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Reader Comments (20)

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 6:24PM clockwork305 said

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Good article, I agree with the premise most exploiters (discoverers) are explorers at heart. Nice to hear from this side of the fence.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 6:38PM esarphie said

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Honestly, few people in my experience have much trouble with the one or two guys who discover unintended consequences of mechanics in a game and report them. The people we all hate are the 5,000 followers who hear about it and immediately rebuild their characters to take advantage of it... and those few who seek to keep exploits secret so they can continue to abuse them.

Discovering things and reporting them as you describe? I've never heard those people termed "exploiters".

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 7:56PM (Unverified) said

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Ahhh powerboost. Back in the day when a powerboosted dominator in domination mode popping meglomaniac hit the +hold % cap and their holds lasted about a minute. Back when you could heal someone's life bar in one go. Back when you could softcap someone on defense with one FF. Back when a powerboosted weaken or benumb would lower everyone's powers to the floor.

Good times.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 7:31PM Dblade said

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FC's problem was it was a high damage attack with insane knockback, and you take falling damage from knockback. Knockback itself is almost an exploit: last I remember the protection was bugged, and it's impossible to recover mid-air.

Is meelee still busted as hell after the buff? That was FOTM as I quit the game.

For exploiters, well I've never seen positive aspects to it, in practice. Usually what they do almost always gets used by others if not themselves to better themselves. CO pvp was fun in potential, but exploit and FOTM builds made it a pain. The game itself could have done with many more months of testing.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 7:43PM Joshua Przygocki said

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Can't say I like using the FOTM builds in games, I just play what I think is fun, but yea I do love FC, and force itself with a bit of magic is probably my favorite way of playing CO.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 7:47PM LazyLemming said

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The problem with your article is you make it sound like the people using exploits actually searched and discovered the exploit, when in reality all but a very select few are simply copying what others discovered. Few rarely do any more in depth exploring than a google search.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 8:00PM Bartlebe said

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Is this a troll? It sure reads like one.

Exploiters try to find, exploit and use bugs in games due to their good nature?

Surely you jest. Exploiters like to find exploits because it helps them get an unfair advantage over others. Exploiters in Darkfall did so test the game? Exploiters and hackers in other MMO's do so out of their profound respect for the game?

For every exploiter that tries to find bugs and types out detailed, thoroughly tested reports there are 20 that do so for malicious reasons. I think, at heart everyone that calls themselves an exploiter and attempts to break the game has nothing but the worst of intentions.

Why can't you just play the game like it was intended instead of constantly causing trouble?

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 8:08PM (Unverified) said

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Because in a game like Champions Online where a build is almost completely freeform, the way it was meant to for me means to scour the game for the best combinations. Test everything, verify everything, learn as much as I can about the game, because that's what's fun for me. I like knowing the game like the back of my hand. And once I know the underside of the game and how it works, that usually lends it self to abusing the game's system. For me, that's how it should be played. I cannot do the style of play where I just take what I want, and as long as I'm still winning battles it's cool. Just can't. Not fun for me.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 8:22PM Bartlebe said

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You're defending your right to abuse the game and how it was designed?

I just can't get on board with that.

I play games and try to move through them as organically as possible. I do what I think seems fun and viable. Games aren't a science to be researched and they're not a competition.

Exploiting the system and using that to make the game unfair for other players is the problem.

Unfortunately, these people have always existed and will always exist. A great dichotomy that is difficult to solve.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 10:53PM (Unverified) said

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"Exploiters and hackers" You made the unfortunately common jump there. The two groups are not the same at all. Exploiters use what the game makers give them while hackers use programs to edit the code to their advantage.

This article does not seem to be talking about exploitation as I'm aware of it. The piece seems to cover learning about game mechanics and the use of unbalanced abilities. There's nothing here that's outside of what the developer's intended. It does get the exploration part right. Exploits don't come from malicious intent but from poking around the game mechanics and pulling that knowledge together to discover something new. Otherwise you could call using akimbo shotguns in MW2 exploitation.

As for my own experiences with exploitation, I did a lot of work in Planetside (so much so I made a mini-series) and found some things in WAR (I broke the economy). Good exploiters are also like magicians, we'll only tell our secrets and tricks after we retire or can no longer use them.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 8:33PM (Unverified) said

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How is it unfair? We both have access to the same powers and abilities, and nothing is stopping them from making use of the same tricks I use, especially since I'm always free with the things I find out.

And games are definitely a competition when PvP is brought into the picture, which is at least half of what inspires my fact-finding missions.

The problem is not the players that engage in these sorts of activities, it's people's perception of that playstyle.

I like learning. It's my nature, and it's not a problem to 'solve'.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 8:44PM Daverator said

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I think you have the term exploiter confused with min/maxer.

Exploiters find a glitch and exploit it, for example, if there was a crafted item that could be decrafted for more than it cost to make, they would all of a sudden have 100s or thousands of them.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 9:12PM (Unverified) said

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I think it's more of a venn diagram thing. There's a lot of overlap, but there's some things one side will do that the other won't, and visa versa. I'm definitely on the min maxer side though. The bug you mentioned is one of those.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 9:45PM (Unverified) said

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If you define exploiters as explorers, then, yes, they're explorers.

I'll stick with exploiters.

Posted: Jul 9th 2010 3:24AM Temko said

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...none of what i read here are expliots.

