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Update: 1/14/2023 - 4:30 p.m. ET

Amazon Games acknowledged the issue on the Lost Ark forums and said the team is working to reverse all of the unintended bans.

Original Story

Smilegate’s latest round of Lost Ark bans was supposed to sweep thousands of bots from the multiplayer game, and it did – along with legitimate players. Shortly after the development team’s latest efforts, reports started showing up on Reddit from players who tried logging into the game on Steam and found their account had been permanently banned.

The generally accepted answer to the conundrum is that Smilegate banned accounts that have been inactive for a certain period of time in the hopes of catching bots. Some players said they never logged in and saw they were banned, while others hadn’t played for eight months or more and received a permanent ban.

The accounts seem to be chosen at random. This writer hasn’t logged into Lost Ark in nearly a year, and his account is the same as ever. If your account is banned and you want to appeal the process, you can report the ban and the situation that led to it on Amazon Games’ website.

Lost Ark has been beset with bot problems almost from the moment Smilegate and Amazon Games released it in the West, as players look for ways to earn larger quantities of rare items, including gold, which is in high demand for high-level item upgrades.

These bots take up server space, get spawned into duties and boss fights, where they don’t participate and can cause a team to fail in its efforts, and in some cases, players sell the items their bots farm for real-world money.