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Banned Guilds Talk about Their Exploit and HC Raiding

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Exorsus and From Scratch add their explanations to Limit's and talk more about Hardcore top-end raiding in general.

Yesterday's 8 day bans of three of the top guilds caused quite a stir, and today Exorsus and From Scratch have added their statements to Limit's. Both guilds tried to explain the logic behind their decision to skip all the breaths in phase 3 of the encounter, and both compared it to previous similar exploits on bosses that were not punished.

Exorsus also went into great detail on what the current hardcore raiding scene is like and all the things that are hurting it, including legendaries, mandatory split raids to be competitive, the lack of attention from Blizzard on the race itself, and finally what ToS violations actually are and how they aren't really applies fairly or evenly. You can (and should) read the whole thing here, as it's a fascinating look into top end raiding culture, but here's an except to get you started:

Quote

That's the next issue i want to brought up with all the community and Blizzard. Am i the only one, who's a bit upset about the fact, that best PvE MMO Ever has PvP tournament each year at Blizzcon, however noone cares about PvE at all? More on that, we even have M+ rankings on Blizzard side now, but still nothing about raid dungeons. Every time i'm checking official Warcraft twitter i can see reposts about someone beating "Lil'idan" petbattle with some fancy screenshot, but almost not a single mention about the PvE race at all.

The sad thing is - PvE top scene is slowly dying. Remember the times when getting into top 10 of the world was something you dreamed of as a hardcore guild? Now it's more of a question if you have 20 people to stay online for 14+ hours for 1 week.

Split raids are killing top guilds too. Progressing in Mythic difficulty is fun, but leveling 6 characters, farming legendaries, AP, gear on them to make 6 splitraids on heroic week is not. The reason such things still exists is understandable - heroic week is a "1 more PTR test week" for developers, where they can fix bugs, tune classes and so on, however from top guild perspective it's just terrible.

Recruiting becomes almost impossible - it's hard to explain to any skilled player, why would he waste his time on this, when the only good outcome he gets is some cheering on twitter and some good emotions after the kill. The only thing that still attracts people to such guilds is "boosting" (and it's gonna be the last paragraph), because selling M+ and raid runs for a real life money helps every top guild to at least get some cash for what they do.
- Exorsus Gm Alveona


Meanwhile From Scratch focused more on the actual exploit and how it compared to previous ones where no action was taken by Blizzard:

Quote

It is clear that some of these abuses have had a far greater impact than Helya’s breath had during ToV progress. To our knowledge, the last time guilds were suspended for exploiting a boss goes back several years, on The Lich King. Top guilds haven’t stopped killing bosses by using game breaking mechanics by any means.

From Scratch playing, like most of the guilds cited in our examples, above all to perform the best possible performances on each tier, it seems essential to us to use any solution at our disposal allowing us to distinguish ourselves from our opponents. If we do not do it, they will probably do it. From then on, it becomes inconceivable to tell us “do not do that, there is a risk of a suspension”, while there are many examples where Blizzard decided to tolerate this kind of behaviour.

We do not seek to convince you, nor to legitimize, nor to justify this kind of behaviour, but simply to make you understand why we chose and systemically will choose to use this kind of flaw. We would be delighted to not have to make that kind of decision. We would have clearly preferred that Helya have no flaws. However, it seems obvious that it is impossible for developers to make perfect bosses.
- From Scratch leadership.


So, the hardcore raiding scene seems a little shaken up, but as Trial of Valor was a mid-point raid, they're all still focusing mostly on Nighthold and will only see this as a small setback, but hopefully it will illustrate that Blizzard will not be letting things like this go in the future, which will lead to a better race in the next raids.

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Banning for their broken content is a joke. Strip the kill and loot from the boss and have it eat their reset - that is enough punishment.  Banning because you didn't test your content is absurd.

 

 

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So basically they exploit a bag and when Blizzard bans them, it's Blizzard's fault because pve is not in the major tournaments? OK Wow community has lost logic many years ago, so i do not expect to find logic in professional players. The leadership in those two guilds should know something. You are pro players, you get money from sponsorship, from ads and other sources, so things like the bug exploit are unacceptable. What your sponsors have to say about this? Care to say that to us? I guess no...

Also Blizz should do something about pve in the tournaments. Make a new raid, and use that as an arena for pve tournament, something that no one ever seen before and lets see then who the best guild in the world is. That should be more fun than watching "the race" for the mythic world first from people who had the chance to play those raids in PTR for months before live.

Edited by Konina

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1 hour ago, Nairesha said:

Sorry, but to me it's a lot of whining.

Are you a top guild player as well?

