fair and keep up with the playstyle of our most dedicated players so some of those accounts affected by the recent bans will be released on a probationary status and monitored. For others, appeals can still be made to Customer Support which will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

-Neverwinter Management Team
This post will not contain questions or comments about individual bans. I do, however, have questions considering primarily the last paragraph and will include a warning.

Last week's banwave has caused quite a fuss in the community. Prominent members of the Neverwinter community and long-time players have been forcibly removed from said community. Some of them may have botted, some of them may have been collateral damage. The community out-cry over this has been large, both on the forums - where it has been quelched through immediate removal of the topics - and in game, where it has been the topic of discussion in many channels, where I've seldom encountered a message endorsing the recent move. I'm inclined to use a bit of hyperbole, and paraphrasing historians of the Stalinist Terror, that there has not been a single member of the community who hasn't seen one of their friends, guildies or familiar faces in a channel see disappear.

The above quoted message sounds to me like an admission of guilt or wrong-doing, albeit purposely worded not to sound like one. Certain members of the Neverwinter community have been unbanned - placed under probation, whatever that means - and that is prove in itself that the automated system of banning is flawed, regardless of the measures put in place to 'better identify individuals who are clearly violating those Terms of Service'.

Recently, we've had a massive increase in communication from the Development and Management team, for which I am very grateful. Especially the communication and feedback on the Preview forum has been listened to and - in some cases - implemented. It is all the more frustrating and disappointing that, on this recent move, the outcry has been met with deafening silence and draconian moderation on the forums.

And then we get to the final paragraph of the above quoted message:
While we stand behind our decision in this matter, we also want to be fair and keep up with the playstyle of our most dedicated players so some of those accounts affected by the recent bans will be released on a probationary status and monitored. For others, appeals can still be made to Customer Support which will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
There's a couple of issues with this paragraph. Firstly, the internal logic - we stand behind our decision but are reversing it - is hilarious. Which is it? You can't have both. Secondly, what does 'probation' mean? Either someone commits a bannable offense, or they don't. And, lastly, the issue of 'dedicated players', which has inspired this post in the first place.

'Dedicated players' has to be the vaguest term to come out of a marketing department yet. When does someone fall into that category? Hours played? Money spent? Far more importantly, however, is the implication that once you fall into that category, however it is defined, you basicly get a 'get out of jail free'-card. I play or spend a lot and I get to bot a little? Do you really consider that a reasonable road forward?

Of course, far more likely is that this phrasing, including the 'get out of jail free'-card is purposely chosen to make an apology without actually apologizing, of the level of 'I'm sorry you're offended'. The communication between developers and community, the game itself and the future were looking so bright. This, however, has been two steps backwards.

Post edited by zebular on
Isaac the Adequate - Level 70 Oath of Protection Paladin
Aurelius the Awkward - Level 70 Pathfinder Ranger
We have looked into reports of players experiencing connection problems and have been unable to identify any server, data center, or client-side issues. We believe this may be ISP related.
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Comments

  • ejziponkenejziponken Posts: 887Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    edited May 2017
    "we also want to be fair and keep up with the playstyle of our most dedicated players so some of those accounts affected by the recent bans will be released on a probationary status and monitored."

    Sounds like they have X accounts that has a playstyle that could be seen as botting. But they are not 100% sure so they unban them and will keep an eye on them. It has nothing to do with p2w.

    "dedicated players" = Players that do boring tasks for hours every day. So boring so that its questionable if they are in fact humans doing it. These players should get a medal, not a ban. :P

    The ones that didnt get an unban probably looks even MORE like a bot and therefor will get investigated closer before a ban is possible lifted. Maybe they are doing the same stuff but on more chars, longer hours, less breaks etc.

    ▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ Gankdalf The Icehole █ ▇ ▆ ▅ ▄ ▂ ▁

  • jumpingmorksjumpingmorks Posts: 876Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    I have about 30 characters and usually invoke at least once on them all per day for the Celestial coin. At least 12 a day have their professions reset when I invoke, if I have to go back to a character and some of their professions need resetting I will. Apart from that I spam dungeons/skirmishes as much as possible and I wasn;t one of those affected. Problem is noone knows, will we be affected next time? I don't know. I'd prefer to play by the rules at all times but it really would help a great deal if I knew what those rules were.
  • ejziponkenejziponken Posts: 887Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    jaegernl said:

    Here's some food for thought: If the metric is singling out people that are doing all the repetitive, boring tasks dilligently - dailies, DR lairs, invokes, fishing and professions - and they get banned for being a bot, Cryptic might want to reconsider what kind of content they are creating. I mean, if they truely believe only bots could do what they're delivering, that's a rather scathing endictment of the stuff they're producing.

    Well, its not like we haven't tried to tell them this for years. There is no budget for better content in this game. It requires to much time, not just coding it but actually coming up with the ideas.

    ▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ Gankdalf The Icehole █ ▇ ▆ ▅ ▄ ▂ ▁

  • omegaospreyomegaosprey Posts: 36Member Arc User

    jaegernl said:

    Here's some food for thought: If the metric is singling out people that are doing all the repetitive, boring tasks dilligently - dailies, DR lairs, invokes, fishing and professions - and they get banned for being a bot, Cryptic might want to reconsider what kind of content they are creating. I mean, if they truely believe only bots could do what they're delivering, that's a rather scathing endictment of the stuff they're producing.

    Well, its not like we haven't tried to tell them this for years. There is no budget for better content in this game. It requires to much time, not just coding it but actually coming up with the ideas.
    They don't lack for content. There is oodles of content available (for free to the company) via the Foundry.

    It is the way the have chosen to implement character progression and how they monetize it that creates the grind. Or, more to the point, they tied character progression (via campaigns and resource acquisition) to company designed, repetitive, soul-numbing tasks and then they punish their customers for playing the game as designed (regardless of the TOS).

    And, of course, they did this b/c they found the only way to make this game economically viable for them is to exploit the narcissistic power fantasies of a few whales. So you get what we got.
  • jaegernljaegernl Posts: 452Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User

    I've been trying to make this case for years.

    Further though, even if you don't actually look like a bot while you do this stuff... I'm pretty sure I don't simply because I'm erratic and make a lot of mistakes... the fact that so many dull and repetitive actions are practically a requirement of engaging with their systems means those systems very much encourage automation. Because to utilize them, you do need to act like a good little automaton droid even if you're not one.

    Well, its not like we haven't tried to tell them this for years. There is no budget for better content in this game. It requires to much time, not just coding it but actually coming up with the ideas.

    I'm fully aware the budget is short, and they're doing the best with what they can with very little. Kudo's to them. I'm still enjoying myself, even though I sometimes zone-out mentally to do the repetitive HAMSTER to ensure my progress.

    I was merely pointing out that their banfilter a hilariously smaller regard for their content than the players do.
    Isaac the Adequate - Level 70 Oath of Protection Paladin
    Aurelius the Awkward - Level 70 Pathfinder Ranger
    We have looked into reports of players experiencing connection problems and have been unable to identify any server, data center, or client-side issues. We believe this may be ISP related.
  • jumpingmorksjumpingmorks Posts: 876Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    Considering the heavy handed nature of moderation over the last several days I'd appreciate it if we could keep this as on topic as possible and minimise or at least delay the possibility that they'll just zap this thread into nothingness.

    We have legitimate concerns, I'd like as many of them to be heard as possible.
  • feralplatypusferalplatypus Posts: 36Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    Well, it appears that I got my account back - I was one of the banned people.

    I wonder if I'm on probation right now... After all I've not done anything wrong, so I definitely should be.

    Pardon my sarcasm but I really found this entire situation offensive.
  • urabaskurabask Posts: 2,923Member Arc User
    arabatur said:

    There needs to be some sort guide for players so that they do not fall foul of the data collection metric.

    And that'll never happen because it will make their data collection less effective against players that are actually botting. So we're all just supposed to go about playing the game as usual and hope the banhammer doesn't randomly hit us.
    I8r4ux9.jpg
  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    It's not only that they awkwardly trying to cover up their own mess. By not clearing up the situation they release players as potential botters on probation. What's happening if you are in a guild that takes exploiting very serious?

