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Ban Appeal Experience and My Disappointment in Crema Customer Service

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AzrealDNT

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Joined
Aug 9, 2020
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My Experience in Temtem

I started playing this game in January after seeing it on Twitch, and I’ve been playing on and off since then. Like many players, I’ve taken a few breaks until new content was released, but generally, when I am playing, I have been playing a lot, as the game itself is exactly what I was looking for.

I’m a long standing member of one of the largest and most prolific PvP clans, Ronin, and I almost exclusively PvP.
A month ago I would have recommended this game to anyone. I purchased 5 copies of this game, one steam account, one discord account, and I gifted this game 3 times on steam. I told all my friends to play it. After the last few weeks, my attitude has shifted a complete 180. The following has been one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I have had.

Being Banned

On 2020-08-21 I opened up my steam account to find out I was banned. The ban message says reason: cheating.
No explanation, no additional information, no avenue to find out more information. I was never shown where to go to contact Crema Support for a ban appeal, and had to find this information on my own.

After searching for "Temtem Ban," on google imagine my surprised when I find it to be full of people who have been banned, and the long and arduous steps they had to take for Crema to even look at their accounts.

There’s a fantastic post by Shintegami on the temtem forums here:
Community Feedback on Ban/Ban appeals
with a great summary of many of the current problems with the appeal system.

There’s also a very disheartening post in which Crema’s initial stance on banning was to have zero ban appeals.
There’s also a forum post by community manager Tsukki on reddit PlayTemtem/comments/g6nkov , in which they outline their response to the ban wave, and the efforts they have taken to address it. I initially thought this was reasonable, but after my experience, I have to disagree completely.

I understand the need to avoid giving information that may help botters and cheaters the ability to further circumvent the automated systems. The issue lies when legitimate players are fasly flagged, and are never given a means to prove their innocence. Worse still, is the presumption of guilt. Whenever I hear that someone was banned, I, like many others, presume they must be guilty. Otherwise, why would they be banned? But after to speaking to many players who have found themselves in this situation, and the horrenduous treatment they have received from Crema, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

This is my experience with it so far:

Contacting Crema Support

After contacting Crema support, I waited patiently for their reply. I naively assumed that as soon as an actual person reviewed the account, it would be simple to realize the error and revert the ban. Not only did I not receive a single reply for weeks, but I had to go through another avenue of contacting the community manager Tsukki to find out that the entirety of their support staff was on vacation and I would receive no reply until they returned, with no word on when that would be.

Eventually, I received one of the rudest emails I have received from any customer service representative, gaming or otherwise. It amounts to “we don’t make mistakes, and don’t contact us again.”

The full message is here.
______________________________________

Hello Jason,

Thank you for referring your Temtem ID.

After manually reviewing your case and your account, we are sorry to inform you that your ban appeal has been rejected. Your account has been banned from the game because we've found evidence of clear breaches to our Terms of Use.

Please note that abusing exploits, using bots, complex macros or any kind of cheats/hacks can get you banned from the game. This matter was clearly stated on our user's Terms of use. Please find the specific section that refers to this matter attached here.

Despite all the assumptions you made and sent us, we are sure that this flag was legitimate and no error was committed by our anti-cheat system, nor the team behind it.
We will not continue providing further correspondence regarding this matter and this ticket will be now closed.

Thank you,
Crema Support.

____________________________

The worst part of this is that this a generic email they send to almost all people on their first appeal. After being banned, I reached out to many other people who said they were also banned, some of which managed to successfully appeal their case. The majority of them received the exact same rude, generic response in which they were told not to contact crema again. None were told what they did wrong, and all of them just kept blindly sending in random proof of their innocence hoping to random stumble upon the cause of their ban, with sometimes weeks in between.

So here’s everything I think could be a possible flag. This is my attempt to publicly clear my name. Crema has claimed that botters and cheaters have attempted to create a smear campaign, so I will do something we’ve been told not to do online. I’m going to share my personal information so I’m not simply an anonymous potential botter, but an individual who has been wronged.

My name is Jason, and I’m an Officer in the Air Force. My steam account is j_cashman and my discord account is Azreal#6828.

Potential Flags:

Botting and Cheating


I have never botted, nor used exploits or cheats. I initially didn’t think this would be a flag at all, but it was highlighted in the initial email I receieved.

I have not engaged in Free Tem since Crema released PvP rewards from ranked match making, aside from one time when a user posted the numbers for the Akranox cave in Kisawa. I did it for an hour or two, and went back to PvPing. I also have not been to Saipark outside of once or twice in the very early weeks, so it unlikely that I could have been flagged for either.