If yes, don't you agree that there are problems with contemporary high level PvE infrastructure that should be addressed or there are none? Why is it different for you?

If not, what makes you say that voicing concerns about a serious issue that, perhaps, is unobvious to a lot of people, including developers and spectators, is "whining"? Are there other ways to sincerely say "There are problems. I don't like it" that would not qualify as "whining"?

I don't mean to sound offensive. But your reaction is not serious. And the topic is.

1 hour ago, NocsT said:

Banning for their broken content is a joke. Strip the kill and loot from the boss and have it eat their reset - that is enough punishment.  Banning because you didn't test your content is absurd.

I agree. It is my initial reaction, but exploiting a bug is exploiting a bug. It's not a legal thing, so ultimately, Blizzard are more right than wrong.

The problem here, I think, is that Blizzard are inconsistent with their own stuff, because it is never made clear where a feature ends and an exploit begins. I never got into such troubles but Exorsus mentions Mythic Archimonde and Mythic Blackhand. Because of that, there is justice not only to ban but to these guilds' actions. At the end of the day, you're here to win, and if you don't get an edge, others will do, and nobody knows if it's that broken.

Quote

So basically they exploit a bag and when Blizzard bans them, it's Blizzard's fault because pve is not in the major tournaments? OK Wow community has lost logic many years ago, so i do not expect to find logic in professional players.

The leadership in those two guilds should know something. You are pro players, you get money from sponsorship, from ads and other sources, so things like the bug exploit are unacceptable. What your sponsors have to say about this? Care to say that to us? I guess no...

Also Blizz should do something about pve in the tournaments. Make a new raid, and use that as an arena for pve tournament, something that no one ever seen before and lets see then who the best guild in the world is. That should be more fun than watching "the race" for the mythic world first from people who had the chance to play those raids in PTR for months before live.

Guilds' logic is actually put down pretty clearly. I suggest you re-read From Scratch's statement.

________________________

Where do I stand on this subject and why do I defend raiders so fiercely? I don't even play the damn game!

I believe that the relationship that Blizzard and their player base has is about trust. Transparency, communications and satisfying every player are Blizzard's core game design values for a long time. That's what kept people (including me) playing the same game for 10 years.

While we can't say for sure that 1% of top end players are more important than 1% of "bottom end" casuals, there isn't much crossing between those groups - I am implying that because they are consumers of absolutely different content, the only reason you can't satisfy them both is resources. And it's not like the best company in the world developing the best game in the world doesn't have enough resources, granted a 10 million-ish player base and decades of experience.

It's about transparency and communication. And what just happened is a case of bad transparency and lackluster communication. You're entitled to have your own opinion, but for me, this evidence is enough to lose more trust. 

Edited by Paracel
Found some more stuff to say.
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Wait so...

The first post is about someone complaining that Blizzard is focusing on content that's more applicable to more than the "less than 1% playerbase".

And, the second one is complaining that they are playing a game first and foremost where you have agreed to not exploit the game...?

I get the concerns for this but, all in all... its still primarily a game and this is a problem for the majority of less than 1% of the playerbase. And then we are talking about the absolutely TOP players in a PvE environment.

This doesn't make a lot of sense... :/

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5 hours ago, Paracel said:

The problem here, I think, is that Blizzard are inconsistent with their own stuff, because it is never made clear where a feature ends and an exploit begins. I never got into such troubles but Exorsus mentions Mythic Archimonde and Mythic Blackhand. Because of that, there is justice not only to ban but to these guilds' actions. At the end of the day, you're here to win, and if you don't get an edge, others will do, and nobody knows if it's that broken.

In my opinion it was pretty obvious that it was an exploit. I saw this happen live too, there's no way that you could find a repeatable World Quest and think it's normal to just go and do it over and over. The people who went ahead and exploited the bug went in knowing that it was an exploit and did it anyway, they had it coming.

The right thing to do is to report the bug and move on. Yes, Blizzard fucked up and a bug appeared, but that's an unpredictable element of game programming they have no control over.

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12 hours ago, ArgentumEmperio said:

I get the concerns for this but, all in all... its still primarily a game and this is a problem for the majority of less than 1% of the playerbase. And then we are talking about the absolutely TOP players in a PvE environment.

That's the whole point of the whole post right there, is it not? The fact that there is little or no incentive to be that 1% in a primarily PvE game. 

It amazes me how the same things keep happening over and over. Its not the first time that new raids came out and bosses got cheezed in some way. You cannot seriously tell me that not a single group that did the PTR testing and nobody had the tank die at that point in the raid and they did not notice breaths were not coming in anymore... Having a slime pet's buff to negate the crap on c'thun was one thing but this is just poorly tested content.