Expliot:
http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/loadNews/12466/CCP-Takes-Action-on-Starbase-Exploit-

THAT is a expliot.
your list is.. just a better knowledge of the game.

it's like in the beginning not everyone knew the way Insta-hit worked in ultima online, but as more people used it, it became more widespread. just like the exact formula to achive the greatest DPS againt boss X might not be well known, someone who sinks time and effort in it will figure it out.

expliots are bugs that are abused for gains.
and honestly, the real explioters usually dont even find the expliot. someone else does, they just use 'm.

the finders of an expliot generaly just confirm it and figure out the next thing.

Posted: Jul 9th 2010 9:08AM (Unverified) said

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It's hard to tell with CO. Cryptic made changes to so many powers there's no telling what was bug fixing and what was just balancing. However the main issue discussed here (that is how other player's treat "exploiters") was still very true. I remember reading some comments on the forums that made it feel like if you didn't use anything but the weakest powers, you were exploiting.

I don't try to delve too deeply into specific mechanics and never followed the FOTM powers. My characters got their powers from what I thought fit their theme best. For the majority of the time I played I just assumed I had stumbled across a build that worked pretty well; but when a few of them showed up on the watch list and I read the comments from people crying for them to be nerfed I felt like I was an exploiter. Not that I had a reasonable understanding of the game, but that I needed to rely on 1 or 2 broken mechanics to be as good as I was.

Not sure where I'm going with this, just relating how it was for me I guess.
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Posted: Jul 9th 2010 9:12AM (Unverified) said

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Should read "if you used anything but the weakest powers"
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Posted: Jul 9th 2010 1:02PM Patrick Mackey said

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I actually have to disagree that the starbase exploit is any different. An exploit, by definition, is a flaw in game mechanics that leads to unintended interactions. Catalysts were a flaw, the lack of mez mash strength is a huge flaw. Deep safespots were a flaw as well, if you want to go with EVE stuff.

The EVE starbase thing was pretty simple. Obviously lowscale POS towers produced too many PI materials relative to the higher POS and station components. It's no different than Catalysts being worth more than they should be, just that the consequences are economic and therefore the player impact is worse.

The merit of an exploit isn't based on the impact it has on the playerbase. It's simply something the developers didn't intend, and it's pretty obvious that the developers didn't intend Catalysts to be as good as they were.

Hackers aren't exploiters, they're hackers. If someone creates a hack, that's different than finding some flaw in the game itself. There's some overlap with hackers and exploiters, in the sense that most hackers are pretty good exploiters. Most exploiters are terrible hackers. Some hacks, particularly MMO ones, are somewhat like exploits; we players are limited in our interactions with a game, so any hack has to play with only the inputs and information available to the player. One could call Glider or other bots hacks, but the same could be considered true of useful UI addons too.

There really isn't any morality per se in exploiting or hacking, just like there isn't really morality in using chat channels. Some people might use exploits to crash a server node, just like some people might use chat channels to get the personal information of unsuspecting children. It's the actions of the individual that makes something moral or not.

Also, it's worth noting that using things that are "good" is not morally wrong. It is not the players' fault that a patch goes live with game flaws, and it is not the players' job to predict what the developer thinks is abusive or not.
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Posted: Jul 9th 2010 1:09PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, actively participating in a bug you KNOW would break the game if more then a few ppl did it, that is an exploit. Look at it this way:
If I work at a bank where I have the means to round down transactions by a peny that would normally be increased by one, and send said netted penny to an account of mine, is that stealing, because they weren't getting a full penny anyway? The answer is yes, I am exploiting the system for my gain. If instead, the bank miscalculated the interest in my account for a few months, then notified them as soon as I saw the discrepancy, that would be reporting a bug. I have NO ill will to players actively seeking out bugs AND reporting them. My problem is people seeing an opportunity and running with it to give them an edge and NOT telling the powers that be what went wong.

Posted: Jul 9th 2010 3:23PM (Unverified) said

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What you're describing with your bank analogy is an inaccurate representation of exploiting. What you're describing is HACKING. It is circumventing the existing system using outside resources (in this case, your direct access to the bank's systems) in order to achieve personal gain that could not be done by someone without the same tools you used.

Exploiting uses the system AS IT STANDS, without the need for special access to materials or systems.

Using a loophole the legal system to siphon child support money from your ex-boyfriend despite him already bearing the costs of supporting the kid? Exploit.
Claiming the dude living on your couch for the last six months, but who sells weed and has a cash income that he doesn't pay taxes for, as a dependent and getting a tax return for it? Exploit.

Exploits are not ever out-of-reach of the layman. Anyone who plays Champions can benefit from any exploit within the game mechanics if they so choose. In point of fact, it is usually to their advantage to do so, and there's no reason they shouldn't other than the often RIDICULOUS social stigmas that seem to follow "taking advantage of exploits".

In a game where everyone has access to the same set of tools, there shouldn't be any reason not to use the best tools available, even and especially if they're not working exactly as intended. There are so many unplanned interactions in CO between powers that most people are probably exploiting something without even realizing it, or are exploiting something but label it as something else just so that they don't feel like they're "one of those exploiters".

I see this happen ALL THE TIME.

The same people who bashed on me not two months ago in chat for "exploiting" various aspects of Force Cascade spike builds (which, let's be honest, aren't even that good anymore) were talking in a public channel about how they thought it was so cool that they were buffing Defile's elemental toxic damage with the elemental debuff from Fire Snake.
This is the worst kind of hypocrisy.

Exploiters who seek out the best builds to get the most out of the game they're playing shouldn't be targeted like this. They're playing optimally, and there should never be any shame in that.
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