I’ve decided to go ahead and comment on the recent ‘Exploitgate’ saga which plagued SWTOR. I did briefly mention it in my SWTOR’s Lack of Communication Skills post but I wanted to dedicate a post to it. I was waiting to see if there was any indication of action being taken by SWTOR but there hasn’t really been anything public, however, there have been some reports of temporary bans which I’ll go into later. Here’s what’s happened so far:
What was the Exploit (now that it is gone)?
Basically if you had the lockout to The Ravagers last boss Coratanni SM or HM, you could convert to 16 Man and invite people and they could go in one at a time, not have to kill anything and go straight to the island and loot the crate. Annnnnnnd Bingo! Free stuff!
The long Quiet Before Bioware’s First Response
Bioware’s first response came out over two weeks after reports of the exploit started showing up on social media and all the other usual places. The exploit became very common knowledge being actively talked about in game and across various other outlets. People were selling the run’s and transferring character’s with the lockout to other server’s. There was growing frustration in the community concerned, but not that surprised, at the silence from Bioware. They finally responded, out of the blue, after they came back from holidays.
A more timely response from Bioware obviously would’ve prevented the exploit from becoming as widespread as it did. With seemingly little consequences suffered from other exploits in the past (as far as most of the player base is concerned) it isn’t that surprising that quite a few player’s choose to partake in this exploit. Of course this doesn’t make it right. I personally did not do the exploit even though it was offered to me.
Bioware’s Second Response
After they patched the exploit out in patch 3.0.2, Musco followed through with a second response.
At the time, it is very heartening to see that Bioware is intent on taking action and that they know who’s done it, how often they’ve done it and how widespread the exploit was. It was also good to see them acknowledge and thank the many players who did not do the exploit. Perhaps a reward for those who didn’t exploit?…Lol. That’ll never happen…
Yes Bioware’s response to this was poor but they’ve taken a step in the right direction to make amends. But the real question is will they actually keep there word and take action?
The player communities’ response has been mixed to say the least. Some players were going to great lengths to justify the use of the exploit, while others were harshly condemning those who used the exploit. The cheaters seem intent on coming up with the lamest excuses and blaming everyone but themselves. In the end, it’s on the player.The thing I find weird though is many players greatly exaggerated how many people did the exploit. The reality is most of the player base would not even have a level 60. And even most of us that have multiple level 60’s couldn’t be assed doing this exploit.. what’s the fun in getting free gear?
A poll on Reddit showed that 35% of players used the exploit compared to 65% who did not. Obviously these numbers aren’t accurate but it is a fair sample of the dedicated SWTOR community of Reddit. It would be interesting to know the real numbers showing who did did the exploit. But they’ll never do that.
Personally, I can not fathom why someone would use an exploit to get free gear? What’s the fun in that? I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of raiding but I do enjoy it when there is a challenge and I’m having fun with my guildies. It’s a social experience for me. Taking that away by getting the gear handed to you in a silver platter, for me, defeats the purpose of raiding. Oh and have any of you exploiters been able to down HM Coratanni and HM Revan? Yeah.. didn’t think so. Your super leet gear has done you a lot of good then eh? It is pretty ironic how hardly anyone has cleared HM Ravagers or HM Temple of Sacrifice despite all this free ‘leet’ gear lot’s of people apparently got.
As for Bioware’s handling.. Well it was poor. We can partially blame the bad timing of the expansion but what’s done, is done. They’re trying to make amends but it’s too late. I hope they’re not bluffing when they say they’re going to action people because they really need to. They have the opportunity to make an example out of this exploit. Punish those who did it and show the player community what happens to those who exploit to discourage them from exploiting in the future.
Datamining and Exploits
There were members of the community on Reddit who were insisting that Swtor_miner and Swtor_potato should get the ban hammer for datamining. Well obviously Bioware can’t sanction their actions. But datamining in my view does good for the community unlike getting free gear using an exploit. That’s just selfish. I think it is pretty ridiculous to compare datamining to getting free gear anyway? They are on two different playing fields. Datamining builds hype for the game and can generate feedback for Bioware to use. Doing the kind of exploit where you get free stuff or whatever is damaging to the game, can ruin the economy and screw up legitimate raiding progression.
What has Bioware done?
I’ve been watching all the usual channels for reports on if action has been taken. But there hasn’t been anything posted by Bioware or anyone else in any of the usual public channels as far as I’ve seen. However, there have been some reports of players being temporarily banned for ‘economic’ related practices relating to the exploit ie. selling lockouts etc. If this is truly going to be the extent of them taking action, then I have to say I’m not particularly impressed. I know someone who took advantage of the exploit across multiple alts but they have not heard anything from Bioware (as of writing this post). I was hoping they would at least get a temporary ban or a warning at the minimum.
Well this has been a fun discussion… One can only hope that in future SWTOR’s communication is better so we can avoid another ‘gate’ incident. They also need to take a harder line on exploiters so that the player-base is discouraged from exploiting in the future. But we all know that’s unlikely to happen. They’ve attempted to take a step in the right direction with communication but the need to improve and vamp things up before the community will take them a little more seriously.
What do you think of Bioware’s handling and communication in regards to ‘exploitgate’? What could they have done better?by