On May 23, over 100 innocent players of SWTOR had their accounts banned in an overzealous attempt to prevent “extreme economy” game exploitation. SWTOR Community Manager Eric Musco offered the following apology for those affected:
Your reports have been fully investigated and I wanted to pass on what we discovered, and what happened as a result. As some of you are aware there were some exploits which were introduced with Game Update 2.1 around Color Crystals and Collections. These exploits were fixed with Update 2.1.0b. We take exploits in our game very seriously and we had been working to action players who had used those exploits. Yesterday was our Terms of Service team doing exactly that.
What occurred, and what you folks reported, is that there was a small subset of players who were incorrectly caught in this tracking and subsequently actioned. Just to give you a bit of perspective, there were less than 150 people in total who were incorrectly actioned as a part of what happened yesterday. If you were one of those players who had not been exploiting and were wrongly flagged, you should have already been contacted by CS as of reading this message. If this is what occurred to you I cannot express how sorry we are. We are going through great lengths internally to avoid situations like this happening in the future.
If you have not had your suspension reversed and you feel this was in error, please contact email@example.com and they will be able to look into the issue further. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, again if you were affected you should have already been contacted and if not please email the address listed above.
Source: SWTOR Community Message Board
As an active participant of many online communities over the years, I think this apology is definitely a step in the right direction. Site administrators and moderators too often try to micromanage online activities to the point that they lose potential participants that would otherwise bring value to the community. These sort of attempts at control also create an animosity for members that is hard to alleviate.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts SWTOR’s business moving forward. Interesting to see if they are able to maintain the same level of business by reaching out with an apology or if it prompts any users to cancel their accounts and move on.