Don’t Be That Guy: This Banning Season

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acbeggars2Sitting down for a few online matches can be a fun way for us to relax after a hard day at work or school. But it’s hard to avoid getting even more frustrated when we have to share our games with idiotic players.

In this column, we’ll talk about some of the worst offenders and how they end up corrupting the hell out of our gaming experience, and we kindly invite you to…well, don’t be that guy.

That time of the year has finally come. Microsoft is once again fed up, and now they’re madly swinging the banhammer and knocking cheaters, pirates, and just common trolls alike out of the service.

XboxLive_Banhammer

We can concede that Microsoft has taken some serious measures against a lot of the offensive and cheating pricks these last weeks. Right now, the Xbox forums are being flooded with people wondering why their accounts have been suspended, or permanently banned…

Well…not really permanently—just until the year “9999”—but I suppose that’s a lot of waiting.

banned_until_9999What will you do now, Microsoft? Ban me until the year 0000?

I’m actually having a blast reading the responses of the Enforcement agents to each of these complaints, and that’s what this month’s “Don’t Be That Guy” is going to be about. We’ll be conducting a sort of social service for you—our dearest readers. We’ll teach you how to evade the might of the banhammer by mocking other people’s misfortunes.

First off, we’ll deal with people being banned/suspended for…just being creepy:

DrNutterButterz: “My account has suspended until October 22, 2011 and i have no idea why or what i did. my account is DrNutterButterz.”

XBLPET Golf: “In the future, please refrain from placing content in your profile regarding sexually transmitted diseases that you may or may not have contracted. In addition to violating the Code of Conduct (section following), it may cause issues in future interpersonal relationships to have that information public.”

Next up, how about being suspended for being “too good” on multiplayer games?

jadjikillyouall: “I got suspened off from xbox live 9/23/11 or it was 9/24/11 at 7:18 am in the morning gamertag is jadjikillyouall. I was playing gears of war 3 for the past few days it came out. To get my guy up there in the ranks. Iam a lvl 62 already in gears 3. i was ranked 15 in the world in king of the hill. I was playing the game every day and got alot of people talking crap at me bc i was a high lvl and they were getting mad bc i was useing only the sawed off shotgun. And they told me that they were going to complain about my account and file complaints on it. I would like to know why i was suspended tag is jadjikillyouall.”

XBLPET Quebec: “So…  just to repeat myself for bajillionth time(that’s a real number)…   it doesn’t matter how many people complain about you it all turns into one complaint that we review.  What matters is that your profile was just slightly less offensive than the inside of a toilet stall in a gas station on the 5.  Suspension stands.”

People like this next one are totally asking to be banhammer’d by Microsoft:

Mr M0DDER: “My account was banned for my gamertag being Mr M0DDER. This is an outrage! You were suppost to give me a chance to change my gamertag.”

XBLPET Golf: “Actually, the account was permanently suspended for, unsurprisingly, the proliferation of modifications on the service.”

This one’s a popular complaint—people being banned for tampering with the available options for their Avatars:

Johny Knoxvile: “my account Johny Knoxvile was permanently suspended and when i went to check what the email said, it just told me the same thing that my xbox said to do. Xbox never sent me a verified reason why, and id like to know what it was suspended for.”

XBLPET Golf: “Lavender, while a perfect colour on the flowers the hue is named for, is not an acceptable tone to have on one’s Xbox LIVE Avatar.”

avatars_tamperedDon’t.

Getting permabanned for solicitation is also an ugly business:

N3G4T1VE R3S1ST: “Hello I’m only 12 and my account was somehow banned when our Internet was down. But today i found out it really isnt banned because some1 was playing on it Saturday. So why am I banned and if im unbanned like it looks like then how do i get my account back? But really what did i do to get banned can some1 get my account back or unaban me please? the gt is N3G4T1VE R3S1ST.”

XBLPET Quebec: “N3G4T1VE R3S1ST was hit for solicitation.  I was just going to give you the info on your ban but since your profile critique of MS was so scathing we looked a little further, hit the rest of your bad accounts and your console.”

ac beggarsDon’t ask me for my login or password and I won’t kick you out of Live.

And now, we’ll cover the main reason consoles are being banned: Marketplace theft, wherein a user illegitimately and intentionally accesses Xbox Live downloadable content.

