Not Implemented - Banning Players for being AFK - It's a bad idea | Star Wars Galaxies Restoration

Not Implemented Banning Players for being AFK - It's a bad idea

This idea/suggestion has been flagged as Not Implemented because of a lack of popularity, lack of interest, lack of feasibility, or other determination by the Development Team, so the suggestion will not be implemented. Once a suggestion has been flagged this way, the decision is final. Although the issue may be raised again in the future after a six month cooldown. A response explanation from the Development Team can be found in the thread.
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Proposal
Do not ban players for AFKing
Justification
The dev teams inability to correctly implement literally anything with a semblance of competence should be proof enough that you guys will mess this up and inadvertently ban innumerous innocent players
Motivation
Banning players for executing a critical part of the game is a colossally stupid idea
What a day in Resto 3 history.

Banning players for AFK play? I would have honestly thought this was a fever dream had I not seen a developer diary on the subject.

I will now cover my Player-Voice concerns on why I think the heavy-handed approach for banning players for AFK play is a colossally bad idea.

Perhaps this story begins with the idea that SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) never intended for the game to have macro'd AFK play. This of course was buffeted by the selective use of former SOE developer comments on the matter:

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These are again cherry picked comments from the former SOE team about macroing. However, years of SWG Emulator play has taught the community the benefit and necessity of AFK macro'd gameplay within the SWG environment. There are dozens, if not hundreds of guides on how and when to macro certain aspects of the game that we know and love. One of many examples is the SWG macro wiki page:


The macro system within SWG was built for purpose: Many mechanics within the game were tedious and time consuming. Namely, the mechanics that the Restoration staff wish to abolish. However, the Restoration team has thus far failed to incorporate the necessary replacement mechanics to justify abolishing AFK gameplay. To begin we will list a few that require AFK play to be viable:

We will start by discussing the mechanics in order of gameplay importance: (Note: All of the following mechanics are assumed to be played "AFK" by the majority of the community. Any player that does enjoy these activities At The Keyboard (ATK) should read no further, and seek active mental help.)

Junk loot:

Looting many (thousands) pieces of junk loot is currently necessary to reverse engineer (craft) weapon, armor and clothing attachments. Killing and looting by hand the many thousands of mobs required is not only tedious, but a near impossible task to do by hand and still be solvent when crafting said components. Please refer to the RE guide for further questions: https://swglegends.com/wiki/index.php?title=Skill_enhancing_attachment

Hand Sampling:

Resource sampling by hand has been apart of SWG gameplay since the beginning of the first beta server (Bria) and most likely will continue until the games end. It is a way for a simple crafter to gather a modest amount of resources to begin their crafting reign on a particular trade. Not only that, but it is an essential part of the server building experience as gathering resources by any other means is not possible without first gathering them by hand. This may seem like a non issue to some, however if a new player were to start on Restoration tomorrow with the grand aspect of becoming a server renown crafter, they would first have to start by hand sampling. However, they would soon find themselves banned as this widely practiced activity is now faux pas on the Restoration server. Further discussion can be had on rare/difficult to gather resources on impossibly placed harvestor planets, but that is a balance discussion and not an AFK discussion.

Entertainer Experience:

Hey gang, lets grind an Ent! Everyone come watch me in the cantina! (Said no SWG player ever)
Grinding out the required experience for a master entertainer (Mdancer/Mmusic) is a laborious task to say the least. Factor in the aspect of not being allowed to AFK? Yikes, what an endeavor. Even with the modified experience gain of Restoration, grinding the prerequisite skills of a master entertainer is a mindless task to say the least. The least of which should require At the Keyboard play.

Collecting Loot:

What little productive "end game" loot if any there is to be gained on this server would best be accomplished AFK. The high end loot of yesteryear: Krayt tissues, Acaklay bones, Gorax shards etc... are of little to no use on this server. (That will be a topic for yet another needless player voice that should have been addressed in house another time.) However, one thing that does or rather could need collecting are the requisite loot for Collection items. The Restoration server was built around NGE combat/loot mechanics. Many of these mechanics are designed in such a way that mobs were meant to be killed quickly, and in vast numbers. Not only that, but the respawn time on many if not all mobs was much faster during an NGE environment. Meaning, that the very low likelihood of looting a rare item was greater given the fact that you could kill many mobs faster than what is currently possibly on the CU variant of the game. Thus, killing these mobs in endless fashion has become a mindless task, fit for an AFK macro.