    The burden of proof always seems to be on the player with this game although the devs have repeatedly misfired in these ban waves (3rd time on a big scale, countless times in isolated cases). As soon as the devs realized they had messed up, they should have reverted all bans and manually verified all account again. Then re-ban the real botters. It's essentially what they are doing right now, but with a "guilty till dedicated" approach. Now in some cases players have to wait until next week until the dusk settles. Might be 10+ banned days for nothing... slow clap.​​
  • jumpingmorksjumpingmorks Posts: 876Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    urabask said:

    arabatur said:

    There needs to be some sort guide for players so that they do not fall foul of the data collection metric.

    And that'll never happen because it will make their data collection less effective against players that are actually botting. So we're all just supposed to go about playing the game as usual and hope the banhammer doesn't randomly hit us.
    I am not interested in the slightest what their ban filters are, I am interested in avoiding whatever it is that is getting people flagged as "botters". As @becklunatic put it nicely in another thread, last thing we want is for cryptic to give botters the information needed to make undetectable bots, but we need to know what others did that got them banned so next time we don;t end up on that ban list. Or Cryptic need to invest more time, people and money into their filters.
  • urabaskurabask Posts: 2,923Member Arc User

    urabask said:

    arabatur said:

    There needs to be some sort guide for players so that they do not fall foul of the data collection metric.

    And that'll never happen because it will make their data collection less effective against players that are actually botting. So we're all just supposed to go about playing the game as usual and hope the banhammer doesn't randomly hit us.
    I am not interested in the slightest what their ban filters are, I am interested in avoiding whatever it is that is getting people flagged as "botters". As @becklunatic put it nicely in another thread, last thing we want is for cryptic to give botters the information needed to make undetectable bots, but we need to know what others did that got them banned so next time we don;t end up on that ban list. Or Cryptic need to invest more time, people and money into their filters.
    You basically just said "I'm not interested in their ban filters I'm just interested in PART of their ban filters." Same difference and I really doubt they value the player base's need to know more than the dev hours they've put into "improving" their data collection features.
    I8r4ux9.jpg
  • jumpingmorksjumpingmorks Posts: 876Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    urabask said:

    urabask said:

    arabatur said:

    There needs to be some sort guide for players so that they do not fall foul of the data collection metric.

    And that'll never happen because it will make their data collection less effective against players that are actually botting. So we're all just supposed to go about playing the game as usual and hope the banhammer doesn't randomly hit us.
    I am not interested in the slightest what their ban filters are, I am interested in avoiding whatever it is that is getting people flagged as "botters". As @becklunatic put it nicely in another thread, last thing we want is for cryptic to give botters the information needed to make undetectable bots, but we need to know what others did that got them banned so next time we don;t end up on that ban list. Or Cryptic need to invest more time, people and money into their filters.
    You basically just said "I'm not interested in their ban filters I'm just interested in PART of their ban filters." Same difference and I really doubt they value the player base's need to know more than the dev hours they've put into "improving" their data collection features.
    We're entitled to know enough so that we don;t end up banned with bots, either that or improve their filters, which as I said, costs, time, money and people.
  • jumpingmorksjumpingmorks Posts: 876Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User

    Hi everyone

    We understand players would like to discuss certain topics so we're letting this thread stand. Moderators have been informed to keep an eye on the conversation to ensure it remains constructive and civil and reserve the right to close or remove this thread if warranted.

    Personal CM Note: As a CM, conversations and feedback are incredibly valuable so I look forward to continue reading your comments (And yes, I have been lurking outside these forums as well to read up on what you guys have to say). Which means that, if frustration levels are high, you can message me privately but keep attacks or profanity off this thread so it can remain.

    Thankyou :)
  • ejziponkenejziponken Posts: 887Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User

    Hi everyone

    We understand players would like to discuss certain topics so we're letting this thread stand. Moderators have been informed to keep an eye on the conversation to ensure it remains constructive and civil and reserve the right to close or remove this thread if warranted.

    Personal CM Note: As a CM, conversations and feedback are incredibly valuable so I look forward to continue reading your comments (And yes, I have been lurking outside these forums as well to read up on what you guys have to say). Which means that, if frustration levels are high, you can message me privately but keep attacks or profanity off this thread so it can remain.

