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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.