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ArenaNet Suspends Digital Sales of Guild Wars 2

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the ignore-the-exploit-over-there dept.

Role Playing (Games) 233

kungfugleek writes "Throughout the launch of subscription-free MMO Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has stated that the player-experience is their top priority and, if necessary, they would suspend digital sales to protect their servers from crushing loads. While the launch has been considerably more stable than most big-budget MMO's in recent months, some players, especially those in Europe, have experienced trouble logging in and getting booted from servers. So yesterday, ArenaNet held true to their word, and temporarily suspended digital sales from their website. Personally, I think this is an incredible show of customer-centered focus. To turn down purchases, especially first-party purchases, where the seller gets a higher percentage of the sale, during a major title's first week of sales, would be inconceivable by other companies. Is this a bad move for ArenaNet? Will there be enough of a long-term payout to make up for the lost sales? And does this put pressure on other major studios to follow suit in the face of overwhelming customer response?" New submitter charlieman writes with related news: "Yesterday ArenaNet banned players for exploiting an error in their new game Guild Wars 2. The so called exploit was in fact an error on ArenaNet's side, leaving weapons at a low price from some vendors. Players saw this and started making profits buying and selling the items. Should players be penalized for errors committed by the game developers? Taking in account that the game is fairly new, the economy hasn't stabilized yet and most don't know the value of things. Today they've given these players a 'second chance', but shouldn't they be apologizing instead?"

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busted... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193379)

Dude you got busted 'cheating'. Deal with it.

Re:busted... (1, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#41193419)

Let's not start with the reddit meme all over again. In comparison to every other MMO arenanet punishes players instead of focusing on fixing problems.

Re:busted... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193519)

That you do not want to argue what some other site had on it? So how does that make it 'right' again?

So the error was caught and fixed. Those that exploited it were dealt with. I have no sympathy for them. Why should I? Because it is a game? Games have rules. If you do not follow the rules of a game you are usually tossed out. For example in chess there is nothing physically stopping me from moving my pieces anywhere on the board. But if I did that no one will play with me.

Cold busted.. deal with it... Consider it a 50 dollar life lesson.

Re:busted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193687)

Was there anything the players had to do other than buy and sell? If not, I consider this a valid example of buy low/sell high.

If on the other hand, the players had to do something funky to get these low prices, I would consider the ban legit.

Re:busted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193947)

It's both an example of buy low sell high AND an exploit. You'd have to be retarded to not see this would crash the economy. To suggest they thought it was intentional is dishonesty worth of the Romney campaign.

Re:busted... (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#41193907)

Where in the rules does it say "dont buy this jsut to sell it"? That would be like banning players In TOR back when slicing would net you a giant heap of credits every hour. If its in the game and you dont have to break anything to do it, its legal.

Re:busted... (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41194261)

No slicing still gives free money, it's supposed to. It's just supposed to be rate limited, and the rate was too high initially. This would be like finding an instant respawn that infinitely re spawned slicing container that always produced a significant amount of credits. Looting it once is legitimate. Looting it twice is understandable. Looting it for hours over and over is clearly an exploit.

When they *didn't* ban people after having had the one day huge honour exploit on ilum they screwed up PVP for months, there were suddenly a pile of people who did exploit, that were now rank 60 and getting all the best gear, and everyone else who needed a couple of hundred hours of work to get to the same point. It was a mess.

All the companies will have in their TOS that you can't exploit a game bug to personal benefit, and that you can't take unfair advantage of game mechanics the same way, this is probably technically the latter, but that's the point - it's exploiting a game mechanic to make money. Buying and selling once could believably be legitimate, a couple of more times and it's not really serious (imagine you could do this every day, but only twice, well.. so what? ) but for hours on end, that's bad....

Re:busted... (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194279)

So if I exploit bank software and take all you money, it's legal?
How about exploiting a flaw in your router and moving all your data to my machines, is that legal?(Note I said mv not cp)

No, abusing obvious exploits is rude, and it's wrong. Note everything need to be codified into a strict rule book. Welcome to a society, watch you manners and have fun.

Re:busted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193531)

What are you talking about? The exploit was fixed within hours.

Re:busted... (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194233)

no they fix problems and punish people who abuse an obvious flaw.

Apologies? Nah... (3, Insightful)

rs1n (1867908) | about 2 years ago | (#41193381)

To be honest, I do not think it is necessary. Most folks know what is right from wrong in real life. The fact that it is a game means very little.

Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (3, Insightful)

bjackson1 (953136) | about 2 years ago | (#41193401)

If, for instance a electronic trading firm decided to offer shares at far below market price and I decided to buy, they only need to put in a call to their local stock exchange to cancel it. How is this any different? ArenaNet accidentally offered something for sale for too little money, and the players, being rational consumers bought at a low price and sold at a higher price. This is capitalism.

