Elite Dangerous’ novel-concluding Salomé event was wrecked by long-con griefers

Last week, we reported on an impending roleplaying event in Elite Dangerous that was set to influence the outcome of Premonition, a game-based novel by author Drew Wagar. What players did during the event to hunt down or defend accused assassin Salomé was expected to be incorporated into the book, including NPCs being killed off permanently.

I’m sad to report that while many players did rush to Salomé’s (as played by Wagar himself) defense, the event was predictably run off the rails by players. First, a multi-guild faction calling itself Premonition Allied Coalition (PAC), which was sanctioned by Wagar and ostensibly there to protect the NPC, allegedly began threatening and attacking non-PAC players who arrived in the event locations, causing extreme uproar across the Elite subreddit.

And that, according to Ars Technica, is when the chaos really began, as amid the pandemonium, Salomé’s ship was actually destroyed by a PAC member who was in fact a mole named Harry Potter (sigh) from gleeful and notorious Elite griefer group Smiling Dog Crew, who had convinced PAC it could be trusted this time, and MMO players for some reason believed them.

“The wolf wasn’t just given the keys to the henhouse – the wolf was escorted inside, seated at a table, and asked to personally select the chicken he wanted to eat,” AT put it.

Of course, some players believe it was planned that way all along, in spite of Wagar’s denial, while others are trying to learn from the experience.

“Some will accuse me of having scripted this event,” Wagar wrote on his blog. “Some will accuse me of seeding factions and sowing discord on the ..er.. discord. I would love to accept such a compliment, but I’m not that good. I can write a plot, but I cannot manipulate an entire playerbase to my whim.” Wagar does admit that “there was a lot that went wrong” and promises to “review it and learn from it.”

But most folks are just upset that the worst examples of gamers always manage to break the rules to win and get away with it. As one Redditor colorfully put it,

“What I ****ING HATE about this event is not that Salome died, not that the defenders screwed up, but that of all things, a god damn griefer, a menace (not in the cool way, more of the ‘someone else’s dog shitting in your yard’ kind of menace), an ***hole and a coward, with his SDC group of side-****s will get immortalized. Instead of all getting temp-banned for breaking the rules, combat logging and acting like mad psychopaths, they get a VIP spot in a ****ing book.”

We hear you dude.

Source: Reddit, Ars Technica. Thanks, Celestial!
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79 Comments on "Elite Dangerous’ novel-concluding Salomé event was wrecked by long-con griefers"

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Robert Mann

You invite somebody who is so much an asshat that they have crashed and griefed charity functions because ‘they will behave this time’… and you are either lying that you didn’t set it up, or have the rough intelligence of a salt crystal. Given that breathing is being performed, the salt crystal theory is debunked.

capt_north
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capt_north

I don’t always play Elite: Dangerous, but when I do, I play solo.

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Melissa McDonald

After reading this I am left with the impression that this is the next EVE, and perhaps will start leeching customers from that game.

massre
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massre

The main difference is EVE Online delivers genuinely massive space battles of thousands of player ships whereas Elite Dangerous can manage perhaps a dozen players together on a good day if you don’t mind repeated server disconnects and wing breakage.

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BalsBigBrother

After a lot of listening and reading I have finally found something I feel paints a fair picture of how things unfolded in the event.

A Lave Radio podcast which interviews 3 people who were intimately involved the organising and execution of the defence side of the event, 1 of the admirals from the PAC group (Premonition Allied Coalition) & 2 folks from the CoR group (Children of Raxla).

They explain who they are and what their roles were in detail in the podcast if folks are interested in their backgrounds so I wont go into too much detail. However they had a quite a lot of influence in the events of the day and the organisation of things leading up to it with one of them being in Salome’s wing as close protection. So for me they are a good and credible source of information.

The gist of their perspective is that while Harry Potter, whom they didn’t trust, did actually get the kill what ruined and scuppered their plans was the p2p server issues that occurred immediately prior to that. Up until that point what they were doing they say was essentially working.

Source link: http://laveradio.com/salome-aftermath-special/

I would urge folks to give it a listen.

massre
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massre

> one of them being in Salome’s wing as close protection. So for me they are a good and credible source of information.

Credible??

