Sonic Runners Might Be Unfairly Banning Users

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It’s been no secret that Sonic Runners isn’t afraid to swing the ban hammer, one of the earliest exploits from the soft launch resulted in many early players finding themselves locked out of the game for discovering that they could effectively get an infinite wisp power for an entire run.

But in the last week, even legitimate players have found themselves victim of the ban hammer, in the last 7 days, we have received a very high number of reports from Sonic Runners players who claim they have been effectively banned from the game or had major restrictions placed on their accounts, the reason according to Sega is that they detected ‘irregularities’ in their accounts which violated the terms of service.

This is despite the fact that they claim to have never cheated or used any other exploits in order to gain an unfair advantage in the game. When users dispute this with Sega, Sega’s response is either completely vague, non existent, or in some cases suggests that the reps they are speaking with have absolutely no knowledge of the game and are in fact making up their replies to get rid of the customer and their complaint.

How are Sega Banning Players?

Previously, Sega were just banning players, there was no ‘well you can still access this…’ banned meant banned, the most memorable case of mass bans was from an early exploit which allowed users to get a near unlimited wisp power up.

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People who abused this exploit found this message when trying to access the game. But sine the worldwide launch, this seems to have changed.

How Are Sega ‘Banning’ Users Now?

Sega are now moving users who break the TOS onto a ‘cheaters server,’ think of it like the ‘bad sport’ servers that RockStar use for GTA V or the ‘cheaters servers’ for Max Payne 3, you can still play the game, but you have to compete with other people who have also cheated in some way, this could be by using save file exploits/hacks, or a shippable bug/exploit which has come about in an update.

The problem is that being in this server/group also cuts you out of getting weekly ranking rewards and may also restrict future special events/rewards. You’re effectively banned from accessing rewards for legitimate play, but you can still play the game, and yes you can still spend real world money.

Why Are Fans So Angry/Upset At Sega’s Support?

Let’s start with the most unbelievable part of all this, Sega’s own support team apparent lack of even the most basic knowledge of the game, to the point where you have to question if the staff are in some cases making up advice to customers asking for help.

This is the support ticket that one user sent to help.sega.net.

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Seems reasonable and easy to understand right? The game is clearly listed, details of the device and operating system are present. The problem is also clearly listed, it shouldn’t require in-depth knowledge of the game to answer this question.

So how did Sega reply to his problem? With this.

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Lets just put aside the ‘did this person really cheat’ question for now. Let’s just look at what Sega said. “After cheating has been discovered, they will not be able to participate in […] joining or creating a guild.”

I am at a loss as to how someone can make that mistake, especially given that position that they work in, you don’t even have to play Sonic Runners, just start it up and get to the main menu to see that you can’t join, or create, or participate in a guild…

Because Sonic Runners doesn’t have guilds.

The second issue here is that Sega offered no details as to what this person allegedly did, they just said ‘our system said you cheated, the restrictions will not be reversed.’ So even if this person did cheat or use an exploit, they have no means to inform anyone else exactly what is or isn’t allowed.

 

Now, this is just one persons claim, they might be making it up or trying to claim innocence right? Well… that might be the case, however it’s a lot harder to dismiss this case.

Twitter user StarlightAurora claims to prefer Power Characters, so following the release of new Halloween companions they tweeted their entire experience of playing Sonic Runners using a new combination of companions with characters who boost enemy kill scores, including the moment when Sega auto banned them from the game. 

After filling a support ticket with Sega, this was Sega’s reply.

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There’s that phrase again, irregularities in the account. No details as to exactly what this user did, no details as to what part of the TOS they broke, absolutely no useful information, despite their system being able to tell that they did break the TOS.

These are all screenshots from players who claim to have been banned from Sonic Runners, despite never having cheated or using any kind of exploit in the game. All of these have come from the last few days.

Why Are People Being Banned?

Based on the reports that users are posting on our own forums, twitter and various other social media outlets. Sonic Runners appears to have in place some kind of auto ban function, when a user obtains a high score, unsure if it’s within a specific period of time, or if there is a so called ‘magic number’ which when hit results in the user being banned.

But every report made so far indicates that the users obtained a super high score or a huge personal best which resulted in a ban from the main game, they now have to play with users who have cheated in some way.

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How Is This Happening?

At the moment, nobody can say for sure, but some people are pointing the finger at Sega’s own events.

Currently there is a Halloween event taking place and one of the companion rewards ‘King Boom Boo’ is apparently very broken, especially when paired up with a power character who offers an enemy destruction bonus, like Halloween Omega.