Re:Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (3, Insightful)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 2 years ago | (#41193699)

Though i agree the game is rigged against the common trader, that's not what happened in the recent case where misconfigured HFT algo blew $440 million in 45 minutes. They had to eat their losses.

Re:Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193705)

What happened is called arbitrage.

Of course even in the non-game world they've rolled back trades and "banned" exploiters.

Re:Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#41193755)

This is more akin to a bug in an ATM causing it to give you free money. It may be the fault of the bank but it's theft for you to exploit it and if you do get caught then you will be punished.

Re:Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41194197)

Except that in this case the ATM could spit out an infinite amount of money if you just stood there and kept hitting the same 2 button combination over and over.

In game, buying once and reselling is technically an exploit, but it's also possible it was a legitimate buy, and a legitimate sell.

Standing around for hours buying and selling to produce infinite money is obviously an exploit. Acquisition of money should be either rate limited, or entail risk. This was sort of rate limited by how fast you can click but it's not a real rate limit.

Re:Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#41194375)

As I understand it, you couldn't actually get an infinite amount of free money this way. All you could do was exchange one in-game currency for another in-game currency at a much better price than ArenaNet intended. Since there was no path back in the opposite direction, the amount you could actually make this way was limited by the amount of the first currency you could get via other means.

Re:Virtual Reality mirrors Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41194065)

they only need to put in a call to their local stock exchange to cancel it.

Or reverse it after the fact. Even if that means that you're still on the hook for a subsequent sale and so you lose money.

This is capitalism.

Crony capitalism. You're big enough and have the right friends? You win. If you're the little guy, you just pray you don't get stepped on.

Exploiting errors (4, Insightful)

admdrew (782761) | about 2 years ago | (#41193411)

Should players be penalized for errors committed by the game developers?

As a general statement, of course not. But these players *should* be penalized for knowingly exploiting those errors for profit - that goes against the spirit of the game, and lowers the general quality of play, things that should be greatly frowned upon when done intentionally.

Re:Exploiting errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193461)

that goes against the spirit of the game

This isn't ultimate (although I wish it were - waaay more fun than /. comments).

Re:Exploiting errors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193483)

I was walking through the bakery department of my local supermarket one day when I heard an employee (some form of manager) loudly rebuking a another employee, saying "I told you to reduce all the bread BY 10p to not TO 10p!!".

At which point most of the people within hearing range headed over as quickly as they could to scoop up as many 10p bread bargains as they could.

People are terrible.

Re:Exploiting errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193561)

Sure looks like a management issue...

Re:Exploiting errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193641)

10p a loaf is quite common when it's about to pass its best before date. The manager may have been using simple psychology to shift the stock making it sound like the bread was too cheap. Go into Tescos late at night, occasionally you'll be able to fill a chest freezer with loaves for a couple of quid.

Re:Exploiting errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193727)

I got a really nice crusty loaf the other day for 8p!

Re:Exploiting errors (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41193723)

I was walking through the bakery department of my local supermarket one day when I heard an employee (some form of manager) loudly rebuking a another employee, saying "I told you to reduce all the bread BY 10p to not TO 10p!!".

At which point most of the people within hearing range headed over as quickly as they could to scoop up as many 10p bread bargains as they could.

People are terrible.

So, what you're saying is that people are terrible for wanting to get a great deal on some bread?

Who do you think you are, Scrooge McDuck?

Re:Exploiting errors (2)

tom229 (1640685) | about 2 years ago | (#41193703)

What planet do you live on? You'll be waiting a long time if you think you're ever going to live in a world where people will just do the right thing out of principle.

It was Areanet's mistake. Of course people took advantage of it, and you really can't punish them for it.

Re:Exploiting errors (3, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | about 2 years ago | (#41193751)

What planet do you live on? You'll be waiting a long time if you think you're ever going to live in a world where people will just do the right thing out of principle.

It was Areanet's mistake. Of course people took advantage of it, and you really can't punish them for it.

Obviously, you can.

Re:Exploiting errors (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 2 years ago | (#41194205)

What planet do you live on? You'll be waiting a long time if you think you're ever going to live in a world where people will just do the right thing out of principle.

It was Areanet's mistake. Of course people took advantage of it, and you really can't punish them for it.

Obviously, you can.

It does make me wonder if people who got banned this way who bought the game using a credit card can file a chargeback against ArenaNet and successfully win it.

Re:Exploiting errors (3, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#41193857)

Why not? It's their server. They can do what they like. Should they allow their game to be ruined by the actions of stupid players. It's happened so many times in other games. If exploiters get banned early and often then that discourages other exploiters and keeps the game fair and the economy healthy.

Re:Exploiting errors (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194219)

can you punish someone for taking advantage of an unlocked window?
Yes, yes you can.

And yes, this was obviously an exploit. Yes you can punish them for abusing it. Just like you can ban people for rude behavior.

