Dragon Soul Raiding Progress: Your Day 3 (-4) Update!

Hello! Guest Contributor Ladan reporting in, giving you some of the highlights of Day 3. It's been a fairly dramatic week considering it's "just" Week 1. Curious? Read on!

Note: The opinions and typos expressed in this and all of my Daily Updates are my own. I am not a member of DREAM Paragon, just an invited guest contributor to their site. If you're interested in learning more about my research and work into raiding and raiding culture, please check out my research blog, http://www.raidingresearch.co.uk.

Normal Clears Continue Afoot!

As of this morning (morning in the UK) there were about 20,000 kills of Morchok, a dramatic increase over the first couple days and a fairly predictable indicator of the number of groups raiding out there. Looking at Madness, we've got 1279 kills in total, which represents a 2325% increase in kills over the first day (of US server access). This compares to the 1000% increase of kills of Morchok from Day 1 to Day 3, suggesting that while we're progressing through the kills as we spend more time working on the bosses, the number of new guilds entering the race is starting to slow down.

Transmogrification Fun!

Transmogrification, our favourite new multi-sylllabic word, has been checked out by players everywhere, including some of the Paragon guys. Here are a few new favourites, including one or two that have caused a wee stir:

Diivil (nice chest, really brings out your eyes):










Lazeil (his voice is deceptively deep for his appearance):


Arx (show off those big feet!):


LFR what?

Yes, the LFR... Looking for Raid... a chance to join up with 24 of your friends/non-friends/acquaintances and clear some raid content on the Baradin Hold difficulty level. You might even get some loots for the trouble! So what happened and why have other popular MMO and WoW forum sites been abuzz with accusations of bugs, creative game mechanics, or exploits in relation to the LFR?

Well, evidently a combination of careful planning by the elite guilds to run LFRs (I did mention yesterday that LFR was factoring into strategies, but I had no idea what was going to happen over the course of the day at that point) and a game bug resulted in something unexpected. But this was something most of the top guilds followed as, like most things buggish during the early days of a new patch, sometimes it's not entirely clear what's a bug versus a new mechanic, what's a creative use of gameplay versus an exploit. I'm not suggesting that all the guilds unwittingly partook in an accidental series of LFRs that resulted in an accidental and magical appearance of available loot, but the way in which the guilds had laid out their plans appeared to expose an actual bug that just made the process less cumbersome than had been originally expected. Were these guys always planning to do a lot of LFRs? Oh yes. Had they expected it to be this easy? Oh no. Were they going to stop the race because of a bug? Unlikely. And since it seemed like everyone else was doing it, were they pressured even more to keep doing it? Yes. Whether we like it or not, the race (and how we prepare for it) is often conducted in silos and we rely on hearsay or rumours to actually know what each other is doing. Should they have done it? Probably not, but it's easy for me to sit back and mull over grey areas of the game like this and decide what is or is not ok--these raiding guilds often have to make quick decisions based on what they know their competitors are already doing. As one elite raider whose guild did get involved said to me, "If I'm in a 100m race with 9/10 competitors doping, I have to dope as well to stay competitive." I guess there is truth in that statement, but there is always a choice not to dope, right? But that could very well mean you lose the race if you chose not to do what you think everyone else is doing. And not every elite guild did feel like they had to do it, they chose to prepare in a different way. As one elite raider from an elite raiding guild that did not get involved in the LFR situation said to me, "There is always a choice."

The bug that allowed this faster turnaround has been hotfixed, as I understand it, and while there are still a lot of contested debates out there about what was wrong or right and whether there should be further punitive action, we have yet to know if anything additional will be done. But if something does happen, keep in mind that I checked the top 10-15 guilds alone and found that the majority of them had conducted their LFR runs this way so we may see a different progress race or outcome if those guilds are penalised. And what about the many other guilds throughout the game that did the same thing? Shouldn't we penalise them as well?

I'll probably have more to say as the days continue, but for now, I'll leave it there. Again, keep in mind that these thoughts are my own and do not necessarily reflect what Paragon or its individual members might think.


Really? This is your response? "Everyone else was doing it"? Pathetic. What are you? 5 years old? YES. Absolutely, every guild who exploited it should be punished the same, including the 'top guilds'.

