It seems that so many of the extremely difficult boss kills this expansion are being declared as invalid or unfair by Blizzard. Because the guilds in question discovered something that turned the encounter in their favor and used it. Exodus’s world first Alone in the Darkness was considered to be an exploit because the guild discovered they could seriously confuse the spawned Guardians in the final phase by a Holy Paladin messing around with brain portals and threat.
A lecturer once told me the following story: His company had been commissioned to develop an educational game which would teach teenagers about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body. The simple game they developed gave the user a virtual character named Bob and the game would show you what might happen to Bob in different situations.
The developers carefully produced different outcomes based on x drug+y situation = z. Then they put it into user testing and were completely surprised. What was the first thing the game users tried? Drugs? Alcohol? Cigarettes? No, the users tried to do it all, and all at once and waited to see if Bob could survive. They went to the extreme to see if the game could cope with a completely unrealistic, and unintended, situation.
They weren’t trying to understand the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body. They were trying to understand the game itself.
A big part of gaming is learning the rules of logic that define the game world itself. If the game is your opponent (isn’t that what Player vs Environment is all about?) then it’s the same as learning how your opponent thinks. Only by understanding the system can you beat it.
Take the Shadow Priest talent: Pain and Suffering. This talent was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King so that Shadow Priests could now cast just one Shadow Word: Pain at the start of a fight and keep it up on a target indefinitely by casting Mind Flay (part of the standard rotation) every now and then. Cast and forget.
However soon enough some Shadow Priests realised that if they boosted their critical strike chance temporarily (to say 30% instead of 20%) and recast a fresh Shadow Word: Pain they could essentially keep that one spell operating at a 30% critical strike chance for the entire duration of the fight long after the temporary buff had worn off.
You’re not going to read about that on any tooltip, I can guarantee it. But that’s how that talent and those two spells work in the logic of WoW. Once discovered, the smart players immediately started to mesh this new fact in with all the other bits of WoW knowledge that they might know. In the same way you might know that Mind Flay ticks 3 times during the channel but only applies two stacks of Shadow Weaving you can also know that Shadow Word: Pain remembers your critical strike chance at the moment you apply it.
You don’t question whether it’s intentional or not. It’s not your place to question what is and isn’t a mistake in the game. You are a gamer. It’s your job to win.
If you cast Arcane Missiles and your target runs out of line of sight mid-way through the channel, all five ticks of Arcane Missiles will land successfully, jumping right through walls, and hit that target. Yes, it can travel right through walls. I had no idea – until I watched this tournament video last year when it was used to win a match.
The smart player who understands the logic of the game can use them to win.
There is no right or wrong. It’s not up to you, as the player, to debate whether the design of such and such spell is intentional or not. We can only assume, in these two examples, that both of these spells and talents are working as intended. And, because they exist unchanged in the game, that implicitly confirms that they must be working as intended – otherwise they would be changed. We accept them and the best of us turn them to our advantage.
Did you know that you can Typhoon or Thunderstorm the Blood Fiends right off the edge of the spire during the Deathbringer Saurfang fight? I only just heard about that a week ago. By now I imagine many many guilds and PuGs are using this tactic to defeat the encounter.
If you believe that in a virtual world you can click on portals to teleport around Icecrown Citadel, if you believe that Deathbringer Saurfang exists in this space, why can’t you believe that you can dispense with the pets of Deathbringer Saurfang by maneuvering them right off the edge of the cliff? Note: one reader pointed out that this has been changed/fixed now.
If you believe that knocking off the fiends is cheating, you’re making assumptions about what the encounter developers at Blizzard intended. And that isn’t your place. If you had never raided before, if you had no knowledge of any other raid boss in the game then I highly doubt you would think that was cheating or using an exploit. You would think it was clever.
Using Levitate to totally negate the effects of the Snobold bombs in Northrend Beasts was eventually fixed by Blizzard which implies that it wasn’t working as intended. But Blizzard never said using Levitate during that encounter was an exploit.
Blizzard have decided that Ensidia exploited the Lich King encounter on 25 man. Something that Ensidia did caused the platform (which is meant to crumble underneath you I gather) to reform, or to stop crumbling.
You know what? If I was in that raid, and I was the one who figured out that something I was doing was disrupting the encounter significantly, I would be thrilled. If you can “break” the logic, push the game into a place that it was never meant to go – you are winning in my book. I say, congratulations to those who figured it out.
In the end it’s up the whims of Blizzard to decide what is and isn’t an exploit.
It’s all a political decision. Sure they can make an example of Ensidia and say “hey kids, this is what NOT to do”. But if it’s in widespread use before they can fix it? (see Levitate example, fixed an entire patch cycle later or the Deathbringer Saurfang knockbacks) They keep quiet and nobody is punished.
If it’s possible to do it in the game, you should do it, use it, whatever, to win. The World of Wacraft is a virtual world where the rules and logic are defined by the developers, not the gamers. Anything is possible. It is not our responsibility to say what should and shouldn’t work, what is and isn’t intentional.
Perhaps Blizzard were justified in removing achievements and gear from players who use tactics that “break”, and thus, win encounters as they did with Ensidia. But Ensidia are not responsible for the logic of the game, the logic that enabled their tactic to work in the first place. They are gamers. They will do everything in their power to win and in doing so find out what is and isn’t possible.
How can you ban them for that?