Lessons From 2013 #1: Not Mass Bans


There is an old phrase that says “I can’t define obscenity, but I know it when I see it,” a paraphrase of a quote originally stated by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. The gaming media, as with any other media, loves to use sensationalist headlines, and nothing makes bank in this industry quite like a rolling ban for some exploit. The question is how do you define a “mass ban?” Hundreds? Thousands? I can’t define a mass ban, but I know one when I see it.

Some of you may remember an exploit that popped up in last year’s winter event for Guild Wars 2 resulting in what some referred to as a mass ban. The announcement drew a lot of flak, partially from people not fully understanding just how many were banned at the end of the day. Turns out, according to Arenanet, that the total ban figure came out to less than two hundred. Bans were reserved only for the worst offenders who used the exploit hundreds if not thousands of times and knew exactly what they were doing. I still believe that calling it a mass ban was a poor choice of words, misleading, and probably paints ArenaNet in a poor light.

If you want to see a real mass ban, watch Jagex run a sweep of bots.

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