Did Ensidia deserve a ban?

So the big WoW drama story today is that Ensidia got the world first kill on 25 man Arthas last night … and then later all took a 72 hour ban, and had the title and achievement removed. Allegedly because of an exploit involving engineering.

Larisa discusses the ban here, and whether people feel sympathy or not for one of the most opinionated raid crews on the planet.

But now events have taken an intriguing twist. Boubouille of mmo-champion, a respected blogger who is best known recently for being spot on with his Cataclysm leaks, has been provided by Ensidia with the logs from yesterday’s raids.

He uses these to show that the bombs had been part of the rogue’s regular rotation on other bosses, and comments that he didn’t think Ensidia had any way to know that the bombs were causing the problem. So of course they just thought it was a buggy fight.

Does seeing a respected blogger pick through the logs change your view on whether Ensidia deliberately used an exploit? And do they deserve a ban?

I think the harshest part of the whole thing will be if losing the achievement means that they can’t start on the hard modes next week with the other top guilds. And that will be a loss for all of the players who enjoy competing for progression kills.

Edited to add: And here’s a post on mmo-champion where one of the Ensidia raiders gives his point of view anonymously, and explains more about how it feels to be in that sort of guild and in that kind of situation.

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24 thoughts on “Did Ensidia deserve a ban?

  1. BB hits the nail on the head. It’s standard at high-end for rogues to use the bombs, and Ensidia had no way of being able to tell this was an exploit, since they had no way of knowing what was supposed to happen. The ban is unfair, taking away the achieves is unfair, and Blizz should have to take it back with a lot of egg on their faces.

    And I don’t even particularly like Ensidia! I just share some righteous indignation over how Blizz is mistreating them.

  2. Doesn’t change my opinion because use of Saronite Bombs in Raids and on Bosses is a common tactic, especially among those DPSers looking for a little more Oomph.

    This was Blizzard’s mistake from both a programming/coding and encounter testing POV. Blizzard are the ones who messed up and Ensidia are paying the price.

    Take away their World First because Saronite Bombs had an unintended but very beneficial effect on the encounter? Sure, why not. But reset their Raid Timer for them and pull the encounter so the ‘bug’ can be fixed.

    Banned for 72 hours for doing nothing different on the Arthas encounter than they’d done on any other Boss? Banned for continuing to use the Bombs even when they knew (or suspected) that they regrew the floor? That’s just cold, even for Blizzard.

    IMO they’re acting just like the 6-year old who changes the rules on you midway through a game because he’s losing, then when you follow his new rules and still win he accuses you of cheating.

  3. Ensidia blacked out the chat frame on their 10 man kill shot, and refused to release their fraps of either kill, while lying about how much it actually impacts the difficulty of the encounter. Several people have reported that armory indicated many of their raiders powerleveled engineering in the gap between their 10 and 25 man kills. Blizzard specifically stated that Ensidia intended to bug the encounter with the purpose of exploiting the bug to make the encounter easier, which probably means that someone made the mistake of saying something in-game, where Blizz can read anything you type.

    Ensidia’s behavior on this front has been extremely similar to Exodus’ when they exploited Alone in the Darkness, and the punishment they recieved was identical.

    Remember, these are the people who managed to figure out that summoning a disgusting oozeling 16 times in a row would break the C’thun fight. They’re the ones who figured out how to use Divine Intervention to cut half of Lady Vashj’s health off. They’re the ones who figured out that sychronizing JoLs allowed them to get twice as much healing on Firefighter. And now we’re supposed to think that they didn’t figure this out, when all the evidence points to them knowing something?

    • Actually, someone on WoW Insider did some research and according to them of the twenty-five raiders who killed Arthas, only 4 of them had Engineering, and Ensidia gave combat logs to Boubouille of MMO-Champion and only one of those four was using Saronite Bombs. So saying Ensidia powerleveled Engineering is a lie.

      That said, they probably wouldn’t have needed to in order to use the bug to trivialize the fight. One Engineer might have been enough.

    • Yeah. That’s the things that strikes me about this. Ensidia have run pretty close to the taking outright exploiting bugs line before, so I would not be at all suprised if this was just the first time they’ve been caught at it.

  4. Certainly as a Engineer myself, even as a healer, I lob those things around all the time. If we’re short on DPS and I can spare a global cool down then Fire elementals, searing/magma and bombs get used. I used all of that and the odd flame shock on our first Festurgut kill. Its not much but when I’ve seen a Boss drop with 7 seconds on the enrage timer…

    Do I think it was an exploit? No idea I’d have to go read the MMo stuff or look at the logs myself.

