Ma Hong (a pseudonym) spent at least 10 hours every day over the last 5 years playing the same old MMORPG. She put a lot of care and effort into each of her characters, so much so that they were considered well equipped by many of the top gamers in the game. Late last week, when the 38-year-old Ma attempted to continue her 5 year long tradition of online gaming, she was greeted by a notice telling her that her account has been banned.
Ma's tale of a banned account is one that is shared by many in China. Recently, many online game companies across the country have started to crack down on players with multiple accounts. The reason behind the crackdown... stopping gold farmers and equipment farmers.
Not only was Ma's game account banned, it appears that all her accounts were banned. In China, online games require the use of a government issued identification number. It's plausible to say that Ma created multiple accounts using her one ID, which is against the rules—but take into account that she started 5 years ago.
Claiming to be an average gamer who just really enjoyed the game, Ma was heartbroken. "My characters are very simple characters," said Ma. "Some of them have equipment purchased with real world money."
Unable to access her accounts and confused by the notice, Ma called customer service. The answer she received from the customer service rep confused her even further. "He said I was seeking improper interests and that following the terms of service agreement my account was banned."
Ma, who hasn't worked in the last 5 years, says her characters combined have a worth of about $2400 and that she probably spent at least $4800 playing this game all together. Now all of that has gone to waste.
Ma isn't alone. According to North Eastern Daily, another 200 players from the same game Ma was playing were also banned for "seeking improper interests". On top of that, thousands of gamers across China have been experiencing similar issues.These "improper interests" from having multiple accounts seem to stem from China's age old problem of gold farming and the exchange of real world cash for in-game items.
According to a manager from the game company that produced Ma's game, the company sees players who play multiple accounts as players who are interested in making real world cash, and that the games are for entertainment purposes and not ways for players to make money. The manager says that he feels bad for players who got banned because of the sudden enforcement of the TOS agreement, but the only thing they can do is file a complaint with customer service.
女子游戏账号遭"封杀" 万元"装备"打水漂 [North Eastern Web via People's Daily]