A rather cataclysmic exploit in Guild Wars 2 was publicized today, and the results aren’t pretty. I was only moderately aware that the exploit was out there. Apparently the costly 20,000 cultural weapons were being sold for 1/1000 (three zeroes) of their price — that’s like saying you got your weapon for 20 points instead of 20,000. I received a few “hey Keen go buy your weapons like nao” emails, but that’s just not my thing.
What blows me away is the number of people who abused the crap out of this exploit and never stopped to think, “What I’m doing could get me banned.” ANet permanently banned 3,000 accounts and suspended another 1,000. That’s a lot of stupid people. Yet at the same time there are those who think to themselves that it’s not their fault this NPC wants to sell something to them cheap. Technically they’re not exploiting anything by buying low selling high. I can see the fairness in that defense. ANet can take the items away, slap them on the wrist, but not penalize the person with a permanent ban. (Interesting aside, in EVE these people would have been heroes.) They weren’t automating play like botters who are getting only a 72 hour suspension (wtf?), but instead doing something that was actually “legitimate” in the eyes of many. Keep in mind, some of the more heinous offenders made “only” 8 gold via 20,000 karma and saw that as an exchange.
Some innocent people were probably impacted by the bans, but ANet is giving an opportunity for those people who feel wronged to publicly post on a reddit thread their name with the stipulation that ANet will publicly post how many times you abused the exploit. On one hand, great show of strength from ANet that they believe they got the right man. On the other hand, I sympathize with the innocent (or quasi-innocent) feeling victimized by the “we know you’re guilty and we’ll tell the world” attitude. I hope true victims — the people who didn’t buy 40 of them but only the ones to use — are given the dignity and respect of a private discourse not on reddit if they have been affected.
Allow me to be critical for a moment of ArenaNet by saying that this doesn’t belong on twitter. This doesn’t belong on reddit. Some people get off on the public flogging of the truly guilty, but not me. That hurts your image in my eyes. This stuff belongs on your actual forums — the ones not yet available (like the auction house and mail system). This belongs on your site, for actual players, not announcing it to the world via social media. What you’ve done is given everyone ammunition and a reason to pick a side. I get that this is an attempt to quell the opinion leaders who were affected — the people who stream and get 6,000 viewers; This new ‘hipper’ type of reddit CMing might seem like a good idea, but instead of allowing one guy on his soap box to make noise and be heard by his followers, you’ve made their martyrdom a public affair and shown people where to go to see a show. You’ve also talked about people’s bans on public forums without their consent. Not how I would have done it.
Update: ArenaNet just disabled the ability to buy a copy of the game on their site. Hmmm…