The controversy around Mass Effect 3 and its disappointing ending simply won't die down, much to EA's displeasure. Now angry gamers determined to hold the line against Bioware and parent company EA are reporting being banned from EA's servers after verbalizing their displeasure on the Bioware Social Network (BSN) forum.
EA has a bit of a history taking punishments too far when it comes to angry forum commenters. Although every BSN forum page currently has a message stamped at the top which clearly states that Effective immediately there is a zero tolerance policy on any form of abuse towards staff, moderators or other Community members, many members of Mass Effect 3 ending protest communities such as Retake Mass Effect and Hold The Line for simply airing their criticisms or posting sarcastic comments.
A long forum discussion at Hold the Line, sparked by a user with the name R.R., offers a glimpse at why users are being banned from BSN.
I have just been banned from BSN, for so specific reason other than we are HTL and Retake members, wrote R.R.
R.R. added that he received no explanatory emails of private message from a moderator, but thankfully can still play all his EA games. The next day he returned with the good news that his forum ban had been lifted following a discussion with two BSN moderators who told him that his ban was an accident.
R.R. took their explanation with a grain of salt, warning the Hold the Line community that, The mods are going batsh-t insane and banning anyone and everyone who says the words 'Didn't like' and Mass Effect in the same sentence.
Another user, RavianGale, added that, Clearly Bioware does not do screening on their employees for the forums. An admin or mod MUST remain neutral in an argument or discussion. That is rule number one.
Other commenters chimed in with their own stories of banishment at the hands of BSN's forum moderators.
I had something similar happen to me a month back in the 'so we cant get the ending' threa, wrote EkindledHanar. As far as I know, the comment that got me banned was not insulting, but I said something about EA not caring about customer feedback because they already have our money. I thought it was permanent but turns out it was only a 24 hour ban so it could be similar in your case.
Same thing happened to me shortly after ME3 release, wrote Corax8421. Made a sarcastic comment, someone probably took offense, ta-da! No PM, no message besides the one that you're getting now. It was only 24 hours, but they seriously need to work on their ban system.
EA's history of banning gamers from its servers after minor forum infractions dates back over a year to the case of a user by the name of Arno, who found his account suspended after posting the question Have you sold your souls to the EA devil?
Not only was Arno barred from posting on the forum for three days, but he was unable to play any multiplayer games on EA's servers. Furthermore, Arno found he could not even activate a new copy of a game he purchased, Dragon Age 2. The game is single player, but the anti-piracy security system requires that you authenticate through EA servers before playing.
Following this event, Bioware and EA stated that this was an inadvertent punishment, and admitted that the ban was supposed to solely affect Arno's forum activity.
Another gamer, calling himself Aaron Maximumtacos on the BSN forum, found himself banned from EA's Battlelog forums (specific forums to discuss the Battlefield game series) after using obscene language. However, Maximumtacos maintains that the inappropriate words were directed at him, not written by him, though he may have reposted them as a quotation. His banning included the loss of access to Battlefield 3 multiplayer mode and locked him out of Battlefield 2: Bad Company.
During a phone conversation with EA he appears to confirm with the company's representative that he was not banned for hacking on any other form of cheating, which is supposedly the only reason that users are excluded from online multiplayer gaming.
Unfortunately, it does not look like EA has learned their lesson, as they continue to ban users for comments that they say are hardly incendiary or offensive. Endlessly policing their own forums may create the appearance of a controversy-free videogame company, but these criticisms do not simply disappear. Instead they appear all over the internet in forums where EA cannot censor or ban. Furthermore, banning users from the videogame company's servers will only perpetuate the image that EA is a company that does not care about its consumers, and drive those fans it still has away.