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A short premise

I've been working on *Souls-related stuff for more than a year and a half now (DS PVP Watchdog, DS Region Filter tool, DS2Fix, DS2Fix64, MetaCap along with Colin, pushed features to Atvaark's BinderTool) while also trying to reverse-engineer as much as I could about the game. Some people have said I actively try to hurt the community which makes me incredibly sad given all my time investment in a game I both like (Dark Souls) and I dislike and don't even play (Dark Souls II and SotFS), all done for the community and never against it.

I thought about opening a thread about a seemingly common misconception: no, as of now, DS2Fix64 cannot trigger a softban. There's no way around that, and here's why.

What is a softban?

A "softban" is an imposed limitation of your multiplayer activity that triggers in waves should your character show some precise properties or alterations of its attributes. We know for sure that any manipulation of Soul Memory or some "item stacks" (ie: more than 99 anything or a weird amount of Bones of Order) can and will trigger a softban, same goes for using a mule save (because of the reasons just stated), or using a savefile from another player; we also suspect that the same can happen should you edit something offline and cause an "abnormal discrepancy" between what the master server used to know about you and what your character is the moment you reconnect.

How does it work?

We don't know for sure, but here's what we're sure of: every time you see the "Initializing online mode" dialog, that particular character slot you just loaded is being sent over to the master server (namely, along with your Steam ID) and it will be checked and your SteamID flagged for suspect behaviour. Should you get flagged, your Steam ID will be "soft banned" and restrictions will be put on your multiplayer capabilities. It's account-wide and bound to your Steam ID, there's no way around it; making a new character won't lift the ban, nor changing your savefile will. Should you do that and see the issue get fixed, it was not a softban to begin with.

What about family sharing?

Family Sharing will give your secondary account another Steam ID, effectively circumventing the ban.

What about DS2Fix64?

As you can see from its source code, none of the fixes provided by the tool tamper with anything concerning your savefile. Durability is stored in your savefile, but getting reset to its max value every time you sit at a bonfire it cannot be something the so-called "server team" can look for discrepancies.

Some may suspect the game might trigger a softban itself by checking its module list for injectors / hooks — that is far from truth. First of all, neither Dark Souls II nor SotFS make use of VAC (see the "Additional Information" paragraph, there's no "vacmodulecache" or "vacmodulefilename" property like VAC-enabled games have, such as CS:GO). Secondly, the only way the game has to "detect something" is knowing what that "something" is, and this fix has been public days after the game released, so nobody can know what to "look for". Should the game check for "any" hook, then Steam Gameoverlay, DXTory, MSI Afterburner, OBS / XSplit will all get you banned. But that won't happen, because there's no check whatsoever. The only sanity checks are being done server-side when you connect, and that's it.

Could Fromsoft make it so DS2Fix64 can be detected and its users banned in the future? Maybe. They'll have to push an update and my tool won't work with the new executable, so you'll be safe anyway until I push a new build. But why should they? I tried to contact them many times to report serious bugs and I have never got any reply back. They don't care at all. They don't care about cheaters (manipulating SM is not that big of a deal if there's people running around pissing explosive fire arrows or tele-backstabbing you from another area which still aren't banned), because they have no idea how to prevent cheating in the first place. They don't care about bug reports, and they don't care about hooks. Maybe beacuse it's not a western company, maybe because the fuck knows. All we know is: they don't give a shit. I run my game exclusively in a debugger (x64dbg), with Cheat Engine and Visual Studio open, while hooking both the game AND Steam methods, doing dirty dirty things the public tool doesn't do (so don't worry about that) and I still see signs everywhere even at 5K SM.

But I've seen all those threads...

Sure thing. People (weirdly enough, it's often a throwaway account, or a really new one with less than 50 karma...) suddenly have no multiplayer activity (because the master server is acting up, because there's no one around, beacause they're experiencing network issues, because this and that) and they believe they're banned. And of course, being DS2Fix64 the only SotFS mod on the market they blame that; even if they used Cheat Engine to give themselves item stacks, even if they used trainers before and even if signs reappear shortly after their whinings because it was just a fluke from the master server. They'll just cast a PSA on reddit whenever they feel entitled to, providing no proof or evidence, making fools of themselves in front of ~65,000 users. There have been so many I've actually put up a imgur gallery. So, as a closing note, enjoy the hall of shame.

europa over and out.

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