Early Game Leveling

Yikes, what a prospect of leveling AFK during the CU. Group experience was and is the champion of gaining experience during the Combat Upgrade. However, given the vastly diminished population of the Restoration server, many players have taken to AFK grinding low end mobs outside of NPC cities in order to gain their first few skill boxes. This is of course common practice over the dozens of SWG emulator servers that have existed over the years. Taking this seemingly harmless task away from players, and potentially banning them for the practice speaks volumes to the gameplay ignorance of the staff, and their experience of the player-base.



This concludes my list of obvious use cases for AFK play, though I am sure there are many others that I have yet to mention.

I will now begin showing the obvious distaste for such heavy handed actions taken toward the community:


Feel free to scroll through at your leisure. I will not post specifics as players are often heated/speak out of turn when confronted with such game changing dynamics.

In closing I would like to say that I for one agree with and support anti-AFK systems within the SWG environment: PROVIDED there are ample opportunities for the player base to excel without the need for AFK mechanics. The Restoration team has thus far provided NO solutions to circumvent AFK play, and therefore deserves no community support for these heavy-handed measures.

Lastly, I would be remised if I didn't mention a solution: simply disconnecting players for AFK play would achieve a 90%+ solution to your perceived problem of over AFK utilization. Banning players for a mechanic that many if not all have participated in during the last 10 years of emulator play is the worst possible way to achieve community support I have ever seen.

Yours,

A concerned Player
 
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Aconite

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Thanks for your suggestion. The Development Team evaluated our current course of changes with respect to unattended gameplay for several months and we are currently not considering an adjustment to either our unattended gameplay rules or how we will respond to violations. If you have separate suggestions for how to improve other aspects of gameplay given these adjustments to the unattended play rules, you are welcome to create separate PlayerVoice suggestions about them.

With that, we will close this thread but we are including a few comments to your points:

Banning players for AFK play?
In order to get an infraction, you need to be doing something on your character that will trigger an ATK check, which will happen at least 90 minutes after continuous activity in the game. That's 90 minutes of your character potentially being AFK before the system is even looking at you to see if you're still around when you can AFK and do things like alt-tab to another character, go take your dog for a walk, etc.

So you get a popup and answer a simple math problem, or maybe you miss it. Then you have another chance within 15 minutes to try again. In total, the system has spent 120 seconds of time trying to make sure you're at the keyboard. If you aren't at the keyboard, you get disconnected and get a 1 point infraction that expires in 6 months.

To even get the lowest level of suspension, you need 5 points of infractions. This means connecting for 5 separate times, knowingly playing AFK and not disconnecting your character, ignoring the last 4 infractions you got, and failing the check twice each time. That's plenty of opportunities to redress your behavior before getting a 3-day suspension. To get yourself permanently banned, you'd have to fail the check (twice) 30 times in 6 months. If you haven't learned by then, the system is doing its job.

We are drawing a line in the sand with this. It is a rule. If you break the rules, just like any other rule, disciplinary action is taken against your account that can lead to suspensions or a permanent ban. If you don't want that to happen, don't break the rules.

that require AFK play to be viable
Nothing requires AFK play to be viable. You're making a choice. Our position is simple: If you want the perks of rewards that come from playing the game, you need to actually be playing it. Not out grocery shopping while your character levels. Not gathering resources for 7 hours while you're away at work. Etc.

Also, you haven't been able to loot a collection or rare loot item while AFK for almost two months now.

simply disconnecting players for AFK play would achieve a 90%+ solution to your perceived problem of over AFK utilization
As already mentioned in the Developer Diary, it takes about 10 minutes to script an automation program to reconnect your character after they're disconnected, which renders this option ineffective without secondary disincentivizing action.
 
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