Re:Exploiting errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193835)

and who is the judge about who did it intentinaly and who thought it a fun side of the game? you?

Some timing... (1)

Maquis196 (535256) | about 2 years ago | (#41193437)

Payday for a lot of people (including myself), go onto site to buy it and oh look... Not sure I can be bothered waiting for amazon copy to arrive, being weekend and all...

Re:Some timing... (1)

SScorpio (595836) | about 2 years ago | (#41193619)

You can always buy it from a local store or get a download copy from Gamestop. Amazon and other sites are listing the download version as out of stock.

Re:Some timing... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194191)

Would you rather pay and download it and then not be able to use it?

I know this concept seems to be getting lost, but..

Set the money aside and save it. It will become available again.

"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#41193441)

And I suppose being arrested for receiving stolen goods after taking advantage of a shady boot sale is also terribly unfair?

There's this little voice in your head that says "this is too good to be legal," and you're supposed to listen to it.

If you're a gamer and you found a way to make the game do something it clearly shouldn't let you do (i.e., teleport across the battlefield, buy high-end gear at unreasonably low prices, disconnect other players, etc.), you're exploiting. Period. And if you keep doing it, you're knowingly and intentionally exploiting. And a lifetime ban is simply the kindest thing you deserve.

Contrary to popular opinion, "whatever you can get away with" is not a valid ethical choice, and if you get busted, whining about it just looks douchbaggish and immature.

Re:"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193669)

The NPC shopkeeper said that he had unbelievable sales.

And, well, it isn't like MMOs haven't offered limited time promotions for the first few weeks.

Re:"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193713)

Sometimes I never know if these "exploits" are intended, and interact with features not yet revealed. For example, getting a super-cheap but overly powerful sword may endear you to a band of unsavory characters that tarnishes reputation and makes it difficult to do other things, or by performing what now seems to be an "exploit" is actually a feature that the game makes up for later by making something incredibly difficult.

Put this another way: If you bought a blender and later found out it makes a better fan by attaching the lid in a certain way, is this an exploit? Or an "unintended feature"? To that end, knowingly using a seemingly unintended feature is not the same as exploiting broken mechanics. This would be using that same blender to create a projectile weapon that injured someone and then claiming "the designers must have intended it that way". THAT is when the red flag gets tripped and you're supposed to say "Oops. That's probably really bad. I should let somebody know so they can fix it."

Re:"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41194341)

My understanding is that users who bought 1 or 2 of the items weren't punished in any way. It was the people who bought a bunch of them (in other words, they knew something wasn't right.)

Re:"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193871)

and every player will instinctly know what should be ok in a game and what should be not be ok?

Re:"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41194363)

If it's 'too good to be true', it's probably an exploit.

Re:"Banned for exploiting" isn't a good reason? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41194145)

You don't have the right to decide what is a valid ethical choice or not. If you think it's not valid, that merely means that it doesn't pass muster under your ethics.

'Game Developer Error' = 'Exploit' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193445)

> Should players be penalized for errors committed by the game developers?

That's basically how every exploit ever could be summed up. Some are more obvious than others.

In the case of the specific currency trading (karma to gold), most of the bans from what I've read are temporary ones. The one big 'high-profile' ban was some video streamer who after getting the tempban encouraged his viewers to harass ANet into unbanning him, which as a result netted him a permanent one.

The game is fantastic so far, and ANet has been very forthcoming with information on bugs, problems, bans, etc.

Re:'Game Developer Error' = 'Exploit' (1)

Sparton (1358159) | about 2 years ago | (#41193549)

In the case of the specific currency trading (karma to gold), most of the bans from what I've read are temporary ones.

The second link in the article actually indicates that they were permanent bans, but ArenaNet are letting users jump through hoops to convert it into a 72-hour ban. Seems fairly extreme, especially since one of the hoops is "you will delete any items/currency that you gained from the exploit"... which if they can't reverse it themselves, means they probably can't accurately verify how much profit a user should be deleting.

Re:'Game Developer Error' = 'Exploit' (2)

damien_kane (519267) | about 2 years ago | (#41193731)

The problem with reversing it themselves becomes very large scale if any player-player interaction is involved (and, umm, this is an MMO, it's all about P-P interactions).
Player A exploits loophole to illegitimately gain 1 million gold
Player A buys 100k weapon from Player B-1, 100k chest-armor from Player B-2, and 100k ring from Player B-3

Player B-1 uses that 100k that he got from a legitimate sale of a legitimately [farmed/crafted/bought] item, and buys 50k worth of consumables
Player B-2 uses that 100k along with 900k that was all made using legitimate means to buy 1m item legitimately Etc, etc... the list goes on
Realistically, Players B-1 and B-2 have no idea that the money from A was fake/illegal (and in digital world, they have no way of knowing), so they can't be penalized and have their new consumables or big-ticket item removed.
Player A should lose his 3 items, yeah
But, if this were the other way around, and Player A bought 10 items from vendor for 100k each with that 1m that he made, and quickly turned around and sold it to other players for 90k each, or crafted it with other legitimate items for sale for 200k each, you can't really break up the amounts now (as half of that 200k-each is legitimate).

