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Valve Apologizes For 12,000 Erroneous Anti-Cheating Bans

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the making-it-right dept.

PC Games (Games) 202

Earlier this week, there were reports that large numbers of Modern Warfare 2 players on Steam were getting erroneously banned by Valve's Anti-Cheat software. While such claims are usually best taken with a grain of salt, the quantity and suddenness caused speculation that Valve's software wasn't operating correctly. A few days later, Valve president Gabe Newell sent out an email acknowledging that roughly 12,000 players had been inappropriately banned over the preceding two weeks. "The problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version. This was caused by a combination of conditions occurring while Steam was updating the disk image of a game." Valve reversed the bans and gave free copies of Left 4 Dead 2 to everyone who was affected.

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202 comments

Customer service (5, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065694)

They admitted there was an error and as an apology gave them all a rather expensive game. That's pretty good customer service.

Re:Customer service (5, Funny)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065708)

And gave them all a competing multiplayer game.... /tinfoilhat

Re:Customer service (1, Redundant)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065728)

What if I already have l4d2 ?

Re:Customer service (4, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065758)

Gift it.
Preferably in exchange for sex. Beer is good too. Cheetos will work in a pinch.

Re:Customer service (4, Funny)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066574)

i'm having a hard time picturing a credible scenario where a woman would be prepared to have sex in exchange for a copy of a video game.

Re:Customer service (4, Funny)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066672)

Who said anything about women?

Re:Customer service (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067080)

Uh, you gift it to a couple you like, and make out with his chick while he's playing.

Though I think I have run into women in L4D once or twice in cooperative mode. There are also a few girls I know IRL who play, but usually only a closed LAN.

Re:Customer service (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066706)

Maybe a WoW expansion on release day? Those can be exceptionally hard to find and I'm sure there are female WoW addicts out there...

Re:Customer service (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066978)

i'm having a hard time picturing a credible scenario where a woman would be prepared to have sex in exchange for a copy of a video game.

Sure, she limps when she walks, and she is gap toothed enough to eat corn on the cob through a picket fence, but in the dark, all women look like sisters. Then again, if you are trying to trade a game for sex, you probably don't look much better either, so maybe it will be a match made in heaven.

That said, this is one of the reasons I have been pro-steam for years. They make mistakes, but they have a history of dealing with it directly and honestly. If Sony ever buys them out, I will have to start pirating games, which is something I haven't done in many years.

Re:Customer service (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065766)

You just get two gift copies that you can send to other people.

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065816)

You weren’t banned.

Re:Customer service (2, Insightful)

Warll (1211492) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065772)

L4D may have strong multiplayer but it also has strong single player.

Now if Valve wanted to steal customers they would have given them Team Fortress 2. At which point they wouldn't have needed to reverse the bans since the players would be too busy collecting hats to notice.

Re:Customer service (2, Informative)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065946)

Who honestly plays the single player version of L4D or L4D2?

The entire game is based around the idea of other humans playing with you, not some bot. I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I would be very surprised if there were anywhere near the number of people playing single player that would qualify the statement of it having "strong single player". In fact I'd say its probably got one of the weakest single player modes of any single player games out there. Neither I, nor any of my friends have played the single player and infact we've had conversations about the futility of even providing a single player version of the game.

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066036)

I'd say its probably got one of the weakest single player modes of any single player games out there. Neither I, nor any of my friends have played the single player

Arguing from a position of complete ignorance is always a sound strategy for debate.

FWIW, I play single player L4D.

Re:Customer service (1)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066098)

I meant played the single player through. I played it for about 5 - 10 minutes when the game first came out, mainly to ensure I knew the controls before playing online, but quickly realised how bad the AI is compared to human counterparts

Re:Customer service (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066160)

Apparently you never lost your broadband connection for a month have you.

Re:Customer service (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066344)

I lost my internet access for two months. Unfortunately, Steam was in the middle of an update so I was unable to play any of my 40+ Steam purchases precisely when I had plenty of time with nothing to do. That was infuriating.

Re:Customer service (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067100)

I've been buying a few games from Amazon, where they're often cheaper if Valve isn't having some ridiculous sale. That way I still have things to do if my son is tying up my Steam account on World of Goo or Civ.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my physical copy of GTA IV somewhere around the house... grrr.

Re:Customer service (1)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066364)

You can play Counter strike with bots, but I don't think you'll see many people playing it that way. I still think it will be firmly in the minority.

