Banned for Farming 11,000 Gold Per Hour

You've Been Banned!

The other night I tried logging into Beta a second time after being logged off for maybe two minutes (I'd just been on it for over two hours prior) and suddenly it said "Error 12: This account does not have a Beta profile associated with it." I was like... WHAAATTTT?!?!!?!?!? The cryptic email I received as well stated that I was banned after a thorough investigation for account sharing/selling/etc, and sort of listed every other offense in the book that you can be banned for.

Ok, let me get this straight. I received my beta access from an employee at Blizzard through their Friends and Family program. It was a gift, no purchases or reciprical actions were taken on my end. No one else uses my account. I was banned after just a few days of playing the Beta.

Please explain to me how I could possibly come up as a seller, buyer, or how Blizzard could have even conducted a "thorough" investigation in this limited time frame!!! I am FRUSTRATED beyond belief. To make matters worse, when I spoke to them on the phone and through email, the response was "We do not support Diablo 3 Beta customer service in any way, shape or form. Go ask on the forums for assistance." So I went to the forums and the thread was promptly deleted. To at least get something in Blizzard's eye, I posted on the SC2 forums about the ban and the MVP there was kind enough to humor me.

I'll give you the only explanation I can that makes any sense whatsoever. The email I received was incredibly generic and probably the only ban email they currently use in the Diablo 3 beta. So here's what happened...

145% Gold Find Wizard Farming

I had 145% gold find on my Wizard after several hours of collecting gear. I managed to pull off this excessive amount of gold find through massive crafting and buying on the RMAH until I got the stat for every piece of gear (minus my helm, which was +10% magic find). After doing this, I was making so much gold it was disgusting. We're talking something in the vicinity of 6,000-10,000+ gold per hour, peaking at 11,250 gold at one point. I believe that my insane gold and the sheer amount of items I was selling on the Beta RMAH threw up red flags in their system. Plus I started with a few thousand gold and ended my session with 45,000. Perhaps when I logged back in the system was like "Oh, he started with 2,000 and suddenly has 45,000... BAN!"

That's the only possible explanation. No one uses my account besides me and I was given my account as a gift from a Blizzard employee because they enjoyed my blogging/videos/etc in the past. So this automated message that I received in a cryptic email from Blizzard is hiding whatever real reason I was banned from the Diablo 3 Beta.

Below is a video I hadn't finished yet of just how much gold I was making. Some of the gold piles I picked up were over 50 a piece! When I went to log back in and get some videos of selling on the RMAH and picking up gold in bigger stacks, I saw that I was banned.

 
This reminds me of when players would get banned in wow for transferring gold between characters on the same account because it would throw up red flags in the automated, cheat detecting system that Blizzard uses. I will work very hard to try and get my Beta account back, but I unfortunately can promise nothing.

Who Cares About Beta?

Let's be real here for a second, and I told myself this to mostly blow off steam. This is Beta, not retail. Blizzard wants to test the game, not police players and I understand where they are coming from when they say that they will provide no customer service to their beta players. The one thing that got me upset was the fact that I have no outlet to explain the situation, except of course this blog, but no Blizzard outlet. If you talk on the forums about bans the thread is always deleted, and therefore I literally have no way to warn other testers on those boards that you can get banned for excessive gold farming and RMAH selling.

I guess now I can say that I was a little too good at making gold in the Beta (and Beta Bucks for that matter!). Don't think that the Diablo 3 coverage here will stop, you just won't get a shiny new video on every post. Sorry! :*(

Don't forget about the Diablo 3 Blogging Carnival coming in less than a week. Read up on the rules so you can get your favorite blog featured on the next Carnival.

PS: Proof of the Ban can be found here with an email from Blizzard Customer Support.

14 comments:

  1. From the evidence presented, it is impossible to tell why your account was deleted. You said they list every offense under the sun, so it may have had zero to do with your massive gold farming.

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  2. You are correct, it is all conjecture. I have a ticket with support asking for more information.

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  3. What's really scary is that this seems automated and that would imply that something like this could happen in the live version. Worse, it could happen during the first week of the game causing someone with a well planned strategy to miss a lot of valuable play time. I guess that's the down side of playing a game with the intent of making real money.

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  4. Welcome to the "no beta access" club, don't think you'll get it back.
    Blizzard are like that and very arrogant at least when I've spoke on the phone to them about things before, got hung up on twice just from asking a simple question !

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  5. An alternate theory, Markco:

    I would suspect that they finally twigged to the fact that the beta key in question wasn't one that had originally been designated for your account, but was instead provided by a Blizzard employee as a gift.

    Is this gifting of beta keys something that is officially allowed, or was this a nod and a wink sort of thing?

    Your outside-the-norm performance curve over that time period may have triggered an automatic review of some kind, and that may be when they noticed the discrepancy.

    That would seem to be in line with what they have said about "account sharing", if the beta key was not originally issues to your Battle.net ID.

    Just a guess, mind you, but I'd think that would be at the heart of why they would institute a ban during a beta. It's not like beta bucks or beta gold has any kind of meaning at all, but I could see them frowning strongly at people getting access to a highly desirable closed beta when they didn't originally decide to give them access.

