Over the holiday break, stories started coming out of Star Wars: The Old Republic of a gamer being banned for simply accessing a play area at "too low a level", looting the containers and nipping back out again.
The original reports included an image of an email, which quoted the BioWare Customer Service Team stating that:
Specifically, this character participated in looting high level Loot Containers on Illum while being well below the recommended level for the planet. By utilizing these Loot Containers, the account was able to acquire, distribute, or obtain currency, gear and equipment not meant to be acquired by low level characters (below level 40).Illum is intended for Level 50 characters and this is clearly communicated in game. By ignoring these warnings, the account showed intent to exploit the game.
At the time, many fellow gamers wrote off these reports, considering them to be fake - who gets banned for merely accessing an area?
...the answer, according to SW:TOR Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid: Nobody. But a player who access an area and exploit the availability of the loot contained therein is a completely different story - and while areas such as Ilum are recommended for more senior characters, anyone can pop over for a visit, as long as they behave.
To be completely clear, while players may choose to travel to Ilum earlier than the recommended level (40+) and may loot containers if they can get to them, in the cases of those customers that were warned or temporarily suspended, they were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced...
Some adjustments will be made to Ilum in the near future to discourage future exploits. However, the planet is still open to anyone who wishes to travel there.
So. The short version: Nobody has been permanently banned for visiting Ilum, or for exploiting loot that's been found there.
The longer version: BioWare and EA are working towards making sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again (so easily), and we've heard suggestions that - perhaps - the "adjustments" that will be heaped upon Ilum may well include restrictions to the loot-filled containers, possibly restricting the contents to characters over level 40.
Jimmy the Geek