tera

Pretty much every MMO has something in its Terms of Service (ToS) banning third-party add-ons. Modifying the game code is a big no-no, especially when it’s used for malicious purposes or to gain an advantage in the game. Whether or not the developer enforces the ToS or permits innocuous things, like DPS meters, is another matter.

TERA was one game that let things slide for years. All that ended last Wednesday, April 26, when players were informed that users of third-party tools and apps would be banned — permanently. The brief post with a clickbait-esque title was shortly followed up with a longer post on the 27th explaining En Masse Entertainment’s reasoning behind the sudden shift in policy. That post included a Fight Club-style warning that players shouldn’t discuss the topic of third-party tools on the forums.

On the 28th, players were told they could discuss the topic of third-party tools on the forums. That post and its comments have currently reached 27 pages in length. Many of the responses cite TERA’s lack of options (like FOV) and poor optimization as their reasoning for creating and using third-party programs.

As usual, both sides have some ground to stand on. Malicious third-party programs might be able to piggyback on seemingly innocuous ones, so it makes sense that EME should seek to take a stand. That’s something EME has every right to enforce as it sees fit. And some players undoubtedly were using such tools to cheat.

However, the hamfisted approach, while expedient, probably hit many players who weren’t doing anything “wrong,” at least in the casual sense, even if they were technically violating the ToS. The method of communication also did EME no favors. While the company is legally “in the right” in banning players who are violating the ToS, it should have been obvious that a serious backlash would result from doing so with zero warning. The flippant nature of the post informing players of this didn’t help.

In fact, the communication policy in general can be summed up like this:

Before April 25: Everything is fine. Do whatever you want.
April 26: We have banned a lot of you. Deal with it.
April 27: You’re not just dealing with it? OK, here’s why we banned a lot of you. Don’t talk about it.
April 28: OK, fine, let’s talk about it.

It wasn’t going to be a popular move in any case, but taking the time to fully explain the new — or the “always in place but we didn’t do anything about it” — policy and listen to players’ concerns, or at least give them some time to expunge third-party programs from their systems, would have been a better approach. Instead, what was probably a decision from a distant executive and a note that a community manager scribbled out over a lunch break has turned into a far bigger mess than it would have been if the people in charge would have treated their customers like people rather than criminals.

UPDATE (5/4): En Masse Entertainment has responded to the questions we sent over yesterday. We’re still determining exactly who it was at En Masse who responded; in the meantime, here’s the Q&A:

MMOBomb: After five years in North America, why was the decision made now to restrict third-party applications?

EME: The use of third-party applications has always been a violation of the Terms of Use for TERA. Recently, we detected that some players were using third-party applications in ways that unbalanced the game economy, which had a detrimental effect on the game experience for other TERA players. Over the past few months, these behaviors by a small percentage of players were increasing in frequency and in scale, so we decided to ban these players.

MMOBomb: While some players undoubtedly use these programs to exploit the game, several use them for innocuous purposes, such as for DPS meters. Was there any consideration given to the response these bannings would have on these players?

EME: Absolutely. In this specific case we only banned players we knew to be using software that exploited the game and had a negative impact on other players. While many third-party programs are seemingly innocuous, they can still have a detrimental effect on the player community. We maintain the stance that use of these programs is still a violation of the TERA Terms of Use, and we reserve the right to take action if we feel they are having a negative effect on the game experience for our players.

MMOBomb: Is there any recourse for players to appeal their bans?

EME: Any player who is banned for any reason is always able to submit a support ticket requesting a review, or send a note to community@enmasse.com looking to plead their case. We haven’t received any requests to date for the players that were banned, and if they were to provide evidence that we were mistaken in our analysis of their behavior, we would of course be willing to look at reversing their bans.

MMOBomb: Can you tell us roughly how many players were impacted by this wave of bans?

EME: Less than a dozen individuals overall were directly hit with this ban.

MMOBomb: Do you have plans to implement any of the functionality in the official game that players were using the third-party programs for? If not, could there be a way to have “approved” apps created by third parties that wouldn’t result in a ban?

