Lets Talk Exploits

I am a firm believer in the fact that there is a difference between exploiting, and “taking advantage of a game mechanic” that is NOT exploiting. Let me specify. Killing a ring event over and over again so that you can get the drops from it doesn’t constitute as exploiting in my books. You’re standing in one spot, not doing anything outside of the realm of the game. You’re not manipulating anything, you’re not being sneaky about it. You probably should report it because you know it shouldn’t work this way, but you’re not doing anything specifically WRONG standing there killing encounters. If for some reason said ring event goes through a fix so that it only spawns every 4 hours instead of every 10 minutes that is a result of a game mechanic that has been fixed. If you stand there all day and get reported for it (we’re not talking about using any third party programs here) chances are you’re not going to get in trouble.

Now. An exploit. Lets say with the newly released battlegrounds you figured out that if you transmute an item on the battleground server from your inventory, it would then clone itself as you returned to the regular server and you’d end up with the item back in your inventory along with the transmuted result. In this case you are blatantly abusing a game mechanic,  manipulating it in order to make the game do something that it shouldn’t be doing. Cloning items is bad m’kay?

Lets take it one step further. Lets say you figured out a friend from your guild was taking advantage of this exploit, and heading off to battlegrounds every chance available so that they could clone items and mute them then sell them on the broker for huge sums of cash.

What do you do?

Do you bother reporting them? Do you just wait for the game company to look into it and take care of it? Does your opinion of your guild mate change at all?

Whether or not to exploit something is always a personal choice that every individual has to make for themselves. The truth of the matter is that in pretty much every game if there’s a way to break it or find a way to gain an advantage over someone else, there will be people looking to take advantage of it. Whether or not they actually get caught at it, is another issue.There are always stories about raid guilds trying to break the avatars in order to find an easier way to kill them, or break a raid encounter (pulling Veeshan’s Peak mobs through the barriers anyone?) in order to accomplish their “goal” easier. How do you decide whether or not you’ll participate in something like that? Are the risks worth the rewards?

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12 Responses to Lets Talk Exploits

  1. I agree that there’s a big difference between knowing “exploiting” a game and just taking advantage of a mechanic. I think using third party software to give yourself benefits is an exploit but just standing in the right spot isn’t. For instance, I remember doing a WSG BG the other week in WoW and some mage had carefully positioned himself on top of a tree trunk so melee classes could not hit him. Is that an exploit? Should he be suspended for doing it? I don’t think so.

    Personally, if there’s a bug or flaw in a game that can be used to the advantage of players then it’s the developers responsibility to fix it not the players to avoid it.

  2. stargrace says:

    That’s exactly my position as well. If there’s a bug or flaw that can be used to the advantage of players, it’s the developers who have to fix it (your mage example, and my respawning ring event example). If you’re going out duping items.. well that’s obviously an exploit.

  3. tuvogg says:

    The fact was that the respawning Ring Event was reported repeatedly during Beta. People will use it to power level we said. They push it to live anyway, then guess what people use it to power level. Luckily the Devs saw sense and did not implement a 2 day rollback to the start of the expansion as im sure they would have lost about 50% of the player base, me included.

  4. Dril says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t see a difference? In both cases you’re using, purposefully, a fault in the code to maximise your return and are persistently doing it. Tbh I’d be annoyed that I didn’t find it out earlier, and I’d jump on and do it for as long as the bug persisted.

  5. stargrace says:

    @Dril – one will get you banned (duping items) one will not (killing mobs normally). That’s basically what it comes down to for me as far as the difference.

  6. Blackluck says:

    I think there is a difference between taking advantage of a flaw in game design, vs a flaw in the games code.

    For instance, in EQ1, the monk ability Feign Death was used to split groups of mobs on pull. (I think this is called emergent game play.) That’s not a bug in the code, rather it’s players using abilities in a manner the devs didn’t foresee. That’s perfectly acceptable.

    Way back in UO players would use geometry bugs to break into player housing and steal everything. This is ‘taking advantage’ of a bug in the games code. Both are just as egregious as the transmuting dupe in EQ2′s battlegrounds. To me, using LOS exploits, or ‘taking advantage’ of obvious bugs isn’t any different than duping. They are both bugs. The ethical thing to do is not to abuse them regardless.

    I don’t play MMO’s as a competitive past time. My sense of achievement is gained by realizing in game goals for my characters – I don’t measure those against other players. Therefore, ‘cheating’ by abusing bugs seems pointless to me.

  7. Blue Kae says:

    There’s a huge difference between the two. Taking advantage of a spawn timer, that may or may not be working as intended, but there’s going to be very little impact on the rest of the game, unless it’s dropping rare items too often or something. Duping on the other hand is obviously a bug, and using it to make money on the market has economic impacts on the server as a whole.

  8. Cyanbane says:

    I completely agree with your assesment, However we also should not lose sight of the fact that this exploit (which sounds rather elementary in nature compared to other exploits I have read about) should have NEVER made it past SOE’s QA process. The people involved knew what they were doing and should pay the price, but come on SOE how was this not vetted?

  9. Cyanbane says:

    Btw your post is really getting some traffic from our site, great opin piece.

  10. stargrace says:

    I agree, it shouldn’t have been in game at all – especially because duping due to “server transfers” in general is a LONG TIME issue that I personally have experienced over the last five years. It was only “fixed” about a year ago, if that. It shouldn’t have been something that was overlooked.

    Thank you for the traffic, it’s appreciated as always. :)

  11. Akely says:

    I can only agree with the breakdown of what is and what is not cheating. I guess there is nothing new here.

    Some things are a bit gray (pun intended). Take the practice of graying out Shard Quests in EQ2. Is I understand it is now patched out. It was never intended to be used that way. But a cheat it was not, according to the devs. Bear in mind that getting reward for gray Quests was PATCHED IN way back. That was done so people could finish Quests they’ve had for ages without finding someone to mentor down to. Yet the only Quest that do not update when grayed out is Shard Quests. As far as I know, that is. Good or bad? Don’t know and don’t care, personally. Just the way it is.

    As for the hard question: What would I do with the cheating friend? I’m not sure. It depends on the guild rank of the friend I guess. I’d treat any high ranking member a lot more severely than a low ranking one. The Guilds reputation is paramount here. If it was a close real life friend I *really* do not know. I’d talk to him/her, of course but weather I’d report or not… Can’t say. And I hope I’ll never be in that pickle.

  12. Kilanna says:

    So there was an exploit in the hole the first few days after release. People could accumulate 50, 100 or 200 pieces that dropped from the rats – they could then head to the quest giver and get 10, 20 or 40 quest completions in one hit. Using this, some people are believed to have hit level 90 in a matter of 5 or 6 hours.

    Cheating? I dont think so. They were still legitimately killing the mobs needed for the updates. Exploit – absolutely – I am sure then devs didnt mean for it to work that way, and indeed a patch was released within 2 days to fix this exploit. Did players who took part in that exploit get the same sense of achievement as I did for leveling 90 over the weekend? I dont think so either – but if all they wanted to do was race to 90 – then good luck to them.

    My EQ2 time is my time of respite – to kick back and enjoy some time out and have a laugh with friends. Some people take it much more seriosly – but I already have one real life job. Diffeent people have a different emphasis and expectation of what they want from their MMO, and different people have a different style of play. I could have taken advantage of the exploit I described above just like everyone else, so I can hardly claim anyone had an unfair advantage just because they chose to take advantage of that particular exploit. This is a whole different proposition to someone utelising an exploit to steal from another player, or using a bug to avoid the legitmate script to defeat an encounter.