The Ensidia controversy

February 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm (Uncategorized)

Big news – if you follow progression raiding, Ensidia got hit with a banhammer for exploiting on their world first LK kill.

I’ve read I think 5 blogs from Ensidia members about this, Kungen, Jinxarn, Muqq, Ekyu and Poptisse (all in favour of Ensidia), the MMO-Champion excerpt (also mildly in favour of Ensidia) and the WoW.com version (in favour of Blizzard).  Blizzard are unlikely to comment beyond their hotfix.

I was not there – and so this is all really conjecture at this point, but my pieced together interpretation is as follows:

  1. Ensidia did the encounter with one group on 10 man and the platform didn’t respawn
  2. Ensidia then skipped immediately to 25 man and cleared to the boss. 
  3. On most occassions the platform did respawn during the boss encounter, but not always over the course of about 5 attempts
  4. At this point they are aware of the respawning platform bug – they have to be
  5. At that point – this is key – I do NOT believe they had any idea what caused it.  In all honesty it would be exceptionally difficult to know what was doing this after a mere 5 or 6 attempts – some bugs are clearly obvious but I believe that they were not intentionally trying to respawn the platform.  It seems like, from the logs, that the rogue in question routinely uses the bombs in his rotation and the bug is actually counter intuitive (seige damage respawning platforms?)
  6. Aware of the bug they adjusted their strat and more or less immediately killed the boss
  7. Blizzard is watching this fight – GMs observing – and see these actions in real time (including the bug)
  8. Subsequently Blizzard bans every member of the raid for 3 days – the 2nd most serious punishment that can be delivered

Do I think they were exploiting?  Probably not but to be honest Nihilium in particular has long been known as a guild that would do what it takes to get the boss down first.  The oozeling, the candlestick, flower power – the truth is these guys have indulged in somewhat shady dealing in the past.

However in this case, I tend to be on their side.  Provided that they weren’t causing the bug its a bit inconsistent to ban them for not stoping the fight and throwing an attempt to get it hotfixed.  Especially since they know that there are GMs watching the fight.  They must have seen the bug also.

It inconsistent because SO many people do this as a matter of course.  How many people have been in a Azjol run where someone has tried to bug out the adds on the second boss (I always jump down and judge the first mob I see so this can’t happen)?  The first strat to get the timed achievement on the last boss in OK was to have a paladin DI someone and SS up just after the first adds.  Poptisse lists a heap more of them – not all of which I consider exploits (letting a bitten person die on BQL for example is not exploiting in my view).  The truth is that taking advantages of bugs is not uncomming.  Deliberate exploitation – by which I mean creating a bug – is different to taking advantage of a bug that occurs during a fight.  Exodus deliberately set out with a strategy (on Yogg 0) that was designed to glitch out the mobs and make the fight easy – what Ensidia did is not even close to being in that league.

Why is this?  Its because bugs so often work both ways and you get nothing back if you get jammed by a bug.  I have long since lost count of the attempts where our post death analysis is “X bugged out so we wiped”.  Fuck it happened at least three times a raid, every raid when Ulduar was new, ToC was one of the most glitched, buggy instances I have seen in a LONG time.  On that basis, especially on limited attempt bosses, it is simply unrealistic to assume people will deliberately wipe a fight just because a bug occurs.  You don’t get attempts back when you get wiped by a bug, why would you give them up voluntarily if you gain from a bug instead of losing (which is what usually happens when something bugs).

I say this KNOWING that I have done the same thing.  Back in the days when we were first pushing ToGC on 10s I think our 3rd Anub kill was the result of a bug.  We’d been having a long, shit night.  A full 25 man raid for 4 hours before hand with an absolute slew of rubbish wipes.  We hit 10 man after that hoping to push mad skill at least and ran into a wall of bad luck, poor timing and basically shit play.  We had some poor raiders in the 10 (relatively) and it seemed like they were always the ones that got targeted.

We got to Anub and wiped out to about 30 attempts left.  By this stage I was tired and generally sick of it for the day.  We got the boss to about 400k in phase 3 and wiped, another shit wipe and we got the boss to about 250 / 300k when the main tank died – and Anub bugged.  He aggroed onto a warlock but got stuck out of melee range (we hadn’t moved and didn’t even realise at first) – he just got stuck on the floor in the middle of the room.  The remaining dps burned him down in about 15 sec.

Is that an exploit offence for which I could be banned?  Maybe.  I certainly don’t believe that we exploited anything.  Nor would I have expected ANYONE to wipe out in that situation.  Its simply not something that I think warrants a ban.  The guys who got banned for 2 manning Flame Leviathan, also not ban worthy.  Martin Fury – absolutely bannable (but only in the context of one shotting a bunch of hard mode raid bosses).  I appreciate that Blizzard can (and do) ban whenever they want.  It just seems inconsistent at times.

However, the point of this banning I think extends beyond the actual events.  I think its a message to the ultra hard core raiders.  The message is that basically that style of play is no longer supported by Blizzard.

You see when I first saw the gating of ICC I thought that it was to protect a weak instance.  Patently, that is not true.  Several of those fights are HARD.  Pugs are not killing BQL any time soon.  My guild is a top 500 guild – we are a clear 3rd on our realm (as far in front of 4th as we are behind 2nd) – and we haven’t cleared BQL or any of the new bosses yet.  This content will hold up till mid year easily for most guilds.  Heroics longer still.

The reason for the gating then is a mystery.  One interpretation that occurs to me is that they did NOT want the ultra hardcore guilds to blow through the content the way they did in 3.0.  Ensidia (and by this I really mean Nihilium to an extent) have long profiligated the view that they hold an esteemed, elite place in this game.  That they are somehow above the average guild and player – not merely skillwise (and I say this without any rancour) – but as quasi-authoritative “special” people.  Pretty conclusively, those days are over.  

I’m not sure what precedent this creates – I do believe though if it wasn’t the end boss, if it wasn’t the first kill then it wouldn’t have been a bannable offense.  In fact they may not even have had the kill stripped from them.  And that is the thing about this whole saga that I think is wrong.

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