Re:Customer service (2, Insightful)

Skuto (171945) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067006)

>but quickly realised how bad the AI is compared to human counterparts

No really, it's the other way around in most cases :-P

The bots don't shoot you, don't run off on their own, etc. Coop multiplayer is much more challenging.

Re:Customer service (5, Insightful)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066066)

Who honestly plays the single player version of L4D or L4D2?

I do. I have a sucky internet connection, and most of the people I want to play with are on the other side of the planet, so unless we get a time with low traffic and find a decent server somewhere in the middle, someone gets stuck with 400ms pings, which make L4D(2) worthless.

However, as a somewhat mindless zombie killing bit of stress relief, it is fine on the single player mode, and the characters can be quite amusing. Plus, they never shoot you in the face. ;)

I like L4D(2) very much for both the multiplayer and the single player. Sometimes you don't want to deal with other people and just want to kill zombies. Sometimes you like the challenge of trying to get through a level on your own on Expert difficulty. Sometimes you don't want to deal with the idiots in pub games while your friends are all offline. While I agree that it doesn't really have a "strong" single player, it can still be quite an enjoyable single player experience. They actually did a good job of balancing that, rather than making it one of those games that is impossible or exceptionally boring to play on single player.

Re:Customer service (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066396)

Three options:
-Own server(Either paid for dedicated, or just host it while you play). It'll help a bit, one less middleman, but only if the person hosting it has a good connection.
-Console command to open the server browser, and just find a good low ping one, no hoping and praying involved. "openserverbrowser"
-Force it to only choose servers below a set max ping. Use "mm_dedicated_search_maxping 150".

Re:Customer service (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066468)

I thought that to. Though on reconsidering, they couldn't much hand out free versions of someone else's game in recompense for their mistake...

Re:Customer service (5, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065726)

Also some good spin work.

They took something about them screwing up in a moderately serious way while doing something people tend to get upset about them doing, and turned it into being about the quality of their customer service while incidentally advertising a rather expensive game. Since it's over Steam, net cost to Valve is some time by their database people fixing the thing they're probably legally liable to fix plus some bandwidth. Damage contained, plus nearly free marketing which would have cost quite a bit through traditional methods.

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065762)

At this point I'm happy if a company doesn't tell me it's actually my own fault and accuse me of holding my mouse wrong.

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065962)

Get a mouse-cover. You won't be banned that way. :-)

Re:Customer service (5, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065834)

And did all that without even having to resort to pointing at other networks and say they have the same problem.

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067050)

Also, in less than 23 days!

Less than a week in fact.

Re:Customer service (5, Insightful)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066014)

Whether it's beneficial to them or not, it still shows how good customer service can be conducted to benefit both the company and the consumer. Valve is one of the most community-friendly game developers, which is all the more amazing since they're such a successful company (not just a small indie developer).

Had this happened in a previous Call of Duty game, PunkBuster wouldn't have done a damn thing about it other than releasing a patch. If anyone cries foul at Valve's generous solution, they need to take off the tinfoil hat and also realize that not playing Modern Warfare 2 for a weekend isn't so bad.

Re:Customer service (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066412)

So if enough people are harmed by the flaws in VAC and enough people complain loudly they will fix the issue?

And in any other case where they incorrectly banned people they will simply ignore them.

Re:Customer service (5, Insightful)

rjch (544288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066068)

Also some good spin work.

They took something about them screwing up in a moderately serious way while doing something people tend to get upset about them doing, and turned it into being about the quality of their customer service while incidentally advertising a rather expensive game.

There's an old saying that it's not the fact that a company screws up that generates ill will, it's the response from the company to rectify the problem.

This is a company that has heard that saying and has taken it to heart. Bravo.

I don't know that I'd call it serious (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066142)

I mean sure, people got banned but that would only be serious if the bans couldn't be undone or something. They got banned, they got unbanned. No problem. Same basic effect as if the servers had crashed or their net connection had died.

It wasn't a serious problem because they dealt with it. The free game (two actually, they gave it to the people and gave them a copy to gift to a friend) is good PR, and should help smooth everything over.

I don't mind that companies make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Anyone who demands perfection all the time is a moron. All I ask is that they acknowledge and fix their mistakes, which was done here. The free game was a good call, to settle people down, especially since many gamers act like an interruption of their gaming is the end of the world.