In essence, I do not Free Tem nor do I Luma hunt. The only time I actually engage in any activity that could be automated is for TV Training. My pc setup at home has dual monitors, but my accommodation on base does not have the room, so I play in full screen borderless, using the picture in picture feature on various streaming sites, such as YouTube, and Netflix. I doubt this would be picked as botting, but it is a possible false flag, as I often tab in and out to change to the next video. The day before I was banned, I had TV trained 5 tems in HP and STAM while watching various videos. It would be easy to view my inputs as legitimate though, because I don’t use the same ones. Sometimes I click, sometimes I press hotkeys, and sometimes I kill too many tems and have to equip eraser etc. I also constantly open my tem info tab to check the TV number. The pattern here is clearly not automated.

Playing on Multiple Devices

I have played on 3 separate devices. Initially, my home PC. I also purchased a laptop because I frequently travel. I eventually purchased a new PC during COVID. Could multiple devices be a possible flag?

Playing from Multiple Locations

I travel frequently for work, but I have only played for any length from two locations: my home town, and the base in which I am currently stationed. I doubt this is a flag, but it’s possible it may be a minor one.

Playing on Multiple Accounts

I have two accounts: j_cashman on steam, with the player name AzrealDNT and Azreal#6828 on Discord, with the player name Azrealt. Crema has stated that having multiple accounts is okay. I have frequently traded between the two accounts, and with one way trades as well. This flag should be easy to clear, as both accounts have similar names and are only played from the same ip addresses.
The main concern I have is I exclusively PvP on the second account, and then trade all of the earned money back to my main to purchase new tems. However, this flag should be easy to clear, as both accounts have similar names, and it should be extremely easy to establish ownership. It’s also worth noting that my second account, Azrealt, has not been banned.

Real Money Transactions and One Way Trades

I’m defining one way trades as trades in which only a single person receives something. For example, player 1 trades Tems, items, or some pansuns to a player, in return for nothing.

This is the most difficult to disprove, as Crema has no way of knowing which trades are influenced by out of game factors. I have received one way trades from 3 accounts:
My discord accord: Azrealt, and two steam accounts with the player name Kaishman and Kaishmen.

I purchased the game for 2 of my friends and my brother. Proof of this was sent to Crema (steam account info with payment information.) Two of those accounts, my friend and my brother, traded me pansuns for nothing. They played through the co-op story together, and I played with them in person. I traded them Tems to start the story with, and after they finished the story, my brother gave me some pansuns and my friend gave me all his pansuns and all his items, as he may wait for the full release and restart.
While these trades may look suspicious, I purchased all of the accounts, and I traded them many tems at the start of their play through. I also did some parts of the story with them. This flag should be easy to clear.

Trading with Botters and Hackers

When I contacted other players who had their bans eventually overtuned, some of them said that the main flag they had to clear was that they traded with a player who was also banned. This one can also cause lots of issues. If any time a player trades with a player who obtained tems through botting, if the first player can be banned, then really, no one is safe.

As a PvP only player, I purchase a lot of Tems from other players using the trade channel on the official discord. While it is possible to find the discord conversations for each, it would be very time consuming and difficult. I have purchased at least 2 full boxes full of PvP tems, and I do not save each conversation. While discord does keep conversations, if you close them, you have to remember the name of the person you traded with to re-open. I’d have to manually search through each instance for 50+ tems on the official trade.

So that's my experience so far. Unfortunately, this case is depressingly not unique, nor uncommon. Two other clan members, RickyTan and God of Despair, were also recently banned.

I have spent hours in discord with Ricky, discussing possible builds, TV spreads, competitive team compositions, and strategies. I’ve played through games with him on discord, discussion which moves we’d make, and why etc. I refuse to believe that a player who puts that much of himself into the game would engage in any activity that would get him banned.

TLDR

Crema needs to take a serious look at their automated banning system, and the way their support staff respond to the people that appeal to them. There should be more communication between the Crema and the person appealing. I should not have to find out from my clan leader uwukaze who contacted the community manager separately that Crema has actually reviewed my case. What if I did not have the support that I do from my fellow clan members? I would never have been able to find any information at all.

I’m asking for Crema to re-evalute how they handle the auto mated system, and more importantly, how they handle communication with the people affected.
I’m also asking for the community not to harass Crema about this, but to make their voices heard in a polite and respectful manner to bring about positive change.

Thank you,
-Jason
 
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snrplat

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Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
39
So there have been multiple posts in the past about the community's concern with false bans and the ban appeal process. I'm not here to rewrite anything that has already been said. Check out Shintegami's forum post from a few weeks ago about this same topic, it is very well written:

Community Feedback on Ban/Ban appeals

If you want to read more about past incidents, how they have been handled, and how the player base feels about them, just search "banned" in the forums or on Reddit to see that this is a somewhat common occurrence.

I want to highlight the way I, as a player, feel about the ban appeal process.

