I just bought this self-help book. It’s called “So your readers are all cheaters”. But, hey, I’ve been a video game exploiter before too. So here are some shining examples of the exploit stories you all sent in, with minor edits for readability.
Picture: Sam Woolley
Trapping Your Enemies
(via Mike Fahey)
Back when I was first playing EverQuest there was this ramp in a zone called The Overthere. I believe this was it.
The pathing for monsters around this ramp was all screwed up, so if they were chasing you from the side and you hopped on top of it, they’d get stuck in the corner formed by the ramp and the wall.
I spent HOURS there, running large groups of creatures to the corner on my bard and then melting them with songs from the safety of the ramp.
Eventually I got a stern talking to from a GM about what I was doing. I knew it was exploiting, but I feigned ignorance. “I just thought bards were awesome” was my defense.
All The Money
Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion on the Xbox 360. There was a glitch that you could use to multiply any item in the game. I used this to multiply my money so I would never have to worry about having enough money ever again. Bethesda issued out a patch for it, but you could go into system setting and delete the update portion of the saved game in order to pull off the glitch again.
Also, I don’t know if the skeleton key was was a glitch or not. I think I was supposed to give it to someone for a quest, but I kept it instead. I abused that thing until my lock picking skill was unmatched.
It Was Always About The Guns Anyway
(via The Dying Breed)
Probably a more recent one is editing game files for Borderlands 2 with a friend so we had infinite gold chest keys. We’d sit in front of that thing for an hour straight just checking out all the cool guns rather than playing the game.
Using Insider Information
When I was fresh out of High School I had the opportunity to work at Blizzard as a GM for WoW before any expansions. I had received an in-game ticket from a customer explaining an exploit through the side of Ogrimmar to get on top of the roof.
This is before flying mounts so to go somewhere you weren’t supposed to usually distorted the terrain, it made things invisible and made you see through stuff you weren’t supposed to.
As a GM I followed this guy to see how he did it. When I got home I got my entire guild together and we all went to Ogrimmar as Alliance and we all did this exploit to get on top of Ogrimmar.
We were a pvp focused group of people so we just then exploited as much as we could while trying to kill people. Eventually we died but not without figuring that you can jump through the floor of Ogrimmar!
Was a very fun experience and I thought it was so cool to learn something on the inside and then go home and do it!
Too Fat To Fit Through The Door
(via Chris Leonardi)
Bloodborne. That NPC in the forbidden woods that turns into a monster. He is highly weak to poison, and he can’t fit through that doorway. Hit him with a poison knife and sit back behind the doorway letting the poison do its thing while he flails around trying to get to you through a door that is 2x smaller than he is.
The Magical Book Shelf That Gives You Infinite XP
Attacking A Pacifist For Experience Points
Skyrim: Before they patched it, during the intro quest series, your guide was invincible and would never attack you back so you could level up a bunch of skills to max by attacking him over and over.
Going Where No Man Was Supposed To Go
Not really an exploit in the truest sense I guess, but way back in the day when I still played WoW, I really really (really) enjoyed exploring and trying to get outside of the maps and get to the places we weren’t ever meant to go. Always fun to try and see the various ways I could escape to see the various unfinished textures/models/environments hidden outside of each level. This was back before the world maps were remodeled for flight, so there really was unfinished terrain around every corner just waiting to be discovered. Can I climb that mountain? Can I climb to the top of the towers in Orgrimmar? Can I get below Orgrimmar? Can I find the Karazhan Crypts? You bet I can. :)
Some of the places I visited:
Outside the Karazhan 10-man raid (my character in the lower right):
The alleged entrances to the Emerald Dream high up on Mount Hyjal:
A Whole Bunch Of Halo 2 Exploits
Oh sweet jesus Halo 2, how I ever did exploit that game (sorta). Sure they did include Skulls to find throughout the game, but in order to find them you had to play on Legendary (save for a few skulls) and usually do a little bit of fuckery with the maps in order to even get to them.
