Developer Diary - Adjusting our Approach to Multiple Accounts | Star Wars Galaxies Restoration

Developer Diary Adjusting our Approach to Multiple Accounts

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If you've played on a post-live Star Wars Galaxies server before, you've likely encountered some iteration of the same rule: "multiple accounts are not allowed." Whether you're the type of player who likes to have over a dozen accounts or barely had one active account, the number of accounts and characters you have at your disposal has implications across the game world, especially with respect to mobility and the virtual economy. Accordingly, it's the subject of this Developer Diary and the momentum behind upcoming changes to how we handle our multiple account program.

At its core, our multiple account program is designed around the following two priorities:
  1. Protect the integrity of the game world and gameplay experience by mitigating against the exploitive use of multiple accounts to exceed intended character limits; and
  2. Provide a system for households that still allows for families under the same roof with a legitimate reason and purpose for multiple accounts to play together.
Historic solutions to meet these objectives are not without flaws. They are malleable to savvy individuals manipulating the system with requests that misrepresent their needs or malicious actors that attempt to bypass detection mechanisms. Additionally, the management of these systems is historically burdensome on both infrastructure and personnel operating the servers due to the volume of requests and auditing required. Consequently, we are implementing a series of adjustments to the system to both harden the integrity of our multiple account program and provide a more user-friendly self-service experience.

Over the next several weeks, we'll begin to roll out the following new framework for our Multiple Account Program:

This change applies ONLY if you have more than one account in your household. If you are just a single player, nothing about the Multiple Account Program (including SMS verification as described below) is applicable to you.

Multi-Factor Authentication with SMS* - When an account has been approved as part of a household group (meaning we are allowing more than one account to play from the household) all accounts will be required to connect a phone number to their account. This phone number will be sent a text message code every time a login request is made in-game that must be included in the login form. Meaning, every account in a household group will need their own unique phone number capable of receiving text messages, and they will need their phone with them every time they log in to the game.

The system will also use several additional security mechanisms to verify the validity of the phone number attached to an account, including regional positioning and carrier verification among several others. Phone numbers will be hashed and stored similar to how your password is stored and Restoration III will not be able to directly access the phone number attached to your account. If you currently use our app-based two-factor authentication service provided on your account, that won't be a suitable replacement for this new requirement.

The new household group approval process will be entirely automated and will not require a petition to Community Support. A primary account holder will be able to initiate a request via a new webform and 'invite' other accounts into the exemption. Once each account has verified all of the necessary information and phone numbers, the household group exemption will be active. We will share more information on this process and the overall system once it has gone live.

Existing Exemptions - If you have an existing approval for multiple accounts when the new program is activated, you will need to re-complete your request as existing approvals will no longer be valid.

What isn't Changing - We are maintaining our hard limit on a maximum of 4 total accounts per household and our policy on ban reciprocity, which you can read more about in our existing Multiple Account Program Guidelines.

With the changes to our Multiple Account Program, we're also making several other changes to protect the integrity of our services:

Disposable Email Addresses - We will no longer allow the use of disposable email addresses to register accounts. We will verify the domain name and TLD of all email addresses provided by each registrant to ensure it is a legitimate email address. User accounts that are already registered with a disposable email address will be audited and will be required to change their email address if it is found to be a disposable address.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) - We will no longer allow the use of VPNs to connect to the Restoration III Game Servers. This means our Login Server and the Connection Server will reject connections from IP addresses we identify as non-standard (i.e., non-residential) connections.

*Edit for clarification: The term "non-residential" is an example. We generally mean we intend to begin filtering common third-party VPN services which are likely to be used to evade multi-account detection or evade bans. Of course, if you have a specific use case you need to be evaluated, you may contact Community Support.

Privacy Policy
- All users will receive notice over the coming weeks of changes to our Privacy Policy that will become effective prior to our implementation of the changes mentioned in this Developer Diary. Please be on the lookout for a service notification that will describe the changes we're making and how they're relevant to your continued use of our services.

*Consistent with our commitment to equitable access to our services, if you require a telephone call instead of a text message, you will be able to request as such by contacting Community Support.

We recognize there's a lot to comprehend with these changes. From our review, these changes will impact only approximately 20% of our user base directly (and will impact 100% of our community by keeping our services safe and protecting the integrity of our game world). We will have more updates to share as the rollout process of these changes begins over the next several weeks.

May The Force Be WIth You,
The SWG Restoration III Development Team
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