First of all, false bans are going to happen, I am not here to talk about that as an issue. The issue is how these false bans are handled. As a player, if you are ever falsely banned it seems like there is no way to successfully appeal it. My concern is also not that Crema gives no information regarding why you are banned. I can understand why they may want to keep that information hidden from real cheaters.

Lets say that you appeal your false ban, but the response that you receive from support says that your ban is correct, then what do you do? You might wonder how a ban can be a false ban if Crema responded saying that it was a correct ban. You can't trust the player, because they may be lying, so wouldn't Crema know if a ban was justified or not? I wonder that too, because based on Crema's history with dealing with false bans, their initial ban review's tend to contradict their final stance. There are numerous examples of players being falsely flagged and banned and having to appeal multiple times to get un-banned because their first, second, and maybe even third appeal was denied. I will cite the example of Keannie, a top competitive player, who was falsely banned in the past. It took him three ban appeals to get unbanned, and this was only after PlusOP was also falsely banned on stream.

I do not understand how a player's ban can be reviewed, judged to be legit, then on a different appeal they say "oh wait, actually we falsely banned you".

As a player, how are you ever supposed to trust Crema's ban appeal process if they have shown that they are inconsistent in identifying false flags, even when reviewing the same account and appeal for a second time?

To be fair to Crema, I am sure identifying false flags is difficult to do. However, how do they not recognize that their process can be flawed, as evident by past examples of them reversing their own decisions on "evidence of clear breaches of our Terms of Use". And if they do acknowledge that, how are they content with potentially perma-banning a player who was not cheating, and replying to ban appeals saying "We will not continue providing correspondence regarding this matter and this ticket will now be closed"?

As a player, I feel as if it is only a matter of time before I am falsely flagged. I trade between my alt, I participate in auctions, I give things away to club members, I trade on the discord with accounts that could have engaged in cheating, all things that could draw false flags. Crema made a statement saying that you cannot be banned for these things. I wish I could believe that, but with TemTem's most popular streamer being banned twice on stream for running auctions (as just one example), it seems unlikely to me that that is actually the case. I am not the only player who feels this sentiment, and is worried about being falsely banned in the future with dim prospects of appealing it.

TLDR: The issue is with lack of communication around these issues (Shintegami's post from weeks ago had 0 staff interaction barring TM's moderation) and a lack of trust that the player base feels towards the process based on past ban appeal rejections that were later judged to be false flags.
 

Qlaziks

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Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
142
I think there should be different levels of punishment.
The rules are not that clear, and we don't really know if some behaviour are borderline or not.

For exemple a botter and someone that reset his account every 15 days to breed his starters shouldn't recieve the same punishment. The second one is very ambiguous. Is it an exploit or not? In any case the second should be warned or temporary banned, and the first one should be definitivly banned.

I perfectly understand that it's very hard to deal with those things, because if you are too lax it there will be a ton of abuses and it's definitly not a good thing. So you have to be firm and make people understand that you don't mess with crema. But on an other hand there must be no collateral damage. And yes it's not easy...
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
8
I personally think that trading with an rmter/botter/cheater shouldn't be a flag, honest players can't know if the person they are dealing with is legit and they shouldn't be punished for that. The high amount of unfair bans to players that buy and sell a lot is an hint on how you can accumulate enough flags just from in-game transactions. In my opinion banning the cheater without flagging the people he has interacted with should be enough to preserve the health of the game while resolving some of the current problems the automated ban system has.
 

snrplat

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Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
39
I think there should be different levels of punishment.

It is insane to me that you are either permanently banned with no warning or there is no punishment for cases with lots of grey area open to the interpretation of the customer support team, who often doubles back on their own decisions regarding appeals. There is no way that the best way to handle complicated situations is to classify them as one of two binary extremities.
 

Pluto_Nium

Apprentice
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
203
I really love this game and I think crema is doing a good job so far and on the right track in general. As another dedicated player, I can definitely feel what AzrealDNT has written and can only be supportive. This is an alarming sign. I really hope it can be resolved and all wrongfully banned players can be unbanned again.
Some thoughts:
  • I've had contact to at least 3 players who were recently banned with the same issue. It does not seem to be an isolated, unfortunate case.
  • If using an automated ban system it should be expected to have flaws and not blindly trusted over appeals. Asking the same algorithm the same question will give you the same answer usually.
  • I'm not in favor of cheating at all, but I think crema should ask the question if there's a line to be crossed, when the strict automated ban system in additon to the way appeals are handled , causes more damage than positive change for the game and community. The competitive scene is being upset with those bans in general and the news are spreading as of now.
  • If fair play is that important for you (which is absolutely positive): At what point is it beneficial for me as a fair player with no intent on cheating to know that cheaters are very strictly banned, when in return I have to fear my account can be banned at any time for no apparent reason as it happened to some fellow PvP players?
  • People who played that much of pvp usually have a lot of pansuns from their pvp wins and are not in desperate need of cheating. Why would you cheat in this situation, risking 500+ hours on one account being wasted for nothing?
  • I think the principle of "proof of guilt" has to be applied over the "proof of innocence" principle as it is done in our judicary system in most places.
  • Mistakes can happen, but if you (or the algorithm) made one one it's nice to admit it and apologize.
TLDR: I think currently the ban system and how appeals are handled hurts the community more than it helps them. I hope everyone who was wrongfully banned will be unbanned soon and the system can be improved going forward.
 

