Monday, December 05, 2011

Unbelievable, Or All Too Believable

I think this is a reasonable way to establish when a policy is utterly idiotic: when the worst person you can think of shouldn't be treated that way.

From Rock, Paper, Shotgun (in this case, John Walker):
For the last week I’ve been sending quite a few emails to various people within EA, trying to get to the bottom of why gamers receiving forum bans are finding they do not have access to their Origin online gaming. My goal has been to get a clear understanding of their current policy on the matter, since the company’s actions don’t appear to match the statements made in 2008, and March this year. On both occasions they have made it clear that forum bans should not affect access to games, and yet it’s quite obvious that’s not the case. So what is going on?

...I’m building up quite the portfolio of affected gamers, who find after a forum violation they’re unable to access their Origin games. And within this is a more disturbing trend – those who are finding that their forum bans are, without explanation, becoming permanent bans. Permanent bans from accessing their Origin accounts, their Battlelog accounts, and therefore downloading purchased games, and playing online.

Wait, here's the kicker:
Most exceptional perhaps is Aaron, who after receiving a 72 hour ban was told by EA support they couldn’t help because “the game developers control this”. Pardon? His crime? Someone else swearing on the forum, with his username in their post. Trying the live chat support instead, he was then informed that his account was permanently banned, and that “all property, items, and characters associated currently are or will soon be deleted.” Followed by, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Aaron tried again, pointing out that forum bans shouldn’t affect games. And then came this incredible reply:
“Please be informed that your account not only suspended, But it is also Banned, So you will no longer to play the game in single player.”

In an era where gaming consumers are getting less and less from big companies, this may set the new standard of shitty.

Look, here's the first reason that this policy should never exist on a practical level: you're giving forum mods of uncertain qualifications 300 tons of power. It's like letting a 5-year old drive an 18 wheeler: disaster is guaranteed.

Secondly, though, on a philosophical level, should the absolutely WORST person on Earth be banned from playing a multiplayer game because they're a forum dick? Of course not, because they are entirely separate activities. Banned from the forums? No problem. Banned from anything else because they're banned from the forums? Seriously?

It's even more incredible that, in some cases, people can't even play OFFLINE. I don't know about you, but I'm not paying $60 for a *$#damn game when it's apparently nothing more than a product rental based on what EA arbitrarily decides is "acceptable" forum conduct. My ability to play offline could be REVOKED based on my conduct in a forum?

This is what's killing me when I think about how we got to this point: the policy had to be approved by a chain of command at EA. WTF is in that chain? How could you find three or four consecutive people who thought this was a good idea? Do these people live at the bottom of wells or something?


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