Funcom apparently doesn’t understand that the players have at least been its customers

The city where I live has clear rules of procedure that forbid even dogs from pooping in the park, but there is no permanent ban on finishing in the park but fines for pooping in a public place.
And not even a dog is killed, even if it kicks in the park.

You can only stretch an analogy so far before it breaks. In your case, it broke before you even posted it, because you turned up the hyperbole to 11, as usual.

Nobody is “killed”, not even metaphorically. This is the equivalent of being forbidden to come back to any Disneyland in the whole world because you pooped in Disneyland. You can still go to your friend’s house and poop on his carpet if he’s okay with that.

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I won’t join anymore, but I’ll follow the hustle and bustle of these.
On another server, in my stupidity, I went to donate £ 100 to supposedly maintain the server to get a pretty generous advantage, after various steps I was then kicked off the server for claiming the promised benefit, i.e. I was an awkward customer and therefore got robbed.

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Once my late memory-sick mother got a year-old gate ban on her stock in the store after she had put bananas in her bag and walked past the box without paying. He then got to the police station, from which I was then called and asked to come to crack him for safety. There were no fines and when we went to the store I gave that staff proper proper feedback on how to handle the matter, apologized and lifted their gate ban without me having to take the matter to court.

If that deal had been a funcom, then my memory-sick mother would surely have had her hand cut off and there would have been no right of appeal.

This game is unfortunately an important lifeline for many sick people. My friend who plays this game, too, has a limb fracture from which a leg is possibly amputated. He’s been playing the game for something like 12,000 hours which is just an incredible amount. That is, his wake-up time is probably half the time spent on the game, now that he has had a bad time twice watching his online friends ’games on official gamers, Funcom has given him a permanent ban, even though he hasn’t built anything for official gamers.

So are you saying that you don’t remember if you left claim-spam all over the map? Or that you don’t remember if you used exploits? Because there aren’t many people suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s that usually play computer games - especially not games as complex as CE - both my aunts died with it in recent years, and they would not have been capable of playing computer games, long before they were no longer safe to go to a store. So your rather specific and extremely hyperbolic example really doesn’t seem to apply.

But more than that - except in outright cases of extreme rule-breaking, Funcom issues a 14 day temporary ban for first offenses

So there clearly is a ‘warning’ - and no one’s ‘hand is cut off’ for a first offense. To use your analogy, accidentally walking out of the store with goods while suffering from Alzheimer’s would be a ‘first offense’ by someone with a reasonable excuse - the 14 day ban becomes your warning much like having to go to the police station was your warning in your story - I guess you probably made sure your mother had help with her shopping after that (and, hopefully, the store was good enough to help as well) - that is you changing actions to help ensure that another rule-violation doesn’t occur (since your mother could not do so for herself - which is part of what makes this analogy quite different from the actual situation we are discussing).

There are many many private servers that don’t ask for anything from the players except to follow the server rules, which costs you nothing

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Luckily, I don’t have a shortage of money when I’ve had time to work full-time for more than 30 years as an engineer with an annual income of about $ 60,000, but these playmates that Funcom unduly prevents forever from coming to play with me on the official gamer aren’t too much.
So can I buy the official PVP server that I basically still manage, even though ■■■■■■ has made it really challenging?
We’ve had all the troll troops destroyed from there for three years, but Funcom is a pretty bad opponent worse than anything else.

I’m not making light of this at all, please seek help from medical professionals if you haven’t, and if you have make sure to talk about your thoughts in detail with your doctor.

I suffer from depression, panic disorder and anxiety, I understand these types of things can be incredibly hard things to deal with.

If a game (or any entertainment) is triggering suicidal thoughts it might be best to step back a bit.

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I have been attending an occupational health doctor regularly for about three years and have had 1.5 years of partial incapacity for retirement. My medication is okay and I see an occupational health psychologist when I greet.

The game is a game it doesn’t haunt, but funcom’s ban policy haunts it when it takes away my teammates.