Taullaris

Rookie
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
49
Very well written post and I think you are bringing light to a very serious issue. As someone who owns a second account that I trade back and forth with often I am now very nervous about playing the game regularly. Like you I have played a lot with Rickytan and yourself. I cant bring myself to believe that players who spend 99% of their time on competitive, and are considered high level players would be flagged for cheating. I would be easily willing to stake my own account on the fact that there has been no cheating going on.

In saying all this I am planning to take a break from temtem until this ban situation gets solved, even if that means quitting for good. Either the automated ban system needs to be fixed, needs to go, or the appeal process needs to be overhauled. I am to nervous to put more time into this game, when I will probably be falsely banned and then get denied the appeal process
 

TMTrainer

Game Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
1,088
Hello!

First and foremost, I'm sorry to disappoint, but I'm not here to make a response. I've merged the two threads together into this one, please keep all discussion regarding this together.

Second, it's 11 PM in Madrid right now, so I'm not sure if you'll be getting a response tonight. I'll make sure they're aware of this tomorrow morning (their time).
 

dhamocles

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Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
36
I know a lot of people within the community who have been affected by the scuffed system currently in place, what taulla said about it essentially sums up what a majority of players feel and clearly from the multiple cases of only after a certain number of reappeals do some players get unbanned it’s time for a proper change.

free rickytan,thanks mods for maybe reading this and considering what we say here in this post seriously
 

Taullaris

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Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
49
Second, it's 11 PM in Madrid right now, so I'm not sure if you'll be getting a response tonight. I'll make sure they're aware of this tomorrow morning (their time).
Appreciate this TMTrainer. As always this comes from a place from love for the game. We all just want to play and enjoy and dont want the stress of this. I understand the complications when its comes to transparency of auto ban systems but I feel a balance needs to be reached so we can all enjoy this game together :)
 

RickyTan54

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Aug 31, 2020
Messages
1
Very well written post from Azreal and I loved reading through all of the comments and suggestions being given. I have been playing this game since March of this year and since then it has really grown a special place in my heart, not just from the enjoyment of playing the game and competing, but also with the community that I have become involved in since I started playing the game. A welcoming, inviting, and supportive community that helps new players grow and find a way to enjoy the game no matter how that may be for that player. I personally chose to play this game to be able to enter the competitive scene and since then have dedicated countless hours to team building, discussing strategies with people both in my club and in the TemTem community in general, practicing, competing, as well as trying to help others where I can in order to contribute to the same welcoming community that helped me when I first started. So you can imagine, it was very disheartening when I logged on to my account after coming back from my nursing classes on Monday and finding that my account had been banned for "cheating".

At first I was disheartened and angry, but I had also remembered that the company and its staff has unbanned people in the past who have been able to prove their innocence. I then drafted an email to the support crew detailing all of the things that I said above and explained that I don't do anything in this game but play competitively. I do not luma hunt, I do not freetem, I do not TV Train (I just use the money I get from playing ladder or in tournaments to buy fruits and candies), the only time that I run around in the game is to get to fruit stands, trade locations, or to level my tems. I don't breed tems, or sell them, or deal in any sort of market flipping for lumas, the only times that I make a trade is to loan a friend some pansuns, let them borrow a tem, or when I am buying perfect SV tems off of the Discord market in order to use to compete. I do not have a second account at all in order to trade from or too either, all of my pansuns have come either off of the Ranked battle system or community tournaments. The most disheartening thing about the email was the response that I received yesterday that outside of my name, was one hundred percent identical to the email that both Azreal's and God of Despair's, my other clanmate who received a ban recently who also made an attempt at an appeal.

Given that we made the conscious decision to buy into an Early Access game, I do not expect perfection by any means, especially if flags for our bans are made by an automated system, I one hundred percent understand if mistakes are made. However, in my appeal I asked for what it was that I could send, be it screenshots or game logs, or whatever the staff may need for me to prove my innocence, and was responded to with the email telling me that no further correspondence would be given. I completely understand that the company does not want to release specific information with what the flags were or otherwise, so that the system can't be exploited and so that the community can be kept clean, but the most frustrating thing in the world, is being told that you are guilty with no chance to prove yourself innocent. I have heard of the same stories Azreal mentioned where people sent in screenshots of trade agreements or other proof and essentially closed their eyes and shot in circles, hoping to hit a bullseye at some point. To me, I feel that there has to be a more efficient way to tell the accused, what it is that they can show, and there has to be a middle ground between the players and the staff that provides more transparency, as well as opportunity. I am not a streamer, therefore I have no means to send video recordings or anything of that nature, but if I could be told what it is that I could send the company, I assure you I could find it.