> what ruined and scuppered their plans was the p2p server issues that occurred immediately prior to that.

Credibility == zero. Every man and his dog knew that ED’s mickey-mouse p2p instancing would break this event, just like it has broken every similar event before it.

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BalsBigBrother

They know more about how things went down, what preparations were made and what contingencies were in place yes even for a betrayal. So yes I would consider them credible if you don’t that is fine you are entitled to your own opinion. /shrugs

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Nim

How were they planning to reconcile having a glorified escort mission in a game that is this heavily instanced? If a system instance has a soft-cap of 32 players and you fill it up with 32 good-guys , the bad-guys cannot get in to attack the target. Brilliant stuff.

massre
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massre

The discussion on the organiser’s blog https://www.drewwagar.com/announcements/29-04-3303-your-universe-needs-you-cmdr/ shows he know about this problem but was unconcerned. Sure enough, in the event virtually no-one outside Salome’s defenders and friends list got near her, due to the instancing. So the fact that it was one of the chosen few that killed her is really not a surprise. Nor it is a surprise that Drew invited Harry’s gang in.

This article nails it. “Elite Dangerous – The Drew Wagar’s Conspiracy (Event Coverage)” See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw257RqrvTA

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Johnny

32 player game.

massre
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massre

If you’re lucky. Otherwise reckon on a dozen players per instance, and that’s with a load of wing failures and server disconnects.

oruh
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oruh

This actually seems like a better story than anything they were attempting to manipulate out of the event.

possum440 .
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possum440 .

Of course these type of gamer’s will say, “This isn’t the way I am in real life” or they and others will state “This is just them playing a game the way they want, they are not like this in real life”. “You cant compare these types of games and actions to real life”.

Yes you can. You act like this in a game, you are like this in real life. The only reason you and your friends do not think you act this way is because you self identify with your chosen friends and in your own little pathetic circles you all think you are “normal”.

Like EVE online, like the division, and like this game, it is nothing but a trash game for trash players. Why people support this and other titles like it is beyond me. As long as people can hide behind a computer like cowards and remain faceless, they will act this way.

It isn’t science, it isn’t psychology, it is simply a fact that many piece of shit gamer’s need this type of attention and these types of games are a way to get it.

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Martinez

The annoying part it a lot of this was premeditated Meta-Gaming taking place OUTside the game on forums. they set up this Con months ahead of time. If it was all in-game it would have been cool instead it was people playing around with both in game and social engineering. Ruining the event for everyone but a handful of Jack-holes.

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Witches

Working as intended… this type of player is the target demographic, so i would call this excellent publicity.

massre
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massre
ceder
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ceder

Reap what you sow.

Alfredo Garcia
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Alfredo Garcia

Altamont, 1969. The nerd version.

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rafael12104

So, this is precious. Just precious. A known griefer who is a standing member if not the leader of a known griefer group, promises to be good, and gets put on the inside right next to the prize. Heh.

Did he swear he would be good a good boy? Did promise on the soul of his grand children? Did they check to see if his fingers were crossed? *shakes head*

But the sad part is that the dude is a legend now among his peers and others watching from a distance. And so, the ultimate form of “emerging game play” was on display which will allow others to come up with their own versions of it to the detriment of all who don’t give a shit.

Lovely. Should make for a good ending for book though. Wait a minute, the griefers cred was overlooked… resulting intrigue, chaos, and a shocking conclusion to a novel? Hmm. Sales ought to be pretty good, relatively speakin… Something is rotten in Denmark.

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Brown Jenkin

Yep, not much to be done here. MMO players can be great, PvPers can be great, but all too often I’ve seen any attempts at doing cool stuff in the genre ruined by clowns.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

This is why PvP is so hard to make work right in sandboxes: The subspecies Homo sapiens idioticus.

And those who try to defend the griefer: Just stop. This is the kind of behaviour that kills games.

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BalsBigBrother

I just want to be clear here I am not defending this person in the general sense, I know he is a griefer who has disrupted lots of players and indeed I was watching the charity stream that he crashed into and disrupted.

However, if you intend to metaphorically hang someone at least do it for the right reasons, like the charity stream which he messed up to the extent that Frontier issued a reminder to the player base on what was acceptable behaviour within the game. What he did there was griefing plain and simple.