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This was my feedback, which I posted in a seperate thread but apparently belongs here.

There are 2 major problems with the current moderation of official servers.

1. Tickets take way too long to get resolved or even get a reply on.
I will give my own experience as an example, but I have heard this same complaint from other players, so know that I am not alone in this.
Once upon a time me and my clan played on an official PvP server. We found out that a player there had made an illegal flybase. While raiding everyone who wasn’t online, he happily transported all his loot into a flybase where no one would be able to reach him and get revenge. When I found this flybase, I reported it to funcom, via Zendesk, on the 20th of June 2021. I provided as much information as possible, even including the exact coordinates. Locations, screenshots, names, were all provided. The next day I received an autoreply thanking me for my report.

The player, however, continued to live on in his flybase and rummage through the server. On July 1st I decided to update my ticket and ask if Funcom needed even more information from me, because no action had been taken. I got no reply for the entire month.
On august 3rd I got an auto-reply telling me that they experienced a high number of tickets, and that they hope ‘‘the issue resolved itself’’. I replied in a friendly manner that it had not. They replied to that, 2 months later, by re-sending the same auto-reply.

It is now 4,5 months later. To this day, the illegal flybase is still there. The exploiting player in question had built even more of these bases. The server’s population died a long time ago. A lot of people that were playing on this server, stopped playing the game entirely because they were being tormented by a player that was gaining an unfair advantage and funcom has done nothing but plainly ignore all requests to do something about it.

The second problem is the bans that Funcom is giving out for landclaim.
2. Banned for landclaiming.
Many PvP players on official servers have recently (in the past few months) been banned for ‘‘abuse of the claim system’’. Technically, this rule is written on the forums and you are greeted by a message containing a link to the rules when you join an official server. So funcom does inform people that ‘‘Abuse of the claim system where blocks are placed for no other purpose than to prevent other players’ access to resources and building spots.’’ is not allowed, and will be met with a ban.
There are several problems with this rule in my opinion.

  • For a very very long time in this game it has been integral part of base defense to claim around your base to prevent people from building raid FOBs and trebuchets next to you. It wasn’t until 2020 that funcom made this a rule, and 2021 since they started enforcing it. Players that have built bases before this are, to be honest, screwed. They either take the risk at a ban or spend countless hours destroying landclaim because this game has no way to quickly delete or remove your own buildings.
  • It forces players to make decision they should not really have to make. If you do not claim your base at least a decent amount, you run the risk of other players griefing you, building raidbases next to you, or god forbid, wall you in. Combine this with issue nr 1, reports taking too long, and players may just choose the risk of a ban.
  • There is no clarity in this rule. ‘‘blocks that are placed for no other purpose than to prevent other players’ access are not allowed’’ sounds like a good rule to have, but in reality this is a very silly and vague. I don’t want people to have access to my base, so I built a modest wall around it. This is allowed. But if I don’t want people to build their trebuchet base next to my wall, I have to claim around it. That’s not allowed. Should I arbitrarily make my landclaim into little pretty houses to give them ‘‘purpose’’? Then it would suddenly be allowed.

3. Entire clans get banned.
This is kind of ridiculous. Why does my entire clan, including the level 15 newbie that just bought the game yesterday, get banned for a landclaim that I made 1 year ago? Was that level 15 newbie really supposed to read every rule and then scour every building we owned to make sure that our clan abided by the rules? And nevermind the new guy messaging funcom to plea for an unban, because they will not reply to his ticket before the ban has ended.

4. If you do get banned, there is no information given. No duration, no reason, nothing.
Anyone could’ve done something wrong in any of your clans on any given official server. You will not know the reason or duration unless you find your way to the forums, and end up finding the zendesk ticket system where you can ask and then wait for weeks, maybe even months on a reply.