Thank you for spending the time posting and reading in this forum, and trying to support others in the community. This game has grown a tremendous amount since I have started playing it and I hope I can continue to see it do so, especially with the handling of difficult situations. I have sincerely enjoyed being a part of the TemTem Community and hope that I am provided with the opportunity to continue doing so.
 
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Pluto_Nium

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Jan 31, 2020
Messages
203
From what Ricky is writing it seems like not only the ban system, but also answers to appeals are automated. If all players who try to appeal receive the same (incredibly offending and disrespectful! ) answer, then it means they are not really checking into the real issues. It means they either blindly trust a flawed algorithm (as I said, asking a computer program the same question twice will net you the same result twice usually) or don't want to put resources in anything to do with the automated ban systen, including unbanning wrongfully banned people.

Looks like Crema at this point is accepting collateral damage amongst the most dedicated players in the community in order to enforce rules that are either unwritten, intransparent or up to interpretation. If people with literally 1000+ hours (the equivalent of a 100% job in 6 months!!!) are getting banned, for them it basically means they have been wasting their time for that entire time span. It would be very foolish to risk that by cheating as a top player who already has almost everything in the game and is primarily focused on pvp. I would definitely never return to a game where this happens and I would understand if negative publicity comes out of this.

Crema please improve this situation, I sincerely feel this might be a deciding point for the future success of this game. And I would very much like this game to become very successful!
 
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Corn

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Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
3
I am proud of the Ronin players who stayed calm and wrote such thoughtful posts with regards to their bans instead of raging. I hope these posts provide Crema more insights of how legit players feel when we are met with a false ban. More than ever, I think players like the ones above hope to work with Crema to find out what's wrong and resolve the bug issues so that no more other players will be affected. I hope Crema know that other than cheaters/ botters, we have a very close knitted community who will be more than willing to help them identify new bugs so I really hope they don't dismiss players like that.

Seeing how people around me get banned and unbanned, I can understand the frustration and anxiety while waiting for a reply. I hope Crema also see the support these players get from the community as well as these posts, these players have definitely been a positive impact on the pvp side and they have help players more than causing harm.

Meanwhile to the Ronin players, don't give up! Hope to see you guys back in game soon <3
 

gagbom

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May 14, 2020
Messages
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There definitely needs to be a better system in place for ban appeals. As someone who has played over 2k hours combined over multiple accounts (all paid for by me, in my name, and only i play them) i have a real fear of losing an account due to an unforeseeable offense. I wish to show my support for my fellow players, and ask that Crema please respond in favor of investigating the cause of these false bans. I understand that as a company they have to take a stance to protect their game, but no system is infallible, especially one implemented so early on in the games development.

Through our solidarity, i hope we can shine a light on a long standing issue. My hope is that together, as players and developers, we can come together to repair the disturbance this has caused our community.
 

Tikls

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Jan 26, 2020
Messages
8
I understand that we're in EA and the automated systems are undergoing changes and experiencing new bugs continually. That said, I hope we can see all erroneously banned players have their cases properly investigated as soon as possible.

I also understand that automated email responses are fairly commonplace for things like this. But it is appalling that something being sent out automatically to appealing players has been written with such a distinctly unprofessional tone:

Despite all the assumptions you made and sent us, we are sure that this flag was legitimate and no error was committed by our anti-cheat system, nor the team behind it.
We will not continue providing further correspondence regarding this matter and this ticket will be now closed.


Coupling this with the fact that a not insignificant number of these fairly rude appeal denials ended up being overturned, this situation does not inspire confidence in Crema's ability to handle these situations in a mature manner. I don't fault them for developing a system that behaves erroneously here and there, but treating your customers who may or may not have been wrongly punished by your system this unprofessionally is simply unnecessary and sends its own message.
 

Tao

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Joined
Nov 21, 2019
Messages
2,274
As previously stated in another case of a false banned user and the underlying issue being fixed, I did not believe in the necessity for such threads. Naturally I disliked these threads, because they were either legitimate bans (even for high profile users, this happened often enough) or because of the excessive fear induced in other players playing the game normally, for a rare accident that should not be treated as status quo.

However, considering that it happened again, and again, I have no choice but to adjust my views on this matter. It is no longer a coincidence, it is no longer an accident. Even if the current system is very sensitive towards true cheaters, there's a too low specificity considering the collateral damage on legitimate players. This is unacceptable.

