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ZeniMax Online Studios has begun to take disciplinary action against Elder Scrolls Online players who were duplicating items. They're currently handing out permanent bans to the offenders.
"Yesterday, we identified an item duping bug in ESO that some players chose to exploit," ZeniMax said on the ESO forums. "We acted quickly, and have since fixed the issue. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abusing exploitable bugs, and those who were found doing so have has their game account permanently banned."
The item dupe bug was rooted in the game's guild banks. Players found that they could deposit items and then withdraw them over and over. This allowed players to amass huge amounts of wealth in a short period of time.
ZeniMax removed the dupe bug yesterday by releasing Patch 1.0.4. They temporarily disabled guild banks as well.
Dropping the banhammer on exploiters is sadly an inexact science. ZeniMax admitted that they accidentally banned a few innocent players as well.
"After several players appealed, we were able to investigate the matter further and discovered some legitimate accounts got caught up in the sweep," the studio said in another forum announcement. "We unbanned accounts last night, and have email responses going out for those affected from our support group. It is never our intention for legitimate players to be harmed as we work to keep your game free of cheaters, and we sincerely apologize for the mistake."
If you feel you've been unfairly banned, there's a way to appeal it. Go to the Elder Scrolls Online support site and click "Email." When you're asked to specify the type of problem you're experiencing, choose "Account/Billing." In the next dropdown menu, select "I would like to appeal a suspension/ban." Then detail your problem in the text field below and submit the report.
After the exploit was publicized yesterday, some players called on ZeniMax to roll back the game to remove the duplicated items and gold from the game. The studio hasn't indicated that they're even considering such a move, though. As I said yesterday, a rollback would be too drastic a fix. It would wipe out the progress made by thousands upon thousands of innocent players. I'm not sure they'd forgive ZeniMax if they lost hours of work due to some heavy-handed effort to clean up the game.
It's more likely that ZeniMax will continue on their present course: patching out exploits and handing out bans to anyone they can connect to it. ZeniMax asked for players to help in reporting future exploits. If you encounter a bug you think could compromise the game, you can report it here.
The negative effects of this game could be felt for some time. The duplicated items and resulting gold present serious problems for the PvP balance and in-game economy. I'm hopeful that ZeniMax can minimize the damage, though. While I have some issues with the game, I've found plenty of reasons to enjoy it, too.