Saturday, April 17, 2010

MORE Fun for the Special Task Force

Well, it sounds to me as if we have a real problem here...

This morning (in fact, during JP prime time), the game had to be shut down for an emergency All-Worlds Maintenance for two hours -- and, for three servers, three hours!

After the Maintenance, we found out that the use of the Porta-Furnace (the portable Synergy furnace) has been discontinued until further notice, and there was discussion on BluGartr as to whether this had anything to do with Japanese linkshells being able to pop the VNM Wyrm at the top of the VNM tree and gain so many drops from it.

It turns out, according to Fusionx, that might well be the case!

Apparently, players using a Porta-furnace just before entering a Cavernous Maw (unclear as to whether this was true in both directions) could receive the immediate pop key item for the VNM top-level Wyrm!

Ban the fucking lot of them if this is true. ANY use of a Black Abyssite for this purpose should ban, at minimum, the popper, if not all characters who gained items with any degree of knowledge.

This most certainly compares to the Salvage bans.

10 comments:

Volkai said...

This problem has been dealt with quickly enough that it will have a negligible effect on the player base. Therefore, I doubt the players that found this exploit will be punished in any significant way.

In fact, those who would have sought to exploit this should be thankful to whoever it was that reported this glitch, for that very reason.

Their accounts have likely been saved from LM-17's abyss, as it were, by a good samaritan.

With luck, those players themselves might report glitches they find in the future, rather than seeking to profit from them.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

It might have a negligible effect, Volkai, but the extreme nature of the plausible abuse should result in any player gaining a Black Abyssite through this process and popping the VNM Wyrm be given a full ban, first offense.

Why?

Consider the probable situation:

You have an alliance of players who wish to use this exploit to circumvent (at least a portion of -- I don't think too many reports said if these people had the Tier III Abyssites or not) the VNM process and the time commitment thereto.

So basically you have this process repeated until every player jumps in front of the line to have a Black Abyssite.

You now don't pop one Wyrm -- you pop EIGHTEEN! (At least as quickly as the respawn timers and the effort to kill the damned thing would allow you.)

The process, much like the Tier process for ZNM's, serves as a buffer to keep players from spamming PW and gaining all of it's valuable drops in many multiples.

This is not only a game balance issue as a matter of gear, but also the possibility that the economy might be nerfed.

As I said before, the entire machination of a process by Square-Enix to gain access to content is fully within their right to control what gear is in the game, how much, and who gets it.

Efforts by players to negate that control are, materially, theft against Square-Enix.

I disagree whole-heartedly, unless you have information I do not have, that these accounts have been saved by bans by a Good Samaritan.

We will see.

By the by, I have a conjecture on this that is not going to make a lot of people happy. I had some time to think about all this tonight, and I came to some conjectures that will come in my next post.

Volkai said...

I do not have any hidden information about if the accounts of players who gained black abbyssite in this manner will or will not be banned.

But from what I know of the past, and from my own analysis of the situation, I think it unlikely this will be the start of a mass ban.

I have no guarantee of it either way, but let's say I'd place the odds of a mass ban due to this at about the 30-40% range.

"Efforts by players to negate that control are, materially, theft against Square-Enix."
As all items and character remain the property of Square-Enix, it's not theft unless you try to sell it to someone for real money.

Intentional abuse of this glitch is certainly cheating, though.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

I don't have any hidden information either, Volkai:

BUT:

The situation does make me believe that they'd better throw the banhammers with extreme prejudice, because of the potential amounts of abuse involved.

That it didn't take 18 months for them to find out should not absolve it. I mean, it was a known glitch: Within about 10 minutes of the game going down, someone on BG correctly identified the exploit which caused the emergency maintenance.

So, for me, this is no different than the Salvage bans on the player side of the equation.

From what we know of the past, Square-Enix only very capriciously and randomly appears to have any desire to enforce it's rules, so your argument is not out of line.

However, that does not mean that a very hard-line approach is not warranted here, for reasons I believe to be obvious. I don't think you can say that any person who pops the VNM Wyrm using Black Abyssite gained through this method is not guilty of cheating.

Re: Theft

Let me see if I can find the definition for you from California law which led me to draw the conclusion:

California Penal Code 484, Section (a):

""484. (a) Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile characterand by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft. In determining the value of the property obtained, for the purposes of this section, the reasonable and fair market value shall be the test,and in determining the value of services received the contract price shall be the test. If there be no contract price, the reasonable and going wage for the service rendered shall govern."

At minimum, actions outside the rules would appear to be fraudulent appropriation of another's property. It might be still Square-Enix' property, but it is property fraudulently appropriated by the player to the player through illegal conduct.

Hence, I do believe that this statute (which comes from the law in which disputes with American players would be resolved -- California law) applies.

Volkai said...

The law really does not apply here.

