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Bugs

Economy exploits plague ArcheAge [Updated]

Fantasy, Bugs, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

How invigorating for the genre to have a game with so many exploits it's hard to keep track of them.
If you were hoping that this would be the week in which there were no stories of ArcheAge bugs or exploits hitting the news, we're sorry to say that reality has dashed your hopes. Players are reporting numerous exploits hitting the game, some of which have been publicly detailed on the game's subreddit, such as a method to force the game to offer specific loot when random boxes are opened. The exploits are being investigated and will be rolled back illegal character gains will be reversed if discovered, according to Trion Worlds.

Further posts clarify that players who were unknowingly involved in these exploits (through the Marketplace or simple dumb luck) will not be targeted, although players are advised to use caution in their dealings and avoid obviously suspicious deals.

[Thanks to squidgod2000 and Thunder for the tips! Our original story conflated the words rollback and reversal. Trion Worlds has told us that server rollbacks are not on the table. The studio says it will reverse characters found to have knowingly benefited from the exploit. The marketplace has been taken offline while the exploit investigation continues.]

Warlords of Draenor's rocky launch saga and Reddit controversy continue

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Launches, Subscription

wow
We've heard a lot of "it's a good problem to have" in regards to the struggles that World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor has faced this past week, as a huge influx of players have met laggy servers, lengthy queues, and DDoS attacks. But we're sure that Blizzard would prefer no problems, period, which is why the studio has been updating the community on an hourly basis regarding its efforts to stabilize the game.

Blizzard says that it's currently monitoring the servers and has seen an improvement in performance around the world. In the past day, the studio has performed rolling restarts, hotfixes, and increased the population caps on various servers. Massively's own writers have had mixed experiences thus far; while we had to cancel Mike's Friday stream because of queues and the servers were down a large portion of Saturday, by Saturday night queues and lag issues were clearing up on some servers, like Bree's, no doubt thanks to increased capacity.

But some gamers are taking their reaction to the extreme. The core moderator of the WoW subreddit shut that subreddit down last night in protest over his personal login difficulties. While the forums have since been restored with apologies from other Reddit mods, participants are still arguing over the events. "r/WoW shouldn't be a hostage," Blizzard bluename Zarhym admonished via Twitter.

World of Warcraft deals with downtime, bugs, DDoS attacks [Updated]

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Subscription

What do you call an expansion that's late and still rushed?
If you had been hoping to experience the launch of World of Warcraft's expansion without queues, well, that was never going to happen. If you had hoped to face the launch without issues like disconnecting from the servers as soon as your character moved or major Garrison bugs, well, that shouldn't be happening, but it apparently is. A number of hotfixes have already been applied to the game with more on the way, including several increased spawn rates for enemies in heavily congested zones. This comes on the heels of DDoS attacks that have made logging in and playing even more difficult and make it difficult to identify genuine bugs amidst server issues.

Fans have compiled a list of the most common errors experienced on launch, some of which seem perfectly normal (long queue times after many server merges prior to launch) and some of which are not (server crashes from flying mounts). If you want to take a little time off from trying to get in and play, you can take a look at the recently posted glance at the creatures of Nagrand. Otherwise, there's not much to be done other than waiting for the latest round of hotfixes and hoping that corrects the major issues.

[Massively's sister site WoW Insider has published a detailed editorial explaining the launch issues and who bears responsibility for which ones. Managing Editor Adam Holisky argues that while Blizzard is responsible for the quest bottlenecks, broken terrain, server funneling, and griefing toys, it can't do much about DDoS attacks and their resulting latency and lag and queues, and therefore the studio should not be blamed for them.]

World of Warcraft hit by DDoS attack on expansion launch day

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Legal, Subscription

wow
There's something about a major launch that brings out all of the cyber griefers, and Warlords of Draenor's launch day is no different. Blizzard confirmed this evening that the game was hit by direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks that have been causing issues, and the studio is taking steps to combat it, including temporarily lowering the maximum populations on servers:
We're excited to finally launch Warlords of Draenor and explore this new world with you, but we know that the experience has been less than ideal as we approach our first full day of launch. Europe was our first region to launch, and we encountered a few issues due to the sheer number of players attempting to enter Draenor from a single location. We worked to add multiple new ways to access Draenor, and this helped ease some of the initial rush into the new expansion as players were able to access it from their capital cities, as well as from the shrines in Pandaria. While that solution helped a ton for our North American launch, we ran into a few other issues, including a distributed denial of service attack, that resulted in increased latency.
Later this evening, Bashiok updated players on the ongoing server issues as they unfolded over US prime time:
We're continuing to work toward greater realm stability and address the service issues impacting latency. Our current biggest hurdle is the concentration of players in specific areas and zones, and an unexpected effect of that concentration on the realm stability. We're continuing to maintain a lowered realm population cap to help with the stability, which is resulting in increased queue times. We're seeing some increase in individual zones drop which are causing localized player disconnections as we get into primetime in the Americas, and if someone is disconnected they will quite likely run into a queue to log back in. Work is progressing on improving realm stability through fixes targeting individual in-game issues, as well as on the backend game and network services.