Re:I don't know that I'd call it serious (1)

Esvandiary (1302095) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066748)

In most cases I'd agree, but by the sound of it, it was full-scale VAC bans being given out.

That means that with your account, you can no longer play on VAC-secured servers on any game, and means you have a big red "probably a cheater" mark on your Steam Community info. In other words, you probably want a new Steam account.

That said, the response was excellent. You hit the nail on the head - "It wasn't a serious problem because they dealt with it."

Re:Customer service (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066894)

L4D2 was on sale on Steam for 10.20 only recently and in the bargain bin on most websites. It's nice to get for nothing but I doubt it cost Valve much at all on their side and represents good PR.

Re:Customer service (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067214)

People and companies make mistakes - in the real world, nothing is 100% foolproof. Now, I know I'd rather go for a company that reacts like this when they screw up, than anyone else. Yes, they are doing this because it'll advertise their products, keep those customers with them, etc... But why is that a bad thing?

Re:Customer service (-1, Troll)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065756)

they allowed something designed to make the game more enjoyable completely remove all ability to enjoy the game from a very very large number of players. the "expensiveness" of the game provided in retribution is as relevant as their claims of billions lost due to piracy. this is far more than "an error" on their part... but an apology and access to content they've already produced and can duplicate trivially at ~no cost is pretty much all they have to give.

and now the market decides: do i want to pay to play games through a service that is capable of making such "errors"

Re:Customer service (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065828)

Yes I do want to play games through a service that notices there errors, fesses up to them, and compensates the users for the error. It is rare enough to find a company that acknowledges there own errors let alone go out of there way to make it right.

Re:Customer service (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065968)

and now the market decides: do i want to pay to play games through a service that is capable of making such "errors"

...Or should I go for the other options like...

Please clarify if you're suggesting:
- buying boxed games.
- buying the decent DRM free games that happen about once every six months.
- just not buying games at all.

Re:Customer service (-1, Flamebait)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065988)

none of the above.

not that i'm suggesting you should, but you aren't even going to consider your option to start your own competing service?

Re:Customer service (1)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066020)

but you aren't even going to consider your option to start your own competing service?

Yeah, because that's reasonable. Valve has been in the industry for 12 years and they've established the biggest digital game distribution platform. You're saying he should consider starting his own service to compete (and do better at making anti-cheat software) because some people couldn't play MW2 for a weekend?

Re:Customer service (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066234)

this is far more than "an error" on their part... but an apology and access to content they've already produced and can duplicate trivially at ~no cost is pretty much all they have to give.

What's the cost to them got to do with anything? Apologising is about making the victim feel better, not the perpetrator feel worse. It's a good apology because they actually gave people something they may appreciate, even if there's little cost to them.

Oh, and if you're truly that vindictive, you may take comfort in knowing that by giving them L4D2, that puts another 12,000 copies of L4D2 out there, for no money, thus, for 12,000 people, eliminating any chance that they will pay Valve for it (assuming those who have it already gift it to someone else). That puts a small but measurable dent in Valve's revenue for the game, which Valve won't be pleased about.

Re:Customer service (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066618)

[...] for 12,000 people, eliminating any chance that they will pay Valve for it [...]

They actually seem to have handed out two copies to every affected account, i.e. 24'000 copies total. If even half of the gift ones end up with people who'll play them, Valve gets an 18'000 player boost to their L4D2 community and 18'000 people who might potentially mention L4D2 to their friends and invite them for a round of play.
Valve gets goodwill by the truckload, a large expansion of their player base and tons of inexpensive (but highly valuable word-of-mouth) marketing, those affected by the ban get a free game to play and one to give away -- everybody wins.

Re:Customer service (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065952)

They admitted there was an error and as an apology gave them all a rather expensive game. That's pretty good customer service.

And if the fucking DRM hadn't been there in the first place, 12,000 legitimate customers wouldn't have been banninated even for a single nanosecond.

Steam's the least evil form of DRM presently on the market, but just because it happens to be gilded... doesn't make it any less of a cage.

Re:Customer service (5, Informative)

Vorghagen (1154761) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066000)

The fucking DRM is NOT what caused this issue. It was the anti-cheating software that got confused when they were in the middle of an update. I hate DRM as much as the next guy but I don't feel the need to blame it for things it has nothing to do with.

Re:Customer service (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066296)

Anti-cheating software is the same thing as DRM.

It's managing your digital right to play the game by the rules.