Now, go one-step further, and say Player A shunted that 1m gold into powerlevelling a craft.
The benefits of the higher crafter levels will net him huge, legitimate (arguably), returns throughout the game, especially early-on when other don't necessarily have crafting levelled so high.
Can they simply "delete" the "profits" of their actions? Not without re-rolling their toon, or choosing to never use that skilled craft again.

Back-rolling exploited vendors is a very, very labor intensive process. This has happened in almost every MMO at least once, and also in many single-player games.
Were I ArenaNet, I'd just ban the players who exploited, too. They've all been around the block a couple of times, they know better, and it's not worth the time I pay my devs for to back out something like that.

The players who exploited can always just create a new account (for which they have to buy a new license to the game, one-time) if they want to play again. This not only backs out the problem caused by them exploiting, but it also sets precedent that any breach of the ToS will have a monetary value attached to it to resolve, and that monetary value is capped (at the cost of rebuying the game).

Re:'Game Developer Error' = 'Exploit' (2)

Sparton (1358159) | about 2 years ago | (#41193849)

Oh don't worry. I'm not saying it's easy (I'm in the industry, so I understand tracking and deleting at this point is tricky)), just that... it'll be hard for anyone from ArenaNet to verify that the profiteers actually deleted "enough".

If I had 33k before the exploit, and I ended up with 100k (not counting anything bought in the mean time), how would ArenaNet know what I should have been at before I started using the exploit? Unless they have very specific and thorough save data journaling (unlikely, considering they aren't reversing things themselves), it seems like subjective guesswork from a customer service drone.

Seriously? (5, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 2 years ago | (#41193451)

The so called exploit was in fact an error on ArenaNet's side, leaving weapons at a low price from some vendors. Players saw this and started making profits buying and selling the items. Should players be penalized for errors committed by the game developers?

Sorry, no sympathy. The people who got banned bought *thousands* of weapons. That falls *squarely* in the realm of exploiting game mechanics, it doesn't matter where the fault lies. This comment on Reddit says it best:

There is no hard and fast line saying "this is not a bug, this is".

However, there is a very clear line between "this is a bannable exploit, this is not".

If you are in the gray area just playing the game the way it's meant to be played, even if you do take advantage of a bug once or twice, no one is going to ban you for it. In fact, Arenanet said people had abused it up to 50 times without getting anything.

Now, if you find something that is obviously too good to be true, and run it into the ground, doing it hundreds and thousands of times: your very actions show you KNOW it's a limited time deal that will soon be fixed and you are trying to rack in as much ill-gotten gain as possible out of it. Then you get banned.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193765)

Imagine if we could ban exploiters from the real economy

Re:Seriously? (1)

Jammer6502 (1430197) | about 2 years ago | (#41194183)

We can, we just choose not to.

They just lost a sale (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193457)

I was gonna buy it today. Oh well. I'll just resub to Rift then.

Exploiters should be banned (1)

cfalcon (779563) | about 2 years ago | (#41193479)

It's not at all unreasonable to ban players for exploiting.

not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193493)

SE banned FFXI players for exploiting a similar bug (buy low from NPC / sell high to NPC) when the CoP expansion came out. So it is not the first time players have taken the punishment for testing failures of the developer.

Re:not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193527)

All exploits are based on bugs or dev errors. How is this new or even news? Exploiters get banned. Waaaah.

Re:not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193645)

Players are taking punishment due to their own actions. Nobody forced these players to exploit the bug. You clearly lack experience working with complex systems of any type.

Why is it ArenaNet's fault? (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#41193511)

I've heard this shit several times that if the developer doesn't produce magical bug-free code then dickheads have every right to exploit the shit out of the bug and ruin the game for everyone else as it's the 'fault of the devs' for 'letting them do it'. I've seen other MMO economies trashed by such stupidity on the part of the players and so at the very least temp bans should be handed out to discourage such retards from wrecking other people's enjoyment.

Re:Why is it ArenaNet's fault? (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41193977)

an easy fix for this for ArenaNet

1 dupe the exploited weapons and make some sort of small edit to the copies (just enough so you can tell a pre exploit copy from a post exploit copy)

2 in a couple weeks create some sort of Uber Creature (Like the Dresden Files He Who Walks Behind or a Doom II Cyberdemon) and have this creature spawn and stalk anyone using a pre exploit version.