The Scarab Gun also included a fair bit of fuckery, but the reward was worth it. Anyway, so when I was 14 or so, I would play Halo 2 online and I actually made some cool friends from that. This is relevant because they would constantly show me tricks. Here’s a list of some I remember:
Ascension: Underneath the ramp heading to main tower, there was a ramp that you could jump to. This was useless because anybody coming on the bridge where the overshield spawned could see you, but if you just walked straight off and held down the joystick backwards, you would fall close to the level’s limit, but still survive. Good for hide and seek games. There were also two superbounces that I knew of. Superbounces are essentailly what happens when you crouchwalk into a corner, then while your character’s physics were still confused about that situation, you just jump onto very specific points on a map that had certain geometry that would overload the physics engine, shooting you straight up into the air. There was one in front of the huge tower, and there was another close to the Sniper.
Burial Mounds: If you were crouched into a certain spot and walking into the huge burning pillar, and a teammate with friendly fire off boosts into you with a Wraith, you had a chance of your corpse appearing as a huge hologram taking up half the size of the map.
Coagulation: Superbounce on Red Base (was kinda useless) and if you shot at the wall with multiple people using only plasma weapons (Rifles and Brute Rifles primarily) the wall would glow red.
Containment: On the base that had a huge giant building behind it that was inaccessible, you had to bring a Spectre. Using the boost and going up the walls at a slight angle, you were able to get onto the snowy area on top of the map. Then you just circle around the building and use the ramp and the Spectre to climb up, boosting the entire time.
And, although it’s certainly not the last one I know of, it’s one I don’t see a lot of mention of. In Halo 2 (even in the MCC version!) you could cancel your melee attacks by immediately pressing the reload button. If timed properly, the hit goes through but you can instantly either melee again, throw a grenade, or shoot, hence “BXR” (a battle rifle tactic familiar with halo 2 vets). If you mashed the two buttons over and over, you would essentially do a ton of melee attacks that never connect and make you flail around, but you still get the little melee dash. What this created was a technique called “Butterfly”. Player A and Player B both go to a corner. Player B jumps on Player A’s head, they’re both adversaries. Player A looks straight up at Player B and presses BXBXBXBXBXBXBX over and over and over, while Player B jumps continuously. This essentially allowed you to go as high as you wanted, but this only worked in a corner.
In Headlong, you can use a Wraith to knock somebody between two kill zones (spots where the map kills you because you aren’t supposed to be there). So you knock two people there, and then you both stand in the corner, and butterfly. After three or four successful butterflies, you’re able to look into the sky and see the Heretics’ gas mining base from the first Arbiter missions. Keep butterflying, and supposedly you can even get there. We kept failing so we gave up after a couple of hours, but it was definitely there.
Beating A Boss With Your Back Turned
Brace yourselves, this is a long one.
When I was a kid coming into my teenage years, our arcade was filled with Konami beat em ups. The favorite between me, my older brother, and all of his friends was this huge, double-screen-wide 6 player co-op cabinet for X-Men. We would play that game together and just absolutely shove tokens into it until we brute forced our way through to Magneto. One day when we were all together, we had a competition to see who could get the farthest alone on one token. Peter went first, he always played Cyclops, AJ was second, he played Colossus, all the way down until me. I played Dazzler. We were all pretty damn good at the game, but on one token we could only make it as far as the second boss, Blob.
Now let me tell you about Blob. The Blob is a hulking egotistical jackass with a huge damage output mace and a body so heavy he takes twice as many hits to knock over as any other character. He makes the next couple of bosses in the game look like absolute chumps. The reason this guy is in level 2 is purely to manipulate players will to continue after a relatively easy early game. You’ve been doing well for the first ten minutes of gameplay, so why let the Blob stop you? Just put a few more tokens in. If you get near this guy to strike him he’s likely to just pick you up and chuck you across the room.
Well Peter and AJ both tried to brute force him as fast as possible but the Blob wouldn’t have any of that and trashed them both. Matt, who was a mean Wolverine, tried to get tactical by playing conservatively and trying to save up all his health and orbs so he could use his mutant power to keep Blob down. He ran out of power before the deed was done though, and Blob finished him. I don’t remember their names but Matt would always always get his girlfriends to play Storm and this one was actually pretty good. I remember thinking it was a smart idea that she would wait until Blob stopped moving, stupidly shouted out “Nothing moves the Blob!”, and then try to get up and wail on him. It wasn’t really an opening though, despite what Konami probably wanted you to think, and he maced her face.
