Swift Retribution! – Blizzard Drops The Proverbial Hammer

So it was announced by Blizzard that all those involved in the LFR exploit would receive a 8-day ban from the game in addition to removal of all ill-gotten gear as a result of said exploit. The punishment is very strong and likely is specifically designed to deprive the offending players of their first week of heroic boss work. Some of the guilds involved have financial gain attributed to their play through sponsorship and their actions have ramifications above and beyond simply wanting a leg up for progression sake. There has been a lot of feedback already on the matter and I’ve heard many comments both for and against this punishment and I wanted to address a few of them now as well as offer my opinion (which in the grand scheme of things is just one voice).

Comment 1: It’s Blizzard’s fault for leaving the loophole in the system and not fixing it

Response: Just because something has glitched in the system does not give you the rights or privilege to abuse the system or break a law or rule. There are guidelines imposed upon you as part of being in this game (or life for more important matters) and you are bound to adhere to them. Those long documents you probably ignore each patch update and click “agree” have something to do with that. If there is a bank error in your favor and $10,000 dollars accidentally gets placed into your bank account it is not yours. If you falsely believe you have any right to that money and spend it then legal action will be taken against you as you are in fact stealing. You know the money isn’t yours nor should you have access to it so flying in the face of that knowledge will get you in trouble. If you do the right thing and report the excess of money immediately the bank will correct the error and everyone goes on about their business.

Comment 2: They needed to perform the exploit in order to keep up with the competition!

Additional source, Method’s Website:

“Currently the situation is as follows; multiple top guilds have apparently made use of this bug to gain the mentioned above. These guilds were basically presented with two choices on Wednesday 4.3 release;

Ignore the obvious bug and continue the LFR farm without looting the items, putting themselves at a disadvantage against their competition.

Utilize the bug, get their set bonuses and trinkets and stay on level with the competition and possibly risk the consequences from Blizzard.

Response: Honestly? Boo hoo. Clearly from their own comments they knew that it was a bug, knew there would be repercussions from Blizzard, and chose to proceed anyway in order to keep up with competition who they knew were taking advantage of it. Many of these guilds have sponsorships and funding so partaking of this exploit actually serves a monetary gain as well as the fame/notoriety that go along with world first heroic kills. Many of these players are in full BiS gear from tier 11 and I have a hard time thinking they would have been that worse off without the ilevel 384 gear with set bonuses…especially given the risk versus reward. If they had a little patience, and confidence that Blizzard would resolve the issue and punish those first offenders then they would have had much less competition for world firsts. Instead they’ve joined the ranks of the jailed and lost out on the opportunity.

Comment 3: Why should the punishment be anything more than the gear being taken away?

Response: If the only repercussion of someone stealing something is that what they stole had to be returned with no legal ramifications then what is the penalty for the actual theft itself? Rules and laws must have additional penalties beyond the initial violation. You can’t just expect a slap on the wrist and say “Sorry, I’ll give everything back now”. If you steal you return the goods AND get punished. Now these guilds, if you ignore the monetary gain they stood to make for the moment, weren’t stealing (arguably from other top guilds in a sense) but they were taking something illegally. Perhaps this is similar to those people who try to justify software (or music) piracy with the statement “I wasn’t going to buy it anyway for money so why should they care?”. You are taking something you don’t deserve and garnering enjoyment and entertainment, for what it was designed to provide, without the cost that everyone else must pay.

Comment 4: Who are they hurting really? Why do we need to punish them for gains that do not affect other people?

Response: It all comes down to the fact that rules are rules. There are systems in place be it in the real world, sports, business, or video game universes designed to maintain parity, quality of life, and fairness. We as civilized human beings are expected to follow these laws or rules provided they are fair and just (which isn’t always the case for everything). Takings steps to gain an unfair advantage over the competition is conniving at its core and regardless of whether it’s a proactive or reactive decision, still cheating. Even if it doesn’t directly affect other people it still must be addressed. If an athlete takes illegal substances in order to get stronger or perform better than his peers then his gains affect his profit margin, his team’s performance, his team’s fan base, and the players and fans of all teams he plays against and beats. If the player is seriously injured and uses illegal substances only to help the recovery process and heal back up to full health that is STILL breaking the rules. Just because you feel that your cause is more just, noble, or innocuous doesn’t mean that it can circumvent the rules.

