Mass Accidental Banning Incident Strikes ‘The Finals’ Players

Mass Accidental Banning Incident Strikes 'The Finals' Players
When everybody is banned, an empty arena.

Embark Studios’ recent ban wave, intended to curb rampant cheating in their popular shooter game ‘The Finals,’ has mistakenly impacted numerous non-cheating players.

This unforeseen outcome has sparked concern among the game’s rapidly growing player base following its commendable debut earlier last month on Dec. 8.

Also read: Anti-Cheat System Bans Thousands in Call of Duty

Unintended consequences of the ban wave

The Finals, a dynamic shooter game released less than a month ago, has been battling against cheating since its beta phases. To tackle this issue, Embark Studios implemented ban waves aimed at purging dishonest players. However, these measures unexpectedly entangled innocent players, resulting in a substantial number of them being unfairly banned.

Journalist Tom Warren first reported this issue, which was subsequently amplified by the outcry from numerous players and high-profile Twitch streamers on social media platforms, particularly Twitter.

“The Finals have had its first big ban wave overnight. Looks like it has hit a lot of folks who don’t cheat, including a number of Twitch streamers.”

Several of these players, including Prx Jinggg, publicized their unwarranted ban notifications. They quoted a standard message stating that their account had been banned due to behavior violating the code of conduct. This misstep has led to widespread consternation among dedicated gamers. It has further raised questions about the fairness and accuracy of Embark Studios’ ban criteria, which are suspected to involve AI or machine learning techniques, a common feature in modern anti-cheat systems.

“Due to certain behavior that is against our Code of Conduct, your account has been banned.”

Embark Studios’ response and future outlook

In response to this debacle, Embark Studios has shown a willingness to rectify the situation. The studio has been working to reverse some of the erroneous bans, although the exact criteria for these bans remain undisclosed. The hope is that with some fine-tuning, the studio can identify and correct these false positives, thereby relieving legitimate players.

“We’re now nearing a solution to this bug, and we’ve already begun re-upping our anti-cheat measures again.”

This incident comes amidst the game’s otherwise successful launch, which saw ‘The Finals’ reach 10 million players in just 15 days. The game has been praised for its features and destructible levels. Nevertheless, it has also faced criticism for specific mechanics like zero gravity and invisibility, as well as debates over controller versus mouse and keyboard (MnK) gameplay. Complaints about the perceived overpowering nature of heavy-build characters have also surfaced.

As a game still in its infancy, ‘The Finals’ relies heavily on community feedback to shape its development. As a result, Embark Studios is expected to address the issues in upcoming updates, highlighting the studio’s focus on refining the game’s balance and player experience.

A question of balance

The incident raises a pivotal question: How can game developers strike the right balance between combating cheating and ensuring fairness for all players? As Embark Studios navigates these challenges, the gaming community eagerly awaits how the studio will refine its approach, setting a precedent for future game development.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.