My brother was next up, and he and I were closest together since he played Nightcrawler. It was really cool because he managed to make it to Blob with not one, but two lives. Since Nightcrawler has a really good air game, he tried spamming jump attacks and avoiding all of Blob’s hits. Unfortunately, air attacks are really weak and he wasn’t knocking the Blob down enough to lay any real damage to him. He was grabbed out of the air one two many times and it came down to me. I wasn’t as good as everybody else (I still don’t know how anyone handles those stupid mobile turrets) but I prided myself on knowing how to use some of the more gimmicky moves available to use besides the basic three hit ground combo. The combo didn’t help anyone else so I had to come up with something. Dazzler has a great throw and jump kick but I knew neither of those would help me beat Blob. There is one other, albeit very situational way to do damage though.
In X-Men, and some other Konami arcade games, if an enemy is immediately behind you and ready to pummel you in the back of your head, you can push the attack button to do a back attack and knock them over. When I came to the first boss, I tested it out on him to see if it still worked and I was really surprised to see that it did, but nobody else really made anything of it. Pyro is a really wimpy boss in the first place. When I made it to Blob, I got super nervous because I didn’t have a lot of health and had no idea how this would play out for me. I started avoiding him until he would say “Nothing moves the Blob!”, walked him to him, turned my back, and boom. Dazzler attacked with her elbow, Blob went down, and I got in two three-hit combos before he got up. I didn’t beat the Blob before my life ran out, but we all agreed that I could invest another token to see if this method is repeatable and it worked like a charm.
I was the bratty, annoying little brother of the group playing the lamest character and I moved the goddamn Blob.
The Spell That Cost Too Much
Boots of Blinding Speed in Morrowind. The boots that this guy would sell you would fortify your speed by... I want to say 100 points. So you see that and think “Awesome!”
However, there’s a secondary effect on it that blinds you completely. So yay, you can run fast but you have no idea where you’re going apart from the minimap. First playthrough, I went back and killed the guy then sold the boots.
Second playthrough, however, I got them again and cast “resist magicka” on myself. This cancels the blind effect since that triggers when you put them on while keeping the speed fortification which is a constant effect instead.
Secondly, while living in the middle of nowhere Morrowind was basically my entire life. I decided that lockpicking was too frustrating for a mage like me, so I finally made enough money to create a spell of my own. Open lock, 100 points, 100% chance, touch range. This had been a good week or so of trying to get enough money to buy this, and I felt incredibly accomplished once I had it. I walked out of the Mage’s Guild to give it a test on some nearby level 100 locks nearby. I sat right next to the lock and cast it. Then, I got the message. “Not enough magicka to cast spell.” I had made it so powerful that having a full magicka bar was only about 3/4 of the amount needed.
The Lucrative Exploiter
I’m sort of a serial exploiter/hacker and even my friends acknowledge it. I’ve exploited and hacked my way through just about everything e.g. Neopets, WoW, Counterstrike, Diablo (1/2/3), Borderlands, Steam trading, Skyrim, Second Life, etc.
Of course I’ve wondered and I think I can nail it down to three reasons. Boredom, profit, or time constraints. Most people will finish a game and get another or play it again. When I reach that point I like to start dismantling it like a kid would a toy. Because I’m “over” the game I’m not hindered by the risk of a ban (it happens most of the time). On the profit end of things, it’s self explanatory. If I can bot a game and make money off selling resources or the account then I’ll always jump all over it. I think it’s the entrepreneurial spirit I have. Lastly, if I simply am too far behind the curve either in the community or among my friends I will often hack/exploit to play catch-up.
Counter-strike 1.6 was really the only time(and the first) I hacked a game with the intention of beating other players’ faces in. I ran an aimbot and wallhack for about 2 months before I received a full steam ban (they froze my entire suite!). I hack for my own benefit, not to lessen the experience of others, and yes I realize the two can sometimes cross paths. My most lucrative hacking was from gold farming in WoW, powerleveling WoW accounts for sale, and Diablo 3. I probably netted $2000-$3000 in the handful of years and miraculously still have access to my two WoW accounts and two Diablo accounts.
They Just Couldn’t Turn Left
I’m not sure it counts as an exploit, it was kind of one of the unspoken rules of the game, I’m talking about a game most of you probably don’t know because it was not all that popular outside of Latin America, except for Spain maybe. It’s called Argentum, it’s an MMO RPG from waaay back, though I’m pretty sure the thing’s still running since it was open source and a ton of fun.
