The Dark Souls of Online Gaming
Through an unfortunate encounter, /u/MasterReaver discovered that he was softbanned from Dark Souls 2. (Softbanning, in theory, punishes cheaters by restricting online interactions to only other cheaters.) He was using DS2Fix64, a fix for bugs and crashes, which led to Bandai Namco softbanning his account. Through more digging and questions /u/MasterReaver discovered more fixes/mods that will lead to a player being softbanned.
This has been a problem close to Dark Souls 2's release, with Bandai Namco releasing a statement regarding soft bans back in April of 2014. There are some vague terms as to what may lead to a softban, similar to what /u/MasterReaver received, " Players who use external save data, hacks, mods, or any other cheats/exploits are in violation of the EULA and your account may have restrictions/limitations placed on it if your profile/account is found to be using them."
However, the response /u/MasterReaver got a little more specific—a list of specific mods/fixes that will lead to players getting softbanned. They are as follows:
- DS2Fix64 (fixes bugs and crashes)
- x360ce (lets you use other controllers than an Xbox controller)
- SweetFX (graphics enhancement)
- ReShade (graphics enhancement)
- DXTory (let's you video capture)
- Durazno Dead-Zone Fix (makes deadzone camera control more similar to Dark Souls 1)
That means, if you do choose to use one of the above fixes/mods, expect to be softbanned from Dark Souls 2. It's worth noting that none of the above seem to give any unfair competitive advantage gameplay-wise.
It's worth noting that this is not Bandai Namco choosing to ban people, it is actually FromSoftware, Bandai Namco is just enforcing it. More troubling though, even Bandai Namco doesn't seem to understand what leads to a softban based on the response /u/MasterReaver received:
We're not really sure of the exact reasons as to why FROMSOFTWARE decides certain mods are violations of the EULA while others appear to go unnoticed (but these will most likely still lead to restrictions once FROM is aware of them) and as such we strongly recommend to our end users that they simply not use any mods, hacks, or external files with the game (since they will all be a "try at your own risk of restrictions").
While there is a specific list of mods/fixes above, know that using anything may risk a softban.
FromSoftware was not helpful to /u/MasterReaver either, as he attempted to contact them, receiving a response that From only deals with the Japanese version of the game, and that he would need to contact Bandai Namco for the English version.
In the end, it is not entirely clear what will precisely lead to a softban; however, it is safest to use nothing at all until FromSoftware communicates what will specifically lead to a softban.
TechRaptor has reached out to Bandai Namco for further clarification.