What he did in the event just gone nope it was not griefing it was an intended action within the terms of that event. here let me quote from the official lore piece relating to it, in particular the end text (emphasis mine)

A bounty of 5 Million credits is offered for Salomé’s death. 2 Million credits is offered, apiece, on receipt of similar proof of her conspirators’ demise.

Consider all of them armed and extremely dangerous.

They, and those helping them, have been sighted in and around the Col 70 Sector, in the vicinity of the 46 Eridani system.

Do not engage in communications. Show no mercy. Kill them all on sight.

Source: https://www.drewwagar.com/announcements/29-04-3303-faq/

massre
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massre
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Raimo Kangasniemi

There are laws – in this case, official rules – and then there’s the spirit of the law, let’s call them unwritten rules in this case.

The effect of breaking the latter can be as harsh to the players suffering from griefing and through that, to the reputation and future success of the game. Some can lose their jobs, others their favourite hobby if the game tanks.

The only cure is a permaban.

People who want to play a game as intended need to be protected from those who just want to disrupt and cause problems.

In law there’s a term for it – anti-social behaviour. Make that a bannable offense, ban the most outrageous griefers and the rest will fall in line or move to another game.

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Sally Bowls

As I don’t have a horse in this race, my emotions went the usual roller coaster of anger, sadness, sandboxes are kinda cool, to SSDD.

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Nick Smith

Harry Potter – “Oh come on guys, i’ll be good this time… I swears it precious.”

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enamel

A spy assassinating the target from inside the group that was formed to protect the target is a really interesting way for this story to play out. All the better that this player is a well known ‘villain’ in the game, as it only adds to the narrative.

Just like the death of Lord British in UO, and the dismantling of BoB by a defector in EVE, this act of espionage only adds to the mythos of Elite.

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Scott McCool

Granted, I don’t play either game, but I somehow read through this whole article thinking “Eve Online” rather than “Elite Dangerous,” with a resigned lack of surprise at online behavior.

Sixuality
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Sixuality

I’d only glanced at the opening lines of the article and didn’t realize I wasn’t reading an EVE article until I reached the video.
Whether that is a compliment or an insult to Elite Dangerous I can’t quite decide.

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Dread Quixadhal

Soooo, people are upset that players of a game made famous for griefing, long-game betrayal, and politics engaged in politics, long-game betrayal, and greifing?

massre
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massre

Bree, news update. Harry Potter isn’t going to “get a VIP spot in a ****ing book.” The writer Drew Wagar just announced on his blog “He will not be called ‘Harry Potter’ in the book.”

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Lord Zorvan

Only because Wagar’s great-grandchildren would still be paying off the lawsuit settlement to J.K. Rowling.

massre
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massre

Says who?

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Martinez

they’ll probably just call him H.P…done

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Kurt Shadle

That might be more for legal reasons than anything. But that’s just my 2 cents without knowing.

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Space Captain Zor

This is an interesting contrast to today’s ‘Grind. Call it an example of how people fill the gap when there’s not enough story in their games?

miol
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miol

What rule has been broken if it’s FFA anyway? o.O

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Ashfyn Ninegold

notorious Elite griefer group Smiling Dog Crew, who had convinced PAC it could be trusted this time, and MMO players for some reason believed them.

Who knew that notorious griefers would be trusted by the very people they mean to screw over?

Uhn. Imagine that.

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Daniel Reasor

I know basically zero details beyond what’s in the article above, but what’s presented here sounds an awful lot like PAC acted aggressively toward non-Coalition members in order to preserve this game’s equivalent of the Scarab Lord title for one of their own. Designing a server-wide or community-wide event that only one player gets to “win” has never been a terrific idea.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Scene opens to a man with impossibly white robes and a glowing beard moving a mound of dirt by hand.

Demiurge grunts and pushes the last mountain into place before dusting his hands off.

“There. Should be all done. ”

Demiurge looks all around.

“Let me see. Trees, mountains, rivers, animals, even platypuses. Yep got all that. Have a Sun, the Moon, a crap ton of stars. Those look awesome! Best sandbox ever! My humans will have the best environment to flourish in!”

A red klaxon sounds and the bearded old white dude checks the alarm. “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Who the? The humans? But I told them….”

