This is a collection of all important information regarding Mass Effect 3 multiplayer relevant to cheating and bans.
Here you will find our policies on cheating, procedures on reporting cheaters or appealing bans, our frequently asked questions and any additional information that we feel the community should know.
Policies and Procedures
Policies and Procedures
We at BioWare take cheating very seriously. We want to keep multiplayer as clean and fun as possible and that means maintaining a policy of zero tolerance against cheaters.
Offences & Disciplinary Breakdown
Below is the breakdown of offences and the guidelines we use when determining the appropriate punishment per offence. BioWare reserves the right to take whatever action we deem necessary to reprimand/deter cheaters.
“Tier One” offences are considered the most heinous and will usually result in a ME3 MP ban.
This includes but is not limited to:
- N7 leaderboard exploitation
- Credit exploitation via editing your INI settings
“Tier Two” offences are the most wide spread abuses and although these will usually result in a ME3 MP ban, certain cases (such as self-reporting) will be handled case by case and will usually result in a credit wipe.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Credit exploitation via host migration
- INI editing to increase your personal performance
- Illegitimate weapon/character/consumable/etc. rank
- Recruiting for credit exploitation via host migration
- Item “x” exploitation
“Tier Three” offences are those that immediately affect other players but do not grant the cheater any unfair advantage.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Leeching credits/experience
How do I report someone I suspect of cheating?
You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org using the following format:
Your Origin ID: (Your Origin ID goes here)
Suspected cheater’s Origin ID/GT/PSN: (Suspected cheater’s Origin ID/GT/PSN goes here)
Date and time: (Date and time)
Accusation: (What you saw/heard them do)
Additional Information: (Any relevant information such as screenshots, videos)
A thread on reporting cheaters can be found here:
Q: Can I modify the “ini” file to give myself advantage over enemies in single player campaign as long as I don’t play multiplayer with that “ini” file.
A: It is okay to modify files if it only affects single player campaign, but modifying the “ini” file can put you at risk and is not recommended as the “ini” file is also used in multiplayer. If your modified SP “ini” effects MP in a way that gains you an unfair advantage then you are breaking the rules.
Q: Sometimes when I play, I don’t pay close attention to the action of other players and other times I do not realize someone has cheated until way later. Will I be guilty by association? Will I be seen as a cheater if I was in a game with a cheater?
A: There is definitely some grey area on this topic and hopefully I can clear it up. Guilty by association is a very interesting thing but I feel that we combat it very well.
When investigating cheaters we perform a lot of unique checks. Some of these checks are not definitive but more paint us a picture of what took place. Some of these checks are definitive, black and white, cheater vs. legit. While I'm sure there are a lot of people who want to know what these specific checks are I cannot say but I can assure you that my team takes this procedure very seriously.
Q: Is “kill stealing” considered griefing?
A: Kill stealing is not considered griefing at this time unless there are extenuating circumstances that can be proven.
Q: Is it true that if players turn there feedback options off, then you wouldn’t get any information on your servers to investigate whether someone has cheated?
A: A lot of the information we use to investigate cheating is stored server side, so turning your “feedback” option to “off” will not actually stop you completely from sending data to the server (Since it is required for you to connect and do most things in the multiplayer environment). Long story short, they’re wrong.
Q: I’m using a voice chatting program (such as Teamspeak or Skype) to communicate with my friends in-game which may have its own HUD overlays or keyboard/mouse button command bindings. Will this program be seen as a cheating tool and result in getting banned?
A: We are currently okay with voice chatting programs as long as any HUD information and/or keyboard/mouse button bindings do not affect any in-game mechanics and only enhances the team’s ability to communicate. We feel that voice chatting can positively add to the multiplayer experience.
Q: If I were to come across a possibly new glitch what should I do?
A: In the case that a new glitch is found in Mass Effect 3, please send a message to any BSN moderator or e-mail email@example.com, preferably as soon as possible with details of the glitch. Don’t post it on the forums for others to exploit.
Q: What does “item ‘x’ exploitation” mean?