As for that world quest fiasco, the best part was the removal of AP for those who were abusing the bug excessively, which would mean its OK, as long as you don't overdo it. I didn't see characters getting rolled back when people were logging out on the last stages of the legion invasion scenarios to keep the XP grind up, but that's not an endgame thing i guess and low on the priority list.

The problem is consistency, if Blizzard was always balls out banfest happy with proper repercussions for exploiting bugs then it is quite likely that even the top guilds would just report the problem and move on with "standard" tactics.

Edited by Chaotic
Added a thought.

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9 hours ago, Chaotic said:

It amazes me how the same things keep happening over and over. Its not the first time that new raids came out and bosses got cheezed in some way. You cannot seriously tell me that not a single group that did the PTR testing and nobody had the tank die at that point in the raid and they did not notice breaths were not coming in anymore... Having a slime pet's buff to negate the crap on c'thun was one thing but this is just poorly tested content.

I only wish to point out the fact that if people discover the issue but do not report it, Blizzard is less likely to realize the bug is there. So it isn't always a case of poorly tested content but of people finding or learning of the bug/exploit during the testing and simply not reporting it.

And when issues are only discovered on live, we have to remember that the code on live is different (read; messy) from the slate used for testing the content. But the players still have a responsibility to recognize when something has bugged out, report it, and stop.

I am honestly annoyed that this group of people are trying to make end game a competitive thing. That they are angry that PvE has no competitive representation in an eSports situation. Hearthstone has AI, but you do not see Player vs AI competitions. You do not see Heroes of the Storm competitions where you compete with other players to see who can win a game the fastest vs the AI. So crying that there is no competitive representation for end game raiding is... well nonsensical to be polite.

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23 hours ago, Paracel said:

Guilds' logic is actually put down pretty clearly. I suggest you re-read From Scratch's statement.

It's true, the logic is pretty clear. We don't care what you thing, we don't care what you say, when we encounter a bug like this we will exploit it because we can. Well Blizzard should ban all those "pro players" who exploit bugs, not for only 8 days, but for 8 months. But that's just my opinion, and opinios are like a'holes, everyones got one.

Edited by Konina

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1) You were able to use Monk tank on last phase of Blackhand to completely avoid his smashes - top 4 and top 5 guilds both used it (and even published a video) - yet no consequences. 2) On Mythic Archimonde you were able to kill your tank to avoid Crystal on last phase, helping with dps requirement on the fight. Every guild in top 5 (or even 10, most likely) used it. Again, no consequences.

 

Seems like blizzard should allow people to test last phases in encounters more often instead of generally despawning the boss.Granted this exploit was discovered in hc ptr and they did nothing about it until now. There were reports, they just fixed it too late. Not gonna say that it wasn't wrong, however it was totally understandable that they did, let's not be ignorant here. It's in the human nature afterall. It's clearly also a lack of communication from both blizzard part. Blizzard cause they ignored every other previous exploit that had been used to progress on bosses until now. Neither side is right or wrong, punishment was deserved, blizzard should learn to communicate better with its playerbase, that includes top 1% in Pve.

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It doesn't seem likely that it's profitable to design and/or tune content that such a small percentage of your customers play - when you start banning them it seems less likely to be worthwhile. 

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To be entirely honest, reading through these comments... I am pretty sure it all has to do with priorties.

I mean, during WotLK all guilds that used these exploits and were discovered were banned for it.

During WoD folks were public about it and nothing happened - pretty sure that should've been an indication that Blizzard were trying to wrap up the expansion quickly as opposed to anything else considering the feedback about WoD had been so negative. So I don't think it has to do with consistency as much as possiblity to put in resources to make a statement out of it since that's really all bans are for.

They don't hinder or stop people, you ban people because they broke your rules and you are making an example of those who break the rules. So I am pretty sure that its more a case of time and energy as opposed to anything else on the technical end of the side if I am perfectly honest. I mean, Blizzard could theoretically ban litterally every single player from the game within' seconds but what would that send as a message? What would banning the top PvE guilds do if they didn't showcase a statement/a logical path to reaching this statement?

So... I am pretty sure that its just a massive case of PvE guilds that 'dreams of ancient forgotten times of yer' olde raid-races' that just doesn't work anymore for the majority of the playerbase. And ontop of that the 1% can't spoil the boss fights for the majority of people because a lot of people do visit WoWhead and other sites, including this one, and will see those kind of news. So all in all... pretty sure the end result of all of this can be summarized that...

Good expansions with a lot of content would equate to more frequent and more stoic bans, and 'bad' or 'unwanted' expansions would equate to less if any bans?