Re:Customer service (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066336)

Anti-cheating software is the same thing as DRM.

It's managing your digital right to play the game by the rules.

Not true - VAC doesn't disable the game entirely, it only stops you from connecting to servers that check VAC. Even if you're branded a cheater, you can still run a private server or play on non-VAC public servers.

Re:Customer service (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066612)

And the company also bans you from their official servers. That is part of the product description which they sold to you.

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067212)

Actually you fail at understanding the differences between a system to prevent and punish cheaters, and a system that prevents piracy.

The first(VAC) is a system put in place by Valve, by the request of players, to curb cheating on some of their games. It does not prevent piracy, it only prevents unallowed modification of a game.

The second is a system that tries (and usually fails) to prevent you from making multiple copies to then resell those to your friends/clients.

While I don't aggree with most DRM implementation (Ubisoft annyone?) I think that as long as it does not inconvinience the legit consumer(aka steam) i'm ok with it.

Oh and i'm all for VAC, since it's a system that lowers the cheating on TF2... and it's better to be able to kill that anoying spy then having said psy being invulnerable...

Re:Customer service (1)

DaveAtWorkAnnoyingly (655625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066016)

True, but many of those players probably would never have bought it anyway. Therefore it's not costing valve anything. Customers gets something for free, feel happy, Valve gives something away at negligable consumable cost to them, and doesn't loose revenue from lost sales as they wouldn't have been sales in the first place. Genius.

This is the sort of customer service we should expect, not congratulate, but well done Valve, makes me happy :-)

Re:Customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066080)

and as an apology gave them all a rather expensive game.

and as an apology gave them all a rather inexpensive copy of a game. FTFY.

Re:Customer service (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066208)

Expensive? I bought it for less then $10 two weeks ago on sale in their store.

Also the customer service is only good when it comes to Valves games. Buy a third party game that doesn't even load? Too bad because you're using a "service" not 'buying a product". This kind of behaviour rewards companies for not even making their games work. There's no reason they couldn't offer refunds. They know how long people play the games, offering a refund to a person that has bought the game for less then a week and hasn't even played 10 minutes should be a no brainer.

Impulse is no better by the way. Want a refund on an game bought through impulse? You have to ASK the third party developer for the refund who will obviously send back the auto response 'works for me, no refund'.

I seriously hope the government steps in and regulates this industry better. Too many cowboy coders and greedy publishers.

I have only 1 thing to say (-1, Offtopic)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065696)

Dump your free gift to gift @ santax@home.nl but please.... no porn from girls aged 18-20!

Re:I have only 1 thing to say (-1, Offtopic)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065764)

Jesus Christ, how can asking for a free game and some porn be off-topic here! For the Love of God! Get those mods an education!

Re:I have only 1 thing to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065814)

So if I send you porn, it has to be from girls aged 12-14?

How about a refund. (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065730)

I don't want Left 4 Dead 2. I don't like it any more than the pile of shit that is MW2. My mistake for not pirating it first, next time I will, so how about you give me my money back for that instead of giving me another game I have absolutely no interest in since I've been unable to play anything online since my account looks like its owned by cheating hack.

Re:How about a refund. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065844)

They cant refund you the money because its in another companies hands. Giving away their own game doesn't cost them anything, just a possible lost sale. Refunding money that mostly went to another company costs them money out of their pocket. So you think they should pay because they limited your multiplayer experience for up to two weeks, on a game you dont like anyways... Just take the gift and next time look into a game before buying it.

Re:How about a refund. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065912)

So you think they should pay because they limited your multiplayer experience for up to two weeks, on a game you dont like anyways

I get the impression the whole account is flagged as cheating and that applies to all games on the account. I may have misinterpreted this however.

Re:How about a refund. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066652)

I get the impression the whole account is flagged as cheating and that applies to all games on the account. I may have misinterpreted this however.

No, only for games that have the same engine. So if you are caught cheating on games based on the Source engine, you end up flagged as a cheater on all Source-based games you own.

Re:How about a refund. (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066260)

You make it sound like the block is a personal favour, and that giving you a game is useless, since you have no qualms about picking it up for free. Put short, you don't sound like you're owed an apology or restitution.

Actual email from Gabe (5, Informative)

gravos (912628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065736)

Here is the actual email from Gabe that was sent out:

--

Hello,

Recently, your Steam account was erroneously banned from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

This was our mistake, and I apologize for any frustration or angst it may have caused you.

The problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version. This was caused by a combination of conditions occurring while Steam was updating the disk image of a game. This wasn't a game-specific mistake. Steam allows us to manage and reverse these erroneous bans (about 12,000 erroneous bans over two weeks).

We have reversed the ban, restoring your access to the game. In addition, we have given you a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 to give as a gift on Steam, plus a free copy for yourself if you didn't already own the game.

To share your extra copy of Left 4 Dead 2 with a friend, you can 'Manage Gifts and Guest Passes' from the 'Games' Menu in Steam, or visit this article on the Steam Support site for detailed instructions: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=4502-TPJL-2656 [steampowered.com].

To access your own copy of Left 4 Dead 2, visit your library of games in Steam. If you didn't already own the game, it will now be listed among your others there, and is available for download immediately.

Regards,
Gabe Newell
President, Valve

Re:Actual email from Gabe (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065784)

FYI, you can use the blockquote html element on slashdot,

Like thus

Sadly I cannot show the exact code since pre does not work.

Re:Actual email from Gabe (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065890)

FYI, you can use the blockquote html element on slashdot,

Like thus

Sadly I cannot show the exact code since pre does not work.

<blockquote>some stuff</blockquote>

Re:Actual email from Gabe (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065926)

You mean something like this?
<quote>Like thus</quote>

Re:Actual email from Gabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066062)

You could have told him how to do that as well: use &lt; (<) and &gt; (>) directly instead of <pre>.

Maybe there is an account option to toggle HTML parsing in posts, but I have not looked for it.

Re:Actual email from Gabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066496)

Hey, you!

You didn't tell the world of your post how to write &lt; and &gt; on slashdot. Therefore you suck.

After all, if they type that, all they get it < and > respectively.

For the reference, you need to type &amp;lt; and &amp;gt; to make that happen. :-)

Re:Actual email from Gabe (5, Insightful)

MelodicMotives (724089) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065840)

As much as I dislike the trends in super-DRM'd game distribution, you have to respect a clear, open email with no bull**** and pretty good compensation to boot.

Re:Actual email from Gabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066008)

Am i reading the email correctly?
It seems like valve gave you 2 copies of L4D2 if you did not have it already, one that you can gift and one for yourself?

Re:Actual email from Gabe (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066048)

You read it correct. They gave these people one copy for them, and one to gift to a friend. If that isn't kick ass customer service, I'm not sure what is.

Dear Soulskill (-1, Troll)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065740)

Are you actually trying to make a living out of this "game journalist" gig? Is it working?

Re:Dear Soulskill (2, Insightful)

Noodlenoggin (1295699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065778)

Are you actually trying to make a living out of this "game journalist" gig? Is it working?

It's not working very well because I read about this a couple of days ago. Then again online journalism does seem to be all about rehashing something someone else wrote about last week.

I wonder... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065754)

How many times has this happened without 12k people to make a fuss. Would Valve have done anything if it was just one guy?

Public relations 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065786)

Some of the PR people should take a close look at this move. (we're looking at you Apple)

The whole issue of 12.000 errors will be quickly forgotten.
Steam users wil continue to use Steam. trust their system and continue to buy games.

Actual loss??, mininmal.

Only a percentage of those 12.000 would have bought the L4D2.

Concluding:

Smart Choice, Good move, now lets get on with business.

Re:Public relations 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33065984)

Only a percentage of those 12.000 would have bought the L4D2.

Yet I believe every single one of those 12,000 will end up as a tax deductible loss. Just like every pirated copy is a lost sale. They might end up MAKING money by having to pay less taxes. ;)

I Love Valve. (3, Insightful)

DoctorPylons (1857800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065820)

Even though you can argue about Steam as DRM, I love what Valve is doing as far as consumer-relations. "Pirated our game? It's OK, we'll give you more incentive to buy it instead of pirating it." Gabe Newell is a trailblazer in the video games frontier, and I'm glad we have him.

cheating (3, Funny)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065858)

I wish punkbuster worked as hard as Steam at keeping cheaters offline and making up for their mistakes. I'd get all my games for free and I wouldn't get kicked as often.

Re:cheating (2, Informative)

Necroloth (1512791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065886)

and not just the cheaters, I wish they'd fix the game on Steam! If you have the Steam overlay on (as default), punkbuster will kick you out of your game! I have to disable/enable this everytime I change games away from CoD.