    Well... We want to discuss with YOU. Only you can answer the questions we are asking.

    ▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ Gankdalf The Icehole █ ▇ ▆ ▅ ▄ ▂ ▁

  • nitocris83nitocris83 Posts: 2,661Member, Administrator Community Manager

    Hi everyone

    We understand players would like to discuss certain topics so we're letting this thread stand. Moderators have been informed to keep an eye on the conversation to ensure it remains constructive and civil and reserve the right to close or remove this thread if warranted.

    Personal CM Note: As a CM, conversations and feedback are incredibly valuable so I look forward to continue reading your comments (And yes, I have been lurking outside these forums as well to read up on what you guys have to say). Which means that, if frustration levels are high, you can message me privately but keep attacks or profanity off this thread so it can remain.

    Well... We want to discuss with YOU. Only you can answer the questions we are asking.
    This is one of those times when I am purely the messenger so I can't really provide any answers. I can do advocacy which is why I think communication is important The past few days have been spent listening, reading, and gathering information from every angle.
  • loboguildloboguild Posts: 2,371Member Arc User
    vida44 wrote: »
    First what can be advocated is that, IF a ban wave is to happen, it NEVER again happens on a Friday.

    Pretty much this. Doesn't speak of much confidence if you need the weekend as barrier between you and your customers.​​
  • dupeksdupeks Posts: 1,789Member Arc User
    edited May 2017
    I really agree with this loboguild and vida44. It's frustrating and demonstrates poor customer priorities.

    It's also been mentioned elsewhere. But as soon as a mistake was discovered, they should have unbanned everyone and then gone through and re-banned after manual review on a one-by-one basis. They are going through almost all of the accounts anyway...

    Is it better to accidentally let a botter stay free for a weekend or to accidentally deprive an innocent player of a weekend of gaming?

    Outside of a major runaway exploit, a couple days of botting behavior probably won't ruin the economy or cause any real players significant harm. But taking away an excited fan's weekend gaming sessions? Having them feel cheated out of VIP keys? Having folks feel betrayed and lied to due to boilerplate CS responses?

    It's not only that it undermines trust and hurts the community relationship, but it also misses an opportunity to build on that trust with more honest communication and policies that aim to prevent accidentally punishing innocents.
  • jumpingmorksjumpingmorks Posts: 876Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    loboguild said:



    vida44 wrote: »

    First what can be advocated is that, IF a ban wave is to happen, it NEVER again happens on a Friday.


    Pretty much this. Doesn't speak of much confidence if you need the weekend as barrier between you and your customers.​​

    I've seen many folks mention this exact argument from friends to channels I frequent.
  • ejziponkenejziponken Posts: 887Member, NW M9 Playtest Arc User
    edited May 2017

    Hi everyone

    We understand players would like to discuss certain topics so we're letting this thread stand. Moderators have been informed to keep an eye on the conversation to ensure it remains constructive and civil and reserve the right to close or remove this thread if warranted.

    Personal CM Note: As a CM, conversations and feedback are incredibly valuable so I look forward to continue reading your comments (And yes, I have been lurking outside these forums as well to read up on what you guys have to say). Which means that, if frustration levels are high, you can message me privately but keep attacks or profanity off this thread so it can remain.

    Well... We want to discuss with YOU. Only you can answer the questions we are asking.
    This is one of those times when I am purely the messenger so I can't really provide any answers. I can do advocacy which is why I think communication is important The past few days have been spent listening, reading, and gathering information from every angle.
    @nitocris83

    Thats not good enough this time. If you cant answer our question then you need to get someone who can.

    You wrote:
    "Unfortunately this experience is sometimes impacted by individuals violating our Terms of Service in order to gain an unfair advantage, thereby severely impairing the overall experience for the majority of our player base."

    How does banning innocent guild mates and other friends protect our experience? Its not just a few players being affected, these actions starts a domino effect. A friend gets banned for no reason other than doing repeatable tasks everyday that makes anyone look like a bot if done enough times, then some of hes friends might quit because lets face it, the game is no fun without your friends. Leaders get banned, guilds are left leaderless and so on.