An ArcheAge player found a way to kill the servers at will

Fantasy, Bugs, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

Dive?
It's never a good day when you see players on the forums boasting about causing server crashes. In nearly every single case, it's a matter of someone bragging about doing something with no actual proof as a bit of pointless ego boosting. What's worse, of course, is when a player posts about causing a crash and claiming it can be replicated... and then proceeds to do exactly that, demonstrating that the server can be crashed at will. This is apparently what happened to ArcheAge.

User ArchegeDown posted a thread on the forums on Friday, stating that a specific bug was responsible for bringing down the servers and that it needed to be fixed. To prove these claims, the user caused two more server crashes at scheduled times, demonstrating the ability, with the stated intent being to simply get Trion's attention. The thread is currently locked, but it's possible that subsequent server crashes are a result of other players discovering the same method of inciting a server crash.

[Thanks to xpactor and Matt for the tip!]

Star Trek Online restores players flagged for exploits

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Cryptic Studios: Not the Vaadwaur.
Star Trek Online recently launched a new expansion with a level cap bump, and unfortunately some people decided to quickly exploit the mechanics to race up to the renewed level cap via exploits. Unfortunate, but not totally surprising. Cryptic Studios, needless to say, rolled back the gains made by those players. Unfortunately, as can happen, a few innocent players were caught in the crossfire, but what can you do about that?

Well, in this case you can re-examine players who were erroneously rolled back and restore their points. Producer Stephen D'Angelo made a post on the official forums stating that instead of trying to make another adjustment, all players will have the points that were removed restored to them. So it's back to how things were before, and if you lost out on points through no real fault of your own, you have them back. Or even if it was through direct fault of your own.

[Thanks to Some_Guy for the tip!]

Turns out Blizzard found more Hearthstone cheaters to ban

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Hearthstone
Earlier this week, Blizzard banned "several thousand" botter accounts in MMOTCG Hearthstone for the crime of botting. But the bans were only temporary, and the problem players will be back in the game by the turn of the year.

The subjects of a new wave of bans, says Blizzard, won't be let off so easily. Community Manager Whirthun told forumgoers last night that win traders have and will continue to be banned -- permanently:
We've recently banned Hearthstone accounts that were found to be participating in win trading. Win trading at any rank is something that we do not take lightly, and is in violation of our Terms of Use. As we mentioned in our previous statement regarding fair play in Hearthstone, instances of cheating will not be tolerated. Accounts that were discovered participating in win trading have received permanent account closure and disqualification from events where ranking is used as a method of qualification.
Win trading is an exploit of the matchmaking system to position accounts for easy ladder climbing. PC Gamer reports that several big-name Hearthstone players have already fallen to the ban, including a grey hat player who went public with the exploit nearly a year ago in the hopes of provoking Blizzard to fix it.

Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.4 has a slightly bumpy release

Fantasy, Bugs, Patches, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

ffxiv
Today you may not hear much from your friends playing Final Fantasy XIV, as the long-awaited Patch 2.4 is now live and kicking. It's a sizable content update full of quests, instances, and of course the new Rogue class and Ninja job.

We've been reading up on the patch notes since late last week, although there are a few issues keeping this release from being completely smooth. Square-Enix noted that there are problems with chocobos getting stuck in their stables and said that new character creation may be restricted during more busy periods.

Star Trek Online tackles power-leveling exploit

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

sto
Star Trek Online Executive Producer Stephen D'Angelo has given players a rare explanation about a power-leveling exploit that some players had been using and the difficulty the team had in dealing with it.

The exploit took place on certain maps and allowed players to advance 17 times faster than normal. D'Angelo said that only around 250 players were engaging in these actions and that "intensive data analysis" was used by the team to determine who was abusing the exploit on purpose and who had accidentally triggered it.

"I'm certain that at least some of the players feel they were acting in the right," D'Angelo wrote, "that errors the dev team makes should be fair game. There are likely some others who feel that I drew the line in the wrong place, either too high or too low. It is challenging to walk the line between protecting the playe base that wants the game to be fair, and allowing players to be efficient and 'game the game.'"

RIFT performs extensive rollback following hardware outage

Fantasy, Bugs, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

rift
Denizens of one of RIFT's more populated servers are experiencing the raw end of a 23-hour rollback following hardware issues. Trion Worlds Executive Producer Bill Fisher announced that a hardware outage hit three servers early this morning, with one of them -- Faeblight -- lacking a recent data save point and requiring a one-day rollback.

