Support Avoidance & Forum Bans
I found out the hard way that 2K has little interest in providing their customers with support when it comes to connection issues. An ongoing connection issue in the game Evolve has left many people unable to connect game since it was determined that the game was no longer being developed, however according to the FAQs for the game on the 2K website:
Are Evolve Stage 2 servers staying online?
Yes, Evolve Stage 2 servers will remain online, running the latest version (v2.16) of the game.
Despite what was stated, an ongoing connection issue with Evolve, which gets more severe each day & has continued that trend since they made this statement, has left a lot of people unable to play the game in any means it was meant to be played (you could still play Tutorial, but what's the point limiting yourself to this mode when you have a limit in Silver Keys you can gain each day through the Tutorial mode).
On 1/26/2017, I attempted to troubleshoot the issue by turning on network monitoring on my firewall for Evolve.exe, it was determined that the game servers were located at 4v1game.net. Once I figured that out, I went through each individual firewall alert for specific actions & tested those domain names using ping & trace route. One I had to the details I posted them publicly on the 2K forums:
on 2K forums
PDF backup of thread
Around this time I also updated my review on the game on Steam (changing the rating from Recommended to Not Recommened) & posted a link to the thread on the 2K forums on that thread in the Steam forums. I received a response the same day from a user that stated that he created a support ticket with 2K & supplied them with some information from the command prompt (I would assume trace routes, as I had) to get the issue somewhat resolved on his end.
The following day I decided to take his advice & also file a support ticket with 2K, however this was a mistake that showed me how ugly of a company 2K really is. In their first response to the ticket, they requested my SteamID & asked me to delete a few files in the game folder, then running the game afterwards to see if it helped. The step regarding deletion of files was already attempted when the Steam user copied those steps to the thread on the Steam forums, so I knew it wouldn't work & this was stated in the support ticket. It was also stated in the support ticket that there was a better way to grab the SteamID they were asking for, which I'm not sure if it confused them or they just chose they didn't want to pursue the issue any longer, but I didn't receive a response after I asked them to look at the thread (again) for the details I had spent a few hours compiling about the connection problem.
PDF backup of support ticket
After a few days, I decided to go back to my thread on the 2K forums when it looked like I wasn't going to get another response in the support ticket. I had received a response from another user in that thread & I was replying to it, ended up getting IP banned (by server, which makes it look like a site timeout rather than getting a legitimate message of being banned) in the middle of proof-reading & correcting the post. At that time I was under the assumption that the forums were having problems & made a post on isitdownrightnow.com. That night I decided to try troubleshooting the issue with the 2K forums as the site I left the comment on stated that it as actually up. I decided to try accessing the site through an anonymous proxy & found that the site could indeed still be accessed, however through my own IP address, I could not. Checking to make sure it wasn't a problem with the Xfinity DNS, I connected to my neighbors Xfinity wifi hotspot through my phone & found I could connect, but switching back to my own wifi yielded the same results I was having on my computer. It was obvious at this point it was an IP ban, but it didn't make sense why I was timing out rather than receiving a message that I was banned.
The following day I responded to the support ticket about the apparent IP ban & asked if I needed to seek a resolution via BBB complaint; it was no surprise that I received no response. Prior to this, I had looked up the information for 2K on the BBB as it was looking like I was going to have to file a BBB complaint against the company to see any progress on the matter, but reports on the BBB website should show that 2K apparently gives the finger to the BBB & doesn't really take complaints against them seriously (while I couldn't actually see the details on previous complaints filed against 2K, the not satisfied outcomes easily buried the satisfied outcomes)... I also provided a copy of the PDF backup of the thread to the users in that Steam thread where I posted the link to the 2K forums, as I expect others have fallen to the same fate I have & would be unable to access those forums.
The next day I decided to make it a point to show other users that 2K had made it a point to ban me from the 2K forums for publicly posting details about the connection problem, details that could have very well fixed the problem, which to me just shows that they really are not interested in keeping Evolve running on the PC... Connecting to my neighbors Xfinity wifi hotspot through my phone to log into the forums & make the post (pre-typing the post & transferring it to my phone for a quick copy & paste, as I knew I wouldn't have much time once I connected, however there were errors in the BBCode, as can be seen in the thread and/or PDF backup), I made a post regarding the ban & hit the edit button to try & fix the errors before I was banned. I was literally banned directly after the post was made, almost like it was automated (which is possible; one thing I have noticed in both of these bans was they happened after external links were posted or edited in). I previously stated in that final post that I was going to be filing a complaint to the BBB if I had not received a response to the support ticket & had not regained access to the 2K forums, but after the immediate ban after that post was made, I wasn't going to wait & had it filed within a couple hours of the second ban. That complaint stated the following:
I purchased the game Evolve over Steam (steampowered.com) during the 2015 Christmas sale before the game went F2P (Free 2/to Play). I started playing it a few months ago, shortly after, it was stated that the game was no longer in development, but the servers would continue to run as F2P. Shortly after that, the servers started having connection issues & over the last couple months, the servers have literally been impossible to connect to without literally hours of constant attempts, leaving no time to actually play the game...if you are even able to connect at all.