EME: We are constantly listening to player feedback in order to find ways to improve TERA. We do recognize that some of these programs are designed as workarounds for quality of life improvements to the game. Unfortunately, even seemingly innocuous third party programs can open the game up to exploits and have negative effect on our community. We maintain the stance that the use of such programs is a violation of the TERA Terms of Use and we reserve the right to take action if we feel they are having a negative effect on the game experience for our players.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

24 Readers Commented

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  1. Ven on May 10, 2017

    Honestly, TERA”s community is super super unfriendly for the most part. I remember being a founder before it went free-to-play. Honestly, as someone who has played for years,there has been no need for me to use any sort of third party add-ons for any quality of life things. People are getting a cork too far up their butt as always in the community.

  2. Jason Winter Author on May 8, 2017

    Hey guys,

    Just so you all know, we’re getting more information from various players about everything that’s going on here and plan to post a follow-up article later this week. Thanks a lot for all your help! If you have any verifiable information to add (ie, not just “f u EME” comments), please send it to contact@mmobomb.com

  3. Ritzz on May 5, 2017

    I love how honest coders were very transparent even using their own character names publicly on accounts worth thousands of dollars and untold personal value, and the very transparency and respect for the game they showed is answered with bans, while malicious exploiters weren’t even touched in any real capacity, and were back in the game the same day (lol hardware ID). Exploits not even fixed.

    “Unfortunately, even seemingly innocuous third party programs can open the game up to exploits and have negative effect on our community.”

    No, the awful security and fuccboi encryption BHS uses opened the game up to exploits. Fuccboi Sean Gibbons is suffering a complete disconnect from reality and most of his attempts at PR consist of rambling nonsense, Wikipedia half knowledge, and straight up lying. No one appealed? Really?

    These bans/exploits will just continue because it’s clear EME just wants the cash shop gears to keep turning and doesn’t give a shit about the players. Notice dungeon exploits were allowed to go on for ages but when the real money systems got poked that shit got shut down posthaste.

    Their flippant slap in the face of players working hard to try and improve the game for serious players, (be it skill response in further regions or damage meters, while Blue Hole is pushing lazy band-aid fixes for glaring security issues) and EME’s half-assed responses and forum censorship and even shadowbans gives me zero faith for the future of any title handled by EME.

    What was once a vibrant action mmo has become a cesspool of lolicon nude mods going unaddressed and ignored in the face of insta-bans for dps meters, I cant wait for better business bureau to process my application for review, including but not limited to online gambling boxes directed at CHILDREN ages 13 and up, and costumes created and sold that sexualize minors including thongs and underwear complete with camel toe (not a mod).

    “Their physical appearance reflected the youngest daughter of Arun’s naïve desire for beauty and peace”

    http://i.imgur.com/PdbL35a.png (also not a mod available in game for anyone 13 or older. the mods are much worse)

    I think we know where EME’s priorities lie, and it’s deep down in the wallets of pedophiles.

  4. Urgot on May 5, 2017

    NA Tera is dead… Highest populated city reduced by 50% people. Many players changed to EU.
    EU has anniversary Events and earlier Patches. EU might be p2w but NA is that either since u can buy emp and sell for gold. Thats like buying gold and then they buy p2w gear. So atm there is nothing holding the community to NA. Many players just stay here because they cant transfer their account to EU otherwise NA Tera would alrdy be shutdown. If u read that, dont get me wrong, tera is a good game just EME on NA is not good. Just start on Gameforge if u want to play Tera, i rlly cant recommend NA anymore. At least EU has some connection to the community…

  5. Ashirogi98 on May 5, 2017

    And Spacecat lie again :3 gj mEME when you decided kick to spacecat this game will be great again 😀

  6. Curst on May 5, 2017

    Sounds like people are mad because they got caught, which only makes them look even more guilty. It doesn’t matter that publishers weren’t taking serious actions for years and it doesn’t make them wrong in taking said actions now. It shouldn’t even matter why they’ve suddenly decided to punish the offenders.

  7. Dragonic on May 5, 2017

    Come on EME, lying doesn’t make your company look any better. Jesus, you guys stooped really low having to lie this much after silencing more than 80% of the dedicated community.
    1) After 6 months the servers are still lagging.
    2) Silencing the community and making up lies now.
    3) Never fixed the problems yourself, which is why people had to come to these extends and develop these things (Which were not even considered dangerous/cheating).
    4) Instead of talking it out or hiring developers that seem to be even better then the ones working at your company, you just banned them and made up even more lies.