3 sit back and watch the problem solve itself

Re:Why is it ArenaNet's fault? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#41194057)

I like the way you think :)

Slashdot vs reddit reactions (4, Interesting)

admdrew (782761) | about 2 years ago | (#41193515)

After a very cursory and unscientific perusal of the comments on reddit and slashdot, I find it interesting that (in general) slashdotters seem to more supportive of the banning of people who exploited the bug, while redditors seem to think that ArenaNet acted too harshly.

Re:Slashdot vs reddit reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193719)

Perhaps that is because Slashdot may have a larger number of people who work in the technology field and understand that bugs happen

Re:Slashdot vs reddit reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193895)

Wouldn't that invoke the opposite response though?

Re:Slashdot vs reddit reactions (5, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#41194317)

Being an avid reader of both Slashdot and Reddit, I find that it's a maturity thing. There are some immature people here, but the average maturity level of Reddit I'd place far lower than here. People here would be quicker to point out how exploiting the cost of an item could be detrimental and can follow the path of consequence better than Reddit.

Also, Reddit is more easily gamed. The perception that Reddit is not happy with something can easily be just one person with an army of followers (human or programmatic) that are not happy. It's harder to influence mood here because not everyone gets mod points at the same time. It happens a bit, but trolls (in this case, people looking for validation) quickly move on to other forums where it's easier to game the system.

So, let me get this straight... (0)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#41193537)

Players got banned for buying low and selling high?
I'm glad I didn't get that game, because I probably would have been banned too.
There are a few RPGs where you can buy things in one town and sell them in another for higher, and I've always abused that to make gold.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193575)

No, that isn't what they got banned for. They got banned for knowingly exploiting a bug hundreds or thousands of times. It was not some innocent 'i just bought low and sold high' as your moronic characterization would make it out to be.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#41193649)

How can you tell the difference?
Was it obviously a bug?
The only way I could think this would be the case is if they bought/sold from the same vendor...
Otherwise I personally would have thought it was intentional on the developers' parts.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#41194349)

The person that did it said he noticed a very lucrative way to convert one asset to another and no other methods to do it netted such a profit, then he shared it with thousands of others instead of submitting a bug to let the developers know that the numbers were off. The reason for the ban wasn't that he found and used the exploit for the most part. It's that he shared it with all his friends and told them the how to do it.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41194351)

You can tell because why would you buy thousands of weapons for yourself? If that was the intended price, the value wouldn't be any higher than what you bought it for. There would be no buy low, sell high. They knew it was a bug, so they bought it so that they could sell it after the bug was fixed.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

Meowfaceman (637882) | about 2 years ago | (#41193673)

The difference here is that the weapons that they were buying were designed to be (and known to be) expensive and somewhat difficult to get, and they were selling for 1/1000th of their intended price. Additionally, similar weapons elsewhere were selling for proper prices. I do think ANet overreacted a touch, but I think people are blowing it way out of proportion. People who bought as many as 50 weapons (which is absurd) were given temporary bans, but there were people who bought hundreds/thousands of weapons.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#41193783)

I guess I don't get it since I haven't played the game at all yet, but if they were known to be expensive then I guess that's why.
Blowing things out of proportion is something people tend to be good at, I suppose.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193815)

Maybe I'm getting old, but it used to be the case that when something like this happened, the bug was fixed, the servers were rolled back, and lots of people screamed that they lost two days of progress. And then everything went back to normal with no bans needed.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41194189)

That's because MMOs with monthly fees can't afford to ban players. Why should I get rolled back two days because someone else exploited an obvious bug?

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41194387)

Funny how this MMO doesn't have monthly fees...

Re:So, let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193741)

This wasn't just buying low and selling high. It was like going into a store and seeing five colors of shirts. Four cost $20 and one costs 2 cents. You buy a thousand shirts and do whatever with them.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

damien_kane (519267) | about 2 years ago | (#41193779)

Players got banned for buying low and selling high? I'm glad I didn't get that game, because I probably would have been banned too. There are a few RPGs where you can buy things in one town and sell them in another for higher, and I've always abused that to make gold.

That costs you time though (running back and forth between towns).
Some games even intentionally do that (i.e. have fluctuating vendor prices based on supply/demand). If everyone hangs around 1 town, because hunting is good outside of it, NPCs start selling for higher values, and buying for less.

The problem here was that people were buying an item from one vendor, then selling it back to the same vendor for more than they originally paid for it.

Yes, a dev screwed up somewhere in a config entry, but the players should know better. This isn't the first time something like that has happened in a game, and in previous cases, banhammers fell without prejudice.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 2 years ago | (#41193805)

As I said in another reply, if that was the case then I see the problem.
The issue with the article and everything linked is that NONE OF THEM go into detail about what the exploit was, other than stating there was one.
So by default I'm skeptical of everything. Thanks for clearing that up!

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#41194423)

As I understand it, players bought the underpriced item from one vendor with one form of in-game currency and could then sell it in return for a different in-game currency (or maybe not even that). There was no direct exchange rate from one currency to the other.