I started troubleshooting the problem myself on 1/26/2017 & posted detailed information about it on the 2K Evolve Support forums at https://forums.2k.com/showthread.php?4305626-Server-login-issues-(with-technical-data). I opened a support ticket the following day & received a response from support the day after that stating to delete a couple files in the game folder & to try running the game again, which was something that was attempted when a user on the Steam forums copied these steps over to them. After my reply to that ticket, I didn't hear back from them & made a response to my thread on the 2K forums (post #6), where I was promptly banned before I could complete proofreading & correcting errors in the post. At first I thought the forums were temporarily down, as is stated in my comment on http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/forums.2k.com.html , but I found out later that night that it was in fact an IP ban done through their servers (verified by tracert to forums.2k.com). At this point I responded to the support ticket about the apparently IP ban & asked if I needed to seek a resolution through a BBB complaint, to which I received no response to. The day after that I attempted to contact the phone number on the BBB page for 2K & it became obvious I would not get anywhere trying to contact them by phone, so I attempted the email option from the BBB page, only to find out that this opened another support ticket (which wasn't the intention of the email, I was attempting to get into contact with a supervisor). The following day, I logged into my 2K forum account again over my neighbor's Xfinity wifi hotspot to post another post on the forums about being banned (post #7), immediately getting IP banned again after the post was made (with no time to correct errors, as you can see from the post).
After the second immediate IP ban, I decided I would not be waiting until Thursday to file the BBB complaint as stated in the post, it needed to be done now as this was just going to continue happening. I have backups of the thread in question, the Steam thread where this was being discussed in detail, the support ticket that was opened with 2K, the email that was sent using the email listed on the BBB page for them, as well as invoices of purchases made through Steam, all to be attached to this complaint as soon as I am given the option to do so.
Desired Settlement: Refund
If the Evolve servers can not be fixed & I am unable to regain access to the 2K forums, I wish to be refunded the amount of money I have spent on the game thus far, which amounts to $96.94 according to Steam invoices (regaining access to the 2K forums is non-negotiable; I don't think I will be bothering with a forum account anymore however as I've seen what happens to those requesting support publicly on the forums, so I won't necessarily need to be able to post to them & probably won't need my account anymore).
Recapping those options to be satisfactory:
Servers fixed & regain access to 2K forums (no ban to access of Evolve servers on Steam account, as is expected will be the case)
Refund of money spent on the game ($96.94) & regain access to 2K forums.
Nature of Complaint: Product Issues
Date Problem Occured: 11/1/2016
Date(s) Complained: 1/26/2017 12:00:00 AM
Purchase Date: 12/27/2015 12:00:00 AM
Salesperson: None Provided , http://store.steampowered.com/
Product/Service: Evolve servers
Model #: None Provided
Account #: None Provided
Order #: [censored]
Purchase Price: $96.94
Payment: In Full Credit Card
Disputed Amount: $96.94
Message to BBB
Date & transaction number are only one part of this equation, there was a second part of the transaction made on 1/3/2016 (transaction number [censored]) easily toppling the amount from the purchase on 12/27/2015; the full amount in purchased for this game (the invoices including other purchases not relevant to this issue, to be provided when given the option to attache additional information) has already been given, itemized on boht the 2K & steam forums (PDF backups to be provided when the time presents itself).
Within the same day, I did another PDF backup of the thread through the proxy & updated that shared backup on the PDF thread on the Steam forums. It was later in the day that I decided I needed to start writing this review, which it was undetermined whether I was going to post it immediately or not, I ended up deciding I might as well as I have a large update I'm going to need to work on for possibly a week that would prevent it from getting published until I finished those updates.
UPDATE: I was contacted by a support supervisor from the email that was sent using the email address on the BBB website. Before I get into what was said, the following email was sent to them on 11/26/2017, perhaps only an hour before I sent the BBB complaint:
I have taken several steps to get this situation resolved already, lately it seems the forum & support teams would rather fight against having Evolve be functional (the latest indication appearing to be an IP ban on the forums, causing a timeout from this IP address, but still accessible from others) rather than using it to fix the problem. This will be my last attempt to get the matter resolved through 2K, I will be filing a complaint with the BBB on Thursday if there is still no progress on the matter.
There has been a connection problem with the game Evolve Stage 2 for a couple months now, from what I can tell by user posts both in the Steam forums & the 2K forums, nobody can connect to it on the first attempt & it can literally take hours to connect...if at all. I started troubleshooting the issue on the 26th (around the time I gave up on trying to connect each day even if it was just for the Daily Sign In rewards; I literally didn't have any time to actually play after spending hours upon hours just trying to connect). Using my firewall to track traffic on Evolve.exe & a number of tracert reports, I was able to determine the problem is the game servers located at 4v1game.net is unreachable (the reason still undetermined, but they're constantly timing out & impossible to connect to on a first try).
- All details regarding firewall logs, ping attempts tracert reports & attempts to resolve the issue on my side were posted on your forums on 1/26/2017 at https://forums.2k.com/showthread.php?4305626-Server-login-issues-(with-technical-data). Prior to this I changed my Steam review on the game to Not Recommended based solely on the fact nobody could actually connect.
- 2K support ticket #2119119 was opened the following day.
- I received a response to the support ticket the day after the ticket was started stating that I should attempt to delete a couple files in the game directory & attempt to restart it, which had already been attempted when a Steam user copied these steps over to the Steam forums.