You knew it was an exploit. You knew the intent wasn't to hand you all the pieces of gear in a single week. You continued to exploit it. Everyone who exploited it, should be punished like anyone else would be any other time they exploited. You're nothing special. In fact, if your guild's actions show us anything, the fact that you're willing to resort to cheating shows your real character, both individually, and as a guild.

You do realize Ladan is not a member of our guild, right? You would have, if you had bothered to read the first two paragraphs.

What are you even talking about? You missed all the parts where Ladan has said she's not a member of the guild?

I'd be happy as hell if everyone who exploited it would be banned for several days. It'd establish a clear line that people wouldn't mess with. The worst thing that'll happen now is that some loot [u]might[/u] get removed and people wasted an evening raiding stuff. Big deal, really.

Next time something similar happens and there's enough people participating and showing the way by exploiting something (such as with Atramedes etc), you can bet there will be plenty of guilds to follow. Exactly like what happened now with LFR. If there were real consequenecs then it wouldn't happen. It would establish a clear line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior; you wouldn't have to gamble by not doing something others are taking an advantage of.

"The bug that allowed this faster turnaround has been hotfixed, as I understand it, and while there are still a lot of contested debates out there about what was wrong or right and whether there should be further punitive action, we have yet to know if anything additional will be done." - Ladan, paragon.fi

"While Raid Finder raids aren’t locked, players are only eligible to win loot from a boss once per week." - blizzard http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/4023602

"Each boss within the Dragon Soul raid can be killed once per week for a chance at loot." - blizzard http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/4023602

"If you are getting loot off of a boss twice then it is an exploit. This has always been the case in World of Warcraft, and we expect players to know better.
We’re in the process of implementing a hotfix to fix the exploit, and are deciding what steps we'll be taking for the gear that was already obtained." - blizzard http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3657278530?page=5#97

I am really struggling to find any "contested debate" that does not hinge on the "yes it was blatantly an exploit but they were doing it first" argument, which does not normally carry much weight in legal circles.

I was going to write something along the lines of Zyns post, although I believe removing the loot would already erode the reasoning for guilds next time around, and they'd be more inclined to say "no, we don't have to, those who do will lose what advantage they gained".

But yeah, Zyn covered this quite nicely. What remains for me to add is that with the actions so far, i.e. fixing the exploit without taking any punitive actions(yet, recent bluepost indicates action might be taken), it'd just set a precedent where guilds would be forced to move even faster and more aggressively on any exploits, as waiting to see what others do might end with you left unable to capitalize on the same advantage as your competition.

It'd be the kind of action which would not only perpetuate the current situation, but aggravate it. Hopefully, blizzard realizes this, and will take actions to at least nullify any advantage gained, preferably while not going over the top and trying to impact the natural course of the progress race as little as possible.

ps. Paragon lost relatively more due to this exploit than they gained. They tend to have superior planning when it comes to getting the most of these kinds of things in a legitimate manner, and would have had a larger relative gear lead over the other top guilds if nobody had exploited.

Ladan was obviously trying to be as neutral as possible. Her job isn't to be a pundit in this, but a researcher who shares knowledge of what she sees through her research. Sometimes this means not saying what you know to be the case, because you can't prove it to the standards of scientific rigor.

Regardless of exploit or not when you're presented with a route that gives a clear advantage in a competitive event and everyone else goes that route, your only option is to follow or you lose out on opportunity cost.

The choice by Paragon; I do not know personally on the matter, but when you're presented with loot while you're doing your active role of clearing bosses, preparing, of fucking course you're going to take the loot while clearing the instance. I would personally have to check to see if they were okay in the head if they weren't. The whole purpose of the game is to kill a boss, get loot, kill a harder boss, get better loot, rinse and repeat.

So the point is to get loot and kill bosses. IF you're not taking the opportunity to pick the loot then you're a moron. I don't see this anymore of an exploit than a bug that didn't get steamed out during PTR or any other matter. It shouldn't really be the Guilds fault that what Blizzard presented as a "Here's your welfare gear casuals" to have problems. I seen this coming from a mile away that this will be broken as all get out.

I wish Paragon and all the other guilds luck with the upcoming race, and I grant you the strongest of flam retardant suits that the internet can forge.

