Further update: Bungie followed up on yesterday’s statement by saying, “As part of our ban review process, we identified a group of players who were incorrectly banned. Those players have been undone. The bans were not related to the third-party applications listed above. We will keep reviewing the process we use to ensure a fun and fair game.” There is no word yet on how many players were unfairly affected by this “mistake”.
Update: In addition to the disclaimers below, Bungie has made a sweeping statement about what it believes 400 were banned for PC Lot 2 players since the game’s launch yesterday. All of those bans, the company said, were issued after a manual investigation that found that players were “using tools that posed a threat to the game’s shared ecosystem” and weren’t just due to automatic detection. In addition, the company reiterated that it “has (and will not) issue a ban on the use of overlays or performance tools, including Discord, Xsplit, OBS, RTSS, etc.”
Original story: The online community around Lot 2 exploded overnight with complaints of players being banned from the game “for nothing”, as a popular thread on the Bungie forums puts it. That post is accompanied by dozens of others on those forums and the Lot 2 subreddit claims that their accounts have been banned for no reason.
The widespread reports have led many to suspect that the PC version of the game, which launched yesterday, is overzealously protecting itself against third-party applications that inject code into the game. Lot 2 client. That class of applications includes many popular cheat programs, as well as ropes in video recording software like OBS, performance monitoring software like Fraps, and even the in-game overlay features in chat software like Mumble and Discord.
Bungie and publisher Activision have not made an official statement about this, but some associated with the company have denied that this is what is happening. “Third-party applications that are not compatible with Lot 2 may prevent the game from running, but will not result in a ban,” community manager Cozmo23 wrote in a response to the company forums.
Bungie PC Project Leader David Shaw came in on Twitter to call any link between third party apps and account bans “Internet BS”. While Shaw said so Lot 2 will block overlay programs that inject code into the game, “we don’t ban for that,” he said.
On an online help page posted in September, Bungie warns players that the game “resists attempts by third-party applications to insert code into the game client,” which could “result in incompatibility between Lot 2 PC and the functions of common third-party applications.” However, the page makes no mention of bans as a possible consequence of those programs, but simply says that the game itself is designed to “resist” them:
The methods that some third-party applications use to add features (insert code into the game client) are the same as some of the methods that hackers and cheaters use to disrupt other players’ experience. As part of our security efforts, we designed Destiny 2 for PC to resist all attempts by third-party applications to insert code into the game client.
Making sure Destiny 2 is a safe and fair experience for all players, on all platforms, is a high priority for us. We remain committed to creating a positive and fair in-game experience across all of our products, and believe this is a necessary measure to provide you with a great gaming experience in Destiny 2 on PC.
Bungie’s account restrictions and ban policy page suggests that “using a third-party program to modify the operation of the Destiny game software” may result in a ban. However, the examples given for such programs include things like “trainers, mods, cheats, aimbots or autofire”, and not more innocuous things like video recording or chat overlay software. Of course, that doesn’t rule out the potential for false positives.
Those who have been banned from Lot 2 on PC, fair or dishonest, may find it difficult to protest the move and get their account reinstated. “There are NO options to dispute or undo account restrictions or bans,” Bungie writes on its policy page. “Permanent account bans are only implemented with strict scrutiny to ensure the innocent are not punished alongside the guilty. Bungie does not comment on or discuss individual account restrictions or bans.”
While we await additional comments from Bungie or Activision, we can’t help but think about Microsoft’s recently unveiled TruePlay system for Windows 10, which allows developers to protect game code and memory, and search for cheat patterns at the system level. Like Bungie, Microsoft better hope its false positive detection system is rock solid.