Demiurge scowls as he listens to a faint, “lolz”, coming from the world below.

“MEDAMMIT!”

Scene closes as music swells.

A tale as old as time…
A song as old as rhyme…

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Alex Willis

comment image

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Robert Mann

Gotta agree with others, this isn’t really about anonymity or an audience. It is about a lack of consequences. Which, in other words, means this is that person’s true colors. The way they would act if nobody else had any say.

In short, people are jerks because they are jerks, and the only things which stop them from being jerks is the knowledge that the result of them being a jerk will be something they dislike.

The real equation is the image on the right = the image on the right. Anonymity merely supports a lack of consequences. Audience merely means somebody is there to witness it. The person, however, does not change. The lack of restraints may change their behavior compared to places with consequences… but they are as they are, and it is the influence of consequences or the lack thereof that is changing things.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i feel like facebook disproves this all day every day, as well as twitter.

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Alex Willis

Fair enough. Although I’d say that the non-anonymity dimension is merely a supplement to the phenomenon. (Put another way: both can be true.)

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

the theory puts forward that people are more likely to be assholes with anonymity and an audience.

too many years in too many workplaces and bars told me this presumption was misleading at best when this meme was new. which at the time was most often put forward by people to deflect people’s own awfulness online onto another party.

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Sray

Agreed. It’s actually the removal of physical or emotional consequences that lead to this sort of behaviour. I can post the N word all over my Facebook ot Twitter feed and it’s statistically very unlikely that I’ll immediately get punched in the face for it; nor do I have to see how I’ve hurt someone else. Even if either of these things happens two hours later, I’m still removed from the immediate consequences, somewhat decreasing the likelihood of “learning my lesson” depending on my level of anti-social disposition; which can then lead to repeated dickish behaviour.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

see also the cliche of family holiday dinners.

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

Whether or not it was “planned that way all along”, that sounds like a very strong outcome as far as the creative process for the novel goes. Having a spy infiltrate the organization protecting the target is a reasonable, if not very original, storyline.

Also, I don’t get how what happened can be interpreted as anything other than what was intended to happen. “What players did during the event to hunt down or defend accused assassin Salomé was expected to be incorporated into the book” is how it’s described and surely that’s exactly what happened.

Everyone involved was a player and they either hunted down or tried to defend the NPC. The fact that some of them attacked other players while doing so and others used trickery and subterfuge is by the by, isn’t it, unless those things are specifically forbidden in Elite:Dangerous, which, by the rest of the piece, it appears they are not.

If you don’t want players to come up with their own storylines you probably shouldn’t encourage them to improvise. They’re always going to take things in a direction you didn’t expect.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

the upset is essentially that the guy who scored the kill is a notorious cheater that many feel is long overdue for a ban and instead of said ban for rampant exploits will be memoralized in a novel.

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BalsBigBrother

Hmm I am not sure on the cheater part but he is someone who does get off on disrupting other people play so the griefer part fits. For instance I became aware of him when he crashed into and disrupted a charity stream that was raising money for cancer.

For all that he is also a really good pvper who has “mad skills” as the kids say so there is that.

I am in no way condoning his previous exploits indeed I wish he would go away. However in this particular case I don’t think he did anything wrong.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

apparently he routinely abuses severally widely known exploits to ensure his own victory including but not limited to combat logging in fights he thinks he will lose.

in this particular episode he has been said to have exploited the friends system to track this “NPC” which was being played by a live person apparently and thus in the player friend system.

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Tridus

Is it really “exploiting the friend system” to use the friend system exactly how it’s designed and intended to work?

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

do you think tracking GM played “NPC”s is how a friend system is intended to be used?

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Armsman

if it was so important to the event that this player character not be tracked; the person player her should have WIPED his/her friends list.

While I think Griefing does in fact suck; and shouldn’t be encouraged, it seems poor setup to NOT take into account or leave easy methods for it to occur. If it was also the fact that the one group assigned to help with the event was doing so just to get one of their members some notoriety – and that fact WASN’T disclosed beforehand <– That behavior sucks too.

Either way, it sounds like this was poorly handled by everyone involved in setting it up.