Re:cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067290)

FYI, if you were not already aware, you can enable/disable Steam Community on a per game basis now. If you right click a game entry in your library to open the game's properties I believe you'll find the checkbox for this on the first property page.

Ironically (-1, Offtopic)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065874)

This problem can be avoided with DRM free games [google.com] :)

Re:Ironically (2, Informative)

TechnoFrood (1292478) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065938)

I'm slightly confused as to how being banned from online servers has anything to do with DRM, given that a game with no DRM could still implement a similar anti cheat system to Valve's VAC.

Assuming MW2 works anything like the Valve games with VAC (I'm thinking this may be unlikely as it has no dedicated servers), when you get VAC banned your account is prevented from playing on VAC secured servers (although the unsecured servers tend to be crap and full of people using cheats).

That good (5, Funny)

Netshroud (1856624) | more than 3 years ago | (#33065932)

Valve's PR is so good that some people were complaining on the official forums that VAC didn't erroneously ban them - they wanted a free game.

Pitty? (1)

romania (537909) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066156)

Accepting such a software on your computer can lead to this kind of thing or worse. So why bother to report it?

Fuck Valve, but I love Left For Dead 1 (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066318)

Does this mean that L4D1 might stop mysteriously disconnecting me under wine?

Re:Fuck Valve, but I love Left For Dead 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33067098)

If you're going to try to use some hack to play a game you get what you deserve. Don't think you're owed support for playing via wine.

Valve never reprocess the banned player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066366)

This does not effect my opinion about Valve.

I bought HL2 when it came, played it two times trough and then I uninstalled it and throwed the game to closet. After I moved away (about 9 months later), I re-installed HL2 and planned to try CS Source when friends were going to have a LAN party (10 persons).

I re-installed Steam, HL2 and did go to test the online game littlebit to check how maps have changed and what new maps there is (I played CS 1.6 beta lots).

Well, Steam said Valve was banned my account because the cheating in HL2 multiplayer. Nothing really helped to get the account back. All the HL - HL2 games and about five other steam games were all now useless for multplayer.

No were accessed to account, password was not cracked (it was 16 letters by lenght, with all the needed sizes and special letters) and the game was impossible to be used in my computer (un-installed) or taken from closet.

It does not matter so much because I do not play online than two games. But it just is not fair that accounts gets branded with cheater status when the whole account is not being used!

Now I needed to make a new account because friend of my gave me five games as gifts. I lost my online nickname what I have kept since HL1 release and people has finded to respect that name and I had good reputation with it.

If valve would try to settle this down by giving a free copy of L4D2, I would just say that it does not help.

Re:Valve never reprocess the banned player (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066456)

1) You should challenge it, and ask for evidence, dates, times.

2) You could easily have had your password sniffed, possibly even from an uninstalled version of Steam, if you got a virus/spyware in the meantime - many of them lift your details right out of the registry/filesystem because a Steam account is a very valuable commodity. They don't need to "crack" anything - if they have read-access on your computer, they can lift your username/password if you got Steam to memorise it. Once they got banned on your account, they probably wouldn't bother to use it again, either. This sounds even more likely if you claim never to have played HL2 multiplayer yourself beforehand.

3) The terms and conditions say that once you're banned, you're banned, unless you can provide proof your account was hacked. That may be "unfair", but you agreed to it when you signed up.

4) You can't really expect Valve to distinguish between "someone else used my account and got me banned" and "I'm a cheater and claim the same". Thus, if any cheating is detected, your account is banned. Otherwise every cheater would say that and VAC would be useless.

5) Losing your online nickname? That's quite pathetic. If you'd been playing lots of multiplayer and built up lots of admin access, stats, etc. on your STEAM_ID, then I could understand that but what would you have done if the original Steam account hadn't been able to use your nickname because someone else was? It's not a big deal at all. At least you could move any Steam friends you had over to your new account, if that's what you wanted to do.

6) The multiplayer Steam games have been dirt-cheap for ages. The Source Multiplayer pack is currently $29.99 which is a drop in the ocean for a serious gamer. That's half the price of a modern console game, or for the same price you could get the Counterstrike pack which contains the original CS, CS:CZ and CS:Source. Or CS Classic on its own is only $9.99. If you were that worried about it, you could have just re-purchased the games.