A: Item ‘x’ exploitation can be defined as using an exploitable glitch of any item that gives an unfair advantage over other. Example: Missile glitch.
Q: Can your team make the distinction between those who accidently used a glitch and those who exploit a glitch intentionally when investigating?
A: We definitely can - One of the big things we focus on is looking at reports (internal and external) in many different ways.
Q: Is using the Krysae double shot an offence that can lead to a ban?
Q: What about spending credits from glitched games?
A: Credits rewarded from glitched games are looked at case by case. It is your responsibility to report an increase of credits due to glitched games to me3mpcheaters@Bioware.com so the appropriate flags can be assigned to your account.
Q: Can I use the invisible weapon glitch? That’s the one that removes the Cobra missile launcher from your back. I don’t get any advantage for using it, but it is a glitch that can easily be done.
A: Since this is a cosmetic change and nothing else go ahead.
Q: If I accidently become glitched, am I allowed to stay for the remainder of the match, or will I be seen as a cheater?
A: A player can be put into these kinds of states by accident or on purpose. Obviously if a player accidently is put into a glitched state, there is no problem with them finishing their match. If they purposefully put themselves into this state (which is pretty easy to tell) then that’s not okay.
Q: When you go down in certain places you may fall through the map and be returned to the LZ with full health and a few seconds of invincibility. What happens to the people who do this purposely?
A: Currently, if you’re doing it on purpose that’s not okay and can be classified as a tier three offence. While we understand that it may happen accidentally we investigate each and every report thoroughly.
Q: Is it okay to take advantage of force-spawning?
A: Sounds like a clever use of ingame mechanics to me.
Q: Is successfully kicking a cheater or glitcher considered an acceptable alternative to leaving the lobby? It can be hard to get back with pick-up groups you enjoy playing with.
A: Successfully kicking a cheater or glitcher to stay in the same lobby is acceptable.
Q: When you do ban someone for cheating is that truly permanent? Or is it for a certain time limit?
A: This is very much case by case but normally we issue permanent bans.
Q: When someone does get banned/caught cheating, what notifications do they get?
A: When an account is banned from Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, the e-mail address associated with the account is sent a notification e-mail.
Q: Why are there no temporary bans or warnings? They seem more appropriate to smaller offenses such as griefing or leeching.
A: As far as reprimanding goes – We can and do issue warnings and temporary bans in rare cases.
Q: How does BioWare decide which glitch exploits can lead to a ban?
A: We look at our policies and procedures and if it fits, it fits. Something like the infinite rocket glitch broke many different rules.
Q: What if I would like to appeal my ban?
A: In order to appeal a ban you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your Origin ID and associated E-mail (EA support will direct you to us if you have been banned, they will not unban you). Once we receive the e-mail we’ll review your case and compare it with any notes left by the previous case investigator. If it turns out you’re not a cheater, we’ll restore your access.
The actual investigation part is often conducted by multiple members of the team separately to ensure the correct verdict. We are very thorough.
Q: Is there ever a situation in which you end up deciding a ban was unfair, but some sort of action should still be taken such as a credit wipe? Assuming this was a part of an appeal, not the initial response to catching a cheater.
A: Definitely, we aren’t perfect and we’re constantly looking to improve. We understand that we make mistakes and that’s exactly why we have the appeal process.
Q: How much info do you give to those banned?
A: The banning process is quite unique. Often we will not give cheaters much, if any, information as to why they were reprimanded as we do not want to give them any way to streamline their cheating to avoid being banned. We do not currently give date/time/etc. information for any actions we take and we will not in the future.
Q: I finished a game where I earned a lot more credits than I should normally have, but since I don’t always buy things after a match, I may not notice my credits until sometime later, what am I supposed to do about this?
A: You’ll want to contact email@example.com before the next ban wave goes out. They can remove the credits for you and restore your account to a legitimate state so you do not get banned.
Q: When will the next ban wave be?
A: Top secret. Note that those who report themselves before a ban wave will receive a lighter sentence.
Q: If I do get banned, do I get an e-mail stating my banned status? Or do we just assume so if I cannot connect to multiplayer?