    --

    You wrote:
    "Late last year, we implemented additional data collection features within the game, that allowed us to better identify individuals who are clearly violating those Terms of Service"

    Clearly? How is any of this clear? Its quite the opposite of clear.

    --

    You wrote:
    "and after extensive accumulation and investigation, have recently taken steps to remove or restrict some of these accounts."

    Im sorry, but how extensive could it have been? And how will you proceed in the future? Clearly your investigations wasn't enough this time or the time before. Do I need to worry that next time it might be me? Do I need to start recording, logging and taking notes so that I, one day can defend myself? Because it seems that you might not get unbanned unless you can explain yourself and your actions. But again, there are no answers so we have no idea.

    --

    You wrote:
    "In the coming months, we’ll continue to monitor and review the incoming data and plan to actively increase our focus and commitment in maintaining a safe, secure and enjoyable environment for everyone."

    Safe? Secure? enjoyable environment? You actions has the exact opposite effect. Im not feeling safe nor secure and I certainty dont feel that this hostile environment is enjoyable. I feel like big brother is watching my every move. I feel that if I do something to many times or for to long I get flagged and I will get hunted down without certain proof and its gonna be my word against big brothers word and I dont even know what I did wrong because there are no answers.

    You wrote:
    While we stand behind our decision in this matter, we also want to be fair and keep up with the playstyle of our most dedicated players so some of those accounts affected by the recent bans will be released on a probationary status and monitored.

    First of all, this decision is one of the worst of the history of Neverwinter. Its extremely shady and unfair.

    How is any of this fair? You banned innocent players. You said that already since you unbanned some. I have friends who got unbanned and I have friends who are still banned and have to wait over a week. Lost playtime. Lost VIP keys. New mod and new opportunities are missed. Masterwork for example. You fall behind with dailies, gear etc. How is any of this fair in your eyes?

    And lets talk about how you call some of the players for cheaters. That has an impact. There is a legit community for example. You think the players who got banned feel like they can be trusted now? They will now be questioned. You might have turned a whole community against these innocent players. They might be kicked from guilds. They might lose friends. Do you still think you are being fair?

    Also I know your a messenger. But if you dont stand behind the message, you should not spread it. Youre the face of Cryptic. You are the messenger and if you deliver news worded like this, you deserve some of the heat.

    ▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ Gankdalf The Icehole █ ▇ ▆ ▅ ▄ ▂ ▁

  • sockmunkeysockmunkey Posts: 4,622Member Arc User
    > @dupeks said:
    > I really agree with this loboguild and vida44. It's frustrating and demonstrates poor customer priorities.
    >
    > It's also been mentioned elsewhere. But as soon as a mistake was discovered, they should have unbanned everyone and then gone through and re-banned after manual review on a one-by-one basis. They are going through almost all of the accounts anyway...
    >
    > Is it better to accidentally let a botter stay free for a weekend or to accidentally deprive an innocent player of a weekend of gaming?
    >
    > Outside of a major runaway exploit, a couple days of botting behavior probably won't ruin the economy or cause any real players significant harm. But taking away an excited fan's weekend gaming sessions? Having them feel cheated out of VIP keys? Having folks feel betrayed and lied to due to boilerplate CS responses?
    >
    > It's not only that it undermines trust and hurts the community relationship, but it also misses an opportunity to build on that trust with more honest communication and policies that aim to prevent accidentally punishing innocents.

    They cant do that. Part of the reason for a ban isnt just to lock out access to accounts. But to lock out access to money and loot on that account. That does more harm to the gold sellers then the loss of the accounts themselves. If you temporarily unbanned them to do further checks. You basically give them a free window to move all their cash, loot, or what have you. To another safe account.
  • silence1xsilence1x Posts: 1,503Member Arc User
    arabatur said:

    There needs to be some sort guide for players so that they do not fall foul of the data collection metric.

    If they give us this info then the bot creators can tailor/update their scripts to not get flagged (or at least not as often). It's a problem that needs solving for sure but any attempt at a solution will just expose more holes to the formula used. I don't envy the devs working on this task.
    I aim to misbehave
This discussion has been closed.