Microsoft utilizes automated software that’s supposed to automatically ban only modified or tampered consoles, but recently it also banned a handful of consoles that were flagged mistakenly. The mistake has been clarified, the consoles have been un-banned, and their users are up to receive credit for three months of Xbox Live and 1600 Microsoft Points. At least, that’s the case for most of them.

As for those that are still banned, it looks like they’re going to remain that way, since there’s no evidence that these consoles have been mistakenly suspended from service and can expect any forgiveness from Microsoft.

Like this poor little fella from Sweden who made this very long, thoughtful and polite complaint.

Vibrahto: “[…] I signed in and discovered that apparently I was banned until the year 9999. And I dont plan on living that long! The gamertag that was banned is Vibrahto.

I am a loyal Xbox customer and I have two xboxes. About 2 months ago I started playing again, when I got the slim xbox as a present, because my parents are getting a divorce and they wanted so that I could play when I was at my mom and my dad. They probably bought it for me so that I would get my mind over the divorce or something. (If you are wondering why on earth I would have 2 xboxes)”

XBLPET Victor: “This account was permanently suspended for accessing Xbox LIVE marketplace download content through illegitimate means. The suspension will stand as issued.  Please refer to the link for more information: http://forums.xbox.com/xbox_forums/xbox_support/f/41/t/81653.aspx

Finally—these ones are God given—mothers forced to “politely ask” Xbox Live to un-ban their sons’ accounts while not being aware of what their little angels were up to while playing online.

 

Like writing profanities in their bios and/or mottoes:

 

MuLTii RoBboZz’s mom: “My sons account  MuLTii RoBboZz   was suspended for a week last monday and we couldnt open our email to find out why.  A week later it is still not up and running.  I closely monitor my childrens online gameplay as they are only 10 and 13.  I would like to know why this has happened as they have paid their subscription and have now lost out on a whole week of play, despite it being paid for.”

 

XBLPET Victor: “This account was suspended due to content in the Motto, Bio, Name and or location fields which violated the following section of the Code of Conduct:

 

Don’t create a Gamertag, profile content, or in-game content that other users may be offended by, this includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate any of the following: profane words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature, hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities.”

 

Or, happily cheating right in front of a cop!

 

VikingsSB2’s mom: My son’s x-box account vikingsSB28 was banned until the year 9999.  The reason I believe it was banned is because several of his peers filed complaints.  This peer group was told to do this by one peer who bullies my son and has caused him distress at school and also at home while playing x-box.  The school is aware and I am now making you aware.  Communications were blocked to this bully by my son which angered him and lead to this retaliation.  Please re-activate my son’s account.

 

Thanks for your time. “

 

XBLPET Golf: “You may be relieved to know that it was not peer-related complaint abuse for which the account vikingsSB28 was issued a permanent suspension.  What may not come as a relief is that the account was found to be exploiting infection-style modifications in public matchmaking in Call of Duty: World at War by a member of the Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement Team.  When they discovered the account with invulnerability enabled and flying amongst the birds, the XBLPET clipped their wings and removed the account’s access to the service.  As the illegitimate behaviour was witnessed firsthand by our team, the validity of suspension is sound and thus it shall stand as is.”

So, yeah…we have to admit that this system is working, and that some trolls are being cast away by the banhammer for a while. But now I wonder what these are people doing with their newfound free time.

Fortunately, trolls are known for having weak existences in real life, compared to their online counterparts. That’s why there’s no reason to fear a massive horde of Xbox Live trolls coming out of their dark environments and creeping the hell out of strangers in the outside world.

In any case, I recommend you having one of these around the house.

in_case_of_aliens_or_trollsJust to be sure.

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Daniel Castro is an engineer during the day and a freelance writer during the night. He loves to write about videogames and draws a webcomic about his pixelated life at rivercitypixels.blogspot.com.

4 Comments

  1. There was a lot of condescension in the responses from Microsoft, but I can’t really blame them: the vast majority of responses from big companies on anything come across as cold and carelessly arrogant.

    I agree that it’s good to rid these games of griefers, et cetera, but it’s unfortunate that Microsoft seems to be caving to political correctness in some of these bans.

    I’m enjoying your “Don’t Be That Guy” posts; please keep ’em coming.

  2. Great article! I’m glad Microsoft finally got around to spring cleaning and hopefully by next spring XBOX Live will be a troll-free environment fun for all. I love the parents who feel their child can do no wrong.

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