Exploitation? – Top Guilds Abusing the System – Rant commence!

I will be writing a post on my 4.3 thoughts as well as Dragon soul later this evening (or tomorrow perhaps) especially pertaining to the druid nerfs. What I wanted to comment on briefly today is the exploting that has been done by the top competitive guilds of the world recently.

I will not go into specifics because 1.) it has been fixed, 2.) I don’t entirely know exactly how it was done, and 3.) explaining how to actually do an exploit is bad form. What I can say is that it allowed 25 man guilds to stack a raid with 24 people who could not receive LFR loot, 1 who could, and through some magic wand waving (it is not as simple as you might guess, e.g. simply trading it from that person without other things being done didn’t work I’m told) they could transfer the loot to whomever they wanted. Long story short many of these top world guilds have a sizeable chunk of their active raid roster in full tier 13 gear which is, for some classes, a boost over tier 12 due to set bonuses and the large number of increased sockets.

I find this saddening. MMO-champion has a rather long running thread on this going on and one person who did do the exploit has this sparkling gem of a response to the criticism:

“Coming from someone who did the exploit, I don’t really understand the reactions of you people.
Yes its clearly an exploit, theres no arguing that. I can even see why some of you feel it should be bannable (I disagree, but I don’t feel like wasting words arguing this).

But what I don’t understand is those of you who are screaming that those doing this are the scum of the earth, and that anyone who does this is pathetic, and that they lost respect for any guild doing it….. its kinda sad. Its really not that big of a deal. Half of the people bitching are just butt-hurt that they didn’t find out about it in time, and the other half are the care bare casual cry babies due to which this game is getting more and more watered down.”

Words of wisdom no? I found it telling. Oh, their armory activity feed is here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/blackrock/Kayytee/feed

I admit I probably would have been sorely tempted to take part in something like this had I found out right away, at least at the moment I found out. I like to think I’d be better than that knowing that it was an exploit and steered clear…scratch that I know I would have. Temptation is evil but ultimately we know when we’re breaking the rules or not. These people clearly did. There are links in many posts out there to many players in each of Paragon, Ensidia, Vodka, etc. raid teams that have all done the exploit.

I remember back in Vanilla WoW when my guild was working through Naxxramas there was a rather odd exploit that was going on with Heigan. It was fairly early on in Naxx’s life and we had just killed Heigan and the #2 guild was working on him shortly afterwards. What they discovered was that if Heigan was killed while he was up on his platform (during the dance) then he could be looted, and would respawn if the instance was reset. Since he dropped the Tier 3 belt at the time, they opted to repeatedly kill him on the platform and reset the instance in order to get as much loot as they could for their raid core. Shortly after performing this exploitation all evening they received a 72 hour ban and a removal of all ill-gotten gains.

I like to think that Blizzard would take as strong of an approach to this issue as they did with the example used and prove that just because these people are bleeding edge raiding groups it doesn’t excuse them from the rules we’re all expected to follow.

Just my two cents on the matter. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

14 responses to “Exploitation? – Top Guilds Abusing the System – Rant commence!

  1. Wait – they don’t want to do things the hard and slow way, so they exploit in order to make progression easier and faster, and then whine about how the game is getting too easy? DOES NOT COMPUTE.

  2. It’s LFR for crying out loud. It may not be a big deal, but was it enough to go that far with something that was intended for casual raiders?

    As far as I’m concerned, they cheated the system in a way it was not meant to be used clearly.

  3. Its a shame really, that people especially in high profile guilds use this kind of “tricks”, and say its nothing of a big deal , but in this world every thing goes to get to your goal, so I am not surprised they knew this existed and still used it.
    Its victory at all cost.

  4. Congratulate them on thinking through the mechanics of not letting gear go to waste (if no one eligible wants it) in normal LFR runs, take the gear back so relevel the field according to Blizz’ intentions, and move on. I can’t figure out why people are screaming for blood.

  5. Top guilds are supposed to be top guilds for a reason: they’re smart and dedicated. If you’re stupid enough to exploit even though you KNOW Blizzard is going to turn around and get you for it, you deserve to be punished. I say give them a week ban and remove the ill-gotten loot so they can enjoy some downtime while they watch the “n00bs and casuals” poach world firsts from them. Hit ’em where it hurts.

    • If one of my students brings unauthorized materials to an exam, but I notice before they have a chance to make use of it, I tell them to put it away. I don’t screw them over by giving them a zero. That would be obnoxious.

      These guys thought through the system put in place, realized there was a vulnerability, and exploited it. But they gained nothing–provided the gear is taken away before next week. So why screw them? Take the gear back, move on. Problem solved.

      • Taking the gear away isn’t enough of a penalty. Exploits are prohibited by Blizzard’s terms of service and rule structure and the penalty must be severe.

