From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

There is more information available on this subject at Ban on the English Wikipedia.

A ban is the denial of a person or group's access to a service or resource. Bans are typically enacted by people in positions of authority in response to rule violations committed by an individual. The ability to ban is sometimes satirically referred to as "the banhammer".

In the Halo community, bans are administered by Bungie staff members when users break the rules for in-game conduct. Furthermore, the term "Banhammer" takes on a new meaning in the context of Halo gameplay.

The Banhammer[edit]

Bungie's banning system, commonly referred to as the "Banhammer", is an advanced anti-cheat mechanism used to regulate user activity in Halo 3. A July 2008 Weekly Update[1] stated that the system was being upgraded; the same update announced that the presence of modded content on a File Share would result in a ban. It also may have hinted at the then-unfinished "Ultra Ban".

A Bungie Weekly Update in August[2] announced that the Banhammer was upgraded with new features designed to crack down on File Share violations. The update also elaborated on specific File Share-related rule violations.

Halo 3's September Title Update introduced the "Ultra Ban",[3] which was applied retroactively to those who had committed severe rule violations in the past;[4] the ban is documented in more detail in its section below. Various other anti-cheat systems were also introduced, though they were not elaborated on;[5] an additional weekly update identified the system as "Banhammer 2.0".[6]

The Banhammer is capable of administering bans automatically[6][7] and it keeps extensive records both when a ban is administered[8] and during the course of normal gameplay; records taken in the latter instance can then be analyzed to detect cheat-related behaviors.[9] It is also known that Bungie employees can manually strike with the Banhammer.[10]

Types of Bans[edit]

Matchmaking Bans[edit]

Matchmaking bans prevent players from participating in Xbox Live matchmaking.

EXP Bans[edit]

An EXP ban prevents players from earning EXP from ranked playlists in Matchmaking. Such bans are usually temporary.

Voice Bans[edit]

Voice bans may be administered when users misuse or abuse the microphone during a game. Excessive vulgarity may result in a voice ban.[11] Such bans prevent players from using the microphone to verbally communicate with other players.

File Share Bans[edit]

Players can also have their File Shares taken away.

Console Bans[edit]

Severe offenses may result in a player's Xbox 360 console being completely banned off of Xbox Live itself. In some cases, the ban may be temporary, though permanent bans can also be administered.

Ultra Ban[edit]

The so-called “Ultra Ban” was introduced in Halo 3's second Title Update. The ban prevents players from playing any form of online Multiplayer, including Matchmaking and even custom games; it also prevents players from organizing parties in the Theater lobby.


There are a variety of actions that can result in a ban. Note that this list is not comprehensive.


EXP boosting, skill boosting, level reducing, habitual quitting, cheating, and standbying are all easily detected by the Banhammer and usually result in either Matchmaking or EXP bans.[12] Achievement boosting is not a formal offense,[13] but the Banhammer often mistakes it for EXP boosting and bans it as such.[14] Attempts at EXP boosting by playing with inactive guests (that is, additional controllers without additional people) can also be recognized by the Banhammer and will result in EXP bans.[15]

In Halo: Reach, quitting three matches in a row will put a player on quit probation for three days. Every time a player on probation quits a match, they will be banned from Matchmaking for fifteen minutes. Players who quit excessively -- to the point that "the normal quit probation punishment is obviously not having an effect" -- will receive more severe bans.[16]


Authors of modded content will receive permanent Matchmaking and File Share bans, as well as one-month console bans if the content is uploaded to a File Share.[2] Note that this applies even if the content is uploaded by someone other than the author; also note that when a player renames a file, they become its new author.[2] Uploading modded content to a File Share will result in a File Share ban, even if the uploader did not create the content.

The above policies were enacted during July 2009.[17]

Offensive Content[edit]

Uploading offensive content to a File Share can result in a File Share ban. This includes, but is not limited to, racist and pornographic content.[2]



Contrary to popular belief, uploading screenshots and film clips of modded content will not result in a ban, provided that the screenshots and films themselves aren't modded.[2] As of August 1, 2008, there are no rules against downloading modded content to one's Xbox 360.[2]


The consequence of downloading Halo 3: Epsilon
  • An anonymous US gamer using the gamertag "Scar" managed to unwittingly download Halo 3 Epsilon. He played the game with his console connected to Xbox Live, and quickly came to the attention of Microsoft. On September 2007, his gamertag and console account were banned until December 31, 9999 (a permanent ban). Some see this as unfair, due to the fact that the download was accidental and Scar probably didn't mean to do anything wrong.
  • If enough bans or complaints are given to a player, they could possibly be kicked off of Xbox Live completely.


  1. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 07/03/2008
    "This includes some never-before-unleashed technology that will effectively terminate your Halo multiplayer experience online in every imaginable facet."
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bungie Weekly Update 08/01/2008
  3. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 09/12/2008
    "Last week, we mentioned some “Peace of Mind” changes that were coming to TU2, one of them being a new type of ban."
  4. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 09/12/2008
    "For special folks [...] we’ll be retroactively applying this ban to their accounts."
  5. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 09/23/2008
  6. ^ a b Bungie Weekly Update 09/26/2008
  7. ^ Halo 3 Forum: Ultra Ban Help
    "Bungie specific bans are not based on feedback from users. They are based on automatically collected data." ~ Tom Gioconda
  8. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 09/12/2008
    "You see, dear reader, whenever the Banhammer strikes, records are kept and those records are sortable, viewable and actionable en masse. M-Dub and the Wolf take great pride in the numerical sorting of massive amounts of data, while Shishka languishes softly on a waterbed of e-tears."
  9. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 10/03/2008
  10. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 09-26-2008
    " [...] And yes, I did send the proper form to Banhammer afterward."
  11. ^ Halo 3 Forum: shishka, this one is for you :)
    "You can potentially get voice-banned if a Bungie employee catches you being extremely vulgar (and no, we do not accept reports of vulgarity, so don't message me about it), but I've never played a game with someone who I then turned around and banned because he called me a name or something." ~ Shishka
  12. ^ Banhammer Details: 12/18/2007 10:24 AM PST
  13. ^ The News: TU2 FAQ
    "Yeah, "achievement boosting" is kind of lame, but honestly it's not really something we can/will punish people for." ~ Brian Jarrard
  14. ^ Halo 3 Forum: Should Bungie provide us with terms of use?
    "Achievement boosting often looks like EXP boosting to the banhammer - so if you achievement boost, you're likely going to get punishments for EXP boosting." ~ Tom Gioconda
  15. ^ Halo 3 Forum: Wow no reason banning
    "We can tell when you're playing with a party, and we can tell when no input is being given via the controller. [...] the unused controllers method of social boosting is the most common, and most EXP bans result from that behavior. [...] playing with "bad" players won't get you banned, unless they are so bad they are unable to figure out how to pick up the controller." ~ Shishka
  16. ^ Halo Reach Forum: Banned for one month and don't know why....
  17. ^ Bungie Weekly Update 07/03/2008