A: In most cases we’ll e-mail the player who has been banned (to the e-mail address the player registered to their account).
Q: When I get banned, will I be banned from all EA games?
A: If you have received a ban from Mass Effect 3, it will only affect Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. You will still have access to single player and should have access to all other EA online games.
Q: If you deem that a person should have a credit wipe instead of a ban, do you wipe all their credits, or just the ones obtained through cheating?
A: Whether credits are deducted or wiped varies case by case.
Q: To what extent is a player obligated or expected to report a cheater?
A: There is no expectation for players to report others nor will we ever reprimand a player for not reporting someone, so long as there are no post-match effects on their account (Example: abnormally high credit rewards). I’m sure you’ll agree that these cheaters take away from the experience and I think that’s what fuels people to report them.
Q: Can there be a system where if I get some sort of reward for reporting a cheater?
A: We may do something in the future but as of right now there is no reward.
Q: How much detail or information do you require when I am submitting report to firstname.lastname@example.org?
A:More often than not, if you provide us with the Gamertag/Origin ID/PSN ID we can piece the rest together, but putting the date/time as well as any screenshots or videos you have will greatly reduce the amount of time we need to spend per case, thus freeing us up to investigate other reports.
Q: Is there a team working on fixing the bugs/glitches in the game? Banning the people who exploit glitches only works to an extent and fixing the bugs in the first place is a much better solution. Can you share with us whether staff members are trying to fix these bugs?
A: These issues are very important to us and we are investigating these issues on all fronts.
Q: When do you plan to fix these exploits? When you do fix them though, would you fix glitches that doesn’t make multiplayer unbalanced?
A: When we release patches we try to target the most important bugs. Game breaking bugs first followed by large impact bugs and so on.
Q: What is a maximum punishment for griefing? How many reports must a player have against them for a punishment to be enacted? How do you deal with the people having different opinions as to what griefing and is not?
A: All it takes is one report. We can look at certain types of griefing up on our end and really there is not maximum as I’m sure in a very rare set of circumstances a user can be permanently banned(although said user would have to have gone out of his way many, many times to be banned). At this time I’m okay with the perception and varying definition of griefing. If it takes away from your experience then you have a case, if it’s a rare case, it holds different weighting than something that is reported often and has a clear negative impact on anybody’s experience.
Q: It seems that most, if not all, bans happen as a result of reports, so if you only ever play private matches with friends and do actually cheat, how would you catch those individuals?
A: To put it in perspective, we investigate about eight internally flagged accounts for every one player reported account.
Q: Instead of having a team to fix bugs and a team to investigate cheaters, why not just put all your resources into fixing bugs faster?
A: Fixing bugs is not a linear process, adding 20% more resources onto the bug fixing team doesn’t equal to 20% faster bug fixes.
If you were in a match where you benefitted from the actions of a cheater, you can report yourself to email@example.com with details of your case and may receive a lighter sentence instead of being banned. This is reviewed case by case, but be aware that you may be seen as a cheater and be banned if you constantly benefit from the actions of cheaters even though you don’t cheat yourself.
If you are awarded with more credits than normal from your match, please report yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org before the next ban wave, and also refrain from spending those credits. Spending a lot of credits at one time won’t lead to a ban, but spending undeserved credits to buy reinforcement packs may increase your N7 rating and increasing your N7 rating as a result of spending cheated credits can be seen as a ban worthy tier one N7 leaderboard exploitation offence.
Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Ban
If you’ve been banned from Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, you should still have access to any current and future single player content.
If you have sent an e-mail to appeal an account ban, please allow our team at least 48 hours to investigate and reply to your appeal. Our hours of operations are Monday to Friday, 9AM – 6PM MDT. Due to the nature of our investigations; we cannot reveal details of our find(s) to those inquiring more information regarding an account ban.
Accounts that has been Flagged for Cheating
If you received an e-mail stating that your account has been flagged for cheater, it is just a warning and no action.
Edited by Thomas Abram, 17 August 2012 - 10:12 PM.