    EME was decent till 2015, after 2015 it just became a shithole. Gameforge > EME
    EME is like having a golddigging girlfriend, give them your money and they pretend to care only for you to find out you have been shit on.

  8. CrySomeMoreCheaters on May 5, 2017

    Whitehat developers don’t sell programs and say the money is for art they did because deep down they know what they’re doing is wrong. Also you have no f* clue about anything and speak out of your ass quite frequently. Grow up. Move on.

  9. Steve on May 5, 2017

    Meh

  10. Bern on May 4, 2017

    As one of the lead whitehat community developers I can tell you that EME response here is a complete lie. Not only did they close all communication channels to discuss this issue from the get-go and nuked the forums, nobody was “exploiting” or tampering with the economy on any way.

    The vast majority of the endgame community is completely disgusted by EME. To list some of the lies here:
    1. Nobody played with the economy and no exploits were being distributed.
    2. These third party tweaks improved gaming experience, nobody was harmed as a result of other people using them.
    3. Many people had already tried to appeal their bans, including myself on day 1. EME had not responded to any of us.
    4. They do not and had not listened to player feedback since beta. Most of the complaints in beta are the same complaints now.

    • Anon on May 5, 2017

      Where’s the upvote button?

  11. AnotherTeraPlayer on May 4, 2017

    TrueTera ++++++++++++

  12. deadass on May 4, 2017

    yo deadass this is fucc’d!!!!

  13. Anonymous on May 4, 2017

    EME straight up lied about no developers having appealed their bans or trying to reach out for contact post ban and this is worth adding to the article.

  14. Global on May 4, 2017

    Nurse: Doctor, X-rays reveal the patient has a tumor, what should we do? Dr. EME: Kill the patient.

  15. Arinto on May 4, 2017

    @Updated article. Don’t believe EME’s lies. They’ve been feeding players the same “we’ll look into” bullshit for years regarding the problems that the community had to step up and fix.

  16. JamesB on May 4, 2017

    The issue is this. Tera has suffered performance, UI, and skill problems since 2011.

    The community has been begging for fixes for over half a decade, and every time it’s brought up we just get “we’ll pass on the complaints to BHS”, the same unfulfilled promise for YEARS.

    It wasn’t until maybe a year or two ago that some players with knowledge of computer science decided to step up and do BHS’s job for them and fix the issues. In fact, they’ve been submitting bug reports for ages and just get completely ignored (and the bugs go unfixed).

    Lets be clear here, these were white hat community developers, they submitted bug reports on exploits and never publicly released them. They released only quality of life enhancements to the game and removed the crippling disadvantage that high ping players suffered. And they’ve stated publicly that should the publisher have issues with anything they’re doing that they’ll stop.

    Then out of the blue, these very players that have made this game playable for thousands of players get banned with zero effort from the publisher to reach out to them. And now EME refuses to talk at all. I don’t like to throw around insults since that’s not me, but the way these people have treated, threatened, and abused their customers, it feels like it’s run by power-tripping manchildren with too much authority and no brains.

    Whatever goodwill EME built with the community from 2012-2016, they lost all of it this past week.

  17. Dust on May 4, 2017

    this is the best decision EME has made.

    The only people complaining are people that have been cheating using injectors to cause their CDs, attack speed and other things to be faster than other legitimate players and there’s < 12 players ban.

  18. Dust on May 4, 2017

    This is the best decision EME has made

    The only people complaining are people that have been cheating using injectors to cause their CDs, attack speed and other things to be faster than other legitimate players.

    • Eagle Falcon on May 4, 2017

      You must be trolling… alright, I’ll bite.

      Anyone who actually uses injectors in that manner can be caught almost instantly and banned. The problem is that this move my EME kills, underline kills the stance before that every power user has used to make the game run even remotely decently. On top of that, GMs for the longest time were fine with DPS meters, even public about it then BAM! Dozens of people are banned as a result. EME can claim less than 12 were banned as a result of this, but anyone paying attention to the community and watching this unfold can easily count past 15.

