Valve has punished thousands of Steam users for labeling a review of the game Warlander as helpful.
Steam reviews are super important, helping gamers make educated decisions on what games to download next. For this reason, Steam asks users if reviews are “helpful,” allowing gamers to reply with “yes,” “no,” or “funny.” It turns out, however, that you might end up in a bit of trouble if you find certain reviews helpful.
Why were thousands of gamers punished by Steam?
Warlander is a new free-to-play multiplayer game that has players fighting each other in a mediaeval setting with fantasy items and robots. The game currently has a 6 out of 10 on Steam, with one gamer’s negative review explaining that the game uses a “suspicious” anti-cheat software called Sentry Anti-Cheat.
The reviewer, FREEDOMS117, stated that the anti-cheat will run even when the game is closed, “sending some packets of data to Japan IPs while the game has already been closed.” They found this alarming and left a review telling players how to uninstall Sentry Anti-Cheat.
Many fellow gamers found this helpful — 2,439 Steam users answered “yes” on the helpful prompt. This was enough people finding it useful to skyrocket the review to the top of the “most helpful” reviews area on the Warlander’s Steam page.
On April 14, one Steam user noticed that FREEDOM117 had their account restricted, as well as the 2,439 users who marked the review as helpful. When FREEDOM117 reached out about the restriction, Steam claimed that the review was “potentially dangerous” since it showed gamers how to “tamper with anti-cheat systems.”
The bans have since been lifted.
On the game’s end, Warlander’s developers went on to say that the anti-cheat does not have access to any personal information, nor will it share any. But a recent bug fix had developers at Plaion telling players to uninstall the anti-cheat system to fix it.