Guild Wars 2 Bans Over 3000 People

Over the weekend, Chris Whiteside, Lead Producer at Guild Wars 2 developers ArenaNet, took to Reddit to announce that over 3000 players had been temporarily banned from the game for taking advantage of an exploit.

The exploit in question involved a merchant who, in an error, was selling valuable gear at low, incorrect prices. Taking advantage of this, many players bought a ton of stuff from the seller, then went elsewhere in the game to sell it for massive profits, which had the temporary effect of upsetting the game's economy.

"We take our community and the integrity of the game very seriously, and want to be clear that intentionally exploiting the game is unacceptable", Whiteside wrote. "The players we banned were certainly intentionally and repeatedly exploiting a bug in the game. We intended to send a very clear message that exploiting the game in this way will not be tolerated, and we believe this message now has been well understood."

The bans aren't permanent, with those caught only being cut off the game for 72 hours. Regardless, any type of punishment for those taking advantage of an exploit in a game can be a controversial move, as those caught were still, technically, acting within the rules of the game. They didn't hack the game to get low prices, they simply bought and sold according to the prices present in the game at the time.

Still, as ArenaNet and others will counter, exploits like this violate the spirit of the game. And at the end of the day, it's ArenaNet's game, and they'll police it how they want, protests be damned.

Karma Weapons Exploit [Guild Wars 2 Reddit, via Eurogamer]


    This sort of ban has me nervous.

      No need to be nervous. "Wow. I did this once, then a couple more times to make sure I wasn't seeing things... I think this is an exploit guys, fix maybe?" won't get you banned. Keeping quiet about an unbelievable loophole that allowed you to make hojillion gold?

      Anyone who can't see the difference deserves a few days time-out to reflect on it.

    This ban is a joke. Dev oversight should not be banhammer offense. They should just removed the gear rolled the currency back and said it was a mistake instead of making people beg on reddit for a miatake

      So it's not the players fault they took advantage of a obious error in order to exploit it for a colossal profit? You can't possibly argue that they didnt know the were doing anything wrong....

      Yes, it's the devs fault or making the mistake,and it's the players fault for intentionally exploiting it for gain. Everybody s guilty, nobody is innocent...except the people who didn't use the exploit.

        They have beta testing for a reason, If they miss something on this scale the answer is to fix the issue not ban everyone who did it, I know i had bought items with the currency you get from quests only to break them down craft them into other things and sell them for a profit. I don't see the problem there, The problem was because they missed a 0 at the end of the price of some items and people took advantage. Banhammer day 3 is a joke. In the past when this has happened in games like starwars or Wow hell Even RS they just took away the items rolled back the currency and continued they did not ban people. To top of the banning making people goto reddit and beg for forgiveness is a horrible idea. Its one currency being converted to another in game no difference from the ingame gold being converted to RL money currency known as gems.

        Also one of my mates got banned for this and he had no idea why, He found some budget items and decided to cash in to make some money to buy some real gear, he had no idea he was going to get banned hell he had been playing the game for 1 day i doubt anyone except for the people who played in every beta knew what they were doing.

          It was fine in the beta. It was something that popped up temporarily most likely because someone changed the position of a decimal point somewhere.

        How do the players know this is a bug and not a feature?

          When every other weapon the vendor is selling is 21,000 karma and this one sword is 21 karma, it's pretty damn obvious it's not supposed to be that way.

        Yes we can quite easily. Mainly because in the past we used to play games where the player would push the bounds of what was possible within the game for maximum fun. Then this sort of rubbish started to happen where developers thought lets ban players for accessing elements of the game we put in through error or incompetence. It is not for the player to think about the broad effects of the game economy when playing they are there to have fun. If something is imputed into a game in error roll back as MOP suggested and try to avoid the mistake next time. Instead what developers want with this sort of action is to cause people to ignore errors and oppitunities so they don't have to fix them. T The majority of errors and bugs don't cause massive in game economic problems and even they can get you baned (Such as human druids in Wow). The only thing a player should not be allowed to do is break the law or interfere with game themselves, through hacking or cheating or scaming another player. That is the extent of their responsiblility and developers in the past understood this.

