Some people I run in circles with (sometimes literally) have been chanting "The days of EQ drama are dead, long-live the days of WoW drama.". And when Blizzard obligingly steps up to the plate to suspend players for using the tools at their disposal, it becomes pretty hard to disagree.
As any half decent he-said-she-said story goes, you've got to start somewhere in the dirty middle. That middle would be Fangtooth, one member of the newly formed WoW weekend crack squad, posting a message - sticky no less - that he knows you've been bad, so you better damn well stop what you're doing.
Recently, the Game Master staff found certain players repeatedly exploiting specific high-end content in Molten Core. The raid participants continued this exploitation after being asked to stop. At this time, we are issuing suspensions to all accounts involved.
We encourage players to actively explore and defeat these encounters, but we ask that it is done in a manner intended by the design of the game. Using exploits is not something