This post on Reddit claiming that BioWare has been busy suspending players for looting high level containers on Ilum certainly did its job in sparking controversy among the Star Wars: The Old Republic playerbase, and now it's even prompted community manager Stephen Reid to make an announcement over at the game's official forums. In short, the team considers it an exploit for low level characters to loot high level containers before they're supposed to be able to, and took action to avoid an unbalancing in the game economy:
Our Terms of Service team recently took action against some accounts playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, and we wanted to give you some insight into what happened and why.
First, action was taken against a number of accounts for what's commonly known as 'gold farming' - or in our case, credit farming. These accounts were found to be exploiting the game in a variety of ways to maximize their credits in order to sell them to other players. Our Terms of Service team took action against these accounts and removed them permanently from the game.
Second, a smaller number of accounts were warned or temporarily suspended for exploiting loot containers on Ilum. To be completely clear, while players may choose to travel to Ilum earlier than the recommended level (40+) and may loot containers if they can get to them, in the cases of those customers that were warned or temporarily suspended, they were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced.
None of these accounts were banned for their actions and no accounts have been banned for travelling to Ilum while still relatively low level. By comparison, the number of accounts that were warned or temporarily suspended was considerably lower than the number of accounts banned for 'credit farming'.
It's important to remember that our Terms of Service team is extremely careful and thorough in their investigation of any potential exploit or unusual activity in-game. Working closely with the development team and using extensive metrics based on player activity, they are able to determine what is normal player activity, what is unusual and what is exploiting. Our goal is always to ensure a fair game experience for all players while also protecting the rights of individuals, and if people are disrupting the play experience for others action will be taken.
While we will not discuss the details of any individual action, whenever we take action against an account we believe they have clearly broken our Terms of Service. Any action taken against an account can be appealed and in some cases actions have been rescinded.
While we understand people's concern about actions taken against accounts, please remember the Terms of Service team exists to help ensure a balanced and fair game experience for all. When you see reports of actions taken against someone's account, remember they are choosing to tell their version of the story - and there are two sides to every story.
In summary, our Terms of Service team took action against a number of accounts that were 'credit farming' to remove them permanently from the game. They also warned and temporarily suspended - but did not ban - a smaller number of accounts for activities on Ilum that were decided to be game exploits.
Some adjustments will be made to Ilum in the near future to discourage future exploits. However, the planet is still open to anyone who wishes to travel there.
The goal of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team is to maintain a service for our customers that is fun to play and equitable for everyone. Critical to this goal is making sure that gameplay is fair and reasonable and we are constantly on the lookout for anything that would prove to be a detriment to your gameplay experiences.
Thanks for reading, and we hope this gave you some insights.