    Have I used exploits? Yes. My first ‘tactics’ session was on Ulduman. Our little 5 man group were having a nightmare on the last Boss. So a little reasearch later we kited him up the stairs and had our rogue gank the adds on their long long run to join him.I felt proud as it was our first use of internet tac’s and got us over a real road block. Sounds no worse than what Ensida may have done now.

    Even if it was the ban and prevention from other world firsts seems harsh. I feel sorry for them even if they were pushing the limits.

  5. It is not the responsibility of the players to be aware of and avoid using tactics which go against an encounters intended mechanics. Players have no means by which they can judge whether a given behavior is what is supposed to happen or not.

    Case in point way back when Molten Core was new there was a great deal of controversy related to whether or not using the buff you could get from mind controlling mobs in upper blackrock spire for the ragnaros fight was an exploit or not. Many players were absolutely convinced that using the buff was clearly an exploit but Blizzard eventually confessed that it was placed there intentionally for players to discover and use.

    Regardless, it remains the responsibility of the developer to detect and correct problems with the game and under no circumstances should players be punished because the developers failed to effectively test their product.

    No one is perfect and these systems can be enormously complex so bugs will always find their way to live servers. The right thing to do in such situations is identify the problem and correct it as quickly as possible. Developers have the option of removing or locking out an encounter until it can be fixed, rolling back servers if need be, or even rolling back specific characters. Blaming the players for your own failures is not the right way to handle the situation.

    • Oh come on, let’s not be stupid here. Blizzard does not design encounters to require professions. They are intended to give bonuses, not to radically change how an encounter works. Frankly if you cannot figure that our you’re either stupid or unwilling to consider that they might have done something wrong.

      Blizzard isn’t blaming players for the failures of their designers. They didn’t say “you are banned because we screwed up”. No, they are blaming players for exploiting what is an obvious bug.

      If there was a class which could do siege damage, there would be plenty of room for debate. But there are not. This is clearly an unintended mechanic. Should they gimp their damage to avoid taking advantage of it? That’s debatable. But they certainly should be open about it and report it the moment they notice it so that the encoutner can be locked and fixed, rather than charging ahead for a second round of exploitation.

  6. In my opinion it is not up to the player’s judgement or psychic powers to determine what may or may not be an exploit. As long as the player doesn’t hack the game, what he or she does is fair play until Blizzard explicitly prohibits it.

    Using crafted bombs – part of the game. Kiting bosses – part of the game.

    If the B-team developers can’t test their designs properly that’s no reason that any player should be punished.

  7. I can’t care less if they used bombs on purpose.

    It’s a computer program, you should be aware of the possibility of bugs. Bugs can be both positive and negative to your gameplay or progression.

    An example for negative is that you can’t loot the boss. This happened with my in EoE and the GM gave me the quest item (for the necklace). It was obviously intended to get to me, just the bug did not allow it.

    An example for positive is that some bug let you trivialize some content, like standing on a certain stone make you invincible. Standing in a stone obviously should not make you invincible. You should notice it is a bug and not use it.

    Ensidia should have seen that the encounter is bugged. I’m not claiming they knew what’s going on. But they must have seen that the platform acts stupid. They should have contacted a GM, telling that there is a bug, and they don’t know why. But they proceeded, being happy that some bug allowed them a world first.

    • I think Gevlon has the right of it. Much as its tempting to use a bug or exploit we’re talking world first here. As such they KNEW they had GM’s watching. All the ‘top’ guilds know that on a world first attempt there’s liable to be a horde of GM’s hanging out watching. So IF it was obvious things were screwy (and given a lack of PTR then it might not have been) then a GM ticket or even just a /say would liable have got results.

      • Agree with Gevlon and Uzi. I do like Ensidia, and I am willing to believe that it wasn’t intentional, even that they didn’t figure out what’s causing it. They say that’s how it was, so, okay, be it so.

        But even assuming all that in their favour, what still puts their head into the guillotine is that they didn’t speak up about it. Fine, get the kill. Adrenaline, involvement, determination, I get it all. Kill the bastard. But then come out and say, immediately and publicly “we killed him, yay! Go us! But there’s been some seriously weird stuff going on, and someone should really look into it”. They didn’t. They kept it secret – the anonymous post suggests they kept it maliciously secret.