"This is a significant loss for players on this shard and we fully understand that," Fisher said. "We are currently in the process of identifying and refunding RIFT Store purchases for users from Faeblight, as well as tracking down any Instant Sixty potions that were granted on this shard. This process may take several hours but we will ensure that any credits spent during this time are returned."

Fisher said that the studio is giving bonuses to the affected servers and is contemplating more compensation. Trion also implemented a hotfix that is giving a false error to players, stating that the update requires a full re-download. The actual patch is much smaller than that.

Norrathian Notebook: Remembering that Landmark is in beta

Betas, Bugs, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Norrathian Notebook:  Remembering that Landmark is in beta
An interesting thing happened on my way to pay upkeep. It hit me full force that Landmark is indeed in a true beta. I know, I know -- I have said this before. And I know that I know it. Yet sometimes that fact still sneaks up and wallops me in the face! I mean, it's pretty obvious the game is incomplete (hurry to me, AI editor!) and that there are definitely bugs to squash. But for the most part, I have not be too inconvenienced by bugs, so I guess the fact that it's a beta just floated to the back of my mind.

That all changed this past week. I encountered a bug so big that it squashed me. In fact, it was so intense that it effectively prevented me from continuing my gameplay. That's when it hit me: After eight months of playing and enjoying Landmark, I had forgotten that this can actually happen. But it is important to remember, to keep this fact at the forefront of our minds. Why? It's not to be a defensive rallying cry for why something isn't in game/isn't working as intended; it's so we can get the game we want, sooner! How? By doing our job as beta testers.

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Ultima Online dares you to seek the Treasures of Doom

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Ultima Online, Promotions, Sandbox, Dungeons, Anniversaries, Subscription

UO
Ultima Online's publish 87 arrives on all shards today, bringing with it Halloween gifts as well as a fresh round of 17th anniversary gifts meant as an apology for their tardiness. The patch introduces a new Halloween event, Treasures of Doom, which funnels players into the dungeon Doom. Artifacts collected inside the dungeon can be traded to new NPC researchers stationed outside in return for brand-new titles and loot items, including named lanterns, unique slayer bonus buffs, and several pieces of high-end gear.

The update also installs bug fixes for the vice vs. virtue PvP system, trade quests, and enhanced client.

The game's standard trick-or-treating events run until November 19th, while the Treasures of Doom promotion continues until December 1st and won't resume again until Halloween next year.

Hallowtide begins in ArcheAge today

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge

ArcheAge
Trion Worlds will update ArcheAge's western servers today with a new patch reverently named Version 1.2 Build 4.13. Notably, it ushers in Hallowtide, ArcheAge's autumn event, which runs until November 4th, when the Conquest of Auroria patch launches. Today's update also includes several gameplay and bug fixes, including bugs relating to trial account chat. The studio has promised a full reveal of Hallowtide later today.

In other ArcheAge news, numerous players and Massively readers report that the free subscription time promised by Trion in compensation for launch issues is not properly triggering on their accounts.

[Thanks, dirtyklingon.]

WoW Archivist: Class protests and the Million Gnome March

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Classes, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, WoW Archivist

Naked gnomes everywhere
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on October 8th, 2014, and is included here by permission.

Betas make players nervous about their class. It happens every time. Blizzard makes changes, often drastically, and for better or worse some people hate the changes. I've been keeping my eye on the beta class forums since the Warlords beta began, and I've seen a lot of unhappiness this time around. The ability pruning that was one of Blizzard's major design goals for classes this year has removed depth from rotations, taken away both utility and cosmetic options, and in some cases radically altered or deleted abilities that players enjoyed. Beta testers have voiced strong opposition to many of the changes.

In 10 years, I haven't seen players this up in arms about class issues since classic WoW -- an era when many specs and mechanics were simply broken in PvE, PvP, or both.

This past Friday, something happened that I believed would never again happen in WoW: an in-game class protest. With much more open lines of communication from developers to players in recent years, I thought the game had matured beyond the point that such things would ever be necessary. But here we are, almost 10 years after the most famous class protest in WoW's history, and players once again felt the need to gather in Azeroth to voice their complaints.

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Trion's games DDoSed again

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

RIFT
E-thugs are at it again: Trion's MMO services are once again under attack. Last night, the official RIFT twitter account announced, "Ascended, our servers are experiencing a DDoS at the moment. We're working to restore network stability as quickly as possible." On the official forums, RIFT Executive Producer Bill "Daglar" Fisher confirmed that ongoing RIFT lag problems are compounded by the attacks: "Adding on top of the oddities that people are reporting, we've also been under DDOS attacks and our network team has been working to minimize the impacts of these."

Overnight, even the first few pages (five, as of the time of this writing) of the RIFT general forums were flooded with spam from attackers. Several low-traffic forums on the ArcheAge boards have also been spammed early this morning.

[With thanks to Omedon for the tip and apologies to Daglar for the temporary demotion!]

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