Any server-sided flagging system should be treated as such: a flagging system. It is in most cases not absolute. Automated bans have a higher risk of false positives, and should be avoided as much as possible - with exception of hard flags that can not possibly be legitimate gameplay (things like teleportation, infinite HP, encounters that take significantly shorter than possible when accounting for all animations, things like that). And even then, ban-inducing flags should be manually reviewed in every single case before ban is applied. This does not seem to happen - based on cases like this but without knowledge on how the system actually works, so it remains unverifiable - and this is a severe issue if true.

In the case of ban appeals, it gets worse. Still operating with a system that causes autobans, staff should be much more careful with ban appeals and unban the user if no hard evidence is found. Soft flags that only raise suspicion can never be treated as justification for the ban - things like trades without getting something in return, which could be an indication of RMT but is never evidence on its own as it could just as well be legitimate gameplay. That leaves the hard flags, the ones that have the capability of inducing bans on their own regardless of soft flags. These should each be manually reviewed, and the user should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. So if none of the hard flags are indisputable, if there is even a tiny possibility that it was an accidental flag, the user should be unbanned. Even if the signs point towards 99% chance for cheating.

This wasn't the worst part however, as there are arguments in favor of the statistical approach of banning users based on chance of cheating, taking into account the flags accumulated. The ban appeal system exists to catch the few false positives in such cases anyway. The worst part is the user having to prove their innocence by posting out-of-game trade logs or other stuff that indicate their innocence - I don't know the specifics, only that it was necessary not just once, not just twice, but multiple times. It should be clear to Crema since the very first incident that this isn't the right way to go about it, because it has been proven that innocent players lose access to the game this way. The burden of proof lies with Crema to prove the ban being legitimate, rather than users having to do the opposite with details they may no longer possess.

It also suggests that Crema does not store sufficient information pertaining to the ban to legitimize it during the appeal process, because otherwise, what's the point in getting users to prove their innocence? If after the ban no sufficient information is available to actually prove a breach of the TOU, can the ban still be considered legitimate? Isn't Crema just blindly believing the flags to be accurate? I'm thinking out loud here as we're missing information - for all we know, there are crucial things on Crema's side of this discussion that could change the direction drastically. Take everything I said here with a lot of "what if".

Now, as for the format of communication during the appeal process, I do mostly side with Crema's approach. It is the right one. There is simply no time to write a detailed response to every user, which also has the added risk of providing contextual information which could be used by cheaters to avoid detection in the future. A standardized response is not bad in the slightest. This is not the issue and should not be treated as such - the issue is the false bans themselves and the burden being placed on the innocent user rather than the company.

Conclusion
If there is truly a systematic issue on Crema's side that gets innocent users banned and not instantly unban them during the appeal process due to lack of indisputable evidence, that must be solved as soon as possible. Even if the changes mean that actual cheaters have a lower chance of being/remaining banned, because I'd much rather have 100 cheaters in game than 1 innocent player banned. And let's be honest, while they're a nuisance.. how much harm do they really do? Asides from minor effects on the economy, how much does a cheater actually affect your gameplay? We all want them gone, but it must be done right without getting innocent users added to the mix.
 

Taullaris

Rookie
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
49
Now, as for the format of communication during the appeal process, I do mostly side with Crema's approach. It is the right one. There is simply no time to write a detailed response to every user, which also has the added risk of providing contextual information which could be used by cheaters to avoid detection in the future. A standardized response is not bad in the slightest. This is not the issue and should not be treated as such - the issue is the false bans themselves and the burden being placed on the innocent user rather than the company.
I think a lot of the complaints with the communication from the players come from the fact that they are already upset with a false ban. I agree they cant do a personalized response, or give up information that could lead to users figuring out their Anti-cheat systems. If we can drastically reduce the number of players that are false banned (I believe we have to accept some false bans with an auto ban system) people would more easily accept the communication method.

I agree with the rest of what you said. At the end of the day the thing thats most dangerous here is the loss of trust between players and Crema. If we continue where innocent players continue to get falsely banned, and not unbanned pretty quickly after the first appeal then this trust relationship will deteriorate and with a game with a small playerbase like Temtem the result of that loss of trust would be significant in the future of the game. The fact that I have heard from multiple people who have been unbanned that they say it normally takes 3-4 appeals before getting unbanned is a worrying trend, and I hope we can get this issue resolved going forward.
 

cloud

Rookie
Joined
Sep 7, 2020
Messages
1
Loved the idea of this game, but after seeing the way Crema handles bans / community about 4 months ago it was a huge turn off. I've been playing MMOs for over 20 years, I've played all the flagships from Jagex / Blizzard / Square Enix and more crappy f2p mmo reskins than you can count. One common factor in all of them is false bans do exist, its inevitable, and how the company manages those false bans is what is important.

