wow, this topic is still alive? I'm gonna start the post by clearing up a few misconceptions.
@blink_wizard: I happen to know what happened in this particular scenario. Basically the computer ID system used in bans falsely flagged your friend, the file was simply a script which returned a computer ID for verification. I personally don't know of many other instances where this was required, feel free to correct me though.
Also, I talked to the person placing bar bombs around the store, and to my knowledge he hasn't repeated this. I've since coded a system that makes it impossible to place certain items in certain areas, some things are still being worked out, however. It should be in the game for the next server restart, hopefully fixing that as well as many other issues. From what I know about them, admin stars were added as sort of a last ditch item. they've only been used a couple times, in instances where the game was becoming extremely unfair. As of right now developers are the only ones who possess the means of getting these items, and they haven't been abused. Again, feel free to correct me on this.
It honestly saddens me to see redspots current community and reputation, something I've been attempting to and will continue to try and change. the game has a lot of potential, and as of right now a lot of that is going to waste. I'm sure we can all agree many past situations could've been handled differently by players and administrators alike. In the past, and perhaps part of the reason for much of this reputation, there was no other action but the ban. No kick, nothing. so all administrators could do was just that. It was undoubtedly a pretty big problem that served to harm the games reputation down the road. My stance has always been for giving administrators more options in dealing with players, and great progress has been made with this.
I totally see where you guys are coming from as far as imbalance. this is one thing I'm extremely adamant about changing, and I know many others who are as well. the next update will contain measures to improve the balance, *grown* like the last 3? Your probably thinking. There'll be options not only for those wanting to establish power with bases and what not, but for those who want to simply come on the game and have quick fights with opponents having the same or similar stats. I've read posts in this topic and had pretty good discussions about problems that players are facing with not only Sam and beta members, but every-day players as well. We've hopefully come up with solutions that'll serve to make the game a better and more enjoyable environment for all. Many aspects are unclear right now, but we'll be posting them in the future, as opposed to making nearly everything a surprise which, as shown by past new releases, probably isn't always the best option. Ideas are always welcome, and I guess only time will tell.