Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ghost Raider

On my server, Butcherblock, there's been a bit of controversy lately over Mythical epic weapon updates. Several member of high-end raiding guild Aftermath have accused the raiders of Dracos Argent of cheating to get mythical updates for some of their guild members.

If you haven't seen this before, there is a server-wide notice broadcast whenever any player gets a Mythical upgrade. Generally, lots of congratulatory messages follow on the level 70-79 channel. Last Friday night, many of the AM members would impugn each of the DA updates with tells of "cheaters" and more specifically "ghosters".

First, let's cover what ghosting is. The folk version of ghosting goes like this: Run toward a wall that you want to go through, and quickly unplug your network cable and plug it back in on the other side.

There's just one problem with this version. It doesn't work. Collision detection of players with other players and with the environment is managed by the client. That is to say, by the software running on the player's computer, not on the server. So no amount of plugging and unplugging will do it.

What will work is a modified client. If the client tells the server, "Oh, we're now in position (x,y,z), the client will believe it." I have seen, on occasion, someone moving at impossibly high speed. I saw it recently in Karnor's Castle, in Kunark. Someone almost warping around the castle, training the mobs and creating no end of confusion for the other players. Interestingly enough, there were about 20 other characters sitting at the entrance doing nothing. Which made it impossible for us to figure out the name of the toon doing the warping from "/who". This is cheating, pure and simple, and is forbidden by the terms of service. The ability to do this warping will also let you go through walls, they are closely related.

The evidence that Dracos Argent ghosted is based on the order in which they got Mythical updates. Some classes require a kill of a mob named Druushk, who is encountered in the first section of Veeshan's Peak, and, under a normal progression, must be killed in order to progress to mobs in the deeper portions of the zone. But the updates that would have resulted from a Druushk kill did not show up.

Druushk is very difficult to kill these days. Some alterations were made to the encounter perhaps a week ago, which made it much more difficult. Whether it made Druushk unkillable or not is a source of some controversy. So, it's easy to understand how someone might want to bypass him and get other updates.

But it doesn't follow that an illegal client or ghosting was used. It doesn't even follow that Druushk wasn't killed, but that point isn't under dispute. There is a door that separates the first section from further sections of Veeshan's Peak. In a new instance, that door is open, not closed. However, there are no mobs in that further section until some portion of the first section is cleared. Then the door closes, the new mobs spawn, and Druushk and his predecessor Nexona must be killed in order to open the door again.

However, Call of the Hero works just fine in the zone, as does an Orb of Teleportation. Getting someone on the far side of the door before it closes should not be all that difficult a task for the sort of guild that can manage to clear most of that zone. For example, a Illusionist primary mez landed on an epic mob will last about 15 seconds. That should be plenty of time to get by him. The illusionist would die, but that's a small price to pay for a mythical weapon upgrade.

Then the guild finishes off clearing whatever is needed to spawn the section 2 mobs while being short one character. Then using orbs and CotH, they bypass Nexona and Druushk, and are on to the next level. I don't call that cheating, I call that creativity.

When a player uses abilities given within the game to do the thing they are designed to do, the result is not cheating or exploiting. It may be a mistake by the encounter designers, but it's not cheating. An exploit is when using your Orb of Teleportation while sprinting and carrying a rusty dagger heals you in addition. Teleporting past a gatekeeper type mob isn't an exploit, it's just cleverness.

Now, that being said, I'd be willing to give Aftermath this much: They downed Druushk, and Dracos Argent did not. However, further investigations reveal that when they downed Druushk, something odd was going on in the encounter. Druushk has adds that can cause a serious problem. When Aftermath beat him, they never showed up. Apparently, the claim is now that this was not a bugged script, but a lucky guess. You can read about it on Eq2flames, but be warned, it's not what we would call family friendly. Well done, guys.

Given all this the trash-talk and accusations of cheating by Aftermath members strikes me as the screeching of a bunch of drama queens. Geez guys, take a deep breath, have a glass of elven wine. Maybe get laid. I mean in real life, not in game, by the way.

My congratulations to all those players and guilds who have obtained Mythical updates by the way. Just remember that other people's success doesn't diminish yours.

Update: Corrected paragraph six to say "Dracos Argent" instead of "Aftermath". Fixed spelling of Druushk in some places.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you mean "DA" instead of AM up in the 6th paragraph.

I agree about using the game within its limits and being creative. It isn't cheating. It is using all of your resources. If the designers don't want you to do that, they change it once they see what is going on. But still, not cheating as long as it is within game parameters.


12:50 PM  

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