One of the most simple ways to level up was to start with a wizard, which had the simplest spell in the game called Magic Dart, and you would just walk up to an enemy, draw aggro, then circle around a tree and he would get stuck on the other side, because the path finding was really precarious back then. If you could find the strongest enemy in the game, get him stuck on something and throw your sandals at it for the rest of the month, just one kill would have been enough to reach a decent level. But that’s not it, that’s just beginner level stuff.
Since the EXP for the kill only went to whoever gave the last hit, it was pretty common and infuriating for other players to just sit on the other side of the creature, where you couldn’t see them, and wait for you to wither it away before stealing the kill with a slightly more powerful spell than yours. So they eventually implemented a system by which you wouldn’t just get all the EXP after the mob was dead, instead, each hit would give you an amount of EXP depending on how much damage you dealt. But this was also easily exploitable, if you were a good enough player.
Since the game was 2D, you could only move in 4 directions, up down left right, and so could the monsters, and the path finding followed certain rules that were super easy to predict. So, if you found a monster, no matter how big or powerful, you could just stand on it’s right, and it would then move either UP or DOWN, but it would move to the right, or attack to the right, until it was on the same line as you were, so you could walk up and down right next to it and it would be mostly harmless. Which in turn led to the “warriors dance”: You moved up, put your character looking to the left, waited for the monster to walk into the square you were looking at, throw a punch and immediately run down before the monster could turn to attack you. You could also do this while walking down, so you had effectively locked your enemy in a never ending string of cheap hits. Of course you could mess it up, or someone else could draw aggro from the same monster, messing up your dance just enough to get you killed, but since each hit gave you EXP, even if you missed most of the time, just one hit on the right monster could get you several levels. Yes, I’m talking about one or two levels per hit.
This was also a game in which, after reaching a certain level, you would drop everything on your inventory if you died. And I mean it: money, items, potions, weapons, everything. So it was pretty common to see low level characters, the ones that didn’t lose anything when they died, swarming around PVP areas, like flies attracted by the literal stench of dead meat, trying to loot anything that touched the ground and getting nuked in the face by high level spells.
A Classic Mega Man Exploit
Here’s a classic exploit that everybody who played Mega Man knew. Because you weren’t beating the Yellow Devil any other way.
Using Lag To Your Advantage
The Wheel of Time PC game:
For those who don’t know, it was, of all things, a first person shooter. And it actually worked and was, overall, a great game that I absolutely loved (especially since I was/am a WoT fan).
Now for the exploit! In multiplayer, there was a wonderful CTF mode. One player on each team was chosen to be the leader and s/he had the power to set up a limited number of walls, traps, and minions (which came in 3 flavors of grunts, captains, and one boss). You were normally given a set number of each (4 walls, 2 spike traps, etc.). You set them up then, once the game starts, you do your best to make it around the enemy team’s base to get their flag. It was superfun and I wish more games did that now.
Now for the exploit! Due to the nature of the internet at the time, lag was a very real problem. Anyone who ever played Starcraft on a 14.4k modem can attest to that. What this did, however, was allow for the leader to use the lag to create a ton more of EVERYTHING. All you had to do was click rapidly while moving sideways and the system would detect all the clicks and create however many clones of whatever was being set down. This meant that you could run into an enemy base and encounter 10-20 grunts (most of them occupying nearly the same space) and just have a crapload more of everything to deal with. Eventually, we’d have matches with where this was THE THING. It lead to amazingly ridiculous games.
As for ME using the exploit, there was one time when I managed to get the BIGGEST boss (literally... he was a giant skinned pig-looking thing that was the boss of the Hound faction) to duplicate. This was normally very hard because his placement box was quite large and the game didn’t like to duplicate things in the exact same location (they had to be offset by a certain amount from each other). I managed to get FOUR of these bad boys down. Each one spits a ton of homing missile-type ghost things that hunt down the players and with four it was simply INSANE. That, coupled with the crazy number of walls and other minions meant that my team was able to simply annihilate the enemies and had quite the easy victory.
And here’s a picture of the pig boss:
A Real-Life Exploit
(via Adam Stacey)
I’ve decided to mention this second story, because while I wasn’t doing it within a game itself, it’s just too amusing not to share.
