Banned Diablo 3 Linux Users Speak Out: We Are Not Cheaters

By William Usher 2012-07-03 14:04:39 discussion comments
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There's a lot of drama right now over the Linux users being banned in Diablo III. A small portion of the Linux Wine community have come forward to say that they have been banned. This happened across a few Linux sites as well as the Diablo III forums. Blizzard's lead community manager, Bashiok, came forward saying that all the bans were legit and the only people being banned were cheaters.

After Bashiok's comments went live the pitchforks went away and the torches were put out. Obviously, the banned victims were liars and cheaters because Bashiok said so. Well, a few of the banned Linux members have come forward to dispute the claims and they say that they are not cheaters.

William Taylor and Marcus Meng have stepped up to the plate to clear their names. They were originally banned back in late June and proceeded to inquire of their bans even up to this very date. That's right, these two are brave enough to step out into the open, waving account tickets #28218201 and #28173682 respectively for everyone to see, hoping that there is some kind of resolution to the matter.

To recount the situation quickly, our original report pointed to the possibility of Linux's Wine as being a culprit for the bans. This apparently is not entirely the case as it seems to be isolated to various individual accounts, with additional Wine users stepping up and announcing that their accounts are fine.

As stated in our report, the above users, Taylor and Meng, were part of the group of Linux users banned from Diablo III and denied refunds. Blizzard's community manager, Bashiok, explicitly stated (on the Diablo III forums) that...
We’ve extensively tested for false positive situations, including replicating system setups for those who have posted claiming they were banned unfairly. We’ve not found any situations that could produce a false positive, have found that the circumstances for which they were banned were clear and accurate, and we are extremely confident in our findings.

Playing the game on Linux, although not officially supported, will not get you banned – cheating will.

All right, so Bashiok confirms that the only way someone can get legitimately banned while playing on Linux is via cheating. He also insinuates from this comment that the alleged users who were banned had to be cheating in order to be labeled as such. Erik Kain from Forbes also reached out to Blizzard for a response and he was given the exact same copy and pasted response that Bashiok posted to the forums.

However, there is a problem with the logic, and it's that both Taylor and Meng have come forward to publicly defend themselves, Taylor stated that...
Yeah, I'm truly done with Blizzard, and I wasn't cheating or trying to cheat. (Sure, isn't that what all 'cheaters' say though).

Blizzard's apathy is only surpassed by their inability to communicate.

As usual, most people probably would say "Isn't that what a cheater would say?" but then would a cheater step forward to be investigated?

Meng also had comments to share in regards to the situation involving the bans, speaking on his own behalf, saying...
I'm not using any bots/cheats/hacks. At this point, I have no way to prove it --- Blizzard has declined to discuss anything with me after that second ticket I put in. Sadly, this is the best I can do.

The ticket he refers to is the one we ran in the original article, where the customer support at Blizzard stated that they were not reviewing the case further because it was reviewed by multiple personnel and that third party software was detected on Meng's system, saying...
Unauthorized third party software was found to be being used on your account. Because this is a breach of the terms of service, we will not be providing a refund to you, and the license is permenantly banned. As this issue has been reviewed by multiple representatives, it is now considered closed. Should you have any questions regarding a different account or issue, please feel free to contact us again. However, further inquiries regarding this issue will no longer receive a reply.

Regards,

Ben B.
Customer Services
Blizzard Entertainment

Is it possible that perhaps they're looking at data associated with another form of software on his PC? Blizzard does collect certain forms of information from crash reports and presumably logging in and out of Diablo III, as mentioned in section 12, sub-section 'E' of their Terms of Use, which states...
Blizzard shall have the right to obtain data that cannot be used to identify you from your connection to the Service without any further notice to you. Certain Games playable on the Service include a tool that will allow your computer system to forward information to Blizzard in the event that the Game crashes. This tool will collect system and driver data from your computer system during the crash and forward a report containing that data to Blizzard.

