The online community surrounding Destiny 2 exploded overnight with complaints of players being banned from the game “for nothing,” as one popular thread on the Bungie forums puts it. That post is joined by dozens of others across those forums and the Destiny 2 subreddit claiming their accounts have been banned for no reason.
The widespread reports have led many to suspect that the PC version of the game, launched yesterday, is overzealously protecting itself against third-party applications that inject code into the Destiny 2 client. That class of application includes many popular cheating programs but also ropes in video capture software like OBS, performance-monitoring software like Fraps, and even the in-game overlay features in chat software like Mumble and Discord.
Bungie and publisher Activision haven’t issued an official statement on the matter, but some associated with the company have denied that this is what’s happening. “Third-party applications that aren’t compatible with Destiny 2 may cause the game to not run but won’t result in a ban,” community manager Cozmo23 wrote in a reply on the company forums.
Bungie PC Project Lead David Shaw chimed in on Twitter to call any link between third-party apps and account bans “Internet BS.” While Shaw said that Destiny 2 will block overlay programs that inject code into the game, “we don’t ban for that,” he said.
In an online Help page posted in September, Bungie warns players that the game does “resist attempts by third-party applications to insert code into the game client,” which may “result in incompatibility between Destiny 2 PC and the features of common third-party applications.” The page makes no mention of bans as a possible consequence of those programs, though, simply saying the game itself is designed to “resist” them:
The methods that some third-party applications use to add features (inserting code into the game client) are the same as some of the methods hackers and cheaters use to disrupt the experience of other players. As a part of our security efforts, we have designed Destiny 2 for PC to resist all attempts from external applications to insert code into the game client.
It is a high priority for us to ensure that Destiny 2 is a safe and fair experience for all players, on all platforms. We remain committed to creating a positive and fair in-game experience in all of our products, and believe that this is a necessary measure in bringing you a great gaming experience in Destiny 2 on PC.
Bungie’s Account Restrictions and Banning Policies page does suggest that “using an external program to modify the operation of the Destiny game software” can result in a ban. The examples given for such programs, though, include things like “trainers, mods, cheats, aimbots, or autofire,” and not more innocuous things like video capture or chat overlay software. That doesn’t rule out the potential for false positives, of course.
Those who have been banned from Destiny 2 on PC, fairly or unfairly, may find it difficult to protest the move and get their account reinstated. “There are NO options to dispute or overturn account restrictions or bans,” Bungie writes on its policies page. “Permanent account bans are only implemented with rigorous checking to ensure that the innocent are not punished alongside the guilty. Bungie does not comment on or discuss individual account restriction or bans.”
As we wait for additional comment from Bungie or Activision, we can’t help but think about Microsoft’s recently unveiled TruePlay system for Windows 10, which lets developers protect game code and memory and look for cheating patterns at a system level. Like Bungie, Microsoft had better hope its system for detecting false positives is ironclad.