Sonic Runners Might Be Unfairly Banning Users

Sonic_Runners_Team_Heroes

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.

runnersbanned0

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.

segasupport1

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.

segasupport2

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.

runnersbanned6

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.

sonicrunners2

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.

SEGA Resets Sonic 4 Xbox 360 Leaderboards

In the last few hours SEGA has completely reset the Xbox 360 version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1‘s online leaderboards. Announced at the SEGA Forums late yesterday by SEGA of America’s RubyEclipse, the move has been made to clear the huge amount of cheating times/scores, which consisted of impossible 0″00″00 times and 99999990 scores. The downside to this wipe however is that all of the legitimate players times and scores have been removed from the boards too, meaning those players will have to upload all of their records again.

Will this reset help the situation? It appears the answer is no, as already someone has uploaded a 99999990 record to Splash Hill Zone Act 2’s Score Attack leaderboard and taken top place, so it may be only a matter of time before the boards are ruined again. No announcement has been made by SEGA regarding whether the other versions of the game will receive a leaderboard wipe.

Do you think this is the correct way to deal with the leaderboard cheaters? Share your thoughts in the comments.

[Wii & DS Boards Fixed]Sumo Digital and SEGA Fixing ASR Time Trial Cheats/Glitches

UPDATE: After fixing the Wii leaderboards, the DS online leaderboards have now been fixed too. /UPDATE END

You may have heard word about a glitch in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing revealed yesterday that can be abused to rank high on the time trial modes online leaderboards with very short lap times. The glitch is in all 3 home console versions Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii but the Wii version aswell as the DS version also contain times achieved using cheat devices.

Good news is that Sumo Digital and SEGA are aware of the glitchers and cheaters and are hard at work to fix the problems. The Wii version has today had the problem players times removed from the leaderboards and the names of those players filed so if they try to cheat/glitch their way onto the leaderboards again they will be banned.

Here are some statements from Sumo Digital Executive Producer Steve Lycett at the SEGA Forums –

I’m trying to decide, is this a thread bemoaning an exploit, or the Wii online?

I’m taking a look into this now with SEGA, then we’ll decide what to do to address it.

Watch this space


S0L

Link

Whilst you’re busy bashing the Wii – I’ve just cleared all the hacked times and glitch times from the Wii leaderboards

I’ve got a log of the folk doing them too. Don’t make me break out the ban hammer

Just looking into the other platforms now.


S0L

Link

A response from Shadi Wulf –

Yeah =P but how long is that gonna last until people start uploading more glitched times.

Link

Back to Steve Lycett –

“I’ve got a log of the folk doing them too. Don’t make me break out the ban hammer ”

*cough*

As above


S0L

Link

Another post from Steve at the SSMB –

Yeah, I’ve sorted the Wii out, just looking into sorting the others. I don’t want a few people ruining the fun for the majority


S0L

Link

We don’t condone the glitch and cheats so to not encourage people to perform them we aren’t posting the methods of how to perform the glitch or info for the cheats. We’ll let you know if and when the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions get a fix.

In other news, Sumo Digital staffer SumoRex at the SEGA forums has made a comment regarding the upcoming DLC –

Well. It’s impossible to please everyone, with people who love, and others who hate the same content. That was one of the things that made me quit. You can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try.
Anyway, without giving anything away, the stuff you’ll get is nice. IMHO.
I dunno what the price is, but it’s not just an unlock, it represents LOTS of man hours.

Link

Thanks to Starlight Rage Zone at the SEGA Forums for the heads up on SumoRex’s statement.