This still doesn't justify the banning of the individuals involved. Many level-headed users have been asking Blizzard for full disclosure regarding the bans and what "cheats" these individuals actually used to game the system, assuming they were even cheating in the first place.

Keep in mind that while Bashiok publicly stated that personal account information or cases involving a player's account are never disclosed publicly, Blizzard has never shied away from making examples of hackers or liars on the forums. Bashiok's recent comments about account disclosure is completely contradictory to past practices. For example, on the Diablo III forums Bashiok states...
It's company policy not to discuss account actions with anyone but the account holder, or their legal guardian if applicable. It's an issue between us and them. Trust me, it'd be much easier on me to just post exactly what they did, but we feel it's important to honor the privacy of our customers, and that's a policy I personally agree with.

That's the complete opposite of what happened when someone claimed that they had an authenticator attached to their account before they were hacked, in which Bashiok readily stumbles into the Diablo III forum and lets loose this little tidbit before closing the thread...
Hi Turtle. According to your account records an authenticator was not attached to the account until after the compromise. If you'd like to discuss further, or have any questions, please contact our customer service department: https://us.battle.net/support/en/ticket/submit

So why the policy change? And which is it, Blizzard? I thought account actions weren't to be discussed publicly with anyone else but the account holder? Why is it okay to disclose that someone's account has an authenticator or not but it's not okay to say how they were cheating? I'd like to imagine that the former is a bit more of a mockery of the account privacy policy than the latter.

What's more is that Bashiok has lied once again, even regarding customer support divulging details in private account matters. Back on June 23rd William Taylor pleaded with Customer Support to reveal to him why he was banned, after multiple inquiries, finally asking...
My question is SIMPLE.

What DID I DO WRONG.

This may seem harsh, but frankly I feel i'm entitled to know WHAT I DID WRONG.

Previous violations? When? What are your 'initial findings' ?

On the very same day, customer support responded with yet another vague response simply pointing out a number of possible cheats Taylor could have used to game the system. However, as you'll read in the response below, there are no specifics even though Taylor is asking customer support directly about why his account was banned.
Endrivenna
Customer Service Representative
Below is part of the email that was sent to your registered email address.

Account Action: Account Closure
Offense: Unapproved Third Party Software
A third party program is any file or program that is used in addition to the game to gain an unfair advantage. These programs may increase movement speed or teleport heroes from one place to another beyond what is allowed by game design. It also includes any programs that obtain information from the game that is not normally available to the regular player or that transmit or modify any of the game files.

[Cheating methods are listed]

Thank you for your continued correspondence. After a thorough final review of the action taken against this account, we have arrived at the same conclusion. The action will not be reversed or changed under any circumstances.

We understand that you may still have concerns regarding the action, but we must reiterate that it was taken to address a violation of the Terms of Use (http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/legal/), which all players accept before logging into the game.

As this issue has been reviewed by multiple representatives, it is now considered closed. If you have questions regarding a different account or issue, please feel free to contact us again. However, further inquiries regarding this issue will no longer receive a reply.

Now the burden of proof is on Blizzard to acknowledge how these two were cheating.

They have been denied their refunds and Blizzard refuses to investigate further. Blizzard has also provided no evidence to support the claims that these two are cheating. Their account information and names are out there for the public because they say they have nothing to hide. Could these guys still be cheaters? Well, it's possible but as I mentioned, the burden of proof is on Blizzard.

If you take someone's $60 and then deny them access to a service you just extorted them, especially without proper means of explanation as to why they cannot be refunded.

Both Taylor and Meng have said that they've grown tired of fighting this case and they agreed to go public because they don't know what else to do. They both know that in the case of a full investigation if they're caught lying there will be a steep penalty for that. However, since they claim they have nothing to hide and are innocent, then if it turns out that Blizzard was in the wrong this could end up looking very bad for Blizzard.
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