Game Master Mistake - Banned with no warning.

90 Blood Elf Paladin
8235
My friend tried logging in today and got an "account closed" message.
The email from blizzard claims he was buying or selling gold.
He's NEVER bought or sold gold, instead, when he needs gold, he runs an in game casino.

In game casinos aren't against the TOS, although advertising them is. So he don't advertise them. He's also very careful when running a casino and playing WoW in general and doesn't break any rules.

He made about 35k profit over 2 days, so I'm guessing this is the reason Blizzard assumed he'd bought gold.

He has emailed them regarding the issue and since he hasn't broken any rules, a GM will be able to reopen his account, right?

Anyway, this brings up some questions...

1 - Ignoring the fact that he didn't buy any gold, since when was buying gold punished with a permanent ban, with no warning at all? seems very harsh.

2 - Are accounts with lots of gold movement (receiving and trading to others) automatically assumed to be buying/selling gold? My friends issue would lead to suggest that an automated system detects and bans accounts like this without any human verification at all.

E.g If they'd checked trade or chat logs, they'd have seen it was a casino, that was almost entirely trading with other level 85 characters. (What gold seller sells or buys gold from a level 85?).

3 - When his account is reopened, is going to be given game time to make up for what will likely be days before he can play again?

This situation is very frustrating, his guild needs him for raiding and other commitments which he can't meet now because of a GM mistake.

Any insight or information would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
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90 Night Elf Priest
10865
Sorry, but your friend will need to contact Blizzard using the appeals address provided to him.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8235
He's done that but I'm wondering about the questions I raised, and how long its going to take till he can get access to his account.

The whole thing is rather strange.
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90 Tauren Warrior
10130
05/04/2011 12:20 AMPosted by Ea
1 - Ignoring the fact that he didn't buy any gold, since when was buying gold punished with a permanent ban, with no warning at all? seems very harsh.


Since always. And they won't ignore any possibilities, even if you swear he didn't buy gold.

05/04/2011 12:20 AMPosted by Ea
2 - Are accounts with lots of gold movement (receiving and trading to others) automatically assumed to be buying/selling gold? My friends issue would lead to suggest that an automated system detects and bans accounts like this without any human verification at all.


No. My limited understanding from hanging out here over the years leads me to believe the automated system may flag accounts for a number of reasons, but that flag would then be reviewed by a real person.

05/04/2011 12:20 AMPosted by Ea
3 - When his account is reopened, is going to be given game time to make up for what will likely be days before he can play again?


Most likely not. It's something he'd have to check with billing on.

Side note, Blizz won't tell you anything. They'll only talk with the actual account holder.
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90 Human Warlock
16920
Blizzard never gives warning of bans.

If a mistake occurred the Account Administration team will reverse the decision. If they made a mistake I think they do credit back the time the account was closed, but that is something he should request of them, I'm not sure if it automatic.
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64 Tauren Death Knight
13070
05/04/2011 12:20 AMPosted by Ea
The email from blizzard claims he was buying or selling gold.



is he sure the email was from Blizzard?
(not just from @blizzard.com which can be faked by anyone)

...because it seems unusual that they'd ever be that specific.

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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8235
Thanks for your replies.

ismism - I'm actually posting this in the forum for him as he's unable to because of his ban.

maximus - His account went from good standing, to permanently banned, without a warning first, which seems very harsh because they've got a 7 step offense pyramid which you supposedly need to repeatedly violate the TOS after several warnings to get to the "perm ban" level. What's the point in this pyramid if they ignore the first 6 steps? Even for serious offenses?
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8235
nobully - Yes, he can't log in.

The email says -


This account was closed because one or more characters were identified exchanging, or contributing to the exchange of, in-game property (items or gold) for "real-world" currency. This exchange process negatively impacts the World of Warcraft game environment by detracting from the value of the in-game economy.
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90 Night Elf Priest
10865
There's also a chance one of the individuals gambling with him was laundering purchased gold through him.

At any rate, your friend will need to appeal, and they will conduct an in-depth investigation.
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90 Undead Warlock
9915
The penalty volcano is only a guideline, not a rigid rule that must be followed.

A lot depends on the severity of the infraction. You can steal a candy bar from the local convenience store without getting in much trouble. But if you make a habit of swiping one every day, the penalties are going to increase. More serious crimes are going to incur a more serious penalty. If you kill the clerk at the convenience store, you're not going to walk away with a warning.
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Support Forum Agent
Thanks for your replies.

ismism - I'm actually posting this in the forum for him as he's unable to because of his ban.

maximus - His account went from good standing, to permanently banned, without a warning first, which seems very harsh because they've got a 7 step offense pyramid which you supposedly need to repeatedly violate the TOS after several warnings to get to the "perm ban" level. What's the point in this pyramid if they ignore the first 6 steps? Even for serious offenses?


Oh, but no - that penalty volcano is a good guideline, but by no means are we constrained by it under all circumstances. There are indeed violations that can go from zero to banned in an instant.

Anyone that thinks they can 'get away with it a few times' based on that presumption is playing a very dangerous game with their account.

Now, I don't know the particulars in this case at all, nor can I discuss them with another party even if I did know the account - but all appeals need to go through Account Administration by emailing wowaccountadmin@blizzard.com and requesting a review.
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90 Human Warlock
16920
It would depend on how they flagged him. Gold Buyers might get more waring then Gold Sellars, which are usually stolen accounts, so there isn't much reason to makes those go up the Penalty Volcano, and they usually protect the account form further damage by doing so.

The Penalty Volcano is a rough guide, some offenses are much worse then others, and some, like Gold Selling and Botting will go right to perma-ban. Just like in real life some crimes are treated much more seriously then others.

I do realize that if your friend is innocent that this is quite a shock, but I hope it is also a little bit re-assuring that Blizzard is pretty good about fixing mistakes like this.

Best of luck to you and your friend.
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85 Dwarf Hunter
4340
I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. : D
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90 Tauren Druid
13970
They can revert the ban if an account has been compromised. It's not unusual for them to do that.

But before he gets excited and started claiming his account was compromised, keep in mind that Blizzard has very detailed log of everything that's happened. They can and will find out if an account has been compromised. Either way, have your friend email the account admins and they can check for sure.

Committing bad things don't always give you a warning... doesn't quite work like that. The key is to behave so you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not you'll get a warning for something.
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