        How do users know this is a "bug"? I've played many RPG's where it was profitable to buy in one region and sell in another.

        I think there is something very unsettling about presenting people with a "game" and then punishing them when they use game-winning strategies to play. It's in our nature to try and win a game - it's a survival mechanism. This feels very much like a casino punishing players for winning on the take my-savings-and-play-chirpy-music-at-me machines. I wonder what the long-term psychological effects will manifest as in real-life when it becomes conditioned into us to only play to keep playing; to keep playing and paying.

      It was on obvious exploit, bans were deserved

        Compare this pedantic banning to the universe of Eve and you can begin to understand why it's outrageous

          Eve gets it right. Not my type of game but I can respect they way it's run.

      Except that it would have fucked with most of the playerbase.

      People were buying 1000's of the items. Using the mystic forge to gamble for something better and then selling the better stuff on(Since anyone could use the exploit making the bought gear worthless but the gambling allowed alternate value options)

      So you either roll back the entire game for everyone for the actions of the few. Since there would have been legitimate players who have weapons they brought with their hard earned cash. That they wouldn't have otherwise but didn't do anything wrong either.

    Love the pic... 'Indiscriminate Banhammer launching in 5......4.....3....'

    While I'm generally on the side of the developer for banning people who find exploits this... doesn't seem right. They bought low and sold high. They didn't have to manipulate circumstances. They didn't have to do anything untoward. This was entirely feasible within the scope of the game provided and frankly, for an MMO, within the spirit of the game itself.

    I don't think these bans are justified. Rollback and move on.

      Except that it had a rather poor effect on the economy in that suddenly a whole lot of resources were made available that shouldnt be(We aren't just talking 10,000 of the same weapon here. by dropping the weapons into the mystic forge one can gamble to get better or different items that wouldn't exist normally.

      Rollback is also a bad way of solving problems. For 2 reasons.

      A) It promotes these exploits as best case scenario it's not an exploit and nothing happens to you, Worst case they roll back the servers and you don't lose anything.

      B) Your rolling back the servers for everyone because you have to account for the fact that these players may have let stuff lose into the world that is now owned by unsuspecting players. Which is punishing the entire community for the act of a few. 3000 players done a multitude of bad things(I think the people running around with racist names or making racist rants are counted in these 3000 but i could be wrong. For a game that apparently had 400K+ concurrent users before it launched

        I'm sorry, how did it effect the economy? The trading post was not available for most of the weekend.

    I like the fact that ANet is actually policing their game - the fact that they can without worrying about loss of subs is a great side-effect of their business model. The correct response to finding this exploit is notifying the devs, not cashing in.
    That said, they're implying that in the future, exploiting something like this will result in permaban - they're only offering 72-hour suspensions for those that request it and delete any items and gold they acquired as a result of the exploit, and they're only offering it this once. Permaban for a lapse in judgement, not in small part due to the fault of the devs? That's overkill.

    It's in the tos so they should have been banned

      It is, however there is no standard time of punishment. They give botters, afk macro'ers and 3rd party software abusers a 72 hour ban. Yet when this happened they originally gave everyone permanent?

      That was total crap.

        "The bans aren’t permanent, with those caught only being cut off the game for 72 hours"

        Direct from the article. No one using this exploit was permanently banned

          After Anet reconsidered the decision yes. If you notice in my post I say "when this happened."

            Ok my mistake. This is the first article I've read about the exploit and reaction, so I didn't know the response had changed.

          I'm not defending the exploiters, they did the wrong thing. However Anets extremely drastic knee jerk reaction to the scenario just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

          What if for example I purchase some glory boosters when I notice they are cheap. Do I get permanently banned because someone made a mistake and made them too cheap?

    This is how the world works... if you get a 1million dollars in your bank account because of some fat fingered teller, then you are not allowed to spend it. If you do spend it and can't pay it back you goto jail...

    This is why I love EVE. There is no such thing as “spirit” of the game. They build a strong framework and as long as people aren’t physically hacking their game they are fine with people taking advantage of exploits and fix it after the fact. Just like real life.

      Except that those things are in the spirit of the game and it's a game imo that thrives on that fact.

