I have a rant. Blizzard has rules we must obey while playing, and they occasionally dole out punishment for non-compliance. They have a good explanation of this system here, however what they preach is not what they practice.
The reason I started playing WOW was to enjoy participating in the largest virtual economy. Thus, the first character I ever rolled was turned into a bank alt at level 15. I quickly got a 72 hour ban for no reason whatsoever. I remember my frustration with the process, because I felt like I had done something wrong, but had no idea what. I remember sending an email to WoWAccountAdmin@blizzard.com apologizing for being a level 15 with 500g, and asking what the maximum trading profits allowed were.
As it turns out, they reversed the ban as soon as the account team had a chance to look at it, but that was three days in the dark, and 3 days I payed to play a game that I was denied access to.
My call is this- Blizzard:
- Treat your players like customers.
- Get your GMs to assume innocence and find evidence for guilt before issuing a ban.
- Create a portal where players can at least see the status of their investigation. Allow for internal transparency!
- Create an intermediary process where the player is still allowed to play, but is called on to explain their actions and possibly receive a warning if they have done wrong.
- Allow accused players to defend themselves.
- At the end of an investigation, if it turns out that the player did nothing wrong, indicate this.
- If they did nothing wrong, compensate them. If you don’t want to credit back the money they paid to not be allowed to play, at least give them something in-game. It costs nothing, and engenders good will.
- Endeavor to reduce the number of false positive flags your system doles out.
- Continue to use this system to keep gold sellers, exploiters, hackers, and other gutter-snipes away from polite society. We appreciate the results of this system, just not its cost.
These are a few small steps that I feel would reduce the footprint of the disciplinary system. Transparency is important in any judicial system, and at its heart, that’s what this is.