For example, before Halloween, a good player might be able to hit the 1 million point mark by the time they reached the first Eggman boss fight. Following the Halloween Event, due to the nature of the new Halloween Companions bonuses, it’s possible for a novice player to get over 3 million points in the first 3 seconds of the game. You can imagine how much an expert player can get in a 30min long game.

But the madness doesn’t end there. On top of this, there is/has been a 2X ring event, so scores are going even higher and with new characters/companions who boost ring scores, they too are falling victim to the ban hammer.

The problem here according to some long term Sonic Runners players, is that the new companions are so badly balanced, combined with the new character bonuses, that they’re obtaining mega high bonuses/huge amount of points in a short period of time, that the game things they are cheating and as a result they are being put into the cheaters server and are restricted from reviving weekly rewards from their rightful ranking board.

Despite claiming that they have never cheated or broken the TOS in any way.

How Can You Prevent an ‘Unfair Ban?’

With Sega’s support offering no help or even any indication as to what exactly players have done to break the TOS, many users who have found themselves in the cheaters server are advising other users not to use any new companions or characters, some are going as far to deliberately keep their scores below 10 million which seems to be a safer means to play the game long term.

However the key here is Sega, they need to be a lot more open with exactly what is going on in Sonic Runners and be much more open with how players have apparently broken the TOS because right now many players are baffled as to what it is they did wrong.

We’ll keep you upto date with any new information as and when we get it.

Dare I ask if anyone reading this has found themselves victim of the Runners ban hammer? Let us know in the comments.

34 Comments

  1. Speaking about Sonic Runners, Thanks to one of their updates, It wiped my data when i updated and this has been a month now of me not playing it because am still waiting for them to fix my save. Just annoyed that happened so much time and effort I put into that game.

    1. Good start, but keep in mind that as brilliant as Webber is, he doesn’t run the development side of Runners and thus cannot impose major changes. The best he can do is ask his fellow employees what the heck is going on, tell them that the fans are upset, and advising that they try to figure out a solution. Heck, I’m not even sure if he can look at the TOS which determines what behaviors qualify as “irregular.” If Sonic Team decides to keep this unfair autoban system and/or not explain to people why they were banned, then there unfortunately isn’t much Webber can do about it.

      TL,DR: Take that tweet with a grain of salt. I’d class this as neutral news rather than good news as it really doesn’t indicate if a fix is on the horizon.

  2. Well I have a good idea on how to prevent this sort of thing; stop playing this worthless game, point all middle extremeties towards SEGA and just play Jetpack Joyride instead.

  3. i dont know whats the problem for the banned support ok you know sonic fans have nothing to do with this situation there victims besides the game has some function problems and they have some other problems with the people going in there accounts on sonic runners ok SEGA need to be careful with there business on making this game more accurate but still i was thinking if SEGA fix this issue on this game or maybe get other people to get unbanned in this game from there mistakes then SEGA will be good for a while on making future Sonic The Hedgehog titles.

    here is another thing if this game that people played it will get a corrupt error message on there phone and people have to delete there data in sonic runners yeah sometimes i really hate that it happens in some other games. no nothing can be solve on fixing it with out deleting everything that you work so hard on it for a few years sometimes it mess people up is anything way to solve this instead on deleting data? i just want to know if anyone can solve it.

    1. Still with the no-punctuation there, I see.

      Seriously, I can’t read that comment without the punctuation.

      1. i know right SEGA needs to be careful on spending less money on this game and see if the function of the games will work normally because this game has some huge issues for the past few months.

  4. I’m one of the banned users. Extremely upsetting. Thanks for making an article on it, I really hope something is done about this soon.

  5. Just a quick thing I noticed. That final screenshot of “Banned” servers (the one with the player named “Aaron” who has an Amy icon) is an example of the NON-BANNED servers.

  6. Hey guys, Darkpr0 here. I was at the top of the Runners leaderboards, and I can see my screenshot was indeed used. I was the dude who had the 666 million run, and this just pretty much happened out of nowhere. No contact, no notification, just parts of the game started acting strange. Not impressed by this move on Sega’s part, particularly because I have streamed the majority of my high score runs. What’s even scarier is that, at this point, it’s so ridiculously easy to survive for quite long periods of time and get very high scores. It takes practice and skill, but really many of the top Runners were mercy killing their runs after several hours having decided that we didn’t feel like playing for 10 hours at a stint, though we were capable of doing so. At this point I am putting Runners down even though I can still play it, which is a shame because it really is one of the nicest Sonic games to play that has come out in a while despite the obvious hardware issues for some devices. Good luck Running, though obviously not too much luck lest you end up being a cheater because high scores.