- I received a response from a user to my thread on the 2K forums on 1/29/2017, which I was quick to respond to, however the forums started timing out before I could finish proofreading the entirety of the post I had just made (post #6) & making corrections. When the site started timing out, I made a comment about it on isitdownrightnow.com. I also looked up the company details on the BBB website should they be needed if nothing was going to be done to fix this problem.
- Early in the morning (troubleshooting the forum problem seeing as I couldn't sleep), I found that the timing out appeared to be a forum ban through the server by IP, a tracert to the 2K forum domain indicated a full cut off from any 2K domain that should have shown in it; I was able to access the forums not only from a anonymous proxy, but also from my neighbors Xfinity wifi hotspot. At this point I updated the comment on isitdownrightnow.com, my Steam review of the game, added a PDF backup of the thread done through my phone (while accessing the forums through the Xfinity wifi hotspot) to the Steam thread (expecting others may have met the same fate) & sent another response to the support ticket regarding the apparently forum ban, asking if I needed to take the route of seeking a resolution via BBB complaint.
- Around 2 PM, I decided to try calling the number on the BBB website for your company, determining I wasn't going to get anywhere with it through the phone number, so I decided to use the contact email instead to send this email for escalation of the issue.
If I still have not seen any progress on the matter by Thursday (gaining back access to the forums for starters or at least a response in the support ticket), I intend on filing a complaint with the BBB. This complaint will include details that have been provided to your support staff through that thread, in this email, invoices for purchases made on the game & so on; the intended sought after resolution will be a refund for purchases made towards the game (before it went F2P, in the amount of $96.94 according to Steam invoices) & gaining back access to the 2K forums (along with any other rights that may be revoked within that time).
If a resolution can not be found even after filing a complaint with the BBB, I will go through my own methods of publishing all details I have regarding the matter as to how this game is no longer supported by 2K, users requesting support will be penalized by means of IP ban & why I won't be giving 2K any more money out of my pocket, which will effect the reviews I do on 2K games, giveaways I may be holding (meaning 2K games will be added to the list of companies that users can not request games from should they win the drawing), as well as a public boycott against the company.
The response I got from the support supervisor on 1/27/2017 was as follows:
Thank you kindly for taking the time to contact 2K Support.
My name is Brendhan and I'm a supervising representative here at 2K Support that will be overlooking your ticket with us currently.
I have gotten into contact with our Forums administrator and he assure's me that your particular username and IP is NOT actually banned nor is there any signs of a suspension. It may very well be standard connection interruptions occurring when attempting to access the Forum.
Additionally, thank you kindly for your report on the Evolve: Stage 2 servers. We are aware of the issues occurring and are looking deeply into it. Sadly we currently do not have word yet on any potential update or fix rolling out but stay tuned to our Twitter and Blog for the latest updates and announcements regarding all of our game titles.
Should you ever have any additional 2K related questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at any point as my team and I would love to provide the assist!
Earlier I had received a response email from the BBB regarding the complaint that was filed yesterday, getting issues a case number & notifying me that 2K had already been contacted. I haven't had a chance to add additional supporting information (such as invoices of purchases & PDF backups of support tickets), so I'm currently waiting for the option to do that (may have to share it through a shared Google Drive folder). My response to the server supervisor was as follows:
I lost connection to the 2K forums directly after posting post #6 & again directly after posting post #7 over my phone while connected to the neighbor's Xfinity wifi hotspot (meaning they are now banned from the server as well; my current IP address is [censored], which still can not connect to 2K forums). The ban appears to be related to a server ban based on hops before reaching 2K servers according to a test via tracert (same situation as with the game servers it would seem) rather than banned through the forums itself, as there is no ban message, just server timeout (again, same situation as Evolve servers, it would seem).
In any case it's a little late at this point to be escalating it through 2K support management, I filed a complaint with the BBB directly after the second forum ban & it is now filed under case #[censored] with the BBB; apparently 2K has already been contacted by the BBB regarding this matter. Where it goes from here will be a matter of how they choose to deal with it through that complaint.
I have already published a review regarding this matter on my personal site; if the matter gets resolved to a satisfactory level by the time the BBB complaint is closed, I intend on removing that review, but will only update it with further information if not resolved to a satisfactory level. The review does state the possibility of an automated IP ban based on posting an external link; while that is undetermined, it seems highly likely given those bans became apparent as soon as external links were posted.
Whether this matter is resolved positively or negatively will also affect my decision as to whether I continue being a customer of 2K or not. As it is now, I don't intend on purchasing from 2K ever again & that's saying something being a big fan of Borderlands on PC & the WWE series on PlayStation. I am hoping this matter gets resolved now that it has been escalated through another organization, however I stand by my standards & won't be paying into a company when the result is a loss on my part (2K is not the first company I have done this with; other big name companies before 2K were Blizzard & Namco/Bandai). I have already lost nearly $100 on Evolve alone, where I wouldn't be making an issue about it if I hadn't paid for the game itself & every DLC under it before it went F2P.