      In real life if you found an exploit where you could empty out vending machines for 1 dollar for each vending machine. You know what would happen, you would be arrested for theft.

      And in real life you would have an actual person selling things so oversights like these wouldn't happen.

        In real life the entire economy works on a basis that someone gets something for one price and sells it at a higher one in order to profit.

          in real life if a million dollars land in your savings by mistake, and you decide to spend it all, your also held responsible for knowingly spending something that wasnt yours but still came in your lap.

    Good on 'em. Banhammer the bejesus out of the cheating pricks. They were repeatedly offending on an obvious exploit. It's not like people aren't aware of these things nowadays. This is like the bajillionth (not an actual number) MMO to hit the market.

    the biggest issue with these bans is alot of people didn't actually think this was an exploit

      To quote John Wayne: "Life's hard, it's even harder when you're stupid."

      That's an absolute load. How can you be smart enough to be looking for buy low sell high vendors without being smart enough to realise that this doesn't happen anywhere else in the game? How can someone be intelligent enough to understand how to use this loophole without being smart enough to see that it's clearly a game breaking infinite resource exploit.
      It takes about half a second to realise that you're generating resources at a rate that. if intentional, would make all items brought with those resources essentially free and all other methods for generating the resources completely 100% pointless.

      I'm sorry, weapons being sold by a vendor for 21 karma! thats three per event!... You'd have to be pretty stupid not to think it was a bug.

    The ban wasn't for people who inadvertently purchased 1 of each weapon from the vendor. it was for the people who purchased hundreds (in some cases thousands) of the item to exploit the bug.

    ANets statement was pretty clear, that the bans were targetted at people who, due to the number of purchases, were very obviously exploiting this, which is listed in the ToS as something you shouldn't be doing.

    Yeah, it was thier fault the items were priced thta way to begin with, but that doesn't make exploiting what is a very obvious bug OK. It's akin to finding a retail store that has left a digit off the listed price for something, then buying thier entire stock to resell. They have to honor the price by law, but if you blatantly take advantage of it the store will most likely tell you never to shop there again.

      "but if you blatantly take advantage of it the store will most likely tell you never to shop there again."

      I really doubt that.

        Most boutique retail chains have something in place to prevent people abusing this sort of thing. The ones that don't (who are run/owned as ma & pa stores) will most likely smile and process the sale, then politely tell you that you're no longer welcome in the store.

          You should look into a guy called Joseph Caramadre. He's taken advantage of huge loopholes from small furniture stores to large insurance firms and he's never mentioned that he has been banned from anywhere - just that the loophole is honoured and then fixed afterwards.

      Actually they don't have to honor the listed price at all. They can simply say they made an error and they apologise or that the pricing on the product wasn't placed their by them but that a customer moved tags around in order to try and get a better price.

      If the company believes that the pricing mistake is their fault they may choose to honor that price. But if the computer says that it costs 200 dollars it doesn't matter what the ticketed price is

        The only time they truly have to honor the price is if you can argue that they have pulled a bait and switch. Like a giant spash cover on their magazine saying $20 360's only to get to the store and have them say the price isn't actually $20.

      They only have to honor the price on ONE item, and if they refuse you it's a giant pain in the ass to contact fair trading.

    If a developer sells a game with a bug in it then I consider that part of the game. Simple solution to a problem like this.....DON'T RELEASE UNFINISHED PRODUCTS!!!

      Seriously? On a game this big, no matter how much you test things there will always be things that get missed. Bugs, glitches and exploits will always be found when you turn a game over from a studio with a few hundred people testing it the the general public, and hundreds of thousands of people are playing.

        Sure bugs and errors happen, but is reasonto double efforts to make sure ground breaking economic bugs don't happen not to ban people for access content. By saying good work ArenaNet we the consumers are saying it is ok to mess up our product from their perspecitive then punish us for accessing and enjoying it.

        Considering the scale of the launch I'm actually amazed at the lack of bugs. I can't remember the last time an extremely successful MMORPG launch went this smoothly.

      Oversimplification is so much fun you guys!

