Cheaters banned from H1Z1 video game unbanned if they publicly apologize
Apologies should be addressed to the players, says H1Z1 head: 'this is about them not us'
The makers of an online game are giving people who've been banned for cheating a second chance at glory — but only if they're willing to make a public apology.
H1Z1 is an online survival horror game by Daybreak Game Company, which used to be known as Sony Online Entertainment. In it players have to band together to survive a zombie apocalypse, Walking Dead-style, or face certain death.
The game's attracted several cheating and hacking communities who have built exploits to break the rules, including letting players fire off one-hit kills, shoot through walls or automatically shoot at other players and targets without aiming — all of these either potentially or intentionally inconveniencing other non-cheating players.
Daybreak founder and president John Smedley had had enough, and went on a banning spree this week, blacklisting the accounts of more than 30,000 players who had been identified as cheaters and/or hackers.
Smedley offered an olive branch to those he banned, however — with one condition.
"If you want us to even consider your apology a public YouTube apology is necessary. No personal information please," he wrote on Twitter.
Smedley posted three apology videos sent to him by players that had been banned for cheating.
He said that, in total, five players sent apologies that were accepted, and that they've have had their accounts restored. He also said that he denied some apologies that were sent to him.
First one. Going to be honest I wish it wasn't about the money, but he's first and that means something. <a href="https://t.co/s6otGIqZ25">https://t.co/s6otGIqZ25</a>—@j_smedley
The first video was sent by a man with the user name Kevin Runner, who confessed to using cheating software but realized that it cost him access to a game he'd already spent hundreds of dollars and hours on.
"I'd like to take this public forum to apologize to all the players that I negatively impacted," he said. "Know that I will not be cheating again because that just cost me about 260 dollars."
Several replies to Smedley's Twitter account said that this was a bad idea, and that the people who apologized to get their accounts back would simply get back to cheating as soon as possible.
Smedley argued that it was an acceptable risk to raise awareness about cheating and hacking in online games.
Please address your apology to fellow players, not us. Although you hurt our business this is about them not us—@j_smedley
"I want to make sure it's clear there are consequences for cheating. You don't just get to make a video and get unbanned. This is a very limited time thing to try and raise awareness of what's actually going on," he wrote on Reddit, emphasizing that the experiment resulted in only five out of 30,000 banned users getting a repreive.
"If these videos go far and wide and it elevates the importance of getting rid of the cheaters in PC gaming, I feel it's an excellent trade."
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