Just me thinking philosophically at this point but, maybe there's some legitimcy to it... maybe? ^^'

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On 11/25/2016 at 1:16 AM, Kayusa said:

Seems like blizzard should allow people to test last phases in encounters more often instead of generally despawning the boss.

This will forever be a problem of finding balance between keeping the last fight under wraps and fresh/exciting, while still making sure it works properly. 

I really hope they find a solution for it.

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On 11/24/2016 at 2:49 PM, Sileka said:

I only wish to point out the fact that if people discover the issue but do not report it, Blizzard is less likely to realize the bug is there. So it isn't always a case of poorly tested content but of people finding or learning of the bug/exploit during the testing and simply not reporting it.

And there's the rub isn't it? Blizzard expects people paying them to be their bug testers? I think not. Blizzard should employ their own testing guilds. This may not be the same level as high level raid guilds, but go take a look at the literally hundreds of bug reports on their own forum, and I dare say that at least 75% of them or more are simply ignored and not even acknowledged by them. And most people know that. So no, people will not report bugs. And it IS a case of poorly tested content. Always always always. You said otherwise. How could you say a flawed product in ANY WAY is the "fault of the customer not reporting it?" With all due respect, that's just hogwash. They are putting a product...a product you PAY for...onto customers that's not ready for prime time. They should have done more and better testing. YES, I get there are public test realms, but you can't blame players in release content for not reporting something, that's completely on Blizzard and the beta testers. People are people. They will take advantage of something that gets them "more" every time. It's not up to players to do Blizzard's job for them and report it on release live content. Especially if it gives the player something, or gives them an advantage. They sure as hell haven't given me anything for the dozen or so bugs I've submitted in the last few months (I could literally list 25 bugs that have been reported by many people for 3 months to a year or more that blizzard has remained quiet about), that they should have known about, that they DO know about, but refuse to even acknowledge or admit to their customer base (let alone correct it), I assume because they think it will damage their public image. Simply ignoring people does far worse in my opinion.

Edited by smtips

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    • By Stan
      The Orc running animation has been updated on 8.1 PTR and here's a side by side preview of the new animation.
      Grandfa made a post about the new Orc animation on the official forums and also posted a short clip comparing both live and 8.1 versions of the running animation. Do you prefer the old or new one?
      Check out our Tides of Vengeance hub for the latest Patch 8.1 information!
    • By Starym
      After the recent renaming of the Siege of Zuldazar to Battle of Dazar'alor we're getting some more Heroic and Normal testing, featuring two faction-specific days on Thursday (Horde) and Friday (Alliance) and then the rest of the weekend for Normal.
      October 18-22 (source)
      On Thursday, October 18th and Friday, October 19th we will be conducting raid tests of the Battle of Dazar'alor. Once Heroic raid testing has concluded on Friday, we will open a portion of the zone for Normal raid testing over the weekend.

      Due to the faction specific setup of Battle of Dazar'alor, Thursday's raid test will be HORDE ONLY and Friday's Heroic raid test will be ALLIANCE ONLY. Copying a character to PTR will apply a faction transfer that can be used at your discretion. Please ensure that your character is setup for the appropriate faction prior to the test.

      Thursday, October 18th

      HORDE ONLY:

      Flamefist and the Illuminated - Heroic Battle of Dazar'alor
      13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT, 22:00 CEST)

      Stormwall Blockade - Heroic Battle of Dazar'alor
      14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

      Friday, October 19th

      ALLIANCE ONLY:

      Treasure Guardian - Heroic Battle of Dazar'alor
      13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT, 22:00 CEST)

      Conclave of the Chosen - Heroic Battle of Dazar'alor
      14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

      BOTH FACTIONS:

      Normal Battle of Dazar'alor
      15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)

      As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a test environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the bosses being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

      Q: How do I get into the raid zone?

      A: In Zuldazar, Boralus, Dalaran, Orgrimmar, or Stormwind, you may speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade III in order to teleport into the raid zone while it is open for testing. (The option to teleport into a zone will not be available when the zone is not open for testing.)

      Q: What character should I use to test the raid?

      A: Whichever you prefer. We will be scaling players' effective level to 120 for raid testing, and their item level to an appropriate threshold for the encounter(s) being tested.

      Q: How long does testing last?