  7. Lando – Hey Sonic Team! Our arrangement didn’t include lowering the red ring rewards after worldwide launch. The odds of getting new characters through this stupid gambling system is hard enough as it is without you giving less red rings out!

    Sonic Team – I have altered the game. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

    Lando – This game is getting worse all the time. And now I lost a 50 ring spin due to connection issues!! Why can’t you get me a refund?!

    Sonic Team – I have altered the game. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

    Lando – This game is getting worse all the time! Wait a minute!! Why did you ban me?!! I did nothing wrong!

    Sonic Team – Your score was way too high. You must have been cheating.

    Lando – I didn’t cheat at all! Your new Chaos make getting higher scores way easier. Lot’s of people are getting scores like mine. Unban me!

    Sonic Team – I have altered the game. Pray I don-

    Lando – @#$% YOU MAN!! I’m gonna go play Sonic Dash 2 instead.

    Seriously though, stop the abuse and stop playing this POS gambling machine that calls itself a game. I’ve never had a Sonic Team game make me more angry than this one.

  8. Yep. Defiantly downloading Sonic Dash 2. On another note, which is a bigger technical mess: Sonic 06, Sonic Boom RoL, or Sonic Runners.

    1. Definetly Sonic ’06 and Runners. The Programers of ROL knew what they were doing. (Too bad mostly everyone else in ROL didn’t)

  9. Funny thing, Phantasy Star Crew had exact same issue with Magatsu boss fight 8 months ago. Players created organized groups that stacked a ton of conditional multipliers so they could finish a fight in under 1 minute while regular groups either took 20 minutes or couldn’t finish at all.

    Then they announced fixes (nerfs) for certain mechanics. A month passes, balance changes still didn’t happen, but they pull out “We’re going to ban everyone who uses this combo” card. And so they banned everyone who finished the boss in under 8 minutes, including legit players.

    In the end they acknowledged that they were stupid, tweaked balance a bit and started making bosses that are not so easily abusable.

    My point is: PSCrew is as much an inhouse SEGA studio as Sonic Team, except with far smaller lifetime and game design experience. Many of their peope came out from Sonic Team, actually. What prevented them from communicating, sharing experience, any damn thing? Why does this happen again? Heck, why does it happen at all…

  10. Every time I consider downloading Runners, something comes up that take away all my desire for it.

    I know the core gameplay is good and all, and it is really capable of being a good game, but if it is going to pull stuff like this, I simply cannot support it.

  11. just the fact this ban exists makes me afraid to try and get a highscore in Sonic Runners or Boom Dash (even though Hardlight seem fine with this – they were even congratulating people in their livestream).

    1. I think you’re getting a bit paranoid here. You getting a high score does not guarantee that you’ll be affected by the autoban system. With Runners, you should simply avoid using any new characters as they are rather unbalanced and thus make it easy to get in the high scores. The upper limit seems to be 10,000,000, so be sure to stop your game should you get around that point. ‘Course, if you have to stop your game because you’re too good, that may not make the game worth playing…

      Since Hardlight is a completely different developer from Sonic Team which hasn’t had this problem at all in the past, I doubt you’ll have an issue with Dash 2 or any of their other titles. Well, unless you hack or abuse an exploit/glitch/etc., though I highly doubt you plan on doing either of those.

      1. due to the stupid roulette, iv gotten no new characters at all – still using Tails.
        im not paranoid, iv stopped playing Runners because… lag, unstability…

    2. true but SEGA will investigate this issue on solving this predicament in the game but im not saying this game is bad im saying that this game has a strong feeling on making it a good sonic game.

  12. … I WAS kind of feeling bad that I deleted Sonic Runners from my phone. I saw all these events and wondered how cool it’d be.

    No. No, it’s not cool. I can’t play this.

    1. it’s a free game, you can always just download it again and delete it again whenever you want, I don’t get the problem

      1. Well, since I have deleted it, I’ve probably lost all the characters I got that I can’t get ever again… and the problem with downloading it is that it creates event files that never leave your device, in which case it ends up taking a ton of space.

  13. Wait, so how exactly can I confirm if I’ve been banned? I haven’t played he game in a while, and I’m kinda afraid to until this gets ironed out.

  14. Umm yeah and you had a really perverted name for a character. How about they ban themselves? LOL! OK yeah it was a real retarded typo, but I mean c’mon… LOL!

    1. You need to be more sensitive to poor King Boom Boob. Dude was teased all the time in high school because of Sonic Team’s inability to spell words properly.

      Ok, but in all seriousness– why Sonic Team? Why didn’t you spellcheck this stuff first? With all the typos, grammar issues, Japanese letters in English version, etc., I’m convinced Sonic Team is just using Google Translate then modifying the results as needed.

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