        This is why the ban is deserved, and this is why some of them should sit down and think for a moment whether they may have taken this whole “competitive” bit a little too far, for their own sake.

  8. The question is if people should be banned for not that obvious exploits/bugs in general.

    I think 90% of all LOTRO players probably exploited various flaws in some Moria instances. The hard modes were incredibly hard and people always like to go the way of the least resistance. Hehe banning them all is probably not an option, and the responsibility is mainly on the side of the developers.

    But Ensidia knew what they were doing, so their ban was well deserved.
    They knew that they exploited a bug, they were very cagey and evasive about it instead of mentioning it. They are a bit too much focused the results, world firsts, and not concerned with the way they achieve them. It is true that they have a track record of exploiting whatever could be exploited and actively looking for exploits.

    • Bug using is like doping. If you do it for your own you probably get away (depending on drug law of your country).

      If you do it competitive, striving for winning a competition, you will get banned, if caught. Even if you didn’t knew that your cold drug contained something which is on the black list.

      • Tell that to the IFBB. If you’re not using steroids you may as well quit, because Mr. Olympia does and all of them in the past 30+ years.

  9. Pingback: Bans, Beauties, and… Beasts? « Procrastination Amplification

  10. I don’t know any circumstances. I wouldn’t care, if they succeeded with their first try and communicated the flaw. That doesn’t seem to be the case.
    1st: success: check!
    2nd: first try: unknown! (to me)
    3rd: communication of the flaw: failed.
    -> Guilty!
    Veto! : One could argument, that it wasn’t possible to see if it’s an exploit or not. A casual guild could do so, but not Ensidia, they got the pros!
    Veto declined! Still guilty!

  11. Blizzard should have saw it coming, since nearly ALL of their endbosses since vanilla have had major bugs at release. Onyxia? Raggy? Kael? There’s plenty more honestly that had to be hotfixed or nerfed heavily before they could be killed. Only lately do Blizzard take forever to respond and hotfix (this time I might add, they only disabled the siege damage on the bombs, they didn’t fix the bugged encounter). They should pay guilds like this in some way (subscription time?) to test this crap out on private test realms BEFORE it hits live, so that they can’t screw around like this and exploit for a first kill. Blizzard made it possible, and regardless of intent, Ensidia got a faster kill because of it. I will not attest to their intentions, but banning them for finding the bug is egregious.

    Blizzard has been screwing around quite a lot lately. PVP changes always have a large effect on PVE. Raiders get nerfed because of arena players all the time. Hell, recently they nerfed paladin stamina, then Ghostcrawler showed up and said “we added the fix before the announcement, don’t worry, we’ll announce it soon.” Thanks GC. I’m not a paladin, but that pisses me off. Nerf before putting in patchnotes? WTH!

    • Disabling the siege damage makes the exploit impossible. ‘Fixing’ the encounter would be far more complex to implement and no more effective. The ban isn’t for finding a bug, it’s for exploiting it to gain an illegitimate advantage. Blizzard is very grateful when people find bugs and tell them. Not so much when you use them to make a mockery of raiding.

      A slight stam nerf is not at all a nerf aimed at PvP. It’s aimed at PvE, at fine-tuning effective health to keep the tanks closer together. Fact is, PvE has been minimally impacted by PvP. If anything it has benefited by the much closer eye on balance.

      • 1st: Siege damage was taken away from something that can be used in siege scenarios, WG and BGs. Fixing it for real is too complex? So take this scenario, I bought my PC at wal-mart instead of assembling it from top of the line parts from newegg. That’s the level of repair you’re defending.

        2nd: Just because it’s mentioned in the same paragraph doesn’t mean I thought the paladin HP nerf had anything to do with PVP, I was listing another example of Blizzard being stupid. Notice, they made the change before announcing it. Stealthnerf, with an explanation coming!

  12. i think that blizz should give them the kill back because they wouldve went through the fight dozens of times on the ptr’s and as soon as they do it live they get banned? Blizzard throws little things such as saronite bombs for a reason, for those players who are smart and not complete idiots and know how to make a spread sheet on themselves to maximize their dps.

  13. Good. They deserved banned, this is NOT the first time they have had to intentionally bug encounters to get world firsts. They screamed foul when exodus did it and got them banned, they deserved what they got and more.

    To bug the encounter you had to throw saronite bombs where there were no mobs.

    Why would you do that? Oh right to bug the encounter.

    They provided mmo champs INCOMPLETE combat logs.

    Why would you do that? oh right, To hide that you bugged the encounter.

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