<Slowclap> Well played, Funcom. Seriously, well played.
Today Funcom announced via The Secret World game launcher that in the completed End of Days, Mayan-zombie-flavored event that due to players exploiting the game’s mechanics, instead of only the top 1000 players receiving a unique title and pet, that EVERYONE gets a title and pet. YOU get a pet! And YOU get a pet! And YOU get a pet! THIS is an MMO problem resolved properly.
Unlike say, some other ban-happy game, this is the right thing to do. Very soon after The Secret World went to a buy-to-play model, I picked it up, and the End of Days event was already in full swing. On that day, I saw my first exploiter. They were sitting behind barriers that auto-kill mobs and were simply pulling a ridiculous amount of Mayan zombies to their quick deaths. A similarly ridiculous pile of loot building up at their feet. I saw this time and time again as time passed.
Now, being a level 1 noob (so to speak) compared to these veteran players, I instantly realized that I had NO chance at keeping up with these guys, and so avoided anything having to do with the End of Days event. I did the few introductory missions, but then used the Mayan zombies as a way to simply test my growing powers. I awaited the end of the event gladly, knowing full well I’d get nothing, as these really annoying zombies that always seemed to show up at the worst possible moment (Getting smacked down by three mobs? How about we add a fourth much more powerful Mayan?!) would finally be gone.
And now? Look at this cutie-patooti!
Adorable, right? Maybe in a Lovecraftian nightmare sort of way? Well, call me a proud papa, anyway.
So why is this a great compromise? It’s a simple matter of punishing the exploiters and rewarding those who didn’t succumb to the exploit. Yes, I know, the exploiters still got their pet. But so did everyone else! There were a LOT of people that spent day after day exploit-farming these Mayans for the chance to earn this special pet. Finally, at the end of the event, Funcom turns around to them and says ”You know that special prize? It’s not special. Your punishment: your wasted time. Everyone who didn’t exploit gets a pat on the back and a thank-you gift.” Without banning anyone and incurring negative headlines, they still punished the exploiters and rewarded those that didn’t exploit.
You could argue that it wasn’t technically an exploit, that they were just smartly using the game’s current mechanics, that if Funcom didn’t want players to use the auto-kill wards, they would’ve shut them off. Blah blah blee blah blee blee blah. Shut up. It’s an exploit. Period. That’s obviously not how Funcom intended to have you slay the Mayan armies, and Funcom agrees.
And afterall, why be so quick to ban players who have shown a willingness to spend money on your game?
P.S. – I know, I know. It’s been a while since my last post. So sue me, I’m only human, and it is a new year.