Some important missing details (4, Insightful)

Necroman (61604) | about 2 years ago | (#41193585)

About sales: the game is still available in box form from game stores and online (such as Amazon). The digital sale stop was not meant to completely stop incoming player population, just to slow it down.

Furthermore on this topic, ArenaNet has been trying to keep the number of servers low so they don't end up with a lot of empty servers when the initial hype dies down. Though, due to player and guild names being globally unique, doing server merges are much easier compared to other games.

About bans: ArenaNet is banning for exploiting because they want to send a very clear message that exploiting design errors will not be tolerated. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is and shouldn't be taken advantage of. There was an item for that that was selling for a fraction of its expected cost, so some people bought hundreds (or thousands) of that item to be used for other purposes (crafting and mystic forge). ArenaNet banned those player. People that did around 50-100 purchases just got a 3 day suspension.

To add, people that were banned are being given the option to submit a customer service ticket and have their account unbanned and converted to a 72-hour suspension instead. They must also promise to delete any items or money they gained through the exploit. This was done as it was the first exploit found in the game.

ArenaNet is doing all this to send a very clear message on how they expect their players to behave, and I'm happy they are.

Re:Some important missing details (5, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#41193709)

Reading what ArenaNet have done has made me very pleased that I bought the game. I've seen MMOs destroyed because exploiters and cheats were allowed free reign. The devs didn't seem to understand that if you tolerate the dickhead players then decent players leave. This then leaves a game full of arseholes that no-one new would ever stick around in. When the arseholes get bored and head off to destroy another game, the original game dies. ArenaNet clearly don't want this to happen and I personally think it's great.

Shipping new boxes to stores? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#41193789)

About sales: the game is still available in box form from game stores and online (such as Amazon). The digital sale stop was not meant to completely stop incoming player population, just to slow it down.

But are they shipping new boxes to stores? They can't do much about what stores already have in inventory.

All it takes is a Phone call (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41194075)

and then a Memo is put out requesting that the boxes be placed on Hold (the DM will see this in moments and he will then light up the phone tree to get this to the stores).

Re:Some important missing details (1, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41193853)

About bans: ArenaNet is banning for exploiting because they want to send a very clear message that exploiting design errors will not be tolerated. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is and shouldn't be taken advantage of.

To me, the legitimacy of the bans falls on the answer to one question: did ArenaNet make all players aware that the exploit existed, or did they just ban the people who found it incidentally?

If the former, than I totally understand the ban; "Hey guys, there's a problem with this particular game mechanic, don't exploit it or we'll ban your ass." == fair enough.

If the latter, than it's utter bullshit. It's not the gamer's fault that the game had such a major flaw, and if ArenaNet never told them "hey, that's an exploit, don't do it" prior to the bans, then ArenaNet is quite obviously the one in the wrong. If this is the case, it would be as though Wal-Mart accidentally dropped the price of Avatar to $1, then had everyone who purchased said movie at said price arrested for theft (there's a term for that kind of con, though the specifics escape me at the moment).

ArenaNet is doing all this to send a very clear message on how they expect their players to behave, and I'm happy they are.

Again assuming they didn't announce the existence of the flaw prior to initiating bans, what message is that? "Take advantage of a seemingly legit game mechanic that we later discover/decide is not legit, and we'll block you from using the product you paid for?"

Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193633)

Use of exploits, errors, cheats of ANY SORT! in an online multiplayer game should be punished very very harshly. As in starting with a minimum of one month ban. No refunds.

When you find such a thing there should only be one action. Report it. Period. End of story.
It's the only way to have a good stable community of long term gamers. Instead of a fad game full of exploiting kiddies that move onto the next game after they 'own' and ruin yours.

As evidence you can look at any of the thousands of games where they did not punish them harshly or at all. You might have to dig tho. Many of those games no longer exist because they failed and died.

Re:Yes. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#41193863)

When you find such a thing there should only be one action. Report it. Period. End of story.

That's a good way to get flooded with so many reports that the real bugs can't get fixed. Most of the time, price variations between merchants in a game are, in fact, deliberate. Unless you can prove that these people cannot possibly have been unaware that the pricing was in error (e.g. a negative or zero price), your argument makes no sense.

Re:Yes. (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 2 years ago | (#41194187)

Most of the time, price variations between merchants in a game are, in fact, deliberate. Unless you can prove that these people cannot possibly have been unaware that the pricing was in error (e.g. a negative or zero price), your argument makes no sense.

Since in this case, apparently the buyback price was higher than the sell price (at the same vendor, not between different vendors), then anyone who encountered this should have definitely known something was amiss, and that this was an exploitable bug.