I was in college taking a 3-year diploma in computer security and forensics and was in the lab working on an assignment. Now, we had a special lab that was segmented from the rest of the campus internet because we’d sometimes do network config work or play with malware and didn’t want to mess up the rest of the college (we could just ghost each computer in the lab back to its default state if something ever went wrong). The thing is that there were a few other tech programs that got to use the lab too.
About 8 students from one of these other programs were in the lab with us that day, but they were all playing Counter-Strike. Not really something you were supposed to use the school equipment for. So I decided to have some fun.
My class had just completed a lab on executing ARP spoofing techniques to do some simple man-in-the-middle attacks. Basically, you trick the network switch a little by telling it you have a MAC address that a different device on the network actually has. Then, when traffic is supposed to be sent to that MAC address, it goes to you instead. Then, you send all that traffic to its intended recipient, so you can spy on everything going across.
I decided to kick it up a notch and tell the switch that I was everyone - I was every MAC address possible. Therefore all network traffic would have to go through me before going to its destination. Immediately when I turned this on, the players all started rubber banding like crazy from the drastically increased latency and then they started shouting. After a few seconds, I turned it off. Then, I’d wait and turn it on, and then off, etc. I kept them hollering off and on for a good 10 minutes before they got tired of it and left.
My friends were all snickering quietly, but I don’t think the CS players figured out for sure what we were doing.
The Invisible Invasion
Also, not mine but my fiance’s (he doesn’t have an account).
In WoW, they were playing on a private server. He and some friends were dueling just outside the portal for Carazon while they waited for the rest of their group. They were playing on a private server at the time and it still had the bug where, if you put a DoT on the person you were dueling, it would persist through the end of it. His friend did this to him and he died right next to the portal. He released and started to run back and decided to jump over his body to respawn over it.
When he jumped, it loaded him into the instance but shot him right back out, alive, as if he had rezzed normally. Everything seemed normal until they started a duel again but he noticed that he was hitting a lot harder. He looked at his stats to see what happened and found that each stat was doubled. His group got there and tested this out again and found that it doubled again, stacking on the already buffed stats. They did this with each other until they all had 100% haste, 100% crit, all that. Normally this would make you become just a walking badass but if a Night Elf did this (he was) it would keep you in your ghost form as a Wisp. This made you invisible to everyone and everything since you were still considered “dead” so they decided to get all their bugged-out Night Elves and run to Orgrimmar (with one Draenei) and one-shot everyone they could see.
The GMs for that private server showed up and saw a single Draenei standing in the middle of the city as waves of death swept out from around him, so that poor Draenei was banned pretty quickly. They kept making new accounts and keep doing this until the “Senior” GM showed up and pulled everyone to a single empty spot of land to start yelling at them.
Maximum StarCraft Efficiency
(via Adam Stacey)
Right when Starcraft’s expansion, Brood War came out, for a couple of weeks before they patched it out, there was this great exploit you could do known as the ‘Command Centre Slide’ when playing as the Terrans.
Major Terran buildings can ‘lift off’ and then be slowly flown to a new location. They can’t produce units when they’re flying, but there’s plenty of uses for this relocation ability. Anyway, the exploit involved a Terran player lifting off his command centre, bringing it back down, and quickly before it landed, using a stop command at just the right moment followed by a right click to a place on the map. If done right, the command centre would land, and then slowly slide to the place you’d right clicked.
The obvious use for this was to slide the command centre completely adjacent to your mineral fields, as there was normally a minimum distance you could put it from the minerals. Thus, you’d reduce the amount of time it would take your SCVs to return to base with minerals after harvesting them, and you’d be gaining minerals faster than your opponents could.
I only pulled this off against opponents to any degree of success a couple of times. Most times I’d try this, I’d fail on the timing and waste several minutes just getting it to work. This is a problem, because you also can’t return minerals or gas to your base when it has lifted off, so I’d usually get it working just in time to eat a zergling or zealot rush with nothing in place to defend myself yet.
Unlimited Resident Evil Ammo
Jill’s infinite grenade launcher ammo glitch from the Resident Evil remake on the Gamecube was a total guilty pleasure. Swap between two ammo types using the storage box, and then just spam the A button until the ammo count maxes out. Nothing like having a never-ending supply of flame and acid rounds!