From what I saw in March - May, Crema basically thinks their system is infallible (LOL) and trusts their flags. They didn't review bans until 4th or 5th requests and then, after months of appeals, realized they made a mistake and unbanned the players. That's unacceptable. Someone being banned for a month for something they didn't do is Jagex / Blizzard level incompetence. Is that who Crema is inspiring to be? Jagex? Blizzard?

If I pick up TemTem is it going to be another game with joke community support and I need to post on Reddit / Twitter to get anywhere? Have players like Azrael and RickyTan received justice yet? $40 and my time is a lot to me and I don't want to worry about receiving a ban for trading some random player or leveling while watching Netflix. Can anyone that has been banned and had it overturned vouch for them? Are they still sending rude emails to victims of the auto ban system?

Note: Also, comments in the vein of "cheaters always make stuff up" and "false bans never happen" will be ignored. Again, I've been gaming for too long to believe that, I've been on the receiving end of false bans when my accounts were compromised while on a break and I know first hand how annoying it is to deal with game devs that think they are infallible. One of my biggest peeves is reading stuff from players that believe that game devs dont make mistakes, and that if you got banned you deserve it. I get it, it makes you feel more secure knowing "it cant happen to you" but, in every game, it can. That's a fact. The important part is how the devs respond to false flags.

Anyway, I really hope they have matured as a development team. The game looks really good and I want to believe that I can invest time into it.
 

Tsukki

Community Manager
Staff member
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
39
Hi guys.
I've been seeing these threads unfold and, as some of you I've spoken to privately know, have been hesitant to answer, because there is no easy answer, and I don't want to make things worse. I feel compelled to it because certain things are being said left and right, and repeated so often that they become truths, when they're not, and I'd like to clear some things. Chances are you might have heard all of this before, but sometimes there is really no other answer we can give. This post still stands, word by word, and it's proof that some of the things being said even as recently as this thread, are just not the way things are.

First of all, the part of this whole debacle that is feedback is being read and considered by every one of us remotely involved with the community, including the support team, mods, and me. As with the rest of feedback we get, we process it internally and see how it can be best applied. We're not ignoring you guys, we're trying to make the best out of this very delicate and tense situation. This answer has Shintegami's post in mind as well.

One, the idea that all bans, and the ban appeal process are automated, is false. Not all bans are automated. And no part, literally no part of the ban appeal process is. Yes, some mails are canned responses: you only know about this when it reaches someone close to you, but we get many e-mails a day and we simply would not be able to type out responses to all of them, but we read and process all of them. This is even more true, and important for ban appeals: there is not an algorithm checking the appeal, it's a pair of eyes, and usually more than one pair, reviewing your account and case. Please, stop spreading the info that our reviewing system is automated, because it's not.

Two, the many assumptions going on in this post about the system and the way it works. We cannot explain how the system works. revealing our cards would automatically render useless all our work trying to keep Temtem free from illicit activity. I understand that it's a normal reaction against something like a ban to a close friend of yours, that you want info and answers, but we cannot provide that and filling in the gaps is creating a monster of a narrative that gets harder and harder to dispel and makes things harder for both sides. It's also scaring new players into believing that merely trading, or playing for long periods of time, gets you banned. There's always more to it, always. Also, the "growing number of wrongfully banned players" really depends on which version we're taking as true here. But all in all, even those bans that were wrong and got undone, the number is reaaaaally small. This is a serious problem because every player is valuable in themselves, not because it's a widespread issue. The Reddit post has more detailed info on this.

We have had our issues with the system in the past. There have been wrongful ban appeals. Just this morning, and there are similar responses in this thread, someone said we don't acknowledge the flaws in our system. It's literally written in the Reddit post, along with an apology, and if we didn't acknowledge our mistakes there would be no ban appeals at all. We go back and forth, listen, answer DMs, because we care. But ultimately, the system and us failing sometimes doesn't mean every controversial ban is automatically wrong. I've seen everything from my side of the fence, and no one is sacred.

I understand these are your close friends and club members, and that you're inclined to believe their words over ours. If I were in a similar situation I might do the same as well. It's your friends' testimony against ours, and we cannot show our proof. If we could, don't you think it'd be way easier for us to just show the proof we have and shut everything down, proving ourselves and setting an example in the process, than endure this time after time? We all care about fairness and doing the right thing, so we make sure of what we're doing. We review everything thoroughly before we reject an appeal, and the range of vision we have in our game is no joke. But our hands are tied in situations like these.