      A: The primary purpose of testing is to give us the information we need to balance the encounters, evaluate how mechanics are playing out in practice, and identify bugs. Once we're satisfied that we've received that information for a given boss, we'll be shutting down testing. Usually this takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, but there are no guarantees.
    • By Stan
      Tides of Vengeance is available for playtesting and our hub contains all the latest information!
      Welcome to our Tides of Vengeance hub. Here, you'll find all the latest information about Battle for Azeroth's first content patch 8.1. We will keep the hub updated throughout PTR testing with the latest coverage.
      Introduction
      Patch 8.1 called Tides of Vengeance was pushed to PTR on September 21. Players are still unable to log in to the game right now (September 26). The patch will be released later this year.
      Latest Coverage
      This section contains contains the most recent coverage. Whenever there's a new PTR build, we'll move the previous builds down to the "Datamining Archive [PH]" section.
      Patch 8.1 Build #28048
      Patch 8.1 Build 28048 Overview The Story of Varok Saurfang in Patch 8.1 Orc Running Animation Updated Patch 8.1 Content
      Heritage Armor will be added for non-Allied Races; Blood Elves & Dwarves are first on the list. There's no reputation grind behind this. If you're at max level and Exalted with Ironforge/Blood Elves, you can start the quest and complete a scenario to get your Heritage Armor. Reputation Paragon for BfA factions is coming. Champions of Azeroth reputation will be made account-wide. Incursions are a new feature similar to Legion assaults. Darkshore Warfront (Night Elves vs Forsaken theme) The outdoor zone will be updated just like Arathi Highlands with new quests, rares, etc. War Campaign continues with the Alliance leading a direct strike at the Zandalari Fleet. We can expect two new raids in 8.1: Siege of Zuldazar is a nine-boss raid where the foe is the opposing faction. Alliance players will join Jaina and her forces to fight their way up to the pyramid to confront Rastakhan. Horde players will try to defend the pyramid, fighting Jaina in the High Seas as the final boss. Crucible of Storms is a two-boss raid located under Shrine of the Storm that hints at Queen Azshara. It's Battle for Azeroth's "Trial of Valor" raid. Allied Races: Kul Tirans and Zandalari Trolls will become available for gameplay after the Siege of Zuldazar raid. You can find more details about how to unlock them here. Two New Islands: Jorundall (Vrykul-themed Island) & Havenswood (Gilnean-themed Island) Gnomeregan Pet Battle Dungeon Profession Changes New Scenarios Tyrande's Ascension - players will unlok new Night Elf Warrior customization options with dark eyes. Cooking Scenario with Nomi Unknown Tol Dagor Scenario Heritage Armor Scenarios Vol'jin's Story Continues - The Shadow Hunter is looking for answers s in 8.1 as he tries to figure out why he appointed Sylvanas for Warchief. Allied Races
      You will be able to unlock Legion Allied Races faster in Patch 8.1.
      Class Changes
      Multiple Classes are subject to changes in Patch 8.1. These include Elemental Shamans, Shadow Priests, and Protection Warriors. So far, Blizzard outlined plans for Elemental Shamans. They haven't decided what to do with Protection Warriors just yet.
      Elemental Shaman Changes Model Updates
      Draenei totems received new models with a higher polygon count in 8.1.
      Draenei Shaman Totems Model Update Interviews/Livestreams
      Game Director Ion Hazzikostas unveiled Patch 8.1 on September 18.
      Tides of Vengeance Livestream with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas Tides of Vengeance Live Developer Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas Datamining Archive [PH]
      As with previous patches, there's going to be a new PTR build every week and to keep things organized, we're going to post build overviews below.
      Patch 8.1 Build #27985
      Patch 8.1 Build 27985 Overview Patch 8.1 Build 27985: New Creature Models Patch 8.1 Build 27985: New Paladin Animations Patch 8.1 Build 27985: Solo Queue for Legion Raids Enabled Patch 8.1 Build 27985: Dwarf Heritage Armor Preview Patch 8.1 Build 27985: Siege of Zuldazar Weapons Patch 8.1 Build #27826
      Patch 8.1 Build 27826 Overview (Datamined Broadcast Text, Zones, Strings, Scenarios) *Spoilers* Patch 8.1 Build 27286: Vol'jin's Story Continues (Datamined Broadcast Text Analysis) *Spoilers* Patch 8.1 Build 27826: New Creature Models Patch 8.1 Build 27286: New Night Elf Warrior Customization Options Patch 8.1 Build 27286: New Druid Forms (Highmountain Tauren/Kul Tiran Moonkin Forms, Zandalari Aquatic Form) Patch 8.1 Build 27286: Kul Tiran Horse Racial Mount Patch 8.1 Build 27286: Nightsaber Mounts Patch 8.1 Build 27286: The Hivemind Mount Returns Patch 8.1 Build 27286: Vicious PvP Mounts Tides of Vengeance is Battle for Azeroth's first major content patch and we created a hub to keep track of everything.