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BalsBigBrother

It was a player account run by Drew Wagar just like my account that I play. Not an npc or privileged GM account with special access. Sorry DK but you are wrong.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

was it not created for this event with fdev’s help? that is an official dev partnership in game event sanctioned by fdev?

nevermind that this is tip of the ice berg for this guy’s exploitation anyway?

but i’m sure the other exploits he habitually uses for unfair advantage in pvp are just “1337 skills” too eh?

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BalsBigBrother

It was a FDev supported event but the event was conceived, designed and run by Drew Wagar and his team of volunteers. FDev injected things into the game to support the lore and premise of the story he was telling but no it wasn’t run by them.

They did commission him to write the book but this whole promotion was Drew’s idea, run by him because he wanted the players to have some part in how it all played out.

If you want when I get home I will find you the links to his blogs and the various interviews that he did prior to the event where he explain all this in detail.

As for the last bit I am not denying that the person who did this is a scumbag who deserves his reputation as a griefer but in this case he didn’t actually do anything wrong within the mechanics of the game or the premise of the event. PVP happened in a pvp event.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

os all of this and having this unfair advantage in a dev sanctioned event for a dev commissioned novel is fine by you?

okay.

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BalsBigBrother

Sigh … ok lets try this explain to me what the unfair advantage he had was that no one else had the chance to attain?

I mean he wasn’t the only person on this friend list he wasn’t the only one that could use it to track her.

That he was able to get through to her instance is luck more than anything else but it is also something everyone else could have tried to do if they had put in the time and effort. So again what advantage?

Just as an fyi Mr Potter did stream this event and if you watch the stream chat carefully sometime after he kills her will see Balsbigbrother popping into chat and saying “Hi, dick, bye. That was me acting on an emotional level at the time she was killed

I have looked at a lot of summaries, post event reviews and plain old forums shit posts since then and while I reitterate Mr Potter is a notorious griefer who deserves his reputation for his past exploits he did nothing wrong in this instance nor did anything that anyone else wouldn’t have been able to do.

I am probably going to end my involvement and just go with agree to disagree with you and move on. I do have stuff I need to get done. Always fun to discuss stuff with you though sir, take care o7

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BalsBigBrother

Salome and the other three vip principles were always played by live players and have been in the game before this event on those accounts.

He didn’t exploit it. The friends system works like that so you can find your friends that is not exploiting it that is how the mechanic works. He didn’t use it in a way that wasn’t intended, he sent someone a friend request, they accepted and that is it. No exploit

As I have said a few times the person who was in charge of the Salome account was maybe naive to have accepted a friends request from a griefer or someone they didn’t know but that is as far as it goes. They simply could have not accepted the request in the first place knowing this mechanic is a thing in the game and has been for a good while.

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Grok

Some people just want to watch the virtual world burn.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

what comes to mind is perhaps the difference in how books about eve events are written, vs say something like this.

in eve the fictionalization of player events is written after the fact with no specific guarantee a given event will be given this treatment.

while something like this is set up a hyped up thing. which to be fair with the nature of ED being what it is, i don’t think eve novelization type scenario would generally be warranted by player driven events in the game for the most part (i can see a short story about the journet to the center of the galaxy i suppose but i can’t say i’ve heard much else even amongst buddies that play regularly that would be worthwhile here).

ultimately tho something like this ends up with antagonists looking to meta their way into the history books and often undermining any chance of having a magical organize outcome. such as the case would be here, based on the all too typical zerg guild antics combined with massive arrogant naivety of inviting a beligerent who already has an established reputation as a cheating griefer in the game to join their war party.

for zerg guilds and griefers alike, events like this are too great an opportunity to pass up when they can be listed forever in recruitment posts in the current and future games that is bumped by thousands of low effort nontributions to win the daily fight to stay at teh top of the recruit forum and lure as many warm bodies into the org as possible,

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BalsBigBrother

I personally would take issue with your headline. It wasn’t wrecked at least not by the person who actually did the act of killing Salome. Essentially it was a pvp focused event and pvp happened, what a shocker.

All the drama and intrigue leading up to and how it all unfolded were all part and parcel of the event. I do find the finger pointing and name calling quite distasteful though from all the sides that are commenting on it and its doesn’t paint the community in a great light for what should have been fun for everyone.

