I wont get into other companies\’e2\’80\’99 policies on the matter of bannings as it really is none of my business and I\’e2\’80\’99ve always felt commenting on other companies in such a manner was unprofessional. However, I am more than comfortable discussing our policy.
I do feel it is our responsibility to fix bugs as quickly as we can when we become aware of them. I don\’e2\’80\’99t think anyone here would argue that. And in fact, in this case, the fix was coded, tested and implemented as quickly as possible. However, at the same time, we coded, tested, and implemented logging to track those using this exploit. So yes, when a bug exists and we become aware of it, we should fix it as quickly as possible. And we do. We also do everything we can to avoid these bugs in the first place. However, it is also the responsibility of each individual player to not use bugs. Just because a bug exists does not give one the right to use it. The Terms of Service clearly states that using a bug can result in the termination of one\’e2\’80\’99s account.
As much as I hate using real world examples (because often people poke holes in the example since the real world and online world are very hard to compare, rather than accepting those differences and reading the example for what it is), I am going to use one here. I may have used this example before, so for those of you who have seen it, it may sound familiar. You are playing pool. You are losing and decide to walk over to the table, pick up the balls and put them all in the pockets. Needless to say, that is cheating and would probably get a pretty negative reaction from those playing with you. In a tournament, you\’e2\’80\’99d be expelled. But, nothing in the design of the table, the balls, or the game keeps you from doing so. Should the manufacturers have to design a system to keep people from touching the balls? Or should those playing the game simply be expected to follow the rules? Granted again, I know this is not the best example and I know some will poke holes in it, but I think you get the idea. People should be (and in UO, are) responsible for their actions. And the rules that govern such actions are clearly stated in the Terms of Service.
In the old days of UO, I read the boards a lot. I knew how to hack my stats, I knew how to dupe, and I knew how to break into someone\’e2\’80\’99s house with the gate bug. I never did and neither did most of the other players. Aside from the moral implications (which I will not debate here) when these old bugs existed, there was nothing keeping me from doing it. I didn\’e2\’80\’99t because I read and agreed to the Terms of Service which told me that using bugs was against the rules. I also knew that breaking said rules could cost me my account…as stated in the ToS.
Just because some players (and remember, bug abusers and exploiters represent a very small minority of players) will abuse bugs does not mean in any way that we should allow it. We don\’e2\’80\’99t catch them all, but show me any system that catches every offender. Again, simply because we may not be able to catch every offender does not mean we should not try…and in so trying, catch as many as we can.
Let me close this by saying that nobody here likes banning players. It\’e2\’80\’99s the seedy underbelly of the industry and one that I wish I did not have to take part in. But, as the Community Manager for UO, I realize the damaging affect these exploiters can have on the service and other players…and hence, I support the bannings fully.