Prior to sending this response, I had not noticed that the response from the 2K support supervisor had been directed to the registered email account for my 2K account (as well as the one I registered the complaint to the BBB on; which was done specifically because Google used a loophole to avoid doing anything when I filed a BBB complaint against them on YouTube when Namco/Bandai was attacking my YouTube channel & managed to issue a strike on my channel on an inactive stream page) rather than my rarely used Google account (which was used to sent the email to 2K using the listed email address on the BBB website). When I realized I may have cut off my chance to get this resolved through the BBB, I sent the following followup email, reiterating the import parts & what needs to be done to get the issue resolved to a satisfactory level:
Oh I see now. You are contacting me based on a redirect of the BBB complaint from my Gmail account to my Yahoo account (at first I didn't realize you contacted me on a different email address than the one I contacted you through from the listed email address on the BBB website). In any case, the details are the same, I (as well as many others) still can't connect to game servers at 4v1game.net (apparently the Evolve game servers according to my firewall traffic logs from Evolve.exe). Furthermore I can not connect to the 2K servers on my home connection ever since I edited in an external link on post #6.
Based on the BBB complaint, first priority is fixing the fact I can't access the 2K servers anymore. Second either means the servers need to be fixed or I need to be refunded the amount I have paid into the game already ($96.94). Until then, no further purchases of 2K products or their franchises will be made from my wallet.
It was only after I woke up after heading to bed last night that I realize this contact may not have been redirected from the BBB complaint, but rather redirected from the other support ticket that was reference in the initial contact starting this support ticket. I think it would be best to wait for further contact through BBB before I try to follow up with this supervisor further.
UPDATE: On 2/2/2017, I attempted to get proof of getting banned on video by trying to post to my account through proxy while recording it, however things did not pan out as expected... While I was able to post without being banned (even with external hyperlinks), I was unable to access the edit function on the forums (expected to be an issue with the proxy, not my browser or the forums). At the end of a number of posts, I made a final temporary post (as I'm expecting to clean the up later should I be able to access the forums) stating that it may be an issue with my ISP & I was going to be calling them to see if I could get the issue revolved.
After I made that post on the forums, I made a response to the support ticket stating it was determined to be my ISP:
After attempting to post to the forums using a proxy, it appears I was able to determine the issue has something to with Xfinity connections; it's very possible this may be relative to the Evolve servers also. For the time being, I am removing the review I had up previously; if I can't get the issue resolved myself by speaking with Xfinity directly, I'll report to the BBB that it was an issue with my ISP, but as far as I can see, I doubt this will fix the problem with Evolve servers as it seems literally nobody can connect to them without spending hours upon hours just to connect.
I then contacted my ISP & spent probably around an hour speaking to two different support representatives. The first one stated that there was an issue with the modem I had cutting out on certain sites & in some cases, not being able to access the internet at all. She suggested first a a Technician visit, then later stated I would swap the modem without the technician visit. We first decided to try rebooting the modem using a signal from their offices (I have already recycled the power on my modem at least 3 times since the 2K forums issues started happing, as well as trying to flush the DNS, so I didn't expect this would work, but I agreed to try it as she was under the impression this method has a higher rate to be successful). After the restart, she must've tried calling me around 14 times according to my call logs, only one got through & I couldn't hear her on the other end. The modem was rebooted again & after over a half-hour I determined I wasn't going to get another call back & decided to call Xfinity back myself.
I got a new support rep. & explained the situation, including I was just on the phone with another one of their reps. He thought that simply switching out the modem wasn't the best idea, he wanted to send an advanced technician to take a look at the problem. He stated that he guaranteed I would not have to pay for this visit & they would swap the modem if needed. I agreed to the terms & an appointment was scheduled for Saturday (2 days after the call was made).
UPDATE: Unfortunately 2K was quick to jump on the response about it being my ISP & had responded to the BBB complaint with the following statement on 2/3/2017:
Customer has indicated in the ticket that forum issues are related to the ISP. We will continue to assist the customer in the ticket.
For starters, I haven't received any responses through support tickets beyond the initial response, so stating "We will continue to assist the customer in the ticket" seems like a crock & I highly doubt they will now that they know I have a review about these shenanigans on their site happening; the reply to the BBB complaint was the first followup response I have seen thus far... The lack of responses on tickets in all honesty makes it look like a 2K support ticket has been abandoned, not even being closed, but in this case it shows they are still monitoring those tickets even if they aren't responding...
While I looked for a means to response to the BBB case without making a specific decision, it wasn't going to be possible without saying I accepted or rejected their response, so I decided not to respond until I had further proof regarding the matter, although there is a phone number in that contact from the BBB, so I might contact that if after making my decision on the response (which I'm more than certain will be I don't accept it) & find I'm unable to provide further information (so far I have not seen an option to attach information through the complaint, so I may need to share it through a folder on my Google Drive instead).
After I noticed the quick response from 2K to the BBB (which looks like an attempt to push blame to anybody other than themselves), I decided to contact 2K back through the ticket I sent the initial response to stating that it was believed to by my ISP. At first I sent it to the wrong ticket (first ticket, which was later requested to be elevated through the second accidental ticket), then closed it with a final statement about it being elevated to a supervisor & the BBB, after which the following statement was thrown on the correct support ticket:
In response to the response on the BBB complaint:
"Customer has indicated in the ticket that forum issues are related to the ISP. We will continue to assist the customer in the ticket."
