On Thursday, February 9th, Riserva announced a new rule concerning holders. Basically, you can’t have them.
You can’t have holder(s) anymore. That’s the fact of it. It’s been decided that banking money only; or indeed banking and only using the other elements of the game up to a set limit, that is only known to staff, is now a bannable offence.
The original topic explained:
Accounts are to be used to play the game. If an account is being used to solely bank money, to keep safe funds or if we have reason to assume that an account is in any way not genuinely playing the game then the account may be banned at the discretion of the staff.
There were a few words and phrases in this post that stood out to a number of players posting in the topic, and some shared a sense of unease. Firstly, the topic makes perfectly clear that banking money is not considered ‘playing’ the game, despite it being a feature of the game, presumably there to be utilised.
There were other worries too, with the most cynical stating they thought it was “simply a way to control the masses” and that it was “yet another way to increase point sales”, a claim that was swiftly rebuffed by staff who said “this rule change was decided by Moderators, what interest do we have in increased points sales?”.
The loudest voice heard though, and this was the part that caused the most concern amongst players, was the fact that the rule was very non-specific, allowing staff to ban at their ‘discretion’, in other words, whenever they think they are right. Without the need for any defined proof. Max summed upthe concern of people who felt this way, saying “Isn't this rule very subjective? I mean, it's not based on any facts. I'm ok with the rule, but it needs more structure, way more.” He went on to say “Isn't this the whole purpose of a rule? Tell people where the line is, so they don't cross it.” While we at the Buzz do not in any way believe that any of the staff would use this rule as an excuse to ban without cause, the perceived issue is that it would make it easier, if a member of staff was to ever want to ban without a genuine reason.
With these concerns in mind, and to find out a little more about the rule, we went to speak to Riserva. We started by asking him what the reasoning behind the introduction of this new rule was, he told us “The main reason for this rule was the fact that the whole concept of a holder was getting abused to the point where it would affect the entire game play. We have enabled so that players may hide their money (by depositing it in the Federal Bank)” (which doesn’t show up on your profile wealth status) “so we see no genuine reason that people should require inactive accounts to bank their money.”
We went on to address some of the concerns raised in the game forum topic, asking whether he thought that this gave too much power to Moderators and relied too heavily on their judgement rather than upon the facts. “It does not, no.” Was his short reply, going on to explain that “If you look at Section 12 of the TOS, it clearly states that we may already terminate your account without prior notice, yet we do not exercise the right to do so.” When pressed about whether there were set boundaries within which Moderators can investigate and then ban an account, he said “we can tell who is a holder and who is not. We have access to a lot of information regarding accounts, and we do not ban the first time we see a suspicious account, we monitor them first and then make a decision.”
People will be pleased to know, that “[They] have a set of guidelines for Elite Guard use only. The reason why we do not release them is because it would be like releasing a guideline on how to break the rules and avoid getting banned.”
However, shortly after speaking to the Buzz, and with increasing agitation from the public, Riserva updated his topic, explaining in slightly more detail. Although not going into enough detail as “you must do 2 crimes for every $100,000 you bank” or any other such detail that would allow people to exploit the rule, it gave some clearer guidlines so players felt that it was more monitored and less’discresion’.
We finished the interview by asking Riserva if this rule was looking to basically stop TT and TF? Also asking does he think there is too much of a focus on this, shouldn't it be the players responsibility? He told us,after laughing at the question that “Everyone keeps bringing them up and seems to think that we are trying to fight a war with them... In fact, they as a group are not even on our mind. We just want to make sure everyone has a fair chance. We realize that this is still a mafia game and we try to tell the players that on a daily basis. The only thing we would like to ensure is that there is a fair playground for all. No duplicate accounts, no hidden resources, just a clean and fair game.”
As I said at the begininning of this article.... You can’t have holder(s) anymore. That’s the fact of it. It’s been decided that banking money only; or indeed banking and only using the other elements of the game up to a set yet publicly undefined limit is now a bannable offence.