User:Tennessee Ernie Ford/Rants/Safe software
A lot of GWW contributors spend a lot of effort trying to determine what third-party software is allowed by ANet. They remember that staff have said that it's okay so long as it doesn't give an unfair advantage and then spend hours trying to parse that for a definitive answer. Players who have been banned from the game have, alas, more time to spend worrying about this, but even loyal and trustworthy fans spend oodles of time on this. So, for everyone out there, I have communed with Miss Cleo and can produce the absolutely final word on the subject:
- Don't Panic!
If you honestly care about playing by the rules, you have almost nothing to worry about.
ANet cannot tell us precisely what they allow
Here's the deal: it's not in ANet's interest to draw a clear line between unfair and fair or between allowable and disallowed. Doing so
- Reduces their flexibility and forces them to spend more time reviewing appeals;
- Requires that they constantly update their policies to account for software and strategies outside their control;
- Gives botters and cheaters something to work around;
- Leaves the false impression that any third party tool has their blessing.
However, we can predict their response
We already have all the clues we need to determine how they will react to 90%+ of our concerns.
- It's okay to make things easier to see (e.g. TexMod + Cartography Made Easy) or use custom keyboard shortcuts (e.g. minor macros or controls, esp. for game pads).
- They don't have an issue with running multiple, simultaneous accounts.
- Bots are never okay (e.g. automatic tonic-spamming programs).
- Skipping required steps in the game is never okay (e.g. using Maptraveler to avoid unlocking outposts through quests, missions, or ferries).
And we can predict what to watch out for
We also know that there are special things to look out for:
- 3rd party tools are never supported; you are out of luck if you crash or get suspended or banned.
- If you do use them, be sure you use safe copies: check the checksums and/or download from reliable sites (download.net, sourceforge.net, google.com).
- Don't get wrapped up in comparing two unofficial activities: just because Cartography Made Easy is safe to use doesn't mean that all TexMod plug-ins are okay; just because one DLL-injector doesn't trigger an automatic ban doesn't give protection to those using other such programs.
Don't believe everything you read about bans
A lot of people have posted about their experience getting banned; take those accounts with a grain of salt:
- Not everyone who appeals an unjust ban is innocent.
- Just because someone was banned this week doesn't mean that the ban-triggering event occurred recently.
- People are often mistaken about why they were banned.