Guild Wars 2 Snowflake Exploiters Face Permanent Bans

Guild Wars 2 Snowflake Exploiters Face Permanent Bans

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Guild Wars 2 Santa delivers coal and permanent bans to naughty children who use exploits.

During the holidays, ArenaNet ran a charming little Christmas event called Wintersday for festively-inclined Guild Wars 2 players. Unfortunately, one of the items introduced in the event, a high-level snowflake in this case, was bugged. By combining the snowflake with a Black Lion salvage kit and some metal, unscrupulous players could generate limitless globes of ectoplasm, a highly-sought after crafting material.

The exploit was closed almost as soon as it popped up, but not before a slew of decidedly un-festive players managed to fill their virtual pockets with ill-gained loot. Those that got caught doing so are now facing a permanent ban.

The usual responses were aired, that it's ArenaNet's responsibility to fix such bugs and that players shouldn't be punished for taking advantage of game mechanics, broken or otherwise, but those claims were shot down by ArenaNet support liaison, Gaile Gray.

"Any time you take one thing and can make two, and then four, and then sixteen... ya gotta know that's just wrong. (I won't quibble on the odds, but overall, that form of doubling was not outside the realm of possibility.) And to perform that action hundreds and hundreds of times? That's called 'exploitation,' and that's against the User Agreement, the Rules of Conduct, and all that is holy," she wrote.

"Exploit closed," she added. "Worst offenders terminated. That's what has to happen to make things right for all of us."

Source: Guild Wars 2 Forums via Massively

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Special snowflake syndrom at it's worst ladies and gentlemen.

Extra clarification that I've gleamed from elsewhere, about 200 people were permabanned, and they were making something like 100+ gold off the exploit.

I agree with what had to be done in answer to the exploit beeing used excessively.
But i am noooot quite okay with the attitude.
In the end it is a Bug, and fixing those is the company's responsibility.

But in case there is a "yeah we screwed that up" answer somewhere that i simply didn't see, then i will take that back.

A "high-level snowflake" ? Is it a literal snowflake or a name for an enemy?

OT: They shuldn't be banned, just stripped of all their inventory and forced to start at level one again. Much more humiliating:-P

Permanent bans seem to be thrown out too easily when it comes to exploits. What ever happened to suspensions!?

Fappy:
Permanent bans seem to be thrown out too easily when it comes to exploits. What ever happened to suspensions!?

Personally i'd couple suspensions with losing all of your gold.

Looks like Justice played the role of the Christmas turkey this holiday season. And ArenaNet sure served it well.

Don't think a perm ban is ok, but I don't know all the details though. I guess if its only for the players who used this to make 100 or so gold AND if Arena.net announced that using this exploit was not ok. But honestly, they put the snowflake in the game and allowed it to be exploited, banning someone for using ingame mechanics (even unintended ones) it not the right answer. How long did it take em to fix the bug is someone made 100+ gold with that? Making a hotfix of a few MB that disables the salvaging of the snowflakes should have taken then a few hours at most after they discovered the exploit.

felixader:
I agree with what had to be done in answer to the exploit beeing used excessively.
But i am noooot quite okay with the attitude.
In the end it is a Bug, and fixing those is the company's responsibility.

The attitude here I agree with. Yes, they screwed up with the bug, but the players exploiting it where being dishonest.

Imagine this happened with an actual real-world law, where a few unscrupulous people found a loophole and abused it to, say, pay no taxes, and then whined when a judge found them at fault and threw their asses in jail.

It's called "Respecting both the spirit and the letter of the law". Rules can be flawed, but a part of the social contract is to understand that we all have to make it work, even when we find parts that are broken. An online community is no different, and ArenaNet was right in bringing the hammer down on those hurting the community at large.

Fappy:
Permanent bans seem to be thrown out too easily when it comes to exploits. What ever happened to suspensions!?

/looks over at the current state of the wow community then looks back at you.

Did that answer your question?

So I started reading up on this because I was curious. Near as I can tell -
1) Exploit went into game
2) Lots of people found out about it
3) A few people exploited the hell out of it
4) ANet hotfixed it after 3 hotfix patches
5) ANet handed out bans to the worst offenders

Ancillary Things -
1) ANet neither confirmed nor denied that this was exploit prior to handing out the bans
2) ANet said after launch, that anyone found grossly abusing an exploit would be banned
3) Anet's stance seems to be that common sense should have dictated when you put in 1 thing, and get 2 out, that something wasn't right and you probably shouldn't be doing it

Now keep in mind, the exploit/bug is a fact of life in any software--screaming about QA/testing being lacking is just silly and pretty insulting to the QAers on the game. The fact that they didn't catch it doesn't mean anything -- every game will have bugs, every patch will have bugs. Some are more obvious than others. They plan for bugs in the code and set aside dev time specifically to fix them (I don't know this through experience, but I'm a software Project Manager -- I do this for a living).

The bans were only handed out to the worst of the worst offenders (approx. 200)--those who used the exploit thousands of times. This isn't the person who did it once, twice, or even 10 times. Its with some irony that I note that more 200 people have come out claiming to be banned. But that's the interwebs for you.

I think the take-away from this is the ANet should have communicated that it was a bug prior to the banning. Though, how they would do that well is beyond me. If you confirm it as an exploit prior to fixing it, you run the risk of more people using the exploit simply because you confirmed it as an exploit. You wait until after, the damage is done and you run into this situation we have here. It was kind of a no-win situation for ANet--they were effed no matter what they did.

