Sunday, 16 January 2011

WoW: the ilvl exploit controversy

There's been some talk amongst WoW players and the Blizzard staff who interact with us about the exploit of using inappropriate but high level gear to spoof the LFD tool into allowing players into dungeons they don't have the gear for.

Oddly the devs have smiled benevolently on this.

Ghostcrawler, lead systems designer posted his opinion:

The item level requirement is intended only to keep out players who have no idea what is appropriate content for them. We know you can game it by getting PvP gear or hiding off-spec gear in your bags. Congrats on being sneaky! If you’re sophisticated enough to try and game the item-level requirements, you should be sophisticated enough to know if you can actually handle the content.

And Wryxian followed it up by advising a player to spoof the system if he couldn't arrange a group with friends or guildies.

Alternatively you could recreate the situation you had before, and just keep some higher item level gear in your bags or bank so you can use the LFD tool again. Yeah, it feels kinda sneaky, but if you're confident that your performance is fine and you know your health is high enough to take heroic damage, then this might work for you. The gear item level check for the LFD is very simple, and it's also simple to circumvent. Yes we could make it more complicated, but at the moment we're fine with how it's working. We're not currently very concerned that some circumvention is possible, because this can be useful in some cases.

This was my response:

Wryxian on page 2: "we don't outright advocate doing this"

Wryxian on page 1: "Alternatively you could recreate the situation you had before, and just keep some higher item level gear in your bags or bank so you can use the LFD tool again."

That is very clearly outright advocating that players do this.

I'm concerned that you and GC think players need to be sophisticated to do this. The Tol Barad fiasco, where entire servers win-traded shows how quickly people will realise there's an easy route to success. We do talk to each other, you know.

I'm concerned that you're equating sophistication with the ability to get the job done. I'm not even 85 and I know I can do a few bgs to get my ilvl up then join heroics. As tank even. I could do this simply by buying cloth epics for later resale and having them in my bank, just as part of regular auction house arbitrage. With the system as is I can instantly join a heroic the moment I hit 85 as a tank simply by doing low level bgs or playing the auction house while I level up.

I'm also concerned that you believe players know when they're not cutting it. A great many players always feel it's the other guy's fault no matter how clearly they suck. From a certain perspective it's true - if the dps vaporises all the mobs in 0.001 seconds then it won't matter if I tank in greens; if the healer has infinite mana and healing power then as long as I don't get one-hit killed I'm dandy. Freud called this projection, the trait of defending your ego by falsely assigning blame elsewhere and it's fundamental to human psychology.

I'm concerned that you're encouraging players to, well, cheat. Athene got banned at the start of WotLK for leveling using a mage who would leave group and aoe his mobs. Why was that exploit bannable but this exploit (which clearly harms other players) encouraged?


  1. I got accused of abusing the iLevel lock once as I had a few pieces of PvP gear on when I entered. Ironically I was doing HCs before I started any level 85 PvP. I don't think there's much Blizzard can do about it though.

  2. They could add filters like they do with loot rolls. Cloth on a plate doesn't count. Ignore resilience gear in PvE. Gear that isn't soulbound wouldn't count either.

    They can prevent the exploits, rather than actively encouraging them.

  3. Agree that blizzard could just as easily disregard PvP Resilience gear stat in PVE like Klepsavoic said above. If Blizzard really wanted to i'm sure they could prevent the PVE exploits or hot fixed it long ago.

  4. I understand the developers' point of view.

    That restriction is there to protect innocent lvl 85 kids from entering heroics. Nothing else. If somebody spends enough thought on how to circumvent it, he will not be burnt that badly if he manages and then chain-wipes. he will have to blame himself and probably even do so. He will be proud to have gamed the system, even if the heroic was a pain in the ass.

    Really, the reason for this rule is to keep those people out of heroics who might unsubscribe, because "WoW is suddenly too hard to be fun!"

    It is not meant as a hard restriction. Blizzard doesn't believe in that kind of restriction, anyway. They just use it, because it is quite effective and easy to understand.

  5. I think the point is, Nils, although the player doing this won't be burnt his group might be. If you wipe 8 times partly because 2 of your dps do pitiably low damage in their greens then you're entitled to be unhappy even though to the fresh dinged 85s in greens only 8 wipes for a completed heroic might be completely acceptable.