Final Thoughts:

The only way that Blizzard could have punished these top guilds in a manner that would really affect them is a ban long enough to block them out from a full week of heroic progression raiding. The ban hits them in their wallets, their ego, and their hobby which should sting just enough that maybe, the next time they are faced with a potential glitch that could be exploited they would think twice. In actuality though we know that will not be the case. The threat of competition and fear of not keeping up will always cause players and guilds to push the “win at all costs” envelope and take advantage of whatever tricks they can. I wish I could say that I had sympathy for the guilds but I do not. If this glitch was stumbled upon by these top guilds and used for a few items total (these are players that had full 391 BIS gear mind you) then I’d probably be less animated about the whole thing. The fact that quite a lot of time was spent grinding these raids over and over to gear out full raiding cores shows a level of determination to break the rules that I simply can’t get behind no matter what.

I apologize if these past two posts have sounded like wild ranting…and they probably are, but I’ve felt strong enough about this that I simply had to get it out there. On the bright side I hope that everyone else’s week is going well and I wish a good luck to all the top tier raiding guilds that kept their noses clean.

UPDATE: Paragon has written an apology (update for me as I just read it) and has acknowledged what they did was correct and is not making any excuses on the matter.

 There has been a lot of misinformation going around, so to clear things up, here is a truthful account of what exactly happened with the LFR and what we have to say about it:

The patch hit EU servers on Wednesday. We started off with our 5x Firelands runs to wrap up legendaries and called it a night. For Thursday, we had an elaborate plan to run a personal LFR raid for every main character to get the maximum amount of loot.

As we were doing the first few runs, we noticed an unrealistic amount of tier pieces on some guilds’ armory profiles, which we thought was unattainable through normal means. We started looking into it, and found out that you can loot passed gear from bosses, regardless of save status, if you zone out and back into the instance. This did not provide the raid with any extra loot, but it did eliminate a major portion of the RNG that would have been involved in simply doing personal runs for everyone.

We acknowledge that using this unintended behavior, which was quite clearly a bug, to our gain, was wrong. The fact that others were using it as well is no justification for doing it ourselves. We apologize for doing it, and accept whatever consequences follow.

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6 responses to “Swift Retribution! – Blizzard Drops The Proverbial Hammer

  1. To me, blizzard was to soft whit this punishment, if they where “regular” people they might have gain a permanent ban, but no, they are “famous”, we just remove the items and give a temporary ban and a slap on the back.
    But this is the reality of life, if you want to be the absolute best you “have” to use all available tools to you, legit or not.
    Success demands it, you just deal whit it or not, I personally do not support what they have done, but I am not trying to be the best, but I do understand why the did it.

    • I think everyone understands why they did it. It doesn’t make it any less terrible though. Wining at all costs and risk management are choices that they made, gambled on, and lost.

      You are right though they are certainly getting a little bit of celebrity treatment. If they perma-banned a chunk of the top progression guilds it would have gotten extremely dicey i’ll admit. The punishment could have been more severe if they had the guts to do so.

  2. But maybe that’s the real problem, if blizzard had made a heavier punishment, people might actually blame blizzard for it, and not the people that abused the exploit.

  3. I’m really glad they (blizz) did this and did it swiftly. Losing a week on progression is a really big deal to these guilds, if you watch that movie “race to world first” some of these world first competitions came down to just a couple of hours between first kill and second kill! The punishment really wrote itself.

    As to “regular” people would have received a perma-ban, is there any precedence on that? Do we have a reference for someone receiving a perma-ban for an activity that wasn’t directly targeting other players?

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