Thursday, February 11, 2010

On "Exploits"

I haven't posted much this week, but I think my drought is finally over.

Keeva, BBB, Meka, Tam, and others have posted their thoughts on the recent in-game fixes for "exploits" regarding vehicle combat and Lovely Charms.  I figured I might as well toss my 2 pennies into the ring.

Just in case you're like, the new guy, or have your head under a rock, or have no friends, or some other issue which has prevented you from hearing about what happened, I'll give a short synopsis.  Skip it if you already know what I'm talking about.

The Issue at Hand

So the Love is in the Air event has been going on all this week in Azeroth, and it will continue through the end of next week, and players who want a Violet Proto-Drake (gogo 310% mount!) are trying desperately to get all the achievements needed for the "Fool for Love" meta-achievement.  With the redesign of the event, players need to collect Lovely Charms, 10 of which will form a Lovely Bracelet, which you then turn in for a quest in one of your capital cities for 5 Love Tokens and a Lovely Card.  The Tokens are used to purchase items needed to complete the achievements.

The issue was in collecting the Lovely Charms.  It originally triggered solely off of killing blows, which had a couple of (I assume) unintended consequences.  First, as Keeva pointed out, was that healers were screwed, because they very rarely score killing blows in dungeons and sometimes struggle with killing mobs for dailies.  Second was that any player could go to the starting area of Ulduar or pick up the Battle Before the Citadel daily, mount up, and promptly massacre legions of badguys at a time, trivializing the collection of these Charms.

In the maintenance this week, Blizzard altered the code that allows collection of the charms to prevent this from being used and simultaneously allowing healers to gather Charms by being in dungeon groups, triggering both this post and the ones linked above.

Kaethir is an Exploiter

Being a tank and healer, I was in the part of the player base that was facing a somewhat tough road to collect all the Charms I would need, and being someone with relatively limited playtime, I wanted to get the Charms as quickly and painlessly as I could.  I used the Battle Before the Citadel quest to gather about 160 Charms, enough for 4 days worth of the daily bracelet turn in quests, in roughly 30 minutes.

I can only imagine what those who went into Ulduar did - there are more enemies that die faster there.  It's entirely possible that the same amount of time would have provided hundreds more Charms.

Despite the outrage some others have expressed, and the fact that this probably technically qualifies as an exploit, I have no problem with people farming up Charms quickly in such a manner.  For those that have limited playtime, it may have been your only realistic method in which you can collect these in the time allotted and still have time to visit all 4 capital cities plus complete a couple of other minor dailies while still completing your daily random dungeon for your frost badges.  If you are a healer... especially before the patch, this might have been your only way period.

Secondary to the concern that this trivializes some of the achievements (which, by definition, mean you should have expended some effort to achieve something), is that some players were farming thousands of Charms, creating hundreds of Bracelets, and then hawking them in Dalaran or on the auction house for 20g+ apiece.  Personally, I think it's in poor taste but not unacceptable.  If I had farmed enough to have extras I didn't want, I would certainly have sold them - although I would have put them up for much, much less, given how easily they were obtained.

Does it Matter?

Honestly, I don't think it really does.  Blizzard put something out there without fully realizing the consequences, took a few days to change it, and now everybody's in an uproar over it.  It's not the first time this has happened, and won't be the last.

I didn't hear word one about it being an exploit, or being wrong, or being anything but an easy way to get Charms before Blizz took it away.

Shame on us for not realizing it?  Maybe.  Shame on Blizzard for letting it sit for a couple of days before fixing it?  Definitely, since they obviously didn't intend for it to work that way.

In the end, though, this is no Martin's Fury, nobody got banned (as far as I know) and it's not worth expending any more brain power or breath worrying about.

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