GW2: Anet hard at work fixing overpopulation

Anet’s handling of the karma weapon bug they introduced is a joke. Keen has a post up about it, and in the comments you will find Anet’s stepping-back statement.

First, the ban makes zero sense. So anyone who ‘used’ the mistake that Anet made, but used it only once or 49 times, is OK, but anyone who ‘exploited’ it by using it 50+ times gets banned? And not temp-banned, but perma-banned (until Anet stepped back and asked everyone banned to jump through a few hoops). Now granted, this is a game where swearing in chat will also get you perma-banned, while botting is a 72 hour ban, so I guess up is down and down is up here. If I sent an Anet employee a death threat, I’d probably unlock an achievement or earn an in-game hat…

Second, you must first HAVE an economy before you can worry about it being ruined. Does GW2 have an economy? There is no auction house right now and even the ability to ‘trade’ items is not always available (since in GW2 characters apparently can’t hand items to each other, just to NPCs). Plus isn’t this the game of easy BiS gear and no end-game? How exactly will an economy work in that kind of setting?

The tinfoil hat part of this is the worst aspect though. Anet loses NOTHING from banning you, since the game does not have a sub cost. If anything, they might gain another box sale. In this light, it’s very easy to see why they are so quick to perma-ban you over looking at a mob the wrong way, and are also going out of their way to make getting un-banned difficult (deleting the items yourself, really Anet?).

At least they (a few days too late) learned a lesson from Aventurine and have stopped sales of the game to limit the overpopulation issues. Maybe this too was bugged, but I sat in the WvW queue for two hours last night and never got it. Granted, I’m sure the problem is just temporary with the initial rush, and once everyone hits 80 they will… oh wait. Nevermind.

33 Responses to GW2: Anet hard at work fixing overpopulation

  1. Bristal says:

    I disagree that they don’t risk anything by banning exploiters since they don’t pay a subs. They may lose a customer for life, and they establish a controversial policy that will follow the brand.

    High risk for the potential payoff of actually creating an MMO environment that many players are clamoring for: a healthy community in which asshattery is not the rule.

    If I accidentally leave my shop door open over night, it’s just as illegal to steal my stuff, and we all know that. Yes, a few baddies will try to get away with it, but the majority of people would call the police if they noticed the door open.

    It takes time to set that precedent, and it takes real consequences for the rule of law to be respected. Suddenly LOTS of kids now understand what an exploit is, and that they can’t just do whatever the computer lets them do. “Hey, it’s their fault for not closing every loophole possible, I’m just playing a game here.”

    May work, may not, but kudos to Anet for taking the risk.

    • Jenks says:

      Buying items from a vendor isn’t an exploit. Like Anet, you must be new to this genre,

      • Bristal says:

        You might need to supply a reference or two proving that very narrow definition.

      • Dà Chéng says:

        Man, there’s a terrible exploit in World of Warcraft! Engineering vendor Zan Shivsproket is selling the Schematic: Gnomish Cloaking Device for a mere 24 silver. This schematic sells at auction, according to the undermine journal, for 250-500 gold. Clearly Zan’s price is a bug, and anyone buying from him is exploiting. I expect Blizzard to hand out the permabans Real Soon Now.

    • Yes, but if you open up your shop and you price $10 items for 10 cents, people buying them at the price you have listed is not illegal at all. There is a moral question, certainly, if the items in question are clearly more valuable that 10 cents.

      Which brings up the odd situation of Anet enforcing morality on mere pricing in a game where killing the residents and looting their corpses is clearly encouraged.

      Yes, an exploit, terms of service, blah blah blah… but it makes an interesting contrast in moral codes.

    • Pardoz says:

      “If I accidentally leave my shop door open over night, it’s just as illegal to steal my stuff, and we all know that.”

      Absolutely true. Irrelevant to the case at hand, but absolutely true.

      If I walk into a store, see a 24-karat 40-point diamond solitaire ring with a price tag that says $10, and buy it, not only does nobody call the police, *the store is legally obliged to sell it to me at that price*. They fucked up, they get to eat the resulting shit.

      • spinks says:

        In the UK at least, that’s not actually the case. It’s widely believed (by the public) that in store pricing is legally binding but if the shop can show they made a mistake, they’re not required to stick to it. Usually they do though, to avoid bad publicity.

        Technically, the displayed price is “an invitation to treat” (I used to volunteer at a place that advised people on consumer rights.)

        • Peter says:

          This is one of those cases where local law varies wildly. Here it’s actually legally binding (and if the shelf price doesnt’ match the checkout price, you pay the lower of the two). I should’ve been more precise and added a “here”.

