[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

John Erskine jerskine at ncaustin.com
Fri Jan 24 14:59:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

>From "Vincent Archer" archer at frmug.org on 1/22/03:

> The only sure way of determining if two accounts are likely to be
> owned by the same person is to look at the billing info. If
> they're paid by the same credit card, it's probably true (barring
> the usual case of multiple members of the family playing and
> typically billing all on the same card). If they're using
> different credit card with the same name, it's likely but not
> guranteed. If they're using different credit cards with different
> names, they're probably different person.

This is true to a degree, but credit card info is only one method of
trying to decide. You'd be surprised at how often I see both single
users that use separate CC's for their different accounts, and
multiple users that share one credit card to pay for their accounts.

There are certainly other behaviors that are equally weighted with
billing info such as: email address, IP login behavior (do you see
multiple logins from the same IP? Especially when someone logs out
of one account and immediately in to the other, or has two computers
logged in at the same time), some types of chat logs, etc.

> But credit card info is pretty sensitive. For example, to my
> knowledge, no GM in Everquest has access to credit card info. Not
> due to technical problems, but because of specific policy.

I agree that credit card info is very sensitive! But, you don't have
to actually 'know' or 'see' the number or the info in order to use
it as a tool. In our system, all of the appropriate admins can use
billing info as a matching or searching tool, but nobody has access
to the raw cc info itself. They can only see the last 5 digits of
the card for identification purposes. The number itself isn't stored
anywhere in 'raw' form in our system, but the account admins can
look for other accounts that use the same billing data without
actually being able to see the data itself.

In my opinion, it's important that the GM shouldn't really be both
the good and the bad guys in these games. Our GM's can identify an
account as 'for review' by our admin team, but they don't actually
do detailed research or make real decisions about anything that
happens to the account. There are separate people that do that sort
of thing that are less involved in the 'social' aspect of running
the game. These folks are _really_ good at identifying people that
use multiple accounts.

The biggest 'problem' we see revolves around people that get back
into the game after getting banned for some reason. Even these
people are pretty easy to catch if they are ever up 'for review'
later. The simplest thing to do is to go back and look at the chat
logs from the first day of the new account. Generally people message
their friends in the game and let them know that they got back into
the game and who they were 'before'.


John Erskine
Manager of Customer Support
NCInteractive - Austin, TX

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