PWE has handed out a sizeable amount of bans and suspensions on 22nd in a second publicly announced wave. The first happened on October, 30th. Only days after we wicked up a Reddit post in our Community Watch about a user claiming he got innocently hit by a 3-day ban, this seems to be another prime example of faulty heuristics. Reports from players that claim to have done nothing wrong rapidly spread all over the message boards. The reason seems to be an exploit that forced PWE to bring down the Parcels at the first day of the Winter Festival, but as always leaves players guessing what specifically they’ve done wrong.
This is especially unfortunate as the ban wave hits hours before the holidays, in which response times from support could be higher than usual. This approach is unacceptable and we contacted members of the community team and support to urge PWE to use manual account investigation before handing out bans! You rather let 100 exploiters get away than ban one innocent, but PWE continues to hand out bans first and let the support sort out the mess later.
If you got hit, there is a decent chance a suspension won’t be lifted although it might be unwarranted. You could be forced to sit out a temporary ban anyway. A good hint is to contact support with the clear message that you don’t want to know the reason of the ban, but a manual account investigation and that they should forward your request instantly. This might avoid the first standard response that will only state ban reason and duration and won’t help you. You also need to attach a few account details so that support can verify your the legitimate account holder. That’s standard procedure and not sending this information will just lead to requesting it. Here’s how an email could look like:
We’re feeling for everyone that got hit yesterday and did nothing wrong.
*** UPDATE (12/23) *** Asterdahl and yetweallfalldown commented on the issue and admitted the bans indeed were based on faulty data. The devs were tackling a gameplay exploit that occurred on the first day of the Winter Festival and allowed some players to claim way more Parcels than intended, enabling them to flood the market with the companions that drop from them. So they searched for players that had opened a large quantity of Parcels assuming that those have to be exploiters, but didn’t anticipate that players with a large quantity of ALTs could easily reach 100s of Parcels legitimately by now.
This seems a comical error, but it fits shaky data-based approaches used in earlier ban waves that also saw innocent being hit, albeit not in the quantity of yesterday. Asterdahl stated the bans were not automatic and just had ‘false positives’, so either the team processing the ban wave had no clue about how much Parcels can be generated on accounts or didn’t look up on which day the Parcels were opened. Anyway, we are glad the situation was resolved for most, accounts should be released now.