Old School Runescape player and streamer BTCs, known as the wealthiest player in the game with more than one trillion gold to his name, has been permanently banned from Runescape over allegations of real-world trading—that is, trading items in the game for anything outside of it, typically real money. It's a stunningly expensive ban: Even though OSRS gold has no official real-world value according to the terms of service (because you're not allowed to trade it for real money), the price of that much gold on grey-market gold selling sites would be in excess of $160,000.
BTCs denied doing anything against the rules in a video posted on October 7, saying that his ascent to the one trillion gold mark—which he hit in September—was "heavily monitored" by moderators and had resulted in no bans until now. "Clearly I wasn't selling any gold on the way to one trill," he said in the video. "They mentioned these [real-world trading] instances are recent, implying that I began selling literal bits of it then, after one trill ... Clearly I was not getting banned all the way up there, meaning I didn't sell any gold. But now I'm selling, at one trill?"
BTCs said in his video that he was able to get a ban issued earlier this year overturned, but that seems less likely to happen in this case. In a message BTCs shared in his video, Old School Runescape lead community manager Ayiza told him that evidence in the matter "has been thoroughly reviews by our anti-cheating team to be correct and the ban won't be overturned."
"There are very clear (and recent) instances of RWT occurring on our end," Ayiza said in a follow-up message. "This wasn't an overnight decision, and I'm confident the ACT have made the correct call with the evidence they have to hand."
BTCs suggested in his video that the real-world trading ban may have been triggered by one of his in-game gold giveaways, something that he apparently does regularly—and that he's very careful about, he said, precisely to avoid getting caught up in any RWT trouble. At least three other player accounts were banned as part of this incident, apparently because they were being used to store some of BTCs' massive hoard of gold.
As noted by GamesRadar, BTCs has previously faced allegations from other Old School Runescape players that his gold giveaways are fixed, so that supposedly random giveaway winners are actually paying for the gold on the sly. There are also complaints that ranks in BTCs gambling clan were being sold through Discord. There's no concrete evidence available to the public to prove these allegations, but a good chunk of the Old School Runescape community on Reddit doesn't seem too surprised by this outcome, or convinced by BTCs' defense.
As was the case with Old School Runescape player Darth Microtransaction last week, some redditors are also unhappy with what they see as the preferential treatment BTCs received from the Jagex moderation team, which had an extensive private conversation with him immediately after the ban was imposed—a level of support that most players never see. That's about the only similarity between the cases, though. Unlike Darth Microtransaction, who glumly accepted responsibility for failing to properly secure his account (which was ultimately restored), BTCs said the problem in his case is the anti-cheat team at Jagex, who he described as "dumb" and "corrupt." Whether innocent or not, I strongly suspect that's not going to help him win his case.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.