A Reddit post went viral overnight after a Redditor named poelegalthrowaway00 claimed to be banned from the online action RPG game "Path of Exile" for using macro keys to assist him in gaming with his disabilities.
Grinding Gear Games investigated the issue, and they discovered some concerning findings.
Posted around April 16, a "Path of Exile" gamer went to Reddit asking for legal advice about being banned in-game. Moderators have taken down the Reddit post, but a screenshot has been taken. This gamer claimed to have a disability on one hand, thereby using the "mouse and 3 foot pedals" to play the game. The post explained how this person has been banned for using macro controls.
Macro controls is an assist system used by most games that involve a lot of fast-paced clicking and button pressing. It has been often used for advanced keyboards with extra buttons to spare, or in this case, inputting multiple functions in a one-foot pedal. In some games, these control tweaks could be considered cheating and often lead to banning.
Disabled Player Banned?
The Reddit thread quickly garnered sympathy and went full viral on the internet. It brought skepticism and questions about unfair advantages or restrictions the game has implemented. Gamers started asking developers to reconsider the ban imposed. Tweets such as Steven Sphohn requested developers to investigate the case.
We can't find any record of anyone being banned under these circumstances. We'd love the reddit OP to contact us with their account name so we can see what actually caused the ban.— Path of Exile (@pathofexile) April 15, 2021
"Path of Exile," however, remained quick on the uptake and instantly replied with an investigation of their own. Surprisingly, the game developers responded having no "record of anyone being banned under these circumstances." The developers extended their interest to communicate with the Redditor to resolve the issue.
A Hoax Post
PCgamer explained in detail how the event led up to the current development. As the issue continued to build up, redittor poelegalthrowaway00 made another surprising post by claiming the whole thing was a hoax post. Here is a screenshot of the post.
The Redditor claimed to be an educator who wanted to bring awareness to "how easy it [is] to manipulate public opinion and discourse through social media." The post explained in length the phenomenon of getting sympathy and experience to create an "event" without any objective evidence or accuracy to back it up.
The post ended up being taken down by the system shortly after it was posted. The whole event ended up with a bizarre twist that had people confused. The event came out as an insensitive hoax that heavily affected people invested in the topic. It also undermined the legitimacy of real issues concerning disabled people who play these games. Sphohn created a follow-up post about his displeasure with the set-up.
It took 15 years, but it finally happened: A troll pretended to be a gamer with disabilities just for lulz— Steven Spohn (Spawn) (@stevenspohn) April 16, 2021
Dozens of you sent messages asking me to reach out to @pathofexile about this and they investigated it finding it to be a troll
I'm not sure I've ever been so angry before https://t.co/7XDxGXQMBl
It remains a fact that a lot of players cannot play these games without some accessibility options. "Path of Exile" and its Grinding Gear Games developer proves itself to be willing to assist these kinds of circumstances.
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