No one likes a spoiled surprise. But if you’re Battlestate Games, developers of the indie extraction shooter Escape From Tarkov, then you really, really, really don’t like it. Recently, the dev has threatened to ban anyone who datamines or even shares datamined content from the game. The threatens haven’t gone over well with fans, who often find the game a bit too cryptic for comfort and thus rely on datamined content to learn about stat changes and other essential information.
Escape From Tarkov is a tough-as-nails extraction shooter where once you die, you lose all your loot. Sending players into zones set in a fictional region of Russia, the goal is to get in, survive, loot, finish quests, and then extract in one piece. Much like a Destiny raid, many objectives in Tarkov are often a little cryptic. And while that level of mystery can be kind of fun to unravel, some fans have felt certain information (such as weapon stats and info about critical resources like ammo) has often been too vague.
That’s where dataminers and streamers like LogicalSolution come in, sharing critical info about the game’s stats to help players demystify the game a bit and plan their loadouts around specific challenges.. But a few days ago, Battlestate Games have taken to announcing sweeping bans for anyone engaged in the sharing of or process of “illegal datamining.”
Battlestate Games bans dataminers to preserve ‘wow-effect’
Taking to Twitter on June 23, Battlestate Games posted a hard-to-read image of a statement (can this whole image-of-a-statement thing stop, by the way?) titled “Official statement from Battlestate Games on illegal datamining of the information.”
The statement is pretty heavy with scary language. Firstly, Battlestate Games sweepingly categorizes datamining as “the illegal infiltration of in-game code and databases,” which is not strictly true. Like copying an mp3, what you do with that piece of data and potentially how you accessed it might be illegal, but datamining itself isn’t strictly illegal, though developers can choose to institute a policy prohibiting it in their Terms of Service.
Battlestate then expresses that datamining reduces the “wow-effect” and “makes the game much more predictable [and] does not align with the development vision.” The statement concludes with the developer pledging to “[take] action towards all the personalities sharing the datamined information” in the form of full account bans.
Escape From Tarkov is a tough game, one where the lack of critical information like weapon stats, item spawns, etc. can actually turn players away. This is doubly true when the community has felt patch notes are unhelpfully vague. That lack of info has made the developer’s latest move to so strongly clamp down on info found via datamining feel heavy handed amongst players.
Battlestate Games didn’t waste any time banning folks, turning its attention to a popular Tarkov streamer and creator of tarkov-changes.com (which catalogs essential info about the game) who had already raised issues with the studio’s stance and vague details about what is and isn’t allowed to be shared within the community.
Streamer gets banned and then unbanned following sharing of game information
On June 24, Escape From Tarkov streamer LogicalSolutions was banned after wrapping up a raid.
In a followup tweet, LogicalSolutions made it clear that the ban was in fact the result of sharing game information. But as they point out, the info was from January, which had been publically available before the statement on data mining from Battlestate.
Though LogicalSolutions’ ban was reversed the next day, he made clear during a stream that moving forward, it will be difficult to figure out what exactly is or is not bannable as its hard to know “what [Battlestate does and doesn’t] want announced” regarding changes to the game, “they don’t communicate” LogicalSolutions said. A follow-up Tweet from LogicalSolutions on June 25 states that LogicalSolutions and Battlestate Games are “mending our relationship” and are “moving forward to provide an ever better community experience.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the devs of Escape From Tarkov has ruffled its players’ feathers. While the studio is small in comparison to AAA devs, fans have expressed frequent frustration over transparency issues and an ongoing struggle with cheaters. Battlestate Games has taken action on that last front, but reaction to promises to ban dataminers and those who distribute datamined information seems to have given players the impression that Battlestate’s priorities are out of order.