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16,000 users banned from Aion

NCsoft removes accounts associated with botting and gold farming

Almost 16,000 accounts have been removed from the Western version of massively multiplayer online game Aion, primarily for using third party software (botting) and taking part in illegal gold buying and selling.

In a post on the official forums community manager Andrew Beegle announced the bans as part of a snap server wide reboot, after evidence for account violations had been "gathered over several weeks".

"We are taking a very hard stance on this issue and do have sophisticated processes and procedures in place that help us keep unwarranted banning to a minimum," said Beegle.

"Any action that modifies the client or automates the same way a bot does could potentially flag an account as a violator," he clarified. "Please understand that it is not what 'you' have done on your account, but what the account has done. If your account is shared, purchased, borrowed, or power-levelled, it could be the actions of anyone who’s ever used the account."

Bans for breaking the terms of conditions of a massively multiplayer online game have become a regular feature of the genre. The use of automated "bots" to carry out repetitive tasks is one of the most common problems, along with gold farming - where users trade real money for in-game currency.

In 2008, RuneScape content boss Imre Jele described gold farming as akin to prostitution and that those that encouraged the trade were "effectively funding digital organised crime".

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David Jenkins