For those who were blissfully unaware, there was a fairly serious exploit utilizing the LFR tool that permitted people to jerry rig the way the dungeon loot was set up and loot gear from multiple different LFR ID’s. Not multiple loot from LFR, but literally multiple loot items from multiple LFR instances, even after they had been technically “locked out” of being able to loot after they had killed, and been eligible for loot, in their initial LFR. Jarre talked about it some when it was first uncovered and made widely public. Paragon admitted to knowingly using the exploit and acknowledged that they were aware it was not Blizzard’s intent to allow one player to loot from more than one instance. Vodka was frustrated that they followed the rules and maximized the system “legally” and were lumped in with everyone else in people’s minds simply by virtue of being a highly progressed and publicized guild.
Hotfixes flew and Blizzard had a few stern words to players. The raiding community waited with bated breath to see what punishment Blizzard would hand down for those deemed to have taken advantage of the exploit. Blizzard responded last night handing out a plethora of eight-day bans to not only those who looted the items, but to those who participated to facilitate the exploit in any fashion. Of course, they also stripped every one of their ill-gotten gains.
As the news came down, we started talking about it in guild chat. I was quite honestly surprised by the diversity of opinions on the punishment that was given. Several people thought that taking the gear away was sufficient and that the 8 day ban was excessive. The most common argument made was that it was Blizzard’s fault that the bug was even available in the first place. That if they had properly QA’d their content, it would have never been an issue. This was an argument that brought back memories of Ensidia’s first Lich King kill.
For me, personally, I am on board with the punishment that Blizzard handed down, and I find it aptly fitting to the exploit committed. As I’m not part of the “race”, and little affected by the benefits of the exploit, let me see if I can objectively voice my opinions on the matter.
From my standpoint here, it seems to me that people purposefully manipulated a system that for seven years has only allowed you to obtain gear from a raid lockout weekly. People knowingly did this to give them the proverbial “leg up” when heroic content was open, so that they cold move through it with greater success and ease than others – and in turn obtain a higher “ranking” (which, if you’ve been here long, know how I feel about progress rankings). In addition to that, it has been somewhat widely know in the progress circle that a sim was done showing that it is literally impossible to meet the DPS check required for heroic Ultraxion in current BiS Firelands gear – the good, old-fashioned gear cockblock that we’ve seen many times before, intended to slow people down. Which, of course, made maximizing as much gear as possible, as early as possible, very desirable for those running the “race”.
I feel that a punishment that specifically frustrates the intentions for exploiting (pushing through content faster for better shot at “winning” the ranking game) is justly apt, and is well done by Blizzard without being overly harsh.
Let me take a step back and see if I can counter some of the things I heard during the discussions in guild chat – most specifically “it’s Blizzard’s fault for releasing content with a bug that big”. While to an extent, I do agree that Blizzard holds some responsiblity, I do not agree that it is “Blizzard’s fault”. All Blizzard did was provide the opportunity for the exploit to occur it was a conscious decision on the part of each player that participated to knowingly take advantage of an opportunity that they knew was wrong.
The fact that Blizzard introduced content with a bug, does not mean that players had to take advantage of it. The way I reasoned it last night would be that it was akin to a supermarket that kept fresh fruits or veggies outside of the store, where they are not well monitored and more apt to be stolen. Using the same rationale that is applied above by the “it’s blizzard’s fault” camp - by virtue of making those fruits and veggies easier to be stolen, it’s the store’s own fault for putting them on display outside and the thief has no responsibility for stealing them at all, even though it’s well-known that our society does not tolerate thievery.
Now, if you were presented with the market situation above, and you were arrested by the police because you stole fruits and veggies from the market, would you tell the police that you did nothing wrong because the grocer made a mistake by keeping his fruits and veggies in a less supervised area making it easier for you to steal them? Would you side with the thief or would you say that the thief made a conscious decision to steal fruits and veggies, and under our societal standards he should receive an apt punishment? I wager that most people would take the stand that the grocer, while perhaps not business savvy, was not in the wrong – and that the thief acted poorly by giving those fruits and veggies a five-finger discount.
So why would that thought process change when it comes to something virtual? Substitute Blizzard for the grocer, and substitute the exploiters in the position of the thief. Do our moral values go defunct because we’ve virtualized them? If not, then why would you hold Blizzard any more at fault than you would the grocer?
Regardless, I am fascinated by the conversation and the diversity it has shown. I will admit that I was a little shocked at some of my guildmate’s responses to it – as I had thought they would have been on the same page as I was on this. And that’s not even touching on the subject of the light this puts onto the raiding community (which is a post in and of itself). I’m curious to what the overall community thinks. I’m sure there is a diversity in opinion on this outside of my guild, so I’d like to know what you think. Do you think that Blizzard was too harsh? Not harsh enough? Do you feel that the players who exploited were in the wrong? Or do you feel that they were just maximizing an opportunity?