Since Saturday I have been pretty much looking through all the summaries both written and video about the event trying to find one that isn’t enforcing a persons narrative on to what happened. Still haven’t found one I would feel comfortable with tipping into MoP.

What did wreck the event at least as I saw it were the server issues and instancing that prevented a 99% of those interested actually getting involved. I was watching a 4 person multistream of the event and they were forever disconnecting / crashing. I was also playing in solo while it was happening and got so bad us solo folks suffered the server issues as well.

I hope more events like this are run in the future but I do hope that more effort is made to ensure the game infrastructure can cope with it.

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Serrenity

Looking at this from the outside (trying to get back into the game) what struck me as problematic here was not the outcome, but rather the arbiter of that outcome is a group who repeatedly abuses mechanics was the one who executed. I think the bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths would be remedied if it weren’t for the asshatterish nature of the people who actually did the killing, and did so through exploiting a game mechanic, yet again (if I’m understanding the friends’ list thing appropriately).

At least, if it were me that would be the part that bothered me — not that the event played out the way I didn’t want, but that the experience was cheapened by someone who exploited the game mechanics.

Or, as I don’t regularly play the game, I could be completely off base. If that’s the case, please feel free to ignore :-)

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BalsBigBrother

They didn’t exploit any thing though that game mechanic works that way intentionally they didn’t use it in a way that it wasn’t meant to be used. So how is that an exploit or exploiting a mechanic?

If I was to be hyper critical I would say the person who was in charge of the Salome account was naive to accept a friend request from a known griefer or even someone unkown to them. Knowing they could then track where they went as a result of doing that. Even then if they became aware that was how they were being followed they just needed to delete the friends list and boom all gone but they didn’t.

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Serrenity

That’s a fair assessment. I was labelling it an exploit because if Harry Potter has asked a developer if it was OK to add Salome as a friend, so they could see where she was at all times, the devs would have probably said “yeah … that kind of goes against what we are doing here….” More like using an existing system in a way that it wasn’t intended to be used (to track what amounts to an NPC who was the central figure for a server-wide event).

Whether we all define exploit using that definition is kind of immaterial, just how I see it is all.

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BalsBigBrother

Fair enough, its all good :-)

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Tridus

Is it really an “exploit” to do what the game explicitly allows you to do? It’s not like they found a bug. They didn’t hack. They didn’t cheat.

They got invited to the thing and had access to their friends list, which told them where someone on it was.

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Serrenity

That’s why I said exploit – they intentionally did something they knew the creators of the event didn’t intend for them to do. In my mind, it doesn’t really need to be a hack, a cheat or a bug to be an exploit.

They just did something intentionally they knew the developers wouldn’t have wanted to them to do. That’s the exploit.

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Tridus

If they developers didn’t want him to have Salome on his friends list, why did they let him add Salome to his friends list, and then not remove Salome from everyone’s friend lists when this event started?

Incompetence is not an exploit.

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Serrenity

We are going to disagree on this … on multiple points. First, it’s not incompetence on the developers part that they weren’t able to anticipate every possible misuse of every system in their game. That’s just a fact of life.

My original point stands within my definition of an exploit. Harry Potter KNEW he was circumventing the spirit of the event by using a game mechanic in a way he knew the developers wouldn’t have wanted him to do.

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styopa

Personally, I’m amused when people assuming the best in others are disappointed.

It entirely validates my cynicism regarding the bulk of the human race, something reinforced every day on the internet.

That the redditor is so enraged over something so completely predictable is just gravy.

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Tridus

The problem with this characterization of it is that the NPC dying was flat out listed as one of the potential outcomes. It wasn’t ruined by someone killing her. That was working as designed.

It was messed up for a lot of people by having them not be allowed to contribute because PAC turned into a bunch of authoritarian strongmen douchebags by killing anyone on sight for the heinous crime of wanting to participate while not being part of PAC. PAC was of course impressively inept at it’s own security by allowing a known troll into the whole operation, who took advantage. If anyone ruined anything, it was PAC itself.

SDC didn’t do anything wrong. The event was flat out designed to allow someone to kill the NPC, and other players let him fly right up and do it. That’s how it goes when you let the players determine the outcome.

wpDiscuz