Guild and party issues have been plaguing players since the beta tests. While things are significantly improving, there's still a way to go.
We've made significant improvements today to capacity constraints that have caused issues with parties and guilds. However, players will still notice some intermittent issues with party members not appearing on the map, parties not staying together as they travel between maps or into dungeons, and guild manipulation not working. (Sunday, September 2nd)This is still ongoing (or was at the time of this writing): party members who are actually in the same map being unable to see each other in the party and map UI, players not being directed to the proper overflow, and my personal favorite, players not being able to enter personal story instances together despite being able to see each other in the same map.
If you're extraordinarily lucky and you're on different instances of the same map, you'll be able to right-click on a party member's icon and select "Join in [map name]" and be able to do just that. If you're looking for a workaround, try warping into the nearest major city and running out of it back into your area (this works mostly for those areas that are, y'know, right next to a major city, but those tend to have the most difficulty with overflow as they have the highest population anyway).
Yesterday we applied 72-hour account suspensions to 500 players who were running bots. We're continuing to detect and ban bots. Soon we will ramp up to our normal policy of applying permanent account bans to anyone who runs a bot. (Thursday, August 30th)I think it's the last sentence of this is the most important. Given another recent event, a lot of people were puzzled at ArenaNet's relative leniency with bans for botters. That leniency is very much only temporary. The recent event in question happened to be:
This morning there was a widely-publicized, newly-introduced exploit in which specific cultural weapons were selling for one-thousandth of their normal price. We fixed it with an emergency build this morning. We want to thank the vast majority of players who became aware of the issue, responsibly reported it, and did not exploit it. However, a smaller group of players did significantly exploit it, each purchasing hundreds or thousands of these weapons. We permanently banned 3,000 accounts of players who substantially exploited it, and applied 72-hours bans to another 1,000 accounts of players who mildly exploited it. (Thursday, August 30th)A lot of people seemed to think that permabanning on a first offense was a little severe. Given that most accounts in the "substantially exploited it" category were making multiple hundreds of weapons, I'd tend to disagree. A game's economy, especially in the first few weeks and months, is incredibly important to its well-being. However, ArenaNet lightened up a bit and followed up with the permabanned folk. Exploiters wishing to make good with the company have been given an opportunity to submit an appeal saying, essentially, that they're very sorry, and while they didn't feel very sorry making the hundreds and more weapons, they promise to delete them and never put so much as a toe out of line again. ArenaNet will convert those folks' bans to suspensions on the condition that when those people get back into the game, they'll immediately delete all of their ill-gotten gains. Remember:
If you discover an emergency game-breaking or economy-breaking bug, do not exploit it, but please notify us immediately at this email address: exploits (at) arena (dot) net. You may also use this email address to report suspected security vulnerabilities. Thank you to everyone who has sent reports. However, note that we cannot respond individually to emails to this address. (Sunday, September 2nd)It's easy to get a little paranoid about what is or is not an exploit. Rich ore veins are not; creating hundreds and more weapons from a vendor who is clearly not in-line with the prices of other vendors is. Also remember that if you weren't intentionally exploiting something, you are unlikely to be permabanned (there's a not-so-fine distinction between "oops I made three weapons for myself because the prices were awesome" and "I actually have 661 weapons from the same bugged vendor sitting in my inventory and bank").
Email authentication and other security issues have never been far from the conversation. Getting hacked is sucky! Getting hacked and then permabanned because the hacker did illicit things (shocking) on your account is also sucky.
Over the past three days we've received approximately 8,500 new support tickets related to hacked accounts and other blocking login issues, and we've resolved issues to get approximately 9,500 players back into the game (most from tickets submitted prior to Friday, August 31). We're aggressively ramping up our customer support team, with 28 new support representatives starting today and more coming online in the next few days, to provide the fast response times our customers expect. (Sunday, September 2nd)
We're still working on expanding the Trading Post's capacity to handle the huge volume of requested trades. We had the Trading Post down for maintenance earlier today but currently it's online and available to all players. We're still working on some issues, in particular buy and sell commands sometimes appearing to hang although they actually succeeded. We know the Trading Post is a big part of the game and we're working around-the-clock to restore full functionality to all players. (Sunday, September 2nd)I think the trading post's downtime is perhaps the most legitimate complaint (aside from, possibly, WvW queues and sPvP server woes) because of its substantial effect on gameplay and the game's economy (remember how we were just talking about how important that is?). This getting back up properly can only be a good, good thing and should make life in-game much better for folks.
In the 24 hours leading up to the Sunday state of the game update, GMs had apparently "permanently banned 292 accounts for RMT-related botting and spamming and suspended 23 accounts for using very offensive language or names." And in most cases? That language and those names really are offensive. Remember that ArenaNet has been incredibly vocal about not wanting poor behavior in its community.
And other stuff
While we're on the topic of community, I hope those of you who were able to make your way to one of the launch parties had a fabulous time. I was able to attend the PAX-based Seattle event and enjoyed the heck out of it. Thanks to all those of you I was able to meet.
Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at email@example.com.