On a different note, discussing the process of ban appeals is not against the rules, but I'm pressed to remind you that discussing a specific, active case is not appropriate on a public platform such as the forums or the Discord. The support mail is the place for that. I don't think it's even tactful for me to comment on the specific cases, and I won't. We want to get feedback, and we want you guys to feel heard, but you guys opening up 3 different threads on this, sending DMs every couple of days to those of us who have them open, writing open letters left and right, are only making it super difficult for us to keep track of the issue, and reading everything on this is a whole day of my job. We're tiny. Please leave us some room to breathe and process stuff.

Temtem is in active development, and we’re pushing out new features every now and then. These features then get pushed to its limits, toyed around with, and sometimes, misused. We try to adapt to this as quickly as we can, but still, some peeps are really innovative, and it's hard to keep the pace up with the number of people we have available. We can now prevent making some of our past mistakes, thanks to new knowledge we've learned by force. This is to say, the situation has improved, and will continue improving as we learn more about the weird thingies you're doing with our game. Things will get better, not worse.I will not go into detail about the suggestions, because that's for the actual support team to consider and ponder.

It's touching that the community is close-knit and wants to protect its beloved players and friends, but I assure you we're all on the same side, and that this is not enjoyable for us either. We all want Temtem to succeed, even if that means making difficult decisions along the way. We don't want that to make us the bad guys, but we cannot exactly defend ourselves without exposing our top anti-cheating methods.
I don't know what else to tell you, honestly. At this point I have to admit I'm a bit distressed. I've tried being close and helping you, but I don't think what I say matters. I feel the Reddit post covers most of what was ever mentioned/asked in this thread. I've had personal chats with some of you, with all the best intentions, only to have the things I say twisted or plainly dismissed in private servers. This is not nice for you guys, I know, and it's not meant to be an easy topic, but some of the things I've been reading are making me question the way I, personally, connect with players.
We hear you, we read you, and we love talking to you, but I feel like we're going in circles here explaining ourselves against guesses and assumptions, with these taking priority over our official, fact-base communications, so do forgive me if at times I simply don't know what to say.
I hope to read you all soon on different, brighter circumstances.
 
Last edited:

TMTrainer

Game Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
1,088
Loved the idea of this game, but after seeing the way Crema handles bans / community about 4 months ago it was a huge turn off. I've been playing MMOs for over 20 years, I've played all the flagships from Jagex / Blizzard / Square Enix and more crappy f2p mmo reskins than you can count. One common factor in all of them is false bans do exist, its inevitable, and how the company manages those false bans is what is important.

From what I saw in March - May, Crema basically thinks their system is infallible (LOL) and trusts their flags. They didn't review bans until 4th or 5th requests and then, after months of appeals, realized they made a mistake and unbanned the players. That's unacceptable. Someone being banned for a month for something they didn't do is Jagex / Blizzard level incompetence. Is that who Crema is inspiring to be? Jagex? Blizzard?

If I pick up TemTem is it going to be another game with joke community support and I need to post on Reddit / Twitter to get anywhere? Have players like Azrael and RickyTan received justice yet? $40 and my time is a lot to me and I don't want to worry about receiving a ban for trading some random player or leveling while watching Netflix. Can anyone that has been banned and had it overturned vouch for them? Are they still sending rude emails to victims of the auto ban system?

Note: Also, comments in the vein of "cheaters always make stuff up" and "false bans never happen" will be ignored. Again, I've been gaming for too long to believe that, I've been on the receiving end of false bans when my accounts were compromised while on a break and I know first hand how annoying it is to deal with game devs that think they are infallible. One of my biggest peeves is reading stuff from players that believe that game devs dont make mistakes, and that if you got banned you deserve it. I get it, it makes you feel more secure knowing "it cant happen to you" but, in every game, it can. That's a fact. The important part is how the devs respond to false flags.

Anyway, I really hope they have matured as a development team. The game looks really good and I want to believe that I can invest time into it.
I'm unsure what you're talking about from four months ago. The game has an appeal system and false bans happen so uncommonly that the absolute vast majority of players don't need to worry about it. I can't stress enough how many people I've caught (during that time period) lying about getting falsely banned even before I was Crema staff and there is a good amount of misinformation and assumptions made on the daily about what happens behind the scenes right now.

If it's any consolation, there are people who have sent an email and had their ban appealed, with some being very public cases. There was never a time we said the system was infallible and I can promise you the system right now is ever evolving, especially with the public feedback and this Reddit thread covers that quite well.
 

offan

Rookie
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
32
I don't understand why issuing temporary bans is out of the question in a system that you yourself has said is under development and imperfect. The fact that in the past people have gotten communication that their case has been manually reviewed and the ban is final, but then new evidence or something is presented and suddenly they aren't guilty drastically reduces player trust in the system. The potential to be banned indefinitely for just playing the game normally exists and that's basically all that matters from a player's perspective. The fact that it only happens to a 'small number of users' doesn't mean anything.

The combination of a system that is in-development and shown to have flaws in the past and a system that permanently bans with no warning should not exist.
 
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