And On the player side, I think that common sense has to play into this. Gail was right when she said 'if you put 1 thing in, and get 2 out, something is probably wrong...' (I paraphrased). But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see something is a little off, and that maybe I shouldn't do this particular action several thousand times over. The vast majority of the people who knew about the exploit didn't get banned. Even those who made a profit from the exploit.

FFP2:
A "high-level snowflake" ? Is it a literal snowflake or a name for an enemy?

OT: They shuldn't be banned, just stripped of all their inventory and forced to start at level one again. Much more humiliating:-P

Yep, it's, quite literally, a snowflake.

There were six kinds of snowflakes ( Tiny, Delicate, Glittering, Unique, Pristine, Flawless ), for all level ranges, so you could, for example, as a jeweler with each kind of snowflake make a special set of earrings for each level segment.

The last one, Flawless Snowflake, could be used by all armor making professions and jewelers to make some pretty fancy stuff that increased healing power, defense and buff duration.

The fact that you could salvage the stuff to get more ectoplasm out of it then you used to create it though.. well yeah, something is obviously wrong there.

Fappy:
Permanent bans seem to be thrown out too easily when it comes to exploits. What ever happened to suspensions!?

It says the bans were only given to the worst offenders. So I imagine that doing it 1-2 times wouldn't earn you much if any punishment, but doing it eight times? Now there's a problem.

Kopikatsu:

Fappy:
Permanent bans seem to be thrown out too easily when it comes to exploits. What ever happened to suspensions!?

It says the bans were only given to the worst offenders. So I imagine that doing it 1-2 times wouldn't earn you much if any punishment, but doing it eight times? Now there's a problem.

She used the phrase 'hundreds of times" and you know that she meant that literally. I can easily see people spending all day just duping this stuff.

Hiname:

FFP2:
A "high-level snowflake" ? Is it a literal snowflake or a name for an enemy?

OT: They shuldn't be banned, just stripped of all their inventory and forced to start at level one again. Much more humiliating:-P

Yep, it's, quite literally, a snowflake.

There were six kinds of snowflakes ( Tiny, Delicate, Glittering, Unique, Pristine, Flawless ), for all level ranges, so you could, for example, as a jeweler with each kind of snowflake make a special set of earrings for each level segment.

The last one, Flawless Snowflake, could be used by all armor making professions and jewelers to make some pretty fancy stuff that increased healing power, defense and buff duration.

The fact that you could salvage the stuff to get more ectoplasm out of it then you used to create it though.. well yeah, something is obviously wrong there.

Ahh. When I saw the words high level I thought it meant doing battle with a big ass snowflake that could one shot you... whoops.

FFP2:
A "high-level snowflake" ? Is it a literal snowflake or a name for an enemy?

OT: They shuldn't be banned, just stripped of all their inventory and forced to start at level one again. Much more humiliating:-P

Yes, it was literally a Snowflake. It's a crafting material drop related to the Wintersday 2012 event. They said High-Level because there's about 5 different iterations, each within it's leveled crafting Tier.

Fappy:
Permanent bans seem to be thrown out too easily when it comes to exploits. What ever happened to suspensions!?

Suspensions are for Naming Policy violations, verbal abuse violations, cursing in chat, and other things of that nature.

When it comes to hacking and exploitation of the game, those are serious aggressors that need to be stepped on immediately without recourse. However, in September when people were exploiting a bunch of Karma vendor items, A.Net suspended people and gave them a stern "this is your last and ONLY warning, any more exploits and it's a ban!" speech that was posted to the entire community (even those that didn't exploit were made aware of it).

I wanted the offense to be specifically listed as "banned for trying to ruin Christmas."

Oskuro:

felixader:
I agree with what had to be done in answer to the exploit beeing used excessively.
But i am noooot quite okay with the attitude.
In the end it is a Bug, and fixing those is the company's responsibility.

The attitude here I agree with. Yes, they screwed up with the bug, but the players exploiting it where being dishonest.

Imagine this happened with an actual real-world law, where a few unscrupulous people found a loophole and abused it to, say, pay no taxes, and then whined when a judge found them at fault and threw their asses in jail.

It's called "Respecting both the spirit and the letter of the law". Rules can be flawed, but a part of the social contract is to understand that we all have to make it work, even when we find parts that are broken. An online community is no different, and ArenaNet was right in bringing the hammer down on those hurting the community at large.

Regarding real world law, I believe this happens all the time and people do get away with it. Technicalities exist and are used to dodge consequences in the real world. It's a side effect of the rule of law, sometimes there are loopholes.

For example, cigarettes are heavily taxed, but for a long time, loose cigarette tobacco wasn't. That was a loophole a lot of people exploited when cigarette taxes went up. Loose cigarette tobacco was then taxed more heavily than before, but pipe tobacco isn't. Loophole! People who roll their own just use pipe tobacco, maybe chopping it up a bit more finely. Add to that, flavors other than menthol aren't allowed for cigarette tobacco, but there is no such limit for pipe tobacco. Loophole! It got to the point that my local smoke shop only carried one type of actual cigarette tobacco, but dozens of pipe tobaccos. Only difference was the name on the label.

In this case, it does seem pretty obvious that it was an exploit, but it's one that ANet should have been aware of very soon after it came into play. They then should have announced via the game that it was an exploit, and that anyone using it would be suspended or banned, then they should have fixed it lickety-damned-split. Without that announcement, I find permabans to be more than a bit too harsh, not to mention lacking in creativity or finesse.

 

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