Right now that's only a possibility, I have an elevated tier Xfinity Technician coming over tomorrow to check it. I'm expecting to get a new modem (as I don't believe the technician will be able to fix this issue with the current IP address), which will give me a new IP address. I will have the results after that, results I intend on getting on video, as well as making sure I am recording while accessing the forums in the future should it happen again. I should also have witness from the technician, as I'm going to attempt to complete these tests directly after getting issued the new modem (if he sticks around long enough), although the video should be enough to proof what's gone on, if the technician sees it in action, he'll have the ability to look into it on their connections (should it happen again), but I doubt the issue is on their end after it happened twice over 2 different connections directly after I posted (I expect the neighbors are still unable to access the forums, although I doubt they are gamers & probably won't even notice it).
A response will be given to the BBB after I have the results, including further information should it need to be pursued further (either on the forum issue or the Evolve connection/refund situation; I doubt the new modem will fix the issue with Evolve, so that portion of the complaint will likely still need to be addressed).
For the time being, the 2K site review on my personal site has been pulled & no longer accessible, but it will be going back up again if this doesn't get fully resolved (with edits based on what has happened throughout this situation).
I may contact the BBB via phone to ask for an extension if needed, but I expect I will have a few days to respond so that may be unneeded. In any case speaking to the BBB directly may help the case by adding a note to the case that contact was made to them regarding the response, so it doesn't get marked as "the company made an effort to correct issue, but customer remains unsatisfied", as is usually the result when a company does respond to a BBB complaint...
UPDATE: On 2/5/2017, the elevated-tier Xfinity Technician came out to diagnose the problem I was having with their servers. Aside from a poorly-spliced coaxial cable causing "noise" (according to the Technician, which needed to be fixed, but did not resolve the matter with 2K forums or with connecting to Evolve servers & was otherwise diagnosed as working as intended upon completion, so no new modem was provided.
Until the BBB complaint is closed, details will be limited on this site review of 2K.com, however I am going to provide my response to the BBB complaint filed after the Xfinity Technician left:
I am rejecting this response because:
Elevated tier Xfinity/Comcast Technician came today to check internet & diagnose problem. I showed him the tracert report to 2K forums after expected ban; hops are outside of Comcast server IPs before tracert starts timing out, Technician confirmed that it looked like a block on their side. A couple screenshots of the work order have been taken & sent to me via email, I have provided them (along with other details relevant to this situation) to prove the Technician came, work order was completed & diagnostics determined Xfinity connection was working as it should. A poorly spliced coaxial wire did have to be fixed to fix some "noise" (as stated by the Technician) going through the line, however this did not resolve the situation with Evolve, nor did it resolve the situation with 2K forums.
Due to limitations in attachments on BBB (limited to 4), I have provided 13 documents from an unlisted shared folder on my Google Drive account located at [censored] (maybe not the most secure, but I'm not going to leave any details out, where that would have been the case with only 4 attachments & no ability to upload RAR or ZIP files; this folder will be deleted later if URL is not censored before going public on BBB); for in-depth explanations on each attachment, please refer to BBB Complaint attachment details.doc.
I do not believe their statement regarding they will continue helping via ticket, not only because I have not received a response beyond the initial contact in each ticket regarding this matter (2 tickets total), but also because I have pointed out I am writing an ongoing review regarding the matter & don't intend on removing it unless the matter is resolved to full satisfaction. Currently, I still can not access the forums (and it's been proven it's not a problem on my side or Comcast's, not to mention 2 immediate timeout issues after posting over 2 different connections seems like too much of a coincidence) & still can not connect to Evolve servers (I don't intend on spending up to 6 hours each day of continuously restarting the game just to connect, not leaving any time to actually enjoy the game afterwards, if I even get connected at all).
UPDATE: On 2/6/2017, the status of the BBB complaint updated to sending the new information I sent them over the weekend as being forwarded to 2K (as well as the rejection of their response). When I got up early this morning, it still stating the same thing (that the BBB was still going over new information provided), however after taking a nap for about 4 hours (trying to catch up on sleep), I checked the status on the BBB complaint & after noticing the update, I also noticed I had access to the forums again.
At this point I started prewriting a post to be posted in my thread should I have a chance to do it after deleting/correcting some of the existing posts. I expected I would get IP banned again, so I got my recording software ready to get proof when it happened. As expected, I got cut off once again before I could make correction to a single post (taking about 2 minutes to make corrections before trying to save them). Rather than going into full details about it, I will let the video do the talking (make sure annotations are enabled for easier to follow notes; notes are in the partial description under the video if not enabled or if you're viewing from a phone).
truth about 2K.com IP bans
One thing I do regret about this test was I neglected the chance to tracert the forums before getting IP banned again, which would have been my proof as to what IP/domain is cutting off my access to the forums when compared to a tracert after being banned. I'm going to see if there's any way I can do this over my phone while connect to an Xfinity wifi hotspot, as this will give me the proof of the cutoff IP.
Regarding what was said in that response, they stated:
We have once again checked our forum ban list, and this customer is not restricted in any way.
In addition, there has been follow-up on our promise to our customers that we had already escalated the server error to the development team.
As we stated, they have been diligently working on the issue, and it should be resolved as of today.