@mrceej: Actually the "contested debate" I was referring to is the ongoing discussion/dialogue/argument/multi-page shouting match amongst players about what should be done: banishment, suspension, removal of items, hand/wrist slapping, ignoring, shrugging, etc. That felt quite contested to me and continues to be so. It was not in relation to whether there was a perception of an exploit or anything. I'd also never suggest a discussion forum is any kind of a legal circle. The actual decision to respond in any form is up to Blizzard, I would imagine. Their decision is not up for debate though I am certain whatever decision is or is not made will be up for debate amongst the community.

I still find it interesting that the top end guild decide to approach these situations the way that they do and there are no such thing as a gray area within a sport. Anytthing that is obviously not working as intended like the LFR loot rules which has been out for months and no onehas been able to avoid them. Rules are the one and only essence of a sport, it sounds obvious but if we look at it more closely. Rules create the boundaries of a sport, anything outside the rules are not within the sport. Therefor you cannot have a sport where you use anything outside the rules.

It is outrageous that situations like this can be justified as gray and therefor is brought up for discussion now that WoW is as competative of a sport. I agree with Zyn, Blizzard needs to make sure everyone knows the boundaries of the game by disqualifying anyone who thinks there is still something to compete in when you useing anything outside the rules.

It should be pointed out that during this ongoing conversation, rumours have appeared indicating this exploit was reported during the PTR and still made it live without being fixed. If this is the case, then clearly the greatest responsibility for this debacle lies with Blizzard.

Confirmation from someone who knows for sure would probably help put this whole situation into its proper context.

In T11 content Blizzard should have drew the line, since after their response to ppl exploiting Atramedes and Magmaw down and they did NOT take any action against the guilds who did exploit. We actually contacted GM and asked if we can kill boss this way, they told us "No, its an exploit and its bannable act." and we didn't do it, others who did kill them and did not receive any penalty. After that we were forced to follow them, if not we would have been behind in the race alot.

Same happened here, we did not know existence of this bug/exploit before we started to browse other guilds armory pages we realized that something fishy is going on. If previous Blizzard behaviour would have continued here, we would have been assraped in the race and thats fact(atleast on the first bosses).

Sure, its wrong, everybody knows it. Then again if you are competiting on highest level and you see your opponents gaining huge advantage over you, what do you do? Sit on your hands and do nothing? Rather follow and receive same punishment as your opponents.

Line has to be drawn right here.

"Sure, its wrong, everybody knows it. Then again if you are competiting on highest level and you see your opponents gaining huge advantage over you, what do you do? Sit on your hands and do nothing? Rather follow and receive same punishment as your opponents."

Lets break this down to real life situation.. Lets say sport.. Those that use drugs to get an advantage, are competitors that are vastly behind and that are willing to put their career on the line to just to get to win once. Those already at the top, doesn't have anything to prove.

You can say that many "crap" guilds, that aren't even on the top 500 list used the exploit.
Sure, many probably did, but as an high end respected guild, you should know better.
Paragon were top guild in FL.. I got to ask.. Did you exploit to get there as well?
If Paragon is as good as you want us to believe, then you should go forth as an example to the rest.
"Fine Envy, you exploited.. Challenge accepted."
I hope the penalty for your actions, will give you an huge blow in the race.

It's more like fake falls in soccer than using drugs.

"I hope the penalty for your actions, will give you an huge blow in the race."

Sadly any huge blow to the race we'll be getting, will be the one that most (even if not all) of the high end guilds we consider our toughest opponents get as well. It's a shame the situation has (again) gotten this far. Personally I accept reasonable punishment for the exploit we did, and I hope Blizzard will take a firmer grip on these kind of situations in the future.

I don't see what Paragon did as a problem. I think there is a fine line between an exploit and creative use of game mechanics. There were many that considered using so many Feral Druids on Nef HC was an exploit. There will be many that consider everything Paragon do, that they didn't think of first, an exploit too.

This wasn't an exploit, this was using a clever method in order to gain an unintended advantage. Just because something is unintended does not make it wrong though and I lose no respect for Paragon for doing so, it doesn't change the fact they are still some of the most skilled players in the world.

