Yesterday we reported on a rumour that Destiny 2 players were being banned from their games just because they were running overlay software like MSI Afterburner, Discord, or Fraps. If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because Rockstar Games had the same issue with Grand Theft Auto V, banning people who used overlays in the game like Discord or Afterburner. The issue has taken the Destiny community by storm, and there are hundreds of posts and forum threads on the issue. While Bungie’s community rep and the game’s lead developer on PC did reply to players on this issue before, Bungie has officially claimed that game overlays weren’t the issue.
Responding to the accusations in a blog post, Bungie told its customers that they weren’t mass banning people using automated techniques and that they did not ban people for using software overlays.
The following is true:
Destiny 2 cannot automatically ban you, only Bungie can ban a player after a manual investigation
Yesterday, we banned approximately 400 players on PC
Bans were applied to players who were using tools that pose a threat to the shared ecosystem of the game
We did not (and will not) issue any bans for the use of overlays or performance tools, including Discord, Xsplit, OBS, RTSS, etc.
Information on using third-party applications can be found here: https://www.bungie.net/en/Help/Article/46101
We are overturning 4 of the bans that were issued during the PC Beta
We are committed to providing an experience that is fun and fair for the millions of players who have joined us in this community.
Update: As part of our ban review process, we have identified a group of players who were banned in error. Those players have been unbanned. The bans were not related to the third-party applications listed above. We will continue to review the process we use to ensure a fun and fair game.
Four players out of 400 having their ban overturned doesn’t sound like a lot, and Bungie doesn’t say how many players they have banned in total. The update to their post came afterwards, although they don’t say how many players they unbanned, nor for what reasons they were banned, or what error was made in the process. There’s a Reddit thread for players to rant about the bans, and several of them got banned within minutes of launching the game and had their ban overturned after Bungie’s security bulletin.
The missing information that Bungie needs to provide is what exactly causes the anti-cheat engine to pick up that someone might be hacking. Is it triggered by someone trying to reverse-engineer the code? Is it triggered by someone running a VPN? Is it triggered by running a proxy server? Antivirus software? Changing your character’s stats client-side so that the server uses them, like The Division? Are they scanning the drive for evidence of cheating software? No-one knows.
Graphics injectors like ReShade or SweetFX, may have something to do with player bans because those directly alter the game’s state by swapping out shaders, or implementing graphical effects and in-game menus that the developers didn’t intend or plan for. Perhaps that’s also a trigger.
Overlays commonly inject some code into the game to hook into it for metrics like framerates and resource utilisation. Others, like MSI Afterburner, will inject their overlay into the display chain as well so that it is embedded in the final output and flattened into the image. Streaming software like Open Broadcaster and XSplit officially aren’t supported by Destiny 2, and the only way to capture gameplay is through AMD ReLive or NVIDIA Shadowplay (which capture game footage by copying the output of the framebuffer on the GPU), or using hardware capture modes when playing the game full-screen.
You can also capture the game’s output when running it in windowed mode, but this naturally adds lag into the system and limits you to the refresh rate of the Windows desktop. In addition to overlays not working, chat clients like Teamspeak, Discord, and Mumble will not be allowed to run (and may also stop Destiny 2 from running), and you can’t even use the Windows 10 screenshot tool. Nope, even that’s too invasive.
At the moment, being banned from the game is a permanent thing, and players are not allowed to appeal to their bans. Bungie’s terms and conditions state that account permabans are only done after rigorous account checks and an investigation has been done to avoid innocent people being banned.