Friday, May 28, 2010

Ooops, I exploited Karazhan and Ghostcrawler takes the blame

The title of this post is somewhat intriguing, isn’t it? To be fair the two events are only remotely connected. They’re both findings from the official forums. And yeah, they’re both appearing in the “Larísa-lets-her-thuoghts-wander-freely-since-it’s-Friday” column.

Cheating or exploring
Let’s talk about my exploit first. There’s something shady or even dirty about exploits and I’m a little bit torn in my vies on it. I suppose it depends on the circumstances.

Some exploits are equal to cheating and that’s a touchy issue, especially if there’s competition involved, such as racing between top guilds. (No, I’m not going to talk about THAT piece of news once again, move on people, this post is not intended to be some pleasant, thoughtless ranting, not food for flame wars.) A wise raid leader makes sure to stay on the safe side, to avoid bans and removal of achievements. If the thought crosses your mind that this might be an exploit, it probably is.

At the same time I can appreciate and sometimes even admire exploits that are results of people using their brains and creativity. Those players are like fearless explorers, always stretching the boundaries in their refusal to do things as “they’re supposed to be done”. They don’t let themselves be dragged into any dull quest- and achievement grind, they don’t mindlessly take their seat in the theme-park attraction, watching what they’re supposed to watch. What they’re looking for is the unusual and unexpected. It’s like a little uproar, where the players take control for a while, until the warning system has been alerted and Blizzard mends the glitch. But by then, they are already far away, exploring some other godforsaken corner of the world that the QA team never visited properly.

The Karazhan exploit
However, even if I can approve of some exploits, I’ve never been an exploiter myself. I’ve just regarded it with curious eyes from a distance. At least I thought so.

But the other day I realized that I exploited Karazhan on a regular basis throughout the entire TBC. It’s true! I was a full-fledged exploiter. Admittedly it was by accident – I didn’t have a clue. But that’s what they always say, isn’t it?

What made me find out about it was a post in the bug report forum. A player complained that after completing the Opera Event, you couldn’t go out and enter Karazhan through the side door, as you always used to. After some investigation from the community managing staff, he got a blue reply: this was intended. That door was never supposed to be opened from the outside. This was an exploit and it had been removed as by patch 3.2.

I was just perplexed by reading this. Why make the door in the first place if you weren’t supposed to enter it other from the inside? And why would anyone want to go out from the castle through that door? To have a stroll in the delightful garden? You have to help me out in this, because I don’t quite see the reason.

I always thought that Blizzard had handed us the two different paths to take through Karazhan after Opera on purpose, offering the players a choice. The further progressed we were, the better gear we had, the more likely were we to take the inside way with the corridor leading from the stage, also known as the “gold way” since some of the trash you missed by taking the way from the outside were dirty rich. If you had Karazhan on farm you didn’t mind the extra effort, since you would clear the instance in one night anyway. On the other hand – while we were still progressing, the side entrance was the natural choice, saving us approximately 30 valuable minutes, time that we’d rather spend on mastering Netherspite’s beams or learning the Aran dance.

What took them so long?
Everyone did this. And all this time it was an exploit, until Blizzard recently stopped it. I can’t help finding it a bit amusing and intriguing. What on Earth took them so long? It reminds me a bit of when they suddenly posted a huge chunk of information about Sunwell island on their website when we were way into Wrath.

You may ask why they’re even bothering to do this at this point of the game. For some reason it never became top priority on their to-do-list, so why not forget about it altogether?

I wonder if there’s anyone at all who clears Karazhan the proper way these days. I thought the instance was mostly inhabited by level 80s who never went any further than the bottom floor, since all they want to do is to roll the dices for the mount. A few might finish it for nostalgic reasons. (I hope to do it myself anytime soon; after not setting my foot there for years, I’ve suddenly got the itch back, longing to see it once again.)

Would it really be that harmful if someone at this point takes a slightly shorter route through the instance?

Sometimes Blizzard’s priorities puzzle me. On the other hand, I find it kind of reassuring that they care about even such a small detail. If there is a bug anywhere they will do whatever they can to find it and remove it. It may take forever, but they will come to it eventually.

