On Day Two of the Downfall of Lum the Mad (mark your calendars), we saw a snippy little exchange by the developers of AC and EQ on bug smashing. In his now-Y2K-compliant web page, Chris L’Etoile talked a bit about how Turbine would deal with exploiters:
Let’s be realistic here; if there’s a dupe bug, it’s our own damn fault that it exists. If you report it to us and we ban you, that will only lead to fear and resentment of us. If someone is banned for being honest, you probably won’t tell us about the next exploit you find. Why the hell should you, if we’re just going to put a cap in your ass?
Most of you are reading this and going, “Gosh, what refreshing honesty. I’m going to go out and buy 12 copies of Asheron’s Call RIGHT NOW.”
Sorry, that’s bullshit. I don’t know of ANY ORPG that bans people for reporting bugs. EQ, UO, hell, even Meridian 59 doesn’t ban you for reporting bugs. They ban you for exploiting bugs. (Which is what the Mercs, AC’s gift to the PvP community, have been rumored of doing on an industrial-sized basis.)
It’s an important distinction. One Turbine apparently decided not to make.
I’m not saying that the Mercs didn’t abuse the dupe bug before they reported it to us. We simply don’t know, and at this point it’s water under the bridge. From a detached, practical, Machiavellian perspective, it only makes sense that someone would exploit a loophole as much as they felt they safely could, then make sure it’s closed behind them.
Well how touching. I mean, they’re just misunderstood, right? Anyone would exploit as much as they could given the opportunity. They shouldn’t be punished… I mean, they did have the decency to tell Turbine about the dupe they found after they had gotten their use out of it so that no one else could!
When you lie down with dogs, expect other people to point at you and call you “dogfucker”. There is no such thing as an honorable exploiter. These are the people trying to destroy your game. You don’t reward them with publicity, you kick them the hell out of your game.
Brad McQuaid of Verant had the following to say about the subject on Usenet:
We do NOT ban people for reporting bugs, we ban people for exploiting them. We deeply appreciate players who report bugs, especially nasty ones like dupe bugs.
[Chris posted on his page that another ORPG developer emailed him with advice on how to deal with exploiters, namely booting them the hell out. Brad verifies that it was someone from Verant.]
I didn’t send the email, another person at Verant did. But in any case, it’s pretty typical for people in the games industry to communicate, hang out at trade shows, call each other, etc. My understanding of the email that was sent is that it was meant as advice in terms of how to handle exploits. Competitors in this industry are typically not so cutthroat that we don’t offer each other advice on matters.
I’ve met many of the AC and UO team members and they’re all great guys regardless of whether or not we agree philosophically in terms of game design. In fact, we typically have much more in common than not in common — the passion and dedication to making great MMORPGs and furthering this emerging genre is shared across the board.
Yeah, everyone in this business loves each other. Hell, even us dorky little rant sites email each other all the time with little notes saying “what the fuck are you doing? Updaters? Are you bonkers?”.
Still, we couldn’t finish out a Stormwaltz update without a gratuitous slam at the retarded uncle in the attic no one talks about:
When developers and players treat each other with a policy of honesty and fairness, everyone’s life is better. Our relationship with you should never be adversarial. Once we start down that dark path, forever will it dominate our destiny, as it did Lord British’s apprentices.
My friend, you could learn a hell of a lot about dealing with exploiters from those apprentices. Zero tolerance, it’s not just two words, it’s a necessary way of life.