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  6. I did some further review of the F&F program, and that would seem to invalidate my previous hypothesis about them thinking the key wasn't originally associated with your account.

    At this point, I'm inclined to believe that you've triggered an early version of the same sort of speed-hack automated detection system, but focused instead on gold metrics. While it sucks, it should hopefully give them some better data so that they can tune the system to not drop hammers on the innocent.

    I am rather appalled that they don't have a better method for communicating problems like that to their team, to sort out these sorts of errors that are inevitable in a beta test when automated account actions are (apparently) happening.

    Good luck, and I hope they straighten it out soon.

    Personally, what is deeply disappointing for me is how far from "prime time ready" these sorts of things seem to be, which tells me I'm unlikely to have a retail version any time soon. =(

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  7. If you're right about why you've been banned then they've totally missed the point of a Beta. The point of the Beta should be to test the game against outliers like you rather than offer a feelgood free treat to the lucky few so they hype it. Betas always used to be run for software testing reasons so it's great when someone breaks it.

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    1. I got an email one hour ago that confirms my suspicions. I was asked to request permission from support before attempting anything in the retail version of the game. Ridiculous!

      I will not get my key back.

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    2. While it must be very annoying for you that you got burned I'm going to stack mf rather than gf as a result of this development. Finding 6 legendaries an hour could just be luck and probably won't be tracked as cheating.

      If they go live with this they'll be banning tons of players anyway and it will create massive outcry. I'm sure they'll have to back down.

      If they were doing their job properly they'd simply tune the gold find algorithms so that doing what you did gives a smaller bonus.

      It's a bit worrying because they don't seem to be prepared for how people will play their game. Imagine if D2 had gone live without them being able to cope when people stacked magic find.

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  8. I believe that Blizzard want gold to be a viable currency in d3, not a joke like it was in d2. This means they have to worry about anything which causes lots of gold to enter the system.

    Blizzard like to have levers and knobs to turn to adjust things, and it's probably easy for them to decrease the amount of gold mobs drop if they think the amount of gold going in needs tweaking. And, they can increase the price of gold sinks to try and shuffle more gold out of the system.

    Players are the biggest threat to the value of gold, so it seems they feel the need to exercise a degree of control over the players too.
    I wonder exactly what about your behaviour they feel justified a ban.I realise that simply making over a certain threshold of g/hr triggered a ban, but that doesn't seem like a good enough reason to me. (I know Blizz can do whatever they want for the beta, but I don't think that's good enough for release.) Simply running around collecting gold in +gold gear shouldn't be enough. If you put a +gold stat in the game, you should expect players to use it, especially in release where you can easily turn gold into real money. Perhaps the problem is a particular area in the game which makes it too easy to make gold - in which case that's an issue on Blizzard's end which they should fix. And perhaps they should get rid of the +gf stat if people stacking it is a risk to the integrity of the gold currency. You got banned for using levels of +gf available in the beta - up to level 13 - so imagine how economy-distorting an endgame +gf set could be (assuming higher levels of +gf are available on endgame gear.)

    Suppose little Timmy wants to buy a shiny new axe. Timmy doesn't have a credit card and doesn't use the RMAH. Timmy finds selling items on thoe gold AH too complicated as a way of making gold. It doesn't seem to far-fetched to me that Timmy might load up on +gf gear and run around an easy part of the game farming gold. Little Timmy is going to be pretty surprised at being hit with a ban for doing something which seems like a fairly obvious way of making gold.

    Since your comment about having +mf on your helm instead of +gf, I've been wondering how we can compare the two. If my guess is correct then Blizzard is going to worry about people with +gf gear causing lots of gold to enter the system, but not so much people with +mf gear selling items for lots of gold. "Less risk of getting banned" is a pretty big point on the +mf side!

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  9. Fuck, I really hope they don't pull this bullshit when the game is released. I just hope they banned you for another reason, not simply for making efficient use of a built-in game mechanic. On the other hand it does sound that having lot of GF is fun.

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  10. Waauw...

    It seems pretty complicated from what Sconnell says. I think that the auction house might cause lots of problems when we talk about +gf, but anyways even +mf will make a problem if people thinks of D3 as a way of making money..

    If you have farmed alot of money or nice items you get the gift of becomming wealthy, and +mf is like a luck attribute which always will be good to a game so people who get somehing nice will feel special.., which in my opinion feels awesome, but if they were to consider real money ingame for buying items, they should either make a gold system more like WOW with some polishing, or create something new so D3 gold (in high farming amounts too) would tempt people to aim for that... - then items might be much more sold for ingame money than item trading (as in D2) to achieve the nice things that blizzard will imagine them to, for people to get and also feel GODLIKE.. However if all people begins to farm crazy then it would just be a normal thing to have in posession, but anyways if its really hard to get, people will fight for it :)

    Reply to me as Kalrin if you are going to reply to me, as i have no account in here..

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  11. You were banned for promoting and trying to profit from your unlicensed guide, not the GF gear itself.

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  12. Its a beta, they should have figured out how he made the gold, what constitutes too much and leaned how to make it controlable. For banning the account they learn nothing.

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