      That's kinda like saying that a house isn't finished because someone forgot to apply the second coat of paint on a 30cm long piece of skirting.

      There is a difference between unfinished and a bug. Unfinished means content is purely missing from the house(Like the 30cm piece of skirting board hasn't actually been attached) where a bug is a error or oversight that still allows everything to function just not optimally(Hot water tap having no pressure)

      Thats not true either.
      The listed price is 'an invitation to treat.'
      The bait and switch you talk about does not mean they must honor the price. It is, depending on the circumstances and state you live in, a breach of the Trade Practices Act; listed I believe as bait advertising.

      Has been way too long since I taught this stuff but am pretty sure I'm correct.

      haha, You realise you are talking about an MMO right? in which development continues until they take the servers down (usualy many years later). An MMO is essentially never 'finished'.

    Absolute trash. If its bugged its bugged. Its the developers fault. All they needed to do was to delete/rollback peoples inventories that bought tons of it. Banning like this is obnoxious, wrong and sends the message we can, and will do whatever we want, whenever we want and fuck you, just because. I for one wont give them a cent if thats their stance, utter industry cancer.

    On the other hand if players made/used a program/script or any other 3rd party tool/hack I would be all for them banning, even going as far as CC and IP banning them.

      So you're the kinda guy that finds a wallet in the street, and keeps it yeh ? It's not stealing after all. it's the guy who dropped it's fault! and he deserves to loose his money!....

      I, on the other hand would prefer to call him, tell him he dropped his wallet, and tell him where I found it and where he can pick it up from.

      Exploiting someone else's mistake is bad form. Especially if it impacts others experience of the game.

      this is why Anet banned people, to keep this sort of crap out of the game.

    Heh the people involved knew what they were doing and if your going to exploit something as badly as they did, then a ban is well deserved - it's really only a small percentage of the total population. I'm all for large sweeping bans, especially gold farmers...

    I am not really worried by this incident in itself but i am concerned that in the future they may be an incident where innocent users might be adversely effected by the heavy handed approach the devs are taking with this game.

      The way I read it is someone who found this merchant, bought a couple of weapons and continued on their way hasn't received any sort of punishment, whereas those who exploited it for hours, repeatedly, were the ones who were banned. At least in this case, ArenaNet is being careful enough to check who was and wasn't taking advantage of the glitch. I think if there are incidents down the road, hopefully they will take the same approach and only punish those that deserve it.

    If it's in the game, it's fair play in my books.

      Like lifting the corner of the cartridge in Ocarina of Time to glitch past the guard at the start and enter Hyrule Field with no sword and shield? Just because you could do it doesn't mean it was intentional nor fair play

        Hardly the same as purchasing from a merchant that's IN THE GAME.

    If a mob is weak against fire, is it an exploit to repeatedly use fire spells against it? If anything, games teach us to exploit game mechanics for our own benefit. If they didn't hack, they shouldn't be banned.

    The items in question I believe were the Priory/Whispers/Vigil weapons that were rather cheap at 15-20 silver each and didn't bind on acquire and the Karma gear. In relation to the karma gear I cannot say, I never bothered to check it out but with the order gear, The armour pieces bound on acquire while the weapons did not, if you noticed this difference between the two and bought more weapons than what you yourself would use on your character to share it round, salvage it, put it on the trader or sell in Lions Arch, then you were knowingly exploiting.

    If the prices of the items were accidentally half price and people exploited it, I would of been pretty unhappy with Arenanet's decision. But, the price difference of the said item was actually 1000th of the normal price. When you have a vender selling all the same tier items for the same price and suddenly one item is such a tiny amount smaller than the rest, its an absolute obvious error. No one should take advantage of that kind of bug. Even EVE of all games would remove all said currency and items from the game if this kind of thing happened.

    You guys realise it's a three day ban, right? Three days to put them in a time out while the situation is dealt with properly. If they don't quarantine the problem ASAP and show users that it this sort of glitch exploitation won't be tolerated it potentially means either a rollback later on, which is just a nightmare of a concept for everyone playing that'd result in the 'loss' of a lot more than three days, or a ruined in-game economy that spills over and shatters the games financial model.