“I Was Level 20 Before I Ever Spoke To Morrigan”
When I first played Dragon Age Origins it was on the Xbox 360. I stumbled across an exploit where I could get to max level at the beginning of the game as well as make tons of money. See, at the beginning, after the origin, Duncan sends you on a mission to go get darkspawn blood and some old parchments. I’d only get the Darkspawn blood. So I was able to go and turn in half the quest. As many times as I wanted. So I basically had a source of infinite experience. I was level 20 before I ever spoke to Morrigan for the first time.
The second exploit was to make money. See, I bought it pretty soon after it came out, so DA:O came with a bunch of extra stuff. Mainly the blood dragon armor. It was a higher level armor and worth lots of gold. I was able to sell it out of my junk tab and re buy it for less, continuously making a profit. So on top of being max level I had something like 300 golds (the game’s currency was a bronze, silver, and gold system.) I might have ruined the core experience but it was fun to be overpowered and filthy for most of the game. Funny thing is that Bioware didn’t patch it until 3 or 4 years after the game came out.
A Comfy Spot Under The Stairs
(via Malaria Man)
Back on the PS2 I had Rainbow Six 3 and had just gotten broadband to play online.
While playing the game online I found a group of rather helpful and fun people to play with who showed me some absurd things you could do for fun. There were plenty of exploits that made it insane like glitching the AK so the first shot was always lethal and ‘pimp walking’, but my personal favorite was what is dubbed ‘The stairmaster glitch’.
Moving up and down stairs in the game is based on the characters hitboxes and the movement speed so it could figure out clipping.
However, if you slowly backed into a flight of stairs, you could go through them and sit underneath them! You could look out with nobody being able to see you or shoot in, and you being able to sometimes shoot out. Granted you’d be stuck forever under the stairs, but who cares?
Now imagine if you will a game of 3v3 deathmatch...
with our entire team underneath the stairs...
killing everyone who walks over them.
Now imagine everyone on the other team can hear you...
And you’re playing ‘hot and cold’.
The Generous Duplicator
My personal exploit story was with the game “Phantasy Star Online” for Gamecube. It was the only game that took advantage of the GC’s modem/broadband adapter. I had fell in love with PSO and played it constantly, I would tell my parents I was sick, miss school, and sit home playing it all day. I had invested a considerable amount of (my parents) money into the game. I had the modem, my own dialup connection for the game, I bought the keyboard controller, and finally a GC memory card that hooked up to my PC. There was a way to duplicate items with it and I would copy all the rarest items in the game and then walk around dumping them everywhere for people to pick up.
I had gathered quite a following of people who would give me items to dupe for them. There were a lot of “dupers” who would steal items from people, so by simply being honest I gained quite a following. We would communicate through AIM, and when someone got a new item, I would make dozens of copies for them, netting myself something new in the process. I still have the keyboard/controller and the memory card sits on my desk as a token memento of gaming memories gone by.
First Blood, Indeed
I once rented Mortal Kombat on the SNES, getting at least as far as the two-on-one fights.
For those unfamiliar, you would be made to sequentially fight two opponents per round. The change-over was seamless with the second opponent somersaulting onto the screen as the first was defeated and you even having the same health bar you finished the first opponent with.
What I discovered by accident was that if I hit the second opponent as they were somersaulting in and their health bar was filling, say with a flying kick, their health bar would immediately empty and I’d be awarded an easy victory. I often screwed it up though by finishing the first with an uppercut, which had too much recover time.
I’ve never known if this was a bug or a feature, nor whether it was widely known, but I used to read Super Play cover to cover every month and never saw it mentioned as a hint or tip. For all I know, this could be known by everyone and still in place today if these fights still exist. I’d appreciate someone telling me.
Shooting From Beyond The Map
Back in the N64 days, I was playing battle tanks global assault and I was using the little mouser tank while my friends were using the big Goliath. Well anyways we were on a level where it had some train tracks, kind of small. I followed one of the train tracks to where it ends and I get ramming myself between the building and the post.
Eventually, I got through and I was running outside the level shooting them through buildings and they couldn’t get me at all. I’d run back into the map grab the nukes and drive around set them off just near enough to them that they would get hit. I would grab about least 50 nukes before setting them all off. After that, I was forbidden to choose that level and that tank at the same time.