An item legally belonging to Square-Enix has been created in a game owned and run by Square-Enix and given to a character owned by Square-Enix. Nothing has left the property of Square-Enix.

Additionally, items in FFXI legally have no real money value.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

And there's where RMT comes into the question. The value assigned comes from illegal activity in which you are attempting to sell something which you do not own.

Also, if the item were truly owned by Square-Enix, it would retain the SOLE right to allocate it in a manner it saw fit, which is something that actions like the Salvage dupes and this attempt to circumvent.

calintzpso said...

Starcade,

you jumped the gun again. Using your choice of words from your post of gun ho attitude of exploits.

Let me put you in a position. Your fighting a mob, you kill it, suddenly you got double exp, or say 3k from the kill. So you report it, suddenly your perma banned for exploiting a glitch.

That's what your post just read to everyone reading it.

You said "ban the fucking lot of them!". You sound like the person who finds a glitch, that very moment committed a sin of god and should be killed on the spot.

You need to realize a standard process of all found glitches in online games follow a exposed time rule.

From an Epic games developers opinion I talked to on a similar subject a while back said their time frame is 2 weeks. 2 Weeks to do analysis reports, determine if its truly a bug or not, determine fault that causes it, inject corrective temp code. Create patch, patch code, Test patch, release, reactivate any temp removed services.

No one will be banned from this stunt.

It was found and quickly dealt with. Both in a temporary patch to stop its exploit, and a soon if not already happening today, a patch to correct the wayward code.

---

The only reason the Salvage bans escape this is, the areas of the game related to the code that bugged and duped drops was crucial to current active game content, they couldn't instantly shut down Salvage, Sandworm, MMM, possibly anything instanced/bc related as these areas can pertain to active content revolving around missions or quests. The second part was negligence in notifying the public as they were notified up to a year prior to the bannings.

They dropped the ball big time and 2k people paid the price. It's happened in just about every online game when it comes to bugs and exploits. Only so few have done stupid things like being negligent and/or acting in such forceful retaliation.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

Calintz:

Actually, I wasn't the first to so speculate. (Unless those who did did so with the full knowledge or belief that I would so jump the gun...)

I want to walk you through a view of the process from the outside...

Linkshell knows about the exploit and gets an alliance together for a VNM Wyrm run.

Whether or not they already have Tier III Abyssite is irrelevant to the process, each member of the alliance can use the exploit to gain a Black Abyssite (at minimum, jumping one level of the VNM hierarchy, if not all of them!).

Now, instead of taking the time to go through the process, they can now pop repeated Tier IV Wyrms (as fast as the repop timers can allow them to -- or go zone to zone with the same theoretical effect) and multiply the drops far beyond what Square-Enix intended.

That, friend, has about the same effect (and, over time, far more so) than the Salvage bans.

Two more things to keep in mind:

1) The community knew about this exploit. Within about 15 minutes of the emergency maintenance, people had it called to exactly what the maintenance was for.

2) IIRC, Square-Enix said that there were "unexpected events" which could occur upon zoning with Synergy active.

Jumping the gun?? Sorry, I don't think so -- unless they want to be part of the cover-up.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

To some of your other comments, Calintz:

Actually, given your "double XP" glitch: I actually did report a similar idea to the GMs to check out a situation (the Promies and limit points vs. experience points), and they told me it was, in fact, working as intended.

If you spot something you believe is a glitch, you are _required_, under the rules, to report it. Taking part in it can and SHOULD get you banned, upon refusal to do so.

Now, we could discuss all day vis-a-vis the social part of the game as to the real impact of such an action, but I don't think that's where you are going.

The fact is that the playerbase has shown itself to be completely untrustworthy, willing to exploit any error it can for it's greatest benefit, and to abuse every rule, exception, and interpretation it can find.

The fact that people knew about this so readily _and_ that it was clear it was being abused has to speak for something. The only real difference is the time frame involved (18 months vs. some amount of weeks).

Again: They need to explain the difference between this set of acts and the Salvage bans.

There needs to be retribution, or you get (as some have already stated) questions about who can exploit what. Who, then, has the "juice card" in the game to do whatever the Hell they want and the only penalty is, when someone finally blows the whistle, that the patch is fixed, with no other ramification??

Volkai said...

Keep in mind, however, that GMs will respond that something is "working as intended" sometimes when it in fact is not, but is a glitch in the code -- I had this happen once with an AM spell that kept casting through TWO successful stuns, one from Flat Blade and one from Head Butt.

When I made the GM Call to report a glitch the GM said it was working as intended... but after gently pressing the point, he admitted that it was something previously reported and that the devs were looking into it. Not too long later, IIRC, there was a patch that fixed it.


So you can see "working as intended" as meaning "you're not going to get in trouble for using this as long as you don't exploit it in a ridiculous manner (such as the AV spam killing after the 2-hour time limit was introduced.)