Alternate Solution (1)

MatrixCubed (583402) | about 2 years ago | (#41193791)

Pay players, who find serious game flaws, to report them, with in-game credit. If a player can make a cool $1 million dollars by barely lifting a finger (i.e. submitting a bug report, perhaps using an in-game interface), wouldn't that be preferable to grinding said $1 million dollars for hours on-end?

Re:Alternate Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41194019)

They don't need to pay gamers to do this. There are plenty of professional beta testing organizations who do this and pay their testers nothing. Sure, the company gets paid an overhead, but the testers do it for the good of the game and for a chance to play a game in the making for free.
Everyone is looking for a way to make a quick buck, what about people who actually want to help and will even pay the dev when it's all said and done to BUY the game they tested.
I've tested a slew of games, usually my only reward being free access to the game during testing. I work for two beta testing groups, both function the same. Players rarely get paid to test, those that do are usually local and in house for alpha closed testing.

Reddit? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41193795)

Can we please not link to shit on reddit? It's bad enough we get cross-over douchebags spreading their shitty memes and infecting discussions here with their idiotic level of circle-jerking inane commentary. We don't need to encourage them.

Game mechanics / real-life (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 2 years ago | (#41193827)

Ok what does "exploiting" means? In this case I don't read that anybody has crack the software, install a hack, spool a server...etc. They did whatever allowable within the game mechanics. Ok thousands of items bought on "unreasonable" price (what's 'unreasonable in a game?) sounds like an 'exploit' but where's the line? 10 items? 100? Also, every single players in the game can do that because it is allowable game mechanics, with everything being equal. Say, what if it's an "early bird time-limited Easter egg"? You don't do it? Well then other leap frog you in terms of player development.

Comparison in real life, this is like a vendor mis-priced items on the shelf - the merchant could possibly stop it at the cashier and revise it or whatever, but if he sold it fair and square transaction complete and customer out the door with the goods, is there any recourse?

Re:Game mechanics / real-life (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194149)

exploit means someone abusing what is an obvious bug to the layman.
Granted sometimes that can be hard, but not in this case.

Don't compare it to real life. If the owner of the store was buying soda for 2 bucks a six pack, and the it rang up for a dollar, it would be pretty obvious a mistake. Now, should the one person get it at the wrong price? sure, but the merchant can fix it on the spot so it doesn't happens again.

People People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193833)

I might be old and bought up on a diet of Pacman and other 80s awesomeness....

but I cant help but think....

Its just a a FUCKING computer game!

No wonder my gaming interest has dropped off in recent years. This is all moronic.

Re:People People (1)

Apoptosis66 (572145) | about 2 years ago | (#41194033)

This is what happens when people get together. In the good old days it was just you vs the machine. People + People = Crazy. I don't think people should be allowed to gather in packs more than 3. You ever see a pack of dogs? or vampires on True Blood? Nothing good ever comes of it.

Generalization (2)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | about 2 years ago | (#41193855)

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

There are people out there that forget this, or flat out don't believe in that line of thinking. Cheating is cheating, whether in a game or in real life. Unfortunately, my nephews were brought up believing it is perfectly fine to use public aid as much as you possibly can regardless if you actually need it or not. The problem is, their yardstick for measuring what needs are is broken compared to what hardworking folk would think. Most people will file these things under desires or even luxuries, but seldom are they actually needs. For my nephews, that line of thinking easily crosses over into computer games. They think that because they found a way to "beat the system" means they should do it as often as possible before it gets changed. Their morality compass is skewed by how they were brought up to think. They honestly find nothing wrong with it. Their normal mode of thinking is selfish, and they never think about how their actions will affect others in the same group.

This is just my nephews, who unfortunately, were brought up this way. I know of many more people, some personally, some through friends, that have this same type of default mode of thinking. I will even go as far to generalize that this type of thinking can be very generational - as in it is passed down generation through generation.

Kudos for ArenaNet for towing the line and banning people who are obviously exploiting game inconsistencies or bugs. With a system this complex, nobody can expect everything to be 100% correct all the time.

For a different example, I was watching a YT vid of a GW2 raid. The leader of the raid was actively telling the other people how to use positional exploits to avoid damage so they could get through content without much danger. That kind of thing pisses me off. For almost exactly the same reasons. It almost makes me wish there was a community reward program for reporting players like this. Unfortunately, I fear there is more room for abuse then what good it would do.

Re:Generalization (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194101)

Example? the game is designed so you can hid behind and move around items. I don't know if that was the case in your circumstance.
BTW, that's a two way street.

IT's not generational, there have always been people who think that way.
IN the case of computer games, sometimes it can be hard to determine a bug and a feature. Not in the case, it's pretty obvious that a merchant wouldn't buy things for more then they would sell them for... unless the developer intended the player to be able to get the merchant drunk first.

In GW2 the when the centaurs turn at a high rate of speed, their ass end slides out, like a horse. When that happens I can throw a dagger at it takes them slightly longer to recover. Is that intended? a bug? If it turns out to be a bug should I be banned?

