Alts, Bots, Resource Selling, and Malicious Account Activity

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Overview

Many of you may have encountered instances of malicious account activity - including hacked, duplicate, or commercial accounts, resource sellers, third party software, etc. – at some time during your gameplay. Of all the feedback we’ve received from our player communities, complaints regarding malicious or alternate accounts take the lead as one of the primary concerns you have shared with us. As developers, this also ranks as one of our biggest issues, and we want you to know we are taking it seriously.

Malicious account usage hurts gameplay, disrupts the game balance, and makes it harder for us to provide you with a secure gaming experience based on fair play. Our recent efforts at banning violators have been a direct response to this, and will continue – but first

we’d like to take a moment to tell you more about what we’re doing.

Sharing Your Information

Please be aware that when you share your account login, password, or authentication key with others, you are allowing them - and anyone with whom they choose to give that information to - unlimited access to your gaming account. This can result in actions including, but not limited to: attacks on your allies, dissolution of your clan, unauthorized sending of resources to others, intentional destruction of your troops, inappropriate usage of your messaging feature, etc. The examples go on and on, and we’ve seen them all. Secure your information to avoid letting this happen to you.

What’s the Deal With Resource Sellers?

Resource sellers are for-profit individuals who maintain large numbers of game locations using unauthorized multiple accounts, then sell these resources to players. These individuals make money in two ways – by direct profits from sales, and by turning around and selling your information. The practice is a violation of our Terms of Service, disruptive to the game, and illegal.

Unfortunately, this practice continues because of supply and demand. Some players want resources, and don’t care how they get them. We are focusing our immediate development goals on providing legitimate alternatives to eliminate the black market for this practice, and improve resource balance issues by focusing on the following problem areas:

- Lack of credits/rations issues;

- Problems sustaining large armies;

- Other improvements to benefit Clan/Team gameplay and ease resource load on team features;

- Considering a flexible approach to new pricing rates.

How Abuse Hurts the Development

The usage of third party software and resource purchasing makes it impossible for us to calculate an accurate game balance. This impacts everything from pricing to the artifacts we include, trade limits, and more. When making normally simple adjustments to the game, we have to factor in the comparative advantage a given decision will give to cheaters. For example, we have been asked repeatedly to increase mine production rates, but we can’t double the production for all players without giving cheating players a disproportionately greater advantage in the game, losing revenue, or altering transaction limits.

What We Are Doing About It

We are constantly monitoring your feedback and implementing your ideas to improve our projects. In the last year alone we implemented over 2,000 updates to increase the stability and security of our servers, and enhance the games with new events and features.

Over the past several months, we’ve implemented various to measures to rid the game of malicious account usage, phishing, resource re-sellers, and alternate accounts, and are constantly searching for new and more effective measures to make

our game environments safer. We understand that these measures are not always pleasant for anyone involved, and the decision to implement them isn’t easy. They are tedious, inconvenient, time-consuming, and disruptive – but unfortunately are necessary to maintain the health of the game. It needs to be done, and we’re doing it.

We can’t do it alone. You, the player community, continue to be instrumental in helping us identify and combat violators and malicious software by reporting suspicious activity and documenting new attempts to “game” the system, and we appreciate your continued support in working to better our games for everyone.

Should I Use Malicious Software or Account Services?

For those of you who are still employing these methods, you are hurting the game and your community. If you are considering using these methods yourself, know that by using third party software or sharing your information in an attempt to manipulate the game engine to your advantage, you not only run the risk losing everything you’ve built, developed, and invested in over months of gameplay – but you also open yourself to theft of your personal information and manipulation of your accounts. You’ll also be a terrible person, and no one will like you. Don’t be that guy.

I Haven’t Done Anything, Why Has My Account Been Blocked?

Evil robots! Account banning is done automatically by means of a constantly evolving proprietary algorithm or “bot”. It analyzes a range of variables (patterns of resource trading, IP access points, etc.) to identify possible violators. This often results in situations where compliant accounts get falsely identified. We sincerely apologize if this has happened to you, and ask for your patience and understanding as we get you back into the game.

Isn’t Banning so Many Accounts Unfair?

Not when the accounts are unauthorized alternates or are created with false information, as outlined in both our Terms of Service and those of our partnered social networks, no. Unfortunately, compliant accounts often get swept up in the process. The majority of our players follow the rules, play fair, and treat their fellow community members and the game environment with respect – and when those players are accidentally targeted when we’re forced to implement mass banning practices, it’s grossly unfair, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

We are trying hard to minimize and resolve these cases as quickly and effectively as possible, and are always open to rational suggestions and constructive feedback on how to mitigate the unintended consequences of mass banning.

What Do I Do if I’ve Been Blocked?

Please keep in mind that if your main account got blocked, or if you were using alternate accounts and wish to apply for amnesty and proceed with playing, you can read the following article:

http://bit.ly/BotCheck

Please follow the indicated instructions carefully. Upon completion, Plarium shall perform the steps required for removing your account ban.

Why is it Taking So Long to Get Me Back into the Game?

Please understand that as we review each request to re-join our games, we are being extraordinarily thorough and careful in the hopes of not having to repeat this process again. We are methodically purging bots, third party software, alternate accounts, the selling/buying of resources via third parties, and the people who employ these practices from our community; permanently and with extreme prejudice. Anyone in violation of our TOS is out, and we hope to emerge with a cleaner, healthier, faster, fairer gaming environment.

What does Plarium do with any confirmation data or images I send during the confirmation process?

If you choose to voluntarily share information with us to expedite confirmation of your identity, we assure that we will ONLY use your information for that purpose, and do not keep records of your images, personal information, or any data collected through direct contact with our community support team. We also do not share your information with any third parties. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on how we handle your personal data.

The Last Word

Striking the right balance between securing the game and minimizing the inconvenience to you, the player, is a difficult, ongoing process. We are always open to your suggestions and feedback as to how to make it better, and promise to stand by to support you as we implement these policies.

We’ve had to make some tough calls, but are confident that in the end they will result in a much better gaming experience. Keeping our social strategy games and communities strong, active, safe, and engaging (some well into their third year) requires us to sometimes make some unpopular decisions in order to maintain and curate them. We stand by them.

We also know that these games are as much yours as they are ours. We know how important they are to you, and that over the years many of you have used them to form friendships, bond with loved ones, and pit your skills against strangers from around the world. We are committed to carrying on this legacy moving forward and developing our games for many years to come.

Please know that the people behind these games care deeply – they’re not just games to us, but our passion, our calling, and our livelihoods. We pledge to continue listening our partners (that’s you), and do everything in our power to give you the best experience and service in the industry.

This has been, and continues to be, a group effort between us and all of you, and we are sincerely grateful for your ongoing support over the years.


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