EA cracks down on Battlefield 2 stat-padding

Knives and pistols at dawn (or at any time, for that matter) could get you kicked from ranked servers of EA's online FPS.

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In the world of online gaming, where many view levels and rankings as the final word on what a person's existence is worth, it's all too common to find gamers exploiting whatever bugs, loopholes, or design oversights they can find in order to get a leg up on the competition and some cold, hard evidence of superiority as a life-form.

One recent example is a rash of stats-padding instances in Electronic Arts' online first-person shooter Battlefield 2. An e-mail sent to ranked server providers earlier this week from EA employee Colin Clarke (a primary tester on Battlefield 2) addressed the issue. "We have noticed an increase in behavior where leased servers are being used by clans solely to pad players' stats," Clark wrote, "even to the extent where clans are institutionalizing rules that forbid normal play."

The exploit du jour is to set up a ranked server and advertise informal rules where players use only knives and pistols and revive each other while not taking flags. The end result is that this gameplay style accumulates statistics kept by the game at a greater rate than normal play. This makes players rise in rank more quickly, which in turn gives them quicker access to the game's unlockable weapons and a greater priority when multiple players vie for the commander position in a game.

Clarke says that creates an imbalance in the ranked server playing field and cites it as a violation of the game's terms of service. As a result, EA is taking action against the offenders involved. Anyone caught on such a server will have his or her stats stripped, and accounts sharing that person's clan tag will be examined for anomalous stats.

Since there are multiple server-hosting companies running ranked servers, EA is working with providers to enforce these rules. Among these services is GameSpot's own GameCenter subscription service, which lets gamers launch Battlefield 2 ranked servers among other features as part of a $9.95 monthly fee. Game exploits are prohibited by the GameCenter terms of use, and action is being taken against abusing EA's stats system in GameCenter servers.

If you want to excel at Battlefield 2 legitimately, check out GameSpot's complete game guide.

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