  2. [...] I jump in.  Yes, I missed out on the baseball cap and the super low priced karma weapons (limit, 49 per customer) and the bans.  And I probably will have to create characters with super cryptic names, since [...]

  3. Nazgum says:

    People attempting to claim this is not an exploit are ridiculous…

    Their excuse stems from, “the game allows you to do this”; that is the case for any exploit… the real question is, “should the game allow you to do this”.

    If I discover some epic boss insta dies from a certain ability in the game, such as say the thief heartseeker; which does not happen for any other ability; do I assume, well this boss must be weak to this ability? The game “allowed” me to kill it with heartseeker…

    For people that mistakenly do this once, should they be banned? no. Should the people who, upon discovering this, camp the mob all day to farm its loot? Yes…

    In this instance, the loot this vendor was selling was priced at 1/1000th of its worth! I’m sorry that is blatantly apparent its a mistake…

    Should the people who buy a few of these items be banned? Maybe, but you probably don’t since it may be an innocent mistake; should the people buying hundreds and thousands of them be banned? o. m. g. yes.

    To make any other claim is ridiculous.

    • SynCaine says:

      So in summary:

      Too stupid to recognize the mistake and only benefit a few (under 50) times? In the clear.
      Smart enough to recognize the mistake and take the logical next step? Banned.

      Anet: Working hard to create a ‘wonderful’ community in GW2.

    • Nazgum says:

      Congratulations, you have now explained the definition of “Exploiting”; which is not running into a bug, but “taking the next logical step” as you care to definite it, and abusing it repeatedly.

      You want to criticize Anet for setting a high limit here on what qualifies for exploiting; the game just got released and its the first major incident like this; shame on them for trying to be lenient and not catch innocent people in the first week of the game’s release… shame! *sigh*

      • Jenks says:

        “Exploiting” in the MMO genre means exploiting a bug. You don’t exploit buying goods from a vendor. If attacking a vendor with a certain weapon as a certain race, then switching weapons quickly while right clicking at the same time made the vendors prices change to 1/1000th their value? That hypothetical would be a bug exploit. Buying goods from a vendor that the developer incorrectly set? That’s not an exploit.

        This is what has been bannable in MMOs for the last 15 years:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploit_(computer_security)

        This is not:

        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/exploit

        • coppertopper says:

          This is basically why a rollback instead of permabans would have been the appropriate response. In a sense though its like finding a wallet loaded with money in a grocery store aisle – do you turn it in or keep it for yourself. Its only illegal if you get caught with that wallet in your possession, and a lot of people did get caught and paid a price.

      • Xyloxan says:

        @Nazgum: As Pardoz and Syncaine (and I’m sure many others noticed) this is about protecting Anet’s cash shop —> investors’ $$$.

      • Nazgum says:

        @jenks from your wikipedia link:

        “An exploit (from the verb to exploit, in the meaning of using something to one’s own advantage) is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or sequence of commands that takes advantage of a bug, glitch or vulnerability in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behaviour”

        Since you like wikipedia, perhaps you should read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_bug

        “A software bug is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways”

        Sorry but a developer setting an item to 1/1000th of its value must be classified as a bug; and by your own definition you linked on wikipedia, this must be classified as exploitation of a bug.

        • SynCaine says:

          “Sorry but a developer setting an item to 1/1000th of its value must be classified as a bug”

          Nope. The software is working as intended. The value may not be whats best for the game, but the software is working just as Anet hoped it would: I give vendor X amount, I get an item.

          This would be like playing the FOTM build and getting banned, because it should be obvious to everyone that Anet did not intend for your character to be that powerful, and so along with the next balance patch nerfing the FOTM build, everyone using it gets a PERMABAN.

        • Nazgum says:

          Your argument is the equivalent of going to the bank and asking to withdraw $100 and instead you get $10,000

          The ATM worked as intended, you inserted your card and got money back, so all is fine an dandy right? No bug in the software of that machine at all…

          My gosh

        • SynCaine says:

          You don’t get arrested if the ATM gives you extra money…

        • And you are not withdrawing money you don’t have from an ATM, you are buying an item at the listed price in a store.

          World of difference.

          In a lot of jurisdictions, the vendor would simply have to shut up and eat it. In no jurisdiction that I know of would somebody be accused of wrong doing.

          There is, as I said, the moral issue, but even that sort of falls apart. Is there even morality involved buying database entries for pretend money from a NPC vendor in a game?