UPDATE: On 2/7/2017, I was given the option to response to 2K once again; once again I rejected the response & provided them with the following response of my own:
Once again I state I do not accept the response from 2K because the problems are not resolved yet.
First off, the game still can not be logged into; every time I try to force it by clicking on Play, I get the error you will see at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=823417063 . A video regarding this matter can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc9ZhmpAwWI . These are old uploads, but the situation remains the same.
As far as the IP ban on the forums go, I noticed after the last response had been forwarded to 2K, that I had access back to the 2K forums. That didn't last, as when I logged into my account to try & delete/correct some existing posts & would attempt to post a new post I had prewritten before logging in (if I was still able to after cleanup of the existing posts), only to find I was cut off once again before I was able to save changes to the first edit. As I stated in the ticket before, I would be recording a video to prove this should it happen again, if I ever got back access to the forums; this video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTLTno9h5CM . It is expected the respondent to this complaint is checking for IP bans through forum administration; the problem is with what happens when I get cut off would indicate an IP ban via server firewall, not a forum ban, so the server engineers are the people that need to be spoken to, not the forum administrators. This video is currently unlisted; most views to the video were my own doing while I was adjusting annotations after publishing the video, I have sent the link to a few friends however.
One problem with the video itself, I later found out that it appears forums.2k.com is blocking trace routes (even if from an unbanned IP address), so this portion of the video can be ignored for the time being. This was determined after finding I could access the forums through my phone through my own Xfinity wifi hotspot (after the Xfinity Technician cleared up some confusion when I asked him some questions about it), finding it had a different IP address; I did not log into the forums through the phone as I already knew what would happen, but downloaded a couple tools from the Google Play store to run a ping & tracert to forums.2k.com, noticing I was still timing out in trace routes regardless of being able to access the forums (the IP for this subdomain was not in the test, so it's expected trace routes have been blocked by the server engineers).
Even after receiving the response yesterday, stating that this issue should be resolved, there were more posts in the Steam Evolve forums ranting about not being able to connect & being given details by 2K Support believing that deleting certain configuration files & restarting the game would fix it, where so far I have yet to see a response where that has been confirmed as a working fix.
This issue is still not resolved, I don't intend on dropping the issue until it is. Getting unbanned from the forums don't count if I just get rebanned as soon as I log in or attempt to make an edit/post. You have 2 option regarding the game; fix the servers so people can connect or give me back the money I have wasted on it thus far.
I'm fully expecting retaliation from 2K against my YouTube channel (which would be no different than Namco/Bandai) when they see the video of the forum ban in action, however the only details given for the time being are the annotations in the video itself, so they might have a hard time proving a violation is needed to be filed. On the flipside, should a violation be issued, it might make it easier for me to file an appeal given all the proof that is needed is in the video itself.
UPDATE: The BBB complaint sat at the following status ever since 2/8/2017, the day after I rejected their response:
At that point, I had no idea who was supposed to be proving the additional information, but I didn't have the option to make another response until another response from the company was provided.
On 2/12/2017, the status updated to the following:
I had no notice that my last response even been forwarded to them, however it became obvious that it had (or should have been) based on the statement provided in the update on the status of the ticket. At this point I knew the ticket was going to be closed due to non-response from 2K, so I changed the privacy on the shared folder on my Google Drive to Private just in case the BBB does not cencor that URL when it goes public. I may not be able to determine that anyways; every status on every ticket on 2K's BBB complaint page is currently reading not available, which means I may not set that folder back to shared (by link) regardless & will just end up deleting it anyways. Once the complaint is fully closed, I will provide further detail regarding the BBB complaint here, however I need to first make sure that the company isn't going to do anything regarding this matter, which I think is pretty obvious they won't based on their ratio of negative/positive reviews & complaint outcomes.
UPDATE: On 2/13/2017, I got another response from Brendhan (in the support ticket that was accidentally opened when I contacted the email address on the BBB website). This response was showing he was making an attempt to fix the problem (likely in response to being notified about the BBB complaint & he was the individual that was going to responsible for handling the support that was stated would be guaranteed in the BBB complaint):
Happy to hear from you again.
My apologies on the delayed response. Before moving forward, may I ask you a few questions that would be extremely helpful in our current investigation of your issue;
Could you please list us your IP address as shown by visiting http://whatismyipaddress.com/
May I know the physical location/region/area you're currently located in?
What is your specific Internet connection configuration? Are you using WiFi, Ethernet, a Network Adapter etc... (if using a WiFi modem, could you please list the name, model and manufacturer of the device?
Additionally, based on the issue described, it seems as though your connection is somehow being blocked to the dedicated Evolve server. Could you please attempt and answer the following to verify if it resolves your issue?
Were you ever able to play multiplayer? If yes, has your PC or router had an OS/firmware update since? Did you check your router firewall rules and settings at all since said update?
If running a firewall, could you please log the network activity that it is filtering? If new log entries show up while playing Evolve, please add firewall rules to allow those filtered ports access
Evolve uses both TCP and UDP connections to the game servers. Please ensure your firewall and router are logging both types of connections when they look for issues.