Blaming Ghostcrawler
Now over to the second part of this post, where Ghostcrawler takes the blame for everything.

Yeah, it’s true! Read for yourself his comment in a thread in the healing role forum, where they’re discussing where Blizzard is heading. This thread is long and has grown a bit wild, and when we come in there have just been some complaints about how they treated Incanter’s Absorbation, which was heavily nerfed.

“We designed Incanter's Absorption. It's our fault that it worked the way it did, our fault that players assumed they were supposed to stand in fires, and our fault that they assumed their dps was balanced around the assumption that they stood in fires. :)”
OK, Ghostcrawler, I’m with you so far, this might have been a design error, even though it provided a bit of fun for all arcane mages as long as it lasted. But in the next paragraph he extends his sense of responsibility.

“I'm not quite sure of the origin of this recent sentiment that GC blames everything on the players. Let me be perfectly clear. Everything we don't like about WoW is our fault and our responsibility to fix. I like to use the first-person plural to remind everyone that ours is a very large team all working together, but in this case I'll make an exception and take personal responsibility for plenty of the criticisms we have with the game right now.”
Aha. We can all stop blaming the community! Stop blaming the greedy shareholders of Blizzard Activision! Stop thinking that the state of WoW is a team effort. It isn’t. Ghostcrawler just stepped up and offered to be the scapegoat for just about any criticism we have with the game.

Hey there GC! If you happen to dwell somewhere in the shadows, I tell you: How heroic it may sound, aren’t you pulling this a little bit too far? Have a pint, my friend. Cool down. You’re actually doing pretty fine. For all the grumpiness in the community, it’s still a damned good game. Don’t put all that weight on your shoulders. Oh? It was a joke? OK. Got it.

It’s Friday night and my thinking is a bit slow, especially after the sad news the other day about our GM stepping down. But I’m alive. And I’m actually smiling, because we had one of those awesome raids last night, which you can read about in Tessy's lovely report. Two more first kills in ICC hardmode (Rotface and Blood Council), one achievement just-for-fun (read: Tessy) and as some sugar topping I got a lethal dagger and the shiniest necklace you’ve ever seen.

What more could a gnome possibly wish for?

Cheers all!


Ratshag said...

Heh. Talk abouts shuttin' the barn door after the horsies done run off.

"I wonder if there’s anyone at all who clears Karazhan the proper way these days."
Did two full clears of Kara this month, starting at the bottom and working up to Prince. Was mainly fer some folks what never got to did it back in the day. Took the gold road, even though it ain't gold no more, 'cause is faster now.

Grimmtooth said...

Wow ... I am figuratively FLOORED that that was considered an exploit. Like you, we always went in the side door to save loads of time better spent on Curator and his guyz.

Amazing, after all this time.

Hugmenot said...

Although an exploit, it only affected the amount of time it took to get to Curator (and I doubt it saved more than 10 minutes tops), and not the encounter itself.

Pretty much inconsequential in my book.

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

I'm confused.

You always had to unlock the door from the inside after completing the Opera event.

What was probably happening was someone in your raid just always went and unlocked it, without you knowing.

We had a Rogue that would always do that, so it appeared to everyone else that the door was magically unlocked.

Iiene of Kul Tiras said...

Ok, I went back and read the entire forum thread.

Apparently, for a time, the door would unlock itself after a soft reset.

So, you could go unlock the door yourself after doing the Opera event, or stand around waiting for a 'soft reset'?

It's not like you're getting away with anything. The only path to the Curator after the Opera is right past that door.

MicrowaveSafe said...

We also always had the rogue unlock it. I recently 2-manned Kara and it was a blast (didn't kill either dragon). A friend and I went in to get my enchanter the Mongoose enchant and just couldn't stop.

I will say 2 man it was a blast, hit the nostalgia bone but was also a new experience. Disc Priest/Ret Pally was interesting. Decided not to figure out how to cover 3 beams with 2 people though (not sure if that fight is possible with 2 or not)

Larísa said...

@Ratshag: with proper way I meant doing it at lvl 70 with blue gear...

: yeah, I was surprised!