Your banning was not Valve's mistake, unless you can prove otherwise. Did you ask for logs, did you ask for the exact cheat used, when and from what IP? Valve have that sort of info to hand and could have helped you but the chances are you had your credentials lifted, either by a friend or some malware, and your account was banned. For a game that you could rebuy for $9.99 if you really wanted it.

It sounds more like you hardly ever used Steam, hardly ever played any Steam games. If I were you, I'd have asked for logs, I'd have searched the online cheater-list websites for my STEAM_ID and if it was really that big a deal, start writing letters, demanding proof and/or just rebuying the games.

Re:Valve never reprocess the banned player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066552)

"Did you ask for logs, did you ask for the exact cheat used, when and from what IP"

They won't provide that even if you asked. They won't provide anything at all, especially anything that a cheat author could potentially use to suss out details of VAC or refine a cheat against detection.

However, this is a nice big chink in the armor to Valve's ridiculous responses of "VAC is infallible and our word is final and irreversible, you filthy cheater, now shut up or we'll ban you from tech support". I have great respect for Valve as a game developer and an artistic entity, but their customer support in dealing with wronged customers vs cheaters leaves a hell of a lot to be desired, and occasionally makes me momentarily rethink my love for them. My brother had his account hijacked and when I tried to talk to them about it, I got the single most unhelpful, disdainful, paternalistic stiff arm I have EVER experienced in dealing with ANY customer service system. If it wasn't for the fact that I work in the same industry and didn't want to piss off a (potential) future employer (I can dream, can't I?), I would have considered taking them to small claims court on principle alone in response to the attitude I got from Steam customer service.

Re:Valve never reprocess the banned player (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066610)

I would be more inclined to believe you if you were not an Anonymous Coward.

much more than just a ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066374)

will they also be paying for my months of therapy? :'(

strippers uhh... i mean psychologies are expensive.

"VAC is infallible" (5, Insightful)

Durzel (137902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066406)

As good a move as this I can't help but wonder about the comments made by volunteers moderators on the SPUFs (Steam Powered User Forum) about how "VAC doesn't make mistakes", how bans were permanent and indisputable, etc.

I wasn't on the receiving end of one of these bans myself but if I had been I would've felt pretty aggreived to be tacitly labelled a cheater and that my account "was gone", with moderators talking about a computerised system being impossible to fool and never wrong, etc.

While this is nice and all.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066616)

...what about the more unusual fringe cases where people truly are banned for no reason, but have no recourse because it didn't happen to 11,900 other people?

Re-buyers (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066634)

and what will valve do for MW2 players who have already gone out and bought a new copy to continue playing? That is, after all, the only option that valve says is open to people who get banned by VAC.

Re:Re-buyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33066896)

Get some patience & grow up.

Sorry, but an adult person understands that whilst it can be infuriating when things go wrong, things *DO* go wrong occasionally - and in that instance, it's a case of waiting for someone to take ownership of the problem and fix it quickly.

But with all respect, this isn't someone waiting for a heart transplant, it's *JUST A BLOODY GAME*, for god's sake!!!

And if all you have to do with your life is *PLAY THIS GAME* to the point where you have to rush out for a new copy in order to get back onto it as quickly as possible, then *GET A BETTER LIFE*!!!

Re:Re-buyers (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33067140)

yeah. right.

Valve has been pretty clear on this, VAC bans are permanent and unappealable. You get banned, you have to buy a new copy, says it in their documentation.

If this has taken a few days to sort out, SOME people (out of 12,000) will have gone out and bought new copies. It's one thing for Valve to give out some of their own product (marginal cost: negligible), I'll believe that they truly care when I hear about them refunding the costs of peoples redundant second copies. Not just allowing them to gift them to someone else, actually reaching into their own pockets and handing money back.

This hasn't affected me, so I don't need to get some patience. An intelligent and literate person reads Valve's documentation and knows that it says that Valve does not distinguish between genuine cheaters, and people that it has mistakenly identified as cheaters. As such no amount of waiting will normally result in Valve 'taking ownership' of its mistake or ever fixing it.

And the point that I made was that it's not 'just a bloody game', it's real money that people could have spent on something else. That may not be on the scale of a heart transplant, but it is another step up from having to play something else for a few days.

Dear Evil Customer-Screwing Corporations.... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33066916)

...please take note from Valve's fine example of good customer service.

"We fucked up, we're not going to bullshit our customers, and here's quite a nice present to say we're sorry".

I'm not a fan of games companies as a rule, but kudos to Valve for demonstrating that they care about their customers.

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