Please check each router (if multiple) for firewall and port filters. If a device has a firewall or packet management, have the device keep a log. Play the game and try multiplayer. See if new log entries show-up on the device log during multiplayer game attempts. If they do, add rules on the device to enable what is being filtered.
Please attempt to connect while temporarily disabling any firewall software on your PC
Please ensure there are no strange entries in the host file on the PC.
Once we have that information you can be sure we will further investigate and see what other troubleshooting steps we may have to offer to help resolve your issue.
As always, should you have any additional 2K related questions or concerns, please do let us know as we'd be happy to assist.
My response to him was as follows:
Before I get into replying to your questions, I will say that the forum ban issue appears to have been resolved, so at least this part of the BBB complaint has been taken care of (ironically, it only effects the forums, not the rest of the site).
Now to your questions:
My IP address is [censored]. This is the same site I use for tracing IPs, so I'm well aware of it.
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
For this computer, it's a router run through the router on my Xfinity modem. An additional detail, my ISP is Xfinity/Comcast.
Yes I have been able to play MP before. My network settings have not changed since I was able to connect without problems. It was sometime in November after it was announced that the game was no longer being worked on that the servers started having problems. I could usually connect after hitting play once; eventually the problem escalated to the point I had to click on play or restart the game multiple times before I could connect. Around Christmas to early January, the issue became bad enough that it would take me all day just to connect, with no time to actually play the game afterwards.
There was a secondary problem, where even if you could connect to the servers, you would get an error when trying to claim Daily Sign In rewards. This one in particular wouldn't let you get past it in the game unless you choose to give up on the Daily Sign In reward. One of 4 things would happen if you clicked on retry (sorted by highest chance of happening)
The game would throw the same error after a given time or immediately after clicking on it
The game would just sit at the swirling circle & never leave that position (only leaving the option to exit using Alt+F4).
The game would successfully pass that position, but then throw the same profile error that is more likely to be seen than even the Daily Sign In reward error.
Eventually you might get past all the errors & actually be able to play MP.
A video was record of this, which is linked in the thread previously mentioned, however to save some time, I'll give you another link here: https://youtu.be/hc9ZhmpAwWI. This video was taken perhaps a month ago when the problem had been this bad for a few weeks already; currently I can't connect at all even if I spend hours trying to connect, so I've literally given up on continuously trying until I can see I can connect on a first try (hitting Play to try forcing connection only once).
Evolve is allowed through my firewall & always has been. Furthermore no network changes have been made that should be preventing it. I am still unable to connect even if I completely disable my software firewall. Hardware firewalls are only set to deny port 113 (IDENT), so firewalls shouldn't be the cause of the problem & it seems to be global, as nobody can connect to Stage 2 at this point. I was able to connect to Legacy, however none of my DLC show in that version, so I have little reason to play it.
Software firewall is set to ALLOW ALL for Evolve. For further details, see above.
As stated before, ALL ports are allowed for Evolve.exe. There has not been a network change since I was able to connect. Even when disabling global IP blocks through my hardware firewall, I'm still unable to connect to Evolve.
Already have taken this step, this was the step I took before doing all the ping & tracert tests. I even disabled the hardware (router) firewalls temporarily & this didn't make a difference.
There is currently nothing being forced in the hosts file. Trying to force the IP address was one thing I attempted when I was troubleshooting the matter, however that did not help & I removed the entry afterwards.
On 2/14/2017, I attempted to connect Evolve once again & connected with little trouble, but turned out it was a fluke. I make the following response to the 2K ticket:
I was able to connect today after forcing login by clicking on Play only once & managed to redeem the Daily Sign In reward the first time, but seems this was a fluke... I restarted the game to see if the issue had been (for the most part) resolved, once again I was unable to log into the game (after trying to force login by clicking on Play upwards of 7 times, I gave up). So it is possible to connect to servers if you're persistent and/or very lucky, but most of the time it's impossible to log in. I expect scheduled reboots of the servers would probably resolve this matter; the other possibility is the servers might be getting DDoSed (I would expect by those that got banned for hacking), making it impossible for normal players to connect.
I received a response from Brenden later that day:
Happy to hear from you again.
Thank you very much for responding to my previous questions. Now just to ensure we're on the same page, could you confirm for me please that as of now you are indeed able to successfully connect and play online matches within Evolve?
I look forward to your response.
I made a response to his comment the following day (2/15/2017):
Negative... I was able to log in once yesterday with very little problems, but since then have not been able to get logged into Evolve servers. Before I contacted you again, I tested this by clicking on Play to try & force login upwards of 6 tries, then shut it down & sent this response.
He responded again within a period of 4 hours:
Great to hear from you once more.
Apologies however did you attempt to provide us a screenshot of the received error in your previous reply? If so it did not seem to successfully come through. If could try attaching the screenshot one more time or attempt attaching it to your ticket by visiting the support site directly it should ensure the image comes through (if that was your initial intent of course). If not, could you please quote the error you're receiving specifically?
I responded to him the following day (2/16/2017):
I didn't see a request for a screenshot in the last response, so I wasn't aware that you wanted me to send you one. I've taken a new screenshot & attached it on your request, this is the same error you will see at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=823417063 & in the video I gave you on 2/13/2017; clicking on Yes just reloads the game after a brief loading screen, most of the time giving the same results as when you started it up (it's rare when it's actually able to connect). I took the attached screenshot today after reading your response about an attached screenshot.