: 10 minutes? hm... you might have been quick then... Or maybe we just fooled ourselves. Funny though that we always took the back door.

@Liene of Kul Tiras: My memory is very different.

@Liene: I honestly don't recall this... Hm... Is my memory failing me that badly? In that case I'm getting worringy old! Or maybe I did most of my Kara runs when this "bug" was active? Weird.

Safe: Oh, I've been hugly hit by nostalgia, reading about this. I'm currently trying to grab someone in my guild so I can see it again. For a while I had done way too many Kara runs to want to set my foot there again. But now it's about time.

What's my main Again? said...

The first raiding guild I was in that started with Kara, we cleared the area between opera and the stairs. It barely took any time at all and was well worth the gold you got to recover your repairs.

Towards the end of BC the guild I was in always went around... and I never quite understood why. You maybe saved 10 mins tops. I think its what... 10 trash packs plus 2 banshee things between opera and the door?

Otherwise you had to run through the opera event around the auditorium, down the stairs and through the ballroom and finally out the front door... just to run around and climb up the stairs.

Then you have people going afk... or falling off of stuff.. or aggroing mobs on the way back killing half the raid...

Idk I always liked clearing those packs and never quite understood how it saved time (unless your group took a break during that time)

Ratshag said...

Ah. No, prolly not, then. Wouldn't be the same anywho, after that 3.02 nerf.

Anonymous said...

Our Kara groups since 2.0 would always go and open the door from the inside before using it from the outside. I remember in BC when we found out we had to open it from the inside first. I remember it well because we tried to use the back door after a trash wipe and the raid leader got pissed that everyone passed the door without unlocking it first.

The point was that if you got to that door, you could unlock it from the inside. And then all your corpse runs after that would be faster.

I dunno when it changed to opening automatically from Opera, but I just learned about it lol. Even two weeks ago when I ran, we went and unlocked it because we just assumed you had to like always.

euripedes said...

Blizzard considers standing on the roof of Stables in Arathi Basin an exploit (and most players do too), that isn't fixed, and how long has AB been in the game again?

Nostalgia runs are (usually) a lot of fun. I've done a few nostalgia Black Temples and Tempest Keep... though... Kael proved to be extremely difficult when literally two people in the entire raid could use daggers and both of them were also the only ones who could use staves.
That, uh, was interesting, to say the least.

Gazimoff said...

That reminds me, I need to go back there at some stage to get some tailoring and enchanting patterns that I'm missing...

Grimmtooth said...

I'd love to see a link to the original blue post, as this has all become very confusing.

The side door was always locked to start with, as you needed a key (the Kara key) to open it. Even then, it would not be available to open until after Opera was completed.

Somebody did not open it from the inside, as that would be impossible without going through all those mobs amyway. We rarely, if ever, had a Rogue with us, so that is ruled out.

Every now and then, we'd be unable to open it. One person would relog and that would be taken care of.

As for why we did it that way ... well, I wasn't gonna get in an argument with the RL over it. For the first umty times we did it, I didn't even KNOW about the other route, we just all ran out the door when we were finished. /shrug

Erinys said...

We always sent a stealth to open the door (usually a druid), I had no idea it was possible to open it any other way.

I feel slightly silly now. Stealthing it sucked.

In terms of exploits I feel that's pretty minor though, compared to things like DIing Razorgore and jumping your way up to the LM roof using levitate (although they may have fixed the latter by now).

Larísa said...

@What's my main Again?: hehe, thinking about it you might be right tbh. Funny how I always imagined it saved us a ton of time...

: Ah, the corpse runs... Yeah, that might have been just as good a reason as avoiding some trash packs.

: It's great fun! I did one as late as last friday. In three hours our group of 10-15 people we got Mount Hyjal, AQ20, Tempest Keep, SSC and full clear of Black Temple! Not bad! And our warrior alt got the warglaive from Ilidan... It's still a very cool looking weapon! It was really a ton of fun. I should probably write something about nostalgic runs soon.

; there is a link to it in the post.

@Erinys: Hm... Never saw that happen! And yeah, I suppose there have been a few over the years. Many of them quite harmless. It matters more though if you're into competitive raiding and it matters that noone gets unfair advantages.