        If breaking the rules (or law in the grander sense) to gain something one should not have was only losing what they took then there isn’t any risk whatsoever. If the only potential repercussion from exploiting was losing the gear you cheated to get, then what is the draw back. If you lose the gear then meh, you didn’t have it to begin with.

        While yes it was a loophole in blizzard’s system, that doesn’t excuse it. Once you realize something circumvents the system you are expected by the current rules to recognize that you are breaking the rules and cease what you are doing. Inadvertantly having it happen to you once doesn’t get you into trouble. Forcibly reproducing it does.


      • No disrespect meant, but what exactly are you doing to deter it in that case? If I’m one of your students, I simply keep trying until you actually penalize me because, if I can get away with it and, in the end, not suffer a net loss, why wouldn’t I try?

        You don’t just make a thief give back something he stole and tell him to look sheepish while doing so, you give him some jail time or community service to exhibit why he shouldn’t repeat his offense.

  6. There’s a discussion on my guild’s forums about this and I have to say that I’m not as against it as people think I should be.

    There’s a double standard that exists with guilds at that level. We root for them. We want to be like them. We look to people in their ranks, when we want to know how to gear ourselves or where to put our talent points, etc. They live their lives in the game under a microscope.

    We want them to be the best and then when they’re not, we chastise them for it. We bring them up to knock them down, so to speak. When they do what they have to, in order to maintain that level of success, we feel heartbroken and betrayed. Can we really have it both ways? If we want to have people to look up to and we want to make it so that guilds of that stature can be elevated the way that they are, we can’t very well judge them because they’re doing what they have to, in order to stay at that level. What else are they supposed to do?

    In a way, it’s similar to how we idolize athletes. We put pressure on them to be the best and God forbid if they can’t. When the athlete tries to live up to the standards that the fans put on them, through means that may or may not be the best, we can’t wait to tear them down. It’s a really vicious cycle.

  7. I love how the “top” guilds cry about the game getting easier for us Casuals, but without our subscriptions they wouldn’t have a game to play.

  8. @Jar and Jonathan
    At the core, it’s a difference in intent.
    I don’t think Blizzard should be in the business of punishing abuse of mechanics. Instead, I think they should punish the use of unfairly gained advantages. If a mechanic is abused, but no advantage gained, Blizz should roll back whatever’s necessary to ensure an advantage won’t crop up and then fix their own system.

    In most cases, there’s no difference–abusing a mechanic generally provides an instant payoff. Getting out of a BG gate before the game starts, screwing up an encounter’s mechanic to kill the boss, farming items while invulnerable, etc. In this case, however, the mechanic’s been abused, but nothing’s** been gained.

    **Technically, what’s been gained already is that the players could ensure they got specific upgrades, rather than relying on luck of the draw with their one chance at the loot table. Therefore, a proportional, related punishment would be to not allow them to keep any LFR gear for the week at all (extra LFR gear –> no LFR gear). Removal from the community (that is, a ban) is a reasonable punishment to match the crime of unfairly and negatively impacting the experience of other players, which, to my knowledge, did not occur in this case.

    • They cheated. It’s seriously that simple. They took something that they KNEW was an exploit (And don’t tell me otherwise, these guys are experienced enough to know that what they were doing was against the rules) and they abused it for in game gain.

      The thing a lot of people seem to gloss over here is that these top guilds use their abilities for profits. People sponsor them, people advertise with them, etc. You’re drastically understating what they’re doing. They’re not just gaming the system around RNG here, they’re blatantly abusing the system to get full tier sets for their entire raid when they should, at best, have a handful of gear pieces so far. When you play in a competitive atmosphere, especially where there are potential profits to be had, that is something that deserves punishment.

      Sad as it is to say, I see a lot of parallels in this situation to the steroid era scandals in the MLB a decade ago. This is different from the prior occasions where it was only an isolated handful of guilds pulling an exploit compared to numerous top guilds using this one. So many people are going with an “everyone was doing it” mindset as to why it was okay.

      • A husband and wife leveling the same toon are cheating. Should they be banned, too? Non-participation in LFD dungeons or BGs (but staving off an automatic afk port) is griefing, that’s against the rules. Disrupting a server’s economy by overwhelming the chat channel devoted to it with text unrelated to trading?

        It’s obviously a question of degree. Let’s not have any of this ridiculous “everything is black and white” crap. We, it seems, disagree on where to distinguish between degrees. I draw it based on what advantages are secured, as that’s the only thing affecting other players. No one complains if you choose to use cheat codes in a single player game–because there’s no price to be paid but by NPCs. You draw it at actions taken, whether or not other players have been affected.

        Your point about profit, however, is well taken. That *is* a unique aspect of this situation. The question there, then, is if Blizzard has (or should have) a mandate to consider what people do outside of the game. Is there, or should there be, a difference between these players and anyone else? I haven’t put much thought into that one, yet.

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