BioWare Banning for Using Profanity in SWTOR?

There has been a buzz recently about BioWare dropping the ban-hammer with prejudice on SWTOR gamers for things such as profanity, going to Illum before level 50 and anything that appears like chat “spam”, even if accidental.

This has a lot of players asking if BioWare is being too heavy-handed in their banning practices. While most of the threads on the official forums about it are quickly locked or deleted, there is a discussion going on about it at Reddit and one user also captured a screenshot of their ban warning email which was posted on the forums but that thread was later deleted.

Basically, this user said he was sent an email warning after using profanity in private tells to friends in game. The email warns the user that he will be banned if he is caught using this language again. No one seems to be able to get a good public explanation from BioWare about this policy and it has a lot of gamers really ticked off.

The Rules of Conduct on the official SWTOR forums include (among many, many other things):

“Profanity is not acceptable in communications on the forums or anywhere on the Site.”
Therefore, it is not a surprise that BioWare would take the same policy inside the game itself. The big problem with this is that no other MMO has had such a strict policy regarding chat or profanity in chat, especially in private channels. If people are getting warnings for using profanity in a private message, that means that first, there does not have to be a reported complaint in order to be caught by BioWare and secondly, there must be some type of auto-flagging program in place that notifies staff/GMs when you use certain words in your chat.
However, there is nothing that anyone can find that specifies exactly which words are not allowed or that the punishment for using such words is a ban. The only thing we can find is that post on the Rules of Conduct for the forums.
So what do you think? Is this a good thing for the game or is BioWare going too far by banning for profanity?

EDIT: Stephen Reid replied to the Reddit thread on this topic with an official response:

“We’re looking into reports of bans for reasons given.
I can state unequivocally that no-one has been banned for ‘going to Ilum before level 50’. More details on that should be outlined tomorrow on the official Forums.UPDATE: Here’s the post – http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?p=1060894
As that post mostly deals with Ilum-related actions, as a side note regarding swearing: We have a profanity filter to help with public chats, but in private messages (AKA whispers/tells), party chat or guild chat, if a person is swearing and are reported, they’ll be investigated.No-one has had action taken on their account without a report being filed and there is no active monitoring of ‘private channels’ within the game.”

We’ll bring you more info as we get it because we know this is an important topic for players.

Lisa Clark

Lisa has been an avid gamer since she was old enough to hold her first controller and a game writer for more than a decade. A child of the Nintendo generation, she believes they just don’t make games like they used to but sometimes, they make them even better! While consoles will always be her first love, Lisa spends most of her gaming time on the PC these days- on MMOs and first-person shooters in particular.