Furthermore there's the Daily Sign In reward error (which is believed to be caused by the same server connection issue) if you can even get past the first error, a screenshot of that can be found at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=823413302 (I can't get you a new one of this as currently I can't even connect unless I get EXTREMELY lucky; I've lost interest in spending hours on end trying to connect, only getting the same results), which can also be seen in the video previously mentioned.
One note about the video at https://youtu.be/hc9ZhmpAwWI , this was recorded when the issue had only started to get back, it's not possible to connect at this point unless you get EXTREMELY lucky or have the patience to continuously attempt to connect for hours on end. I no longer have that patience & I'm wasting time trying to do it, where that time would be better spent on other things, which was the purpose for opening a ticket, but so far has not yielded any results beyond what I was already dealing with.
What might be helpful in determining the problem is the detailed ping & tracert tests I have detailed in the Evolve Support forums linked in the first post on this ticket. Of course when I pointed this out to the other support rep, this was when I started running into IP bans on the forums (via firewall), which got unbanned after the response to the BBB complaint on 2/7/2017 (ironically they stated the server problems should have been resolved also, so far that hasn't been the case). After the unban, I recorded a video of myself getting rebanned again, pointing out that the forums could still be access through a proxy in that video & uploaded it to YouTube; this resulted in getting unbanned again & so far haven't been banned again since the response to the BBB complaint, resulting in the second unban on 2/13/2017. So far that BBB complaint still remains unresolved, while the forum IP ban issue is resolved, the game server connection problem is not...
After that, things went quite on both the BBB complaint & the support ticket. It wasn't until 2/22/2017 that I got a response from the BBB stating that the complaint was closed & marked as "the business addressed the issues within the complaint, but the consumer remains dissatisfied."
At this point I unshared everything that was in the Google Drive folder that was being used towards this complaint & sent the following to still open support ticket:
Looking further into the issue, it appears it may not be a connection problem, but possibly a database problem. It seems the game can connect to servers due to the rotation in characters changing without problems, however connecting to profiles (and redeeming Daily Sign In rewards...if you get past the profile error) is still is a problem... I still believe a server restart might fix the problem, it could be the servers have run out of memory & this is causing the servers to run slowly & not response in a timely manner when people try to log into the game.
As stated before, if the problem was not resolved (either by fixing the servers or by refund of what I have put into the game already), I wouldn't be purchasing from 2K anymore. Considering the BBB complaint is now closed, it's official that I won't be purchasing any 2K product or franchises from this point on until the server situation is resolved (it's unlikely I will be getting my money back with a closed BBB complaint). I will keep trying Evolve to see if the issue is ever fixed, but as it is now, my boycott against 2K will publicly stand & as stated before, this will also effect the selection of games for those that may win giveaways I may be doing on my Twitch channel.
The only reason why I believe the ticket has gone this long is because it was needed to convince the BBB that they were making an effort to fix the issue, but regardless, the issue is still unresolved & I'm still out almost $100 for purchase on this game before it went F2P; now that the support ticket is closed, it's highly unlikely I'll be getting any reimbursement for the abandonware & I highly doubt I'll be seeing any further responses to the ticket, more expecting retaliation to my publication of a boycott of the company & videos showing the problems with the game & forums (similar to the situation with Namco/Bandai).
UPDATE: I received a response from Brendhan again last night, which I didn't see until about noon on 2/23/2017. The response was as follows:
Happy to hear from you again.
Though I can understand your frustrations, we've taken a second look at some of your account history and records and based on our logs it appears as though you have been successfully able to connect online and play with others as well as earning and purchasing in-game items. As far as we can tell the issue appears as resolved. For this reason I'll be considering your ticket solved as well.
Should you ever have any additional 2K related questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at any point as my team and I would love to provide the assist!
So it appears they closed the ticket on their own & are making claims that I can connect & play normally when that isn't actually the case... I more expect the reason they are considering it as resolved is his purpose in contacting me was in response to the BBB complaint, which is now closed, so they consider the support ticket closed as well. I responded with the following response:
Then your records are incorrect. I'm able to connect if I'm persistent in TRYING to connect, but that can take hours upon hours of restarting the game & continuous clicking on Play to try & force connection past the errors, many time not leaving enough time to actually play the game. I haven't actually played MP in Evolve for a few months (in it's current state, the only thing I could possibly do it play Training...until I run out of runs that gain character experience, I wouldn't play Training beyond that), so it's insulting that you say that is the case. The problem is not resolved, I tried once again this morning after getting your response.
The boycott stands until the issue is resolved, I have already unlinked my my.2k.com account from other games that I play that give the option & I will no longer purchase any 2K product or from any 2K franchise until I see the problem resolved. And as I stated before, the raffles on my Twitch channel will negate any requests for 2K games, stating that the requested game is not available in the raffle (should one be requested) due to the company being boycotted for said reason (along with every other company that is on the boycott for their applicable reasons).
At this point I think it's time I get the public boycott page up, which was already my intentions, but now they've told me they aren't persuing the matter anymore, so let's get the information public (beyond this review) so people know why they should avoid buying from 2K in the future.
Last updated 2/23/2017