A Call of Duty player upset with what he believes is an unwarranted Modern Warfare 2 ban reportedly caused a stir when he attempted to visit an Activision office in Austin, Texas in order to "speak with an employee" about his problem.
In a Reddit post which has since been deleted (opens in new tab) by moderators of the r/activision subreddit, the player said they were banned from Modern Warfare 2 on October 28. Following the denial of a ban appeal, they set up a new email address and re-purchased the game on Steam, only to be banned again on October 29.
"Today (10/31) I decided to go to the nearby Activision office in Austin, TX to attempt to speak with an employee due to the fact that it is impossible to speak to someone over the phone," they wrote. "I was met by a security guard in the parking lot at Activision who told me that I would not be able to speak with anybody."
The guard conveyed the message, according to the post, but there was no contact between the poster and Activision employees. "The fact that I can't speak with someone at Activision Blizzard is very frustrating when I simply just want to enjoy this game that I spent 140 dollars on," the player concluded.
Frustration with unresponsive customer support is understandable and common, but going to a random studio office to "speak with" whatever employee you come across first is never a good idea. For one thing, the person you'll be speaking to—if you end up speaking to anyone at all—will almost certainly have no idea what you're talking about or how to help you. Second, and more importantly, it's the sort of action that can easily be seen as potentially threatening, and in an era in which political tensions are high and workplace violence seems more common than ever, that's the sort of thing that can end very badly.
Aspyr Media associate producer Jacob Garcia spoke to exactly that point in a now-deleted tweet. "These employees are getting like $15/hr and still can't afford the rent they split with three other people," he wrote. "Please don't visit gamedevs in their offices. It doesn't help and we fear for our safety."
"That's honestly terrifying what the fuck lmao," Corsair social media manager caehlin (opens in new tab) tweeted. "Was my worst fear while working in support, that people would just show up at our building for stuff like this or with worse intentions."
"I've also (previously) been incorrectly banned without any fix and it sucks but like not grounds for being a gamer Karen," Twilo developer advocate tyranny siren (opens in new tab) tweeted. "Literally not the workers' fault."
In contrast, many replies to the original post on Reddit (opens in new tab) enthusiastically support the action.
"Thank god someone is taking action, I can’t believe they have no real customer support," redditor csrano wrote.
"I was going to go to their Santa Monica offices later this week," devontyb wrote. "All I wanted to know is that they’re aware of the situation. Strange to me how at the very least they couldn’t take 5 seconds out of the day to make a tweet explaining that they’re aware of the situation. Interested to see how we’ll get compensated because at this point an unban isn’t enough."
Some redditors are pushing back on the support for the original post and urging people not to start "vigilante campaigns" against Activision employees. "Its a fucking game. Go outside, play a different game, whatever," Big_Slice_Gaming wrote. "It is never okay to show up to the studio like that. Its terrifying enough being online as a developer. Having an angry fan show up to your workplace has to be utterly terrifying. Just don’t."
The post also claimed that Activision employees told the security guard that they are short-staffed and thus "it will take a few weeks for the wrongful bans to be resolved," which could be taken as acknowledgment that there is an issue with false bans. But it could just as easily be an attempt to get the guy off the property, or at least calmed down, without any trouble. I've reached out to Activision for comment on the situation, and will update if I receive a reply.