          Bannable offense? That seems like Anet is stealing $60 from their end users and they had better reconsider blanking banning for those who didn’t get in the 49 items or less line.

        • Jenks says:

          “Sorry but a developer setting an item to 1/1000th of its value must be classified as a bug; and by your own definition you linked on wikipedia, this must be classified as exploitation of a bug.”

          No, just no. The definition you posted says the software produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways. None of that happened. The software worked exactly as it was designed to work. There was no bug. Someone entered a value for the item, and the software worked flawlessly.

    • Azuriel says:

      So… you’re suggesting that pressing the Buy button, from a vendor, is the equivalent of exploiting a (hypothetical) combat bug? Do you not see a possible difference? Or how ridiculous it is to suggest using a 3rd-party botting program is less of an “exploit?”

  4. coppertopper says:

    Its not like things like this havent happened, well to your guild in Eve recently where CCP issued reprimands of some sort for exploiting an obvious loophole that would introduce ridiculous amounts of money into the economy. Permabans after 50 items bought – whatever – its a number they chose, but overkill nonetheless. Kind of a weird step from the hearts and unicorns and ‘let us introduce our mmo lovechild’ face they have been putting on the company up until now.

  5. Pardoz says:

    Something similar (vendor selling stuff for way below market value) happened years ago in GW1. They just did a rollback and deleted the extra items from people’s inventories, no bans.

    The difference? GW1 didn’t (at that time) have a cash shop, nor could you trade in-game gold for cash-shop items. This isn’t about “protecting the game” or “building communities”, it’s about protecting the cash shop.

  6. carson63000 says:

    I must confess amazement. For years and years, I’ve thought that MMORPG devs were far too lenient on bad behaviour, cheating and general asshattery. I always assumed that if, hypothetically, I was the man with the banhammer, the result would be a reign of terror that would eclipse anything that anyone had ever seen.

    But in just a week, ArenaNet have swung that hammer with a ferocity that made even me think “damn, that’s a little harsh”.

    I would dish out suspensions at the drop of a hat, but it would take some pretty egregious behaviour for me to go from zero (clean record) to permaban in one offence. I really don’t think exploiting an obviously incorrect vendor price would do it. As a first offence, I would definitely be thinking suspension + flagged for worse consequences next time – and I would expect even THAT to be deemed cruel and unusual by a lot of people.

  7. professer says:

    Wow, what a mess! I’m surprised to hear about this…

    The whole trade with NPCs but not players thing sounds retarded. Do they have plants to implement an AH?

  8. Mekhios says:

    GW2 is not alone in banning exploiters. People with long memories will remember Blizz banned whole guilds for exploiting buggy raid boss mechanics.

    Basically the terms of service dictate that you may be banned if you take advantange of an exploit in GW2. If people are not happy with that then move on to your next MMO of the moment.

    Personally I think it is great GW2 is taking the hard line. Bad behavior has ruled MMO communities for far too long and the sooner they rid the playerbase of foul mouthed players, exploiters, crackheads, idiots, and drunks the better.

    • Dril says:

      They should probably ban people who don’t know the difference between actual exploiting and simply taking advantage of ANet missing a couple of 0s.

      That way, we’ll remove people are undesirable and stupid.

  9. [...] you to think of just one, except for online videogames. Because in the online gaming world not only can you do this, but other customers who missed out on the opportunity will sing the company’s praises at [...]

  10. Bristal says:

    “This isn’t about “protecting the game” or “building communities”, it’s about protecting the cash shop.”

    So, have we found a major problem/difference between F2P and subs MMOs? Clearly it impacts the relationship between players and developers. Is it possible to have a F2P sandbox, where players could directly impact cash shop income? Does the presence of RMT create a climate for an MMO police state?

  11. whatever says:

    It’s interesting how actually bad developers/companies who start using the “TOS” to grossly bully their player-base will be accepted immediately, and indeed complainers will be shouted down. But stopping over the top excessive exploitation will get the exact opposite reaction.

    Scammers admire bigger scammers.

    Fair people admire people who are more fair.

    +50 time exploit? You are ruining the game’s economy. You are NOT using it for personal use, or even your guild. Quit being a liar. You are selling it. Maybe even RMT. You are directly wrecking the economy.

    PERMA-BAN

    Likewise, they are being “nice” to people using stupid bots to level their own characters. The games just starting and that’s the way some people want to “play” it. Now the farming-bots and character sell bots? Well, that is a problem. It wrecks the economy.

    PERMA-BAN

    Scammers admire bigger scammers.

    Fair people admire people who are more fair.

    You know.

  12. Bosstiger says:

    Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

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