Lol, Paragon you can try and spin this anyway you want, you cheated and you lost a lot of community respect. I hope you're looking forward to 500+wipes on DW HC for a possible world 1st only for the whole wow community to say it doesn't count because you cheated.

What i do not understand for the life of mje is how this bug got thru in the first place. I mean what is test realm for? You can argue sure that there will almost be bugs that slip thru, no gamer will be eprfedct but seriouslly something like that? from what i understand multiple ways to ensure you can get decked in LFR DS gear in 1 week slipped by? Were all the blizz testers busy transmoging theyre balls to pink from purple to miss that? And if so why nobody told blizz of these exploits then? Was it that hard? Even if you were a normal guy not from a big guild and say cant reach GM's fast cant you make like a thread on blizz forums? Or why hasnt any big guild make a thread about it on theyre page, like: "Look blizz LFR can be exploited, contact us and we will tell you how"

Well even if this exploit is not as big as other exploit that happened in this addon hi @ Atramedes i wouldn't judge the guilds that harsh. because the main fault is still in blizzards hands for not testing encuonters pretty obivously if you count wich encounter haven't been killed w/o major bugs since 4.0 the list is long
BoT: Halufs priestabuse, V&T nothing i know about, Council bugstrafing, cho'gall healing mages with the berserk buff and the throne position is a bit buggy either. Finaly sinestra hi @ Dark Simulacrum
BWD: Magmaw its easier to say what was fine on this boss, nothing. Chimaeron Hunter Pet interveen.
Atramedes well nothing to say everybody know how this fight tourned out...
To4w:Alakir shitty designed abuse with people waiting on the entrance
4.2 Firelands:
Bethtilac: Corpses caused banelings to explode even if they were offline. Mages were able to use images on top to avoid the acid rain
Lord Rhyolit Ranged pets killed him w/o engaging him just took about 3+hours.
Shannox and Alysrazer i dont know about them but they were freeloot.
Balroc, mage spellsteal and priest Mindcontrol buffing
Majordomo BM Hunterpet Tank to avoid damage and only play in scorpion phase
Ragnaros turned out to be ok :P even with the late totaly wrong explanation of the geysir

The second Part about this is that the item design is done by blindbrainlessmonkeys. I mean its clear that the Tank 4p bonus is Overpowerred but there is NO clear reason to give the Shoulders Chest and Leg pieces 1 extra socket compared to the firelands hc items so the iteam value increases way over an item wich has a higher itemlevel.. Most of the sets would have been totaly bad for the classes if they only had 1 instead of 3 sockets and not even worthy looting ( some exceptions tanks paladin etc. )

Its easy to blame players to abuse this stuff but on the other side ot the medal ot took Blizzard about 50 days to fix atramedes and he still was broken. If you would have waited till this boss was Killable "legit" you would have finished about top200.
This is just my opinion about all this stuff Blame us Bann us its ok but Blizzard would need to continue to Punish player wich abuse stuff that is "questionable"

I don't believe this as an exploit tbh the guild as a whole were being creative and simply making use of the LFR, they are all a bunch of friends who like to play WoW and that is what the Looking for Raid tool is about, raiding in a not so serious enviorment with your friends or just for the fun! Bets on paragon to get World first because they are built to overcome problems, it jsut gonna be hard work!

@Ladan Thank your for the clarification, I agree totaly.

In answer to all the 'everyone was cheating what should we have done' and 'if they were not cheating I would have had to check their heads' type comments, I think the rather obvious answer is 'Well who would be in a better position now if they had not cheated?'. Quite clearly having the gear removed and accounts banned makes progression harder (although I imagine they will all be raiding on borrowed / spare accounts).

The biggest benefit of this whole debacle is the instillation of the idea that if you cheat right before a progression race you can expect a custom ban (8 days has never been issued before) and so don't do it.

I rember the AQ40 days, when a US guild (forget the name) used hex editors to edit the client side map and drop down to the end of the instance from the start, allowing them to skip about 8 hours worth of trash and bosses, helping them grind out epics (progress was already on to Nax40 by then).

They all had their accounts deleted and so for a long time people were afraid of any exploits, and hadly anyone runs any client side hax anymore, as the result was made clear.