Reporting hackers in PlanetSide – a step backward

Several months ago, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) changed the “appeal” system in PlanetSide. Previously, if you saw something that shouldn’t be, or needed help getting a character restored, or any other issue that you needed to contact Customer Service for, you could simply type “/appeal” in the chat window, fill out the form that popped-up, and a CSR would respond to you within a business day.

Now, the appeal command brings up a window describing the website and its URI to visit to file an appeal and a link if you wanted to go there right then and there. The idea is that SOE could have all of their CSR communications in a single system. Probably so that CSRs could cover multiple games and they could save on labor costs. In practice, though, it simply sucks. If you click the link then and there, the PlanetSide client is minimized and your browser window opens. Most likely, PlanetSide crashes, ruining your gaming session and probably requiring a reboot. If it does manage to work, or if you can remember to go to the site after you leave the game, you still have a number of hoops to jump through. I’ve tried using the site a number of times, and while I know my way around most web-based application, this one was rife with problems. First it said I needed to register in order to post (after searching around for a way to actually send a message) and then said that my email address was already registered. Honestly, their help site just sucks. I am sure that just because of all the obstacles they have put in the way, their complaints are way down.

Recently, however, there have been a rash of “hackers” in the game. Usually, they are taking advantage of PlanetSide’s inability to handle being run on dual-core processor machines, but there are other hacks (aimbots) out there. And while I will give SOE props for quickly dealing with hackers when they find them, they need to catch them in the act in order to take action. Which means they need to be able to respond right away when people see these hackers. It’s not like an inappropriate name or abuse of a communication channel which can be handled asynchronously. But their new appeal system does not lend itself to being able to alert CSRs to currently occurring problems.

So they’ve come up with a kludge using the “/report” system (which logs the chat text from a particular character). I can’t even describe how ridiculous this is. I’ll just let you read it:

Greetings,

Customer Service (CS) has been working on a way to make it easier for everyone to report hackers until more long term solutions are put into place. CS would like for everyone to utilize the /report function to report those they observe hacking and then CS will monitor the /report command throughout the day.

If you observe a hacker, first use the /tell command to send a tell to yourself to get the text on the screen. /tell yourcharactername hackercharactername is hacking (please use this exact phrase as it enables CS to better find the reports and respond to them quicker).

While this test is still on the screen /report yourself by typing /report yourcharactername. This will send a screenshot of your text screen to CS.

CS Representatives will be monitoring the /report logs throughout the day and will investigate what comes in. Please be patient as we expect to receive several reports. Once you have submitted it the report, you do not need to do it again. Just because they do not see immediate action does not mean that the /report did not work. CS will not be contacting players that sent in the /report and for privacy reasons we will not discuss action taken against the accounts reported.

Here’s an example of how this works:

  • Bill wants to report Bob for hacking.
  • Bill needs to type /tell Bill Bob is hacking.
  • Bill then types /report Bill
  • Bill does not need to do anything else to report the incident.

We appreciate everyone’s assistance with this matter.

Thank you!

(The original post for this is currently at http://psforums.station.sony.com/ps/board/message?board.id=psnews&message.id=4384)

I can’t even begin to describe how…stupid this is. The appeal system as they had it worked fine. They already have ways to get data out of the game (leaderboards, report logs, character data). Why couldn’t they do the same for appeals, if they wanted the information centralized?

Sometimes, I honestly wonder if SOE really wants this game to succeed.

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Wrathchild

Geek. Gamer. Dad. Husband. Beer drinker. Football fan. Blogger.

6 thoughts on “Reporting hackers in PlanetSide – a step backward”

  1. It’s probably cheaper to implement this than the old appeal system. At least they are doing something to get reports faster and make it easier for the player. It is a bit like heating a tina’s burrito (best 59 cent meal going) in the oven instead of the microwave.

    As far as wanting Planetside to succeed they are trying but you need to spend money to make money and they aren’t spending it. Playerbase is low and cost benefit to “fix” everything is simply not there. The game will continue to be supported while it’s making money and resources are available to support it. New items are being developed and released so that will also continue. Perhaps Fodderside will bring in the subscriptions they are looking for after a year or sooner. That may help the situation.

    my 2 cents.

  2. I agree on the appeal; I agree on the hackers. Fodderside is the problem. The last time hacking got out of hand SOE took away the 15 day trial accounts. Fodderside has done good things with regard to population, but not so good with regard to hacking. The hacking battle raged from launch until SOE curbed the trial accounts. Regardless of the coding changes SOE makes, the ultimate solution will be discontinuing Fodderside or at least verifying someone’s identity befor they can sign up.

  3. Before I quit the /appeal processed blew. The new one is a little better, yet leaves something to be desired.

    An interesting idea would be to update the policy agreement. Something that would say that if you’re a jackass and hack us, we reserve the right to find your ISP and rip you out of the internet, set you on fire, stomp on you, and any other disipline we decide…. if you choose to play Planetside.

  4. Ya. This guy is a hacker and has been hacking entire time in server. He admits to it as well. Please ban him asap. # 5 “bp` anthony.ftL” 19 STEAM_0:0:12022676 6 23:59 22 0

  5. Errr…I’m not PlanetSide (or anything else) tech support. You’ll want to talk to them.

    I haven’t played PlanetSide in over a year. I popped in and took advantage of the free days they offered, spent about an hour playing, and decided that I’d made the right choice.

    It’s too bad, because the concept is great and in some ways was often. I think SOE screwed it up.

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