Our Backend Servers are currently down for some essential database maintenance.

Due to the huge amounts of data involved and the work we have planned during this maintenance, we anticipate our service will be down for quite some time, possibly up to a week. Unfortunately this means that we are currently not protecting the servers that subscribe to our service.

While planning for this maintenance, the short, medium and long-term viability of the Blacklist project as a whole was brought up for discussion. The outcome of those discussions was the decision to write an open letter to Easy Studios and the Community to voice our concerns.


First some information.

The Blacklist went live in December 2012. The work that went into the planning, design and implementation of the service prior to going live was around 6 months. The project was initially intended to build on the existing T4G server tool project but ended up going way beyond anything we initially envisaged in both scale, overhead and the man-hours required to run it.

The Blacklist is without limitation a free service to private rental server admins.

Some Statistics:

Cheating Bans 41'438
Statspadding Bans 4'790
Glitching Bans 577
Glitch Protection Kicks 2'875'678
Average number of submissions/day (last 12 months) 100
Average number of appeals/day (last 12 months) 5
Total number of votes made by mods and admins 406'007
Amount of man hours dedicated to voting ...well it's probably over 9000

Our front end servers have been the subject of many DDoS attacks and we've been subjected to multiple submission bots more times than I care to mention.

Running Costs and Donations
Although we offer our services for free, in addition to the huge time cost for everyone that donates their time to this project, there are also significant monetary costs involved in running it.
To give you an idea of the costs to date (and this only covers the basics like server costs) see below.

Weapon Comparison Tool / Server Tool / Sig. Gen and other T4G Projects (Since 2011) 2'500 €
Blacklist 4'500 €
Outside Donations Total since 2011 150 €

2% of our costs have been covered by donations. The other 98% has been covered by a small proportion of our team.
We have had absolutely zero financial help from EA. Donations from server owners have been pretty much non-existent.

Getting to the crux of the matter

The fundamental reason we developed the Blacklist was because cheaters were running rampant and undetected across all servers due to the fact that Evenbalance (the company behind Punkbuster) were not responding to (or unable to address) the main free and wildly used hack of the day, despite multiple submissions to their research team by myself and other members of the Blacklist team. The forums were awash at the time with players complaining about the lack of action.

You can read more about this here: http://battlefield.play4free.com/en/forum/showthread.php?tid=111034

Easy did say at one point that they were looking at employing someone to address the cheating issue, but this never materialised. At the end of the day why spend money on something we're doing for free...?

Back in 2012 The game was for the most part going strong (ignoring the fallout from Dec 20th 2011) with a huge amount of potential. The forums/community was active, the Devs were active (compared to any activity we have now), content was being worked on, there was huge clan support, the player base was growing etc.

Now we are where we are today. The forum is only really active when it's being bombarded with spam and there is no real sense of community, the active player base has halved, many clans have stopped supporting the game, servers have closed, game development has stagnated. I could reference many P4F forum threads relating to the state of the game but it would be pointless as it's clear to see to anyone who has been involved with the game over the past couple of years.

So, the questions we are now asking ourselves are these.

Is there any point in continuing to dedicate the (considerable) amount of time and money to a game that is in decline and utterly lacking in support from EA? If we did continue to support the game, would we be comfortable doing so without more external support?

The purpose of this open letter is to get our concerns out there. We hope that this letter will stimulate constructive discussion within the community and that the developers engage with us and join in this discussion.

The downtime while we carry out the maintenance is going to give us the opportunity to discuss this further and take on board the response (if any).

You can join the discussion here: http://battlefield.play4free.com/en/forum/showthread.php?tid=177296

For and on behalf of the T4G Blacklist team.

Note: This is the Letter's current state as of 23.10.2014 23:56. It is subject to additions and/or change.