      You can say what you said here… but it cannot be “the best decision EME has made” because this move EME has made has made their dedicated users their power users, their customers furious with EME.

      In the end, EME’s goal is to turn a profit, and this move is going to hurt their wallet.

      • IronEleven on May 5, 2017

        Injectors can’t even do that. If you try to send out an attack before the CD/Animation lock is up using an injector, the animation will play but no actual attack comes out.

    • Ashirogi98 on May 5, 2017

      “injectors to cause their CDs, attack speed and other things to be faster than other legitimate players.”
      Hahahahaa is fun… CD? Attack Speed? xD pls

  19. Monkeybone on May 4, 2017

    Wow i was just reading the members comment, the game has gone to shit but i guess thats what happens when you hire idiots who refuse to listen to the communit. I was going to play the conaole version…but im not sure tera deserves the following…i wosh game companies would learn

  20. TRUETERAPLAYER on May 4, 2017

    THe issue is MUCH deeper than just “banning third party”. As you know tERA has little population. I have an end game raiding guild that has been dedicated for a LONG time. I mean, the true nerds that know more about the game than the community managers as they stay logged in for over 24 hours, follow TERA KR, read up all twitter, facebook, new and follow lore to the DOT…you know, the dedicated fan nerds.
    The current state of game is: PVP takes literally 2 hours to queue as lack of population and popularity. End game dungeons are RARELY run as lack of players. THe 30 man that requires lots of high end armor (wich takes months to farm) lacks players and guilds try and reach out and scheduel the runs. No update to lower number of players so far, leaving most end game just rinse and repeat low content doing dailiy guild quest to grind out your guild level…. Thats the “dead game” state as of now until a huge update ever hits. PS. they also gutted crafting if your looking for off side activities, they only serve to collect a title, otherwise nothing crafted is used any more in this game. There are armor sets that require crafting, but without leveling up….Crafting. BAsically you get the pieces and click on the carfting tab, skipping the crafting levels necessary in game.
    3 major things happened to say the least:
    1) Events had recycled assets and ideas for over the last 4 years. When this gets brought up the Community manager ignores, or defends that it is not. One of the last events was broke. You would teleprot in and insta die. The COmmunity manager tried to lie covering it up and doing PR: “EVerything running fine”…My guild leader thankfully has a video on youtube showing this…THe CM kept up the stupid defense. The amount of BS the CM says about how great the game is doing in live streams, and refusal to address glaring issues is pushing people to limits.
    2) Said CM PVP dueled our leader and LOST, yeah, a GM lost XD not a big deal, but he got pissy and started banning our guilds comments onf ofrums on how to improve game play.
    3) The “thirds party” stuff my guild leader used (and others) were DPS meters, and a program to render the graphics better to have better FPS. As you know, since LAUNCH, TERA Is HORRIBLY localized. Even the hardcores of fan bois know this, and put up with it. The irk, is when the poor optimization lags people out durring PvP, if you noted above, people can wait 2 hours for a pvp match, after waiting then getting DC or lag out…It is annoying. A third party program fixed that. Then all players got banned with NO WARNING and NO OFFICIAL STATEMENT why. After the complaint, the Community Manager took an arogant approach and lied saying: “There is a huge uprise in hacking. So ALL THIRD PARTY is banned. NO MORE DISCUSSION”…. TERA has no reason to be hacked. GAthering, crafting, etc has all been gutted, lack of pvp just leaves the game a PvE dungeon grind fest, and no hack helps “get past” the dungeons (you can’t up the RNG with a hack)….maybe some guys are really hacking in a speed hack duel, but the population is so low , and the content is so thin, a hack has little purpose to exist in this game. And if it does, for sure not on the paranoid scale they claimed it did. What happened is that the DPS meters (just measuring how much damage you did) and FPS fix can’t be told apart by yours truly: COlmunity manager. He is not qualified and is bad at his job. So he just banned everyone using them in place of verifiying what is what…I Sort of understand as the technical tool to identify is probably not what he is paid to do, and KR doesn’t want to bother in the cost, so just slap a TERM of USE statement in, and ban all…
    4) the CM is known as SPacecats. Or in real life Sean Gibbons. And he sucks at his job.

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