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Arena of Valor Team Banned For Map Hacks, Voucher Exploits
Garena, the provider of Arena of Valor in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, announced today that 27 players on the Valiant server (Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines) would be banned for using map hacks:
A large number of the players implicated were from Bloodlines, a team based in the Philippines. Our sources have confirmed that players additionally took advantage of a voucher exploit via Google Play.
Players were initially stripped of their rank, but the decision was made to instead ban them for an extremely long period of time.
The following screenshot shows the full list of banned players:
What are Map Hacks? Voucher Exploits?
Map Hacks usually take the form of a program that allows players to see the entire map, including where the opposing players are. At high levels of play, it is difficult to distinguish between map-hacking and great game sense, so it can be tough to prove that a player is a map hacker via game play alone.
Arena of Valor sells vouchers for players to buy heroes, skins, and other in-game goodies. However, a few players discovered an exploit in the system in which they would receive vouchers for free. By ordering vouchers on Google Play and then cancelling the order, players were able to receive vouchers without having to pay for them. Though cancelling large orders of vouchers resulted in players’ Google accounts getting automatically banned, they were still able to use the illegally-obtained vouchers.
The Philippines’ AoV Community
Some players thought the ban occurred because they were repeatedly reported by other players. Meanwhile, a number of Bloodlines members have professed innocence, saying they were caught in the ban crossfire without having participated in any wrongdoing. In any case, it has become a hot-button issue in the Philippines’ AoV community, with members of Bloodlines being called cheaters:
The above screenshot was taken from a Facebook group called “Arena of Valor Philippines Official (AOV PH),” though there is nothing official about the group – it is essentially an Arena of Valor fan club boasting 61,000 members.
Fallout for Bloodlines
Valiant Premier League
In response to the bans, the Valiant Premier League banned Bloodlines from seasons 1 and 2 of their tournament.
“ANNOUNCEMENT: Following up on Garena AOV revelation of map hackers, we have identified Bloodlines’ team members and have decided to ban Bloodlines from VPL Season 1 & Season 2.
We’d like to encourage all participants to play fair and don’t use any 3rd party software to hack the integrity of the game.”
Bloodlines was in first place in group B at the time of banning, having defeated Samurai Gamers in week one of the top 16. Their removal shakes up group B, opening up room for other teams to enter the top 4 and advance to the next round. There has been no word from VPL on whether Bloodlines will be replaced, or if their wins will be vacated.
MESA First Blood Tournament
Bloodlines was also crowned champion of the Mobile Esports Arena (MESA) First Blood tournament in December 2017:
One of the banned players, Baux, can be seen in a post-win interview with MESA (second from right, striped shirt):
The in-game names of the other players in the video do not match anyone on the list, though players may have changed their in-game names. Additionally, it is unclear when members began using map hacks, or whether Bloodlines was actively using hacks during any of their tournament wins
Bloodlines has yet to release a statement in response to the bans.
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