Re:Generalization (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | about 2 years ago | (#41194463)

This person was hiding inside world geometry to avoid taking damage. There was nothing subtle about it. I agree with you that there are valid battle tactics that are positional. Hiding behind pillars during certain attacks for example. Regarding your second example, if killing the centaurs in that method presents little or no danger to your character, and you're are able to kill thousands of them for some greater than average benefit (quest items, trade materials, gold), then you should bring it up to the designers and ask them. Is it an acceptable but creative strategy for centaur slaying, or did they not intend that?

You are right, there are cases where it is honestly hard to know if a certain thing is an exploit. In a lot of those cases, it boils down to the fact that we don't have the breadth of knowledge the designers do, and it is better the error on the side of caution. I remember playing Everquest back in the day and discovering an interesting area to fish where the rate of fish caught was slightly higher than normal. In the process of testing how much higher than normal, there were a few brief periods where every cast was a fish caught. I reported that - a week later it was in the patch notes as corrected and my cleric was given a stack of peridots by a GM the next time I logged in.

I didn't do it for the potential reward, I did it in the spirit of telling the designers about something that they might of overlooked.

Really ArenaNet is in the right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193897)

I don't even play these games anymore, but I have been following this today. I can't believe anyone thinks its okay for a company to charge you for a product, then when you use it as it was designed to ban you. Can you imagine if Microsoft of Apple did this. Opps you found a flaw in our software, your no longer allowed to use it. Any sane company would of reversed the transactions or destroyed the items, fixed the bug, and said they were sorry. Honestly if they banned me for playing a game I bought from them I would sue.

Instead of banning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41193975)

Just wipe their accounts of all characters after the bug is fixed. They can keep playing, but they will have to start over from scratch.

They committed a virtual crime, punish them accordingly. Banning their accounts is like a virtual death sentence and disenfranchises them of real world money. At least wiping their characters gives them a chance to reform and return to being productive members of the community.

Knowingly taking advantage (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41194037)

of an obvious bug is an exploit. Right or wrong, it's just rude.
Just because you don't chain up your bike, doesn't mean it's ok is someone takes it.
The developer side of things need to be done internally.
Frankly. I hope they were able to take the money they made away from the people who did it more then once.

.

Unexpected boon (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#41194045)

I know I didn't anticipate it, but one of the unforseen benefits of a "no monthly fee" game is that they can do this - flat-out BAN players who exploit the game, or who ignore repeated warnings.

Anet has made a significant effort to warn people about names like Penishead or FloppyTitLover as inappropriate, giving them 72 hours to think about it when they don't change.

And they've aggressively suspended accounts for people shouting 'faggot' over general chat.

Now they flat-out ban people that are obviously exploiting the game.

I don't care if it's dull as checkers, I'm going to buy their next expansion just to show me support for this behavior.

What I find particularly pathetic is that people are having so much trouble over this. "But there's no stated POLICY that I couldn't name my toon 'D1cksm0ker'!" and
"They didn't rez me, so I got angry and called them a faggot on chat, so what, free speech!"
If you sincerely have trouble understanding appropriate conduct and inappropriate conduct in these obvious circumstances, either your parents failed or you're starting to believe the internet libertarian lawyer brigade who assert that if it isn't specifically prohibited, it's practically mandatory.

Personally, I prefer a world in which there ARE social norms like saying please and thank you, and not calling someone a "cocksucker" just because they play better than I do in pvp. I don't find the behavior boundaries that hard to conform to, nor do most people.

Guild Wars 2 is just so awesome . . . (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about 2 years ago | (#41194053)

Publishers want to sell as many copies of their game in the first week while people still have a fever for it - especially handy when a game is really not all that great. If ArenaNet expects the game to be so good that it's played for the next ten years, the first week of sales holds a smaller significance. And, btw, notice how Nintendo doesn't hold to the "first week of sales" philophy when they have game and hardware shortages? A lot of people couldn't get Wiis for a long time after it was first released and it still sold well. I have a feeling that "The so called exploit was in fact an error on ArenaNet's side, leaving weapons at a low price from some vendors" is not the whole story, there may well be more to it. But, still, even if it were the case ArenaNet's been swamped with support cases that they likely just made a mistake. It happens and the "offenders" got reinstated. The "offender"'s intentions are a little questionable, though, who buys tons of items and sells them for a profit withing an MMO unless they're farming?

I bought it after sale suspension. (1)

Epell (1866960) | about 2 years ago | (#41194249)

Just go to gamestop and buy the online version there :P
The sale isn't blocked on retailers.

Logic (1)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#41194355)

You have a gap in your logic there. Players were not punished for the error, but for EXPLOITING the bug.

Open window? Your problem. Me climbing in? Breaking and entering. It really is that simple

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