    I don't care about this game but I stand-ovate the devs for their guts. Everyone complaining doesn't understand what's this about and why these developers are trying to correct horrible diseased thinking at the risk of losing paying customers: This kind of things is not right. It's a cutthroat law of the jungle in which players will seek to gain advantage over other players by cunning and exploitation rather than by skill or effort. After playing more online games that I care to count, I have come to regretfully accept that most people in the top of the leader-boards are there thanks to an exploit, hack, multiple-account-farming, and a long list of etcs that totally disregard the spirit of the game and make competition but a joke, unless you droop to that level yourself. That's why I cannot help to applaud a but of firm hand from the devs in the spirit of sportsmanship and honesty.

    It's unfortunate that they had to do this in a situation that, let's admit it, is solely their own fault. However, it sends the message that there will be no exclusions, no second chances, no lack of policing and prompt punishment that plagues so many other games. It's encouraging to know that they would do this even when it's their own fault and they are likely to take a profit loss for it because all the petty dishonest people ragequitting, because you know that there will be no mercy for hackers and similar.

    As I've mentioned above, other RPG's have sellers that sell things at different prices, and some where it may be beneficial to buy from one and sell from another. Exploiting that fact doesn't to me seem like it is inconsistent with other games nor the real world. If it was unintentional then the developers should suck it up and fix it quicker, or worse case roll back the money from those transactions. I hardly see why the users should get punished. All it does is raise questions over trading for a profit in the future.

      it was 21 karma rather than 21000 karma. thats not lower prices, its 1/1000th of the price...

        If you went out today and saw a brand new car listed at $21 instead of $21,000, wouldn't your first thought would be that something was wrong, not that you could go and make a massive massive profit on it? You'd most likely be trading in stolen goods if you bought hundreds/thousands of them at this price... you can not possibly relate what happened in game to the real world.

    This is another thing i hate.
    They release the game with these bugs, then blame the consumer for exploiting it when it was the developers fault.

    I really cannot see how the game industry can last much longer with all these developers and publishers having no idea what a good game is or how to make a good game. The Playstation 2 had a game come out every month that innovated something, now developers cant innovate at all even with a bigger budget.

    They say its about the consumer and that we make them there money yet they still treat us as if we are idiots.

    Sick of spending $90 on a game and having it be awful. Can these idiots not know that there game is very bad when playing it, again its all about there money money money

      What utter crap. go moan elsewhere, this has nothing to do with the topic at all.

      I was thinking about getting this game, but looks like the Devs treat you like shit once they have their money; since there's no sub they can ban you for all of their mistakes..

        No offense, but you and a lot of other people are judging Anet without seeming to know the details.

        This was not a bug where the price was a little lower in one area and you could go sell it for a profit, this was a store with items along the lines of:
        Level 40 Sword: 15,000
        Level 40 Dagger: 15,000
        Level 40 Mace: 15,000
        Level 40 Axe: 15,000
        Level 50 Sword: 21,000
        Level 50 Dagger: 21,000
        Level 50 Mace: 21,000
        Level 50 Axe: 21

        Then people repeatedly bought the axe, and made it into different items and sold them, for HOURS on end.
        Now you really think they didn't know they were doing something wrong and were treated badly?

          A number of people who were banned from FFXI back in January for using a glitch to duplicate drop pools for certain fights (one that would be hard to set off accidentally as it involved shifting group around, something that wouldnt be necessary given the drop pool system) were in a huge level of denial about having done something wrong, and saying that it was SE's fault for not rooting out every single possible obscure glitch , so if a glitch brought up by weird interactions of code in a game that was eight years old at the time could have that much denial, I can easily see some of the people banned here complaining that "it wasn't their fault that the price was set that low" and that "arenanet should have made sure that all the prices were properly set"

    While i find it funny that ArenaNet is pretty much pointing the finger to someone else to disguise the fact that they themselves screwed up something chronic, i can't help but laugh at the fact that the 3,000 players that were banned didn't think for one moment that they might've been caught for it. It's kinda like walking into a bank that has the vault door open. Yes, someone is obviously retarded in that bank and you could take the money, but you're welcoming trouble.

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