All these reasons combined have made me come to the opinion that funcom’s server moderation is very poor. A cheater report with clear proof will go unanswered for months, but if you build foundations around your base without giving them purpose, you will get banned when another player feels like reporting you. Ofcourse, for some reason, their report will not take months to take effect…

How to solve this?
I don’t know how Funcom’s team is structured so I can’t really say much on the first issue except that there should be more time or people spent on tickets.
Landclaim bans should first of all never include an entire clan. A player cannot be expected to keep up-to-date on what their entire clan is doing at all times to prevent 1 player from breaking this particular rule. Since funcom ofcourse cannot find out which player builds what, I think that removing the offending structure + a warning to the entire clan suffices in such situations. If funcom still wants to be even more strict, they could remove all clan structures, though I personally find that too much.
And ofcourse, when a player is banned, it should give a message with duration and reason. Not having this and forcing players to send tickets to ask for this information, contributing to problem number 1.

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I was still in the middle of writing a response when the thread was closed - please see below (and thank you for at least re-posting your excellent feedback here - even if I think it deserved to stand on its own).

Well written - this is exactly the kind of feedback that Funcom needs most - a player explaining in clear detail what they view the problem to be, and offering some attempts at constructive solutions, without unnecessary recriminations or insults. I know you don’t need my approval, but you most certainly have it.

This seems the logical path - though I suspect some of the issue may be a financial one (though I would hope they can afford enough staff to do better than months to manage a proper response - but I suppose it depends just what a ‘high volume’ of tickets actually is). To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what ‘zendesk’ is - it seems like maybe an external service that Funcom perhaps ‘rents’ from, rather than something directly monitored by Funcom themselves (though I could certainly be wrong about that), which might add to the complication of the situation. Though, again, if it’s taking months (and still not being resolved), that would suggest that Funcom also should be unhappy with the service being provided.

Landclaim bans - I’m not sure on this one - as you acknowledge, Funcom can’t identify one within a clan, so that does make the situation more difficult. I’m with you on the idea of remove the landclaim (especially if it’s not something obviously massive and unnecessary - you know the kind of stuff I mean) and give the clan a warning - that doesn’t sound unreasonable for a first offense (with then bans coming if the same clan does it again - there has to be a line somewhere). It might have to be the entire structure that goes, not just the land-claim - it all depends how the admin tools are set up, because it couldn’t be expected for admins to delete 1 block at a time, and the only other tool I know of would take out the whole building.

Obviously, warning for landclaim once, then bans for repeat offenses, still doesn’t really protect that level 15 newbie. So then there needs to be something that makes public information about what level of ‘offenses’ each clan on a server has committed. And I’m really not sure of good ways to do that without probably needing changes to terms of service, and maybe some privacy issues. So I can see it getting complicated.

The other problem, of course, is that it would require the rules to be re-written (again), it would need some sort of appeals process added to deal with the backlog of those already banned for land-claim. Plus it would inevitably spark a whole new outcry about the rules changing…

Just yes. That is absolutely something that should be done.

This last section was written before the original thread was closed - I still stand by it, even if I couldn’t post it where I felt it belonged. I suspect it’s now too late - I doubt they’re going to re-open another post today after closing it. But I wish they had.
@Melcom I’ve just seen your response while finishing this response, so I’m going to post it anyway, I hope you don’t mind.
With the greatest of respect, I disagree with your conclusion regarding this particular thread - I know you guys have had to be putting out fires on this one all day, and I’m sure you’ve had enough of it, but @Amerixe’s post is a thorough and well-reasoned analysis and I truly believe it is deserving of being allowed to stand in it’s own right, rather than disappearing into that main thread (which I think we all know is in danger of catching fire at any moment…). Is there any way you could leave this one open, perhaps linked back to that main thread, perhaps with direction for main commentary on the subject to go there, and allowing this thread to exist for reasoned debate on the specific aspects raised here (at least until that fails…)? I for one think that feedback of this quality deserves to be respected, whether or not I agree with every element.

