As time wears on, TCGs and collectible card games will opt to develop formats that help regulate the playing field. Take Hearthstone for example, players can either play in Standard (the last two years worth of sets) or Wild (the entire catalog). As one might imagine, Hearthstone‘s Wild format plays host to some pretty busted tech. Unsurprising, as even industry leaders like Magic: The Gathering have trouble balancing the power of older cards with new mechanics as they come to be introduced into the game. But in the case of a card called SN1P-SN4P, it looks as though Blizzard might have systematically banned some players for getting good.
For the uninitiated, SN1P-SN4P is a 3 drop Mech with Echo and Magnetic built in. With the use of just a couple extra cards, one is able to reduce the cost of SN1P-SN4P down to 0; drop the original and get a copy, merge with a mech to combine the power and toughness of the minions, play the copy, merge again, get a new copy, and, well, you get the idea. As one might imagine, such on board shenanigans make SN1P-SN4P a ripe pick for cheaters to use and abuse. The issue in question here though, is due in part to a side-effect of how the card animations impact the turn timer.
It’s called slush, the process by which the game will compensate a player whose turn starts late due to their opponent’s animations running up the clock with extra time of their own. That being said, given the opportunity for slush after a particularly long turn proceeding your own, one could make use of the extra time to pump out a stupefying about of completely legitimately summoned SN1P-SN4P. But when Blizzard’s heuristic analysis deems the APM to be an “abuse of game mechanics,” things get a little weird.
Roughly two days ago, Eddetektor published a Reddit post resulting in some fairly large exposure. In summary, Eddetektor got dealt a ban for abusing aforementioned mechanics, and claimed that it wasn’t him cheating so much as it was an organic side-effect of the combo. Upon appealing the ban, Eddetektor received a pretty cut and dry response confirming that Blizzard would be standing by the ban based on their collected evidence. After detailing the entire ordeal, and after a lot of attention from the community, Blizzard issued a response stating that they’ll be rolling back some of those false positive bans.
We’ve covered similar events here on Too Far Gone in the past, including one case of a misinformation campaign based on the very notion of false positives, but when players are coughing up serious cash to build their collections, cookie cutter responses from customer service teams don’t exactly inspire much faith in the system.
Things worked out for Eddetektor (and presumably others) this time, but the whole debacle has once again shone a light on the on going anti-cheat conversation as well as the role and ability of customer service. “I can’t think how many genuine players were in a similar situation but didn’t have enough luck to receive the fair trial” Eddetektor wrote in his addendum, “I can only hope that incidents like his one encourage Blizzard to treat the appeal process more seriously in the future.”
Alls well that ends well I suppose, until you’re facing down an army of game-breaking abominations. In completely unrelated news, check out this article about PewDiePie fellow gamers.
Image Source: Blizzard Entertainment via Too Far Gone