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Yeah, this has been a frequent complaint on these forums since they introduced the first version of official rules. It’s something that they really need to keep improving. Switching to Zendesk was a step in the right direction – it used to be people had to send a direct message to @Community on the forums – but it wasn’t enough.

One way I could suggest they improve is if they made Zendesk report types more granular. For example, they could add a form field that allows them to differentiate between reports of building exploits (e.g. undermeshed or flying bases), non-building exploits (e.g reports of DDoS and speedhacking), and non-exploit building abuses (e.g. claim spam). That way they could prioritize better.

I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons why they announced the changes two weeks before they even started enforcing them. Yeah, it sucks to have to delete so much stuff by hand, slowly, but two weeks should have been enough time to do it without suffering RSI.

I’m not gonna pretend I speak for Funcom, but that’s the way I’ve been reading the rules. If you lay down a bunch of random foundations or scatter some random shrines, that’s claim spam. If you build a curtain wall or a bunch of sentry towers with archers on top or build some actual temples with shrines in them, then it’s not just claim spam.

It’s not without its merit, either. Building something functional requires more thought, time, and materials than just plopping down arbitrary spam.

Because the game database does not store which player placed which building piece, except for clanless players.

Yes. At the very minimum, that level 15 was supposed to read the rules and think twice before joining a clan.

Which is why you should read the rules in the first place, because the rules talk about the Zendesk system.

That’s true. It’s still quite poor, despite having improved a lot over the last 3 years.

In the beginning, server moderation used to be virtually non-existent. Funcom offered the official servers as a free service without any expectation of moderation, and they only interfered if someone did something really extreme, such as completely wall off the newbie spawns with a no-climb wall.

Back then, if you pissed off someone on a PVE(-C) server or someone decided to grief you for no reason, you could find your whole base surrounded by a no-climb wall a griefer built overnight and no one from Funcom would lift a finger to help you. Your options were pretty much down to the following:

  • Become a serial refresher and hope you outlast the griefer.
  • Start from scratch on another server and hope the griefer wouldn’t follow you via BattleMetrics.
  • Hope that someone else on the server might “help” you by doing the same to the griefer, which would most likely erupt into an all out griefing war and completely kill the server for a while.

The best servers back then were those that had a strong player community that would “police” the server and drive out trolls and griefers before those could cause trouble for anyone else.

In short, it was the Wild West and people complained about it on the forums incessantly, asking for Funcom to moderate the servers.

And then Funcom decided to listen to them and published the first version of the rules. It sounded like a great thing back then, but I can’t help look back and wonder if it would’ve been better to just let the sleeping dragons lie. Before the rules, a good server community would band together real quick to make it impossible for a griefer to thrive. If you were a troll, you might find all your bases walled in before you could cause much trouble. Nowadays, that would get the wrong people banned, which wouldn’t be a problem if Funcom could replace them adequately.

Sadly, I don’t see Funcom ever making the server moderation adequate to the players’ needs, because they would need a group of dedicated admins for the 1000+ servers that they have.

There are no silver bullets here. They could remove moderation and let us return to the Wild West. They could fix the bugs that allow undermeshing and flying bases, so that they don’t have to deal with those reports. They could restrict moderation to a handful of “premium” subscription servers.

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This is what constructive criticism is supposed to look like. Forum take notes. :point_up:

I have just a few things to pushback on, kinda:

  1. This is evidence of FC’s incompetence at handling their own ticket system. Maybe they have good reasons, they should probably tell us if so (“we got a lot” is not sufficient IMO) . It also doesn’t look very good when forum moderation is quick to point people to Zendesk - if this is what the proper channel looks like, no wonder it spills over into here. NOTE this does not mean that the bans they do issue are unwarranted, as is the narrative of this thread so far, just that they are not fulfilling the demands for moderation sufficiently.

  2. Just because old offenders didn’t get punished doesn’t mean they get grandfathered in now. Does it suck? Sure, but so does having servers ruined by selfish land claim.

Yeah, probably. I’d imagine they would rather the server be filled with actual structures than spider webs of foundation and alters, but that’s just a guess. If you HAVE to spam (you don’t) I’d do this.

  1. Holding people responsible for who they associate with as well as the choice of what clan they join is not unreasonable, but I am personally sympathetic to this point.

  2. They should give the reason, but putting it in writing make it precedent that can be used against them later. It would be no different than setting a binary rule except it would be a lot messier.

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Yes, I remember when you walled in Salty Monkey on his second day on the server, you bully.

So rage griefing is a thing now?
Just. . . . WOW

Agreed.

I am pretty sure I mentioned in another thread what these types of “discussions” devolve into, and here is your proof. Just. . .wow on this whole “discussion”.
It even has a poop analogy, seems we are moving up on this forum.

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@Community

Why not merge forum moderation with the game via the creation of a specialized avatar
Moderators could act visibly in the event of a problem
My control of English prevents me from asking the words just to translate this idea
But the purpose would be to be able to integrate a Conarian version of Damocles

The basic point is this:
Nobody knows how many foundations is “too many”.
Nobody can tell me how many bases is “too many”, or how much land claim is allowed.

Foundations and land claim are not poop - you are SUPPOSED to use foundations and you are SUPPOSED to claim land. It’s a necessary game mechanic. Disneyland and your city do not design their buildings to force you to poop on the ground. They don’t say you have to make a big poop on the ground, but if it’s too big you will be a criminal and if you try to defend yourself you will be killed.
The design of crafting stations, altars and taming pens requires them to have lots of land claim, so the game is DESINGED to require A LOT of land claim.

The game is designed to have a lot of land claim in order to play - but then there is a rule that says not to use too much, and your questions will not be answered. Then if you use too much over an unknown number you will be punished and if you try to ask anyone at funcom why you will be ignored and if you try to ask in the public forum your discussion will be closed and half the users will just assume you are guilty anyway.

It all just sounds like a recipe for toxicity to me.
Nobody in the admin team knows that when you punish people for violating rules that those rules should be clear, and that if people are punished for vague rules they will understandably feel that they are unfairly punished? That’s just basic.

A better analogy is this:
Imagine if your High School teacher said you had to write a paper and you know you have to write a lot of words to cover the material. Imagine it would also be easier if you join a group, but you can never know how many words your group members are writing. Then several study groups in your school are suspended from school for writing too many words on their term papers because of one line in the syllabus that doesn’t have any specifics info - just “don’t write too many words”. I’d pull my kids out of that school ASAP, lol.

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For me personally this is my only real sticking point of the rules. I completely understand why it’s this way, but it really does stink that some players will inevitably be banned for their clan mates behavior that they may legitimately know nothing about.

It could even possibly open up a new lane for abuse, but I don’t want to go into details as to how, because it would be explaining how to exploit the system as well as giving trolls new ideas to wreak havoc in a new way

The solution to this which players can use is too only clan with people you trust, which even without this rule is really for you own good. I’ve seen a lot of players who got invited to a clan and then almost immediately kicked which transfers all their buildings content and all their thralls to said clan

Also, if a player is not going to remain active on a server for extended periods it’s probably best to leave any clan they are a member of, because they won’t be able to keep track of what they are up too, not to mention what other players who may have joined since they left

That is at least unless you know all members well and they don’t plan on inviting anyone new

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Or the reverse - let’s say I’m a griefer and I want to get a clan banned. I pretend to be female and get accepted to that clan. :stuck_out_tongue: Then I spam land claim everywhere, leave the clan and report them. Easy peasy.

I am just curious how they are supposed to know which member of the clan is the guilty party, and sort that out.
When you look at a 10 mile long row of spammed t1 blocks, it only tells you what clan did it.
If you join a clan, especially in this game, you had really better be sure of the people you want to associate with.
What is really sad is that some people know full well that they are breaking TOS, and then when they get their clan mates banned, they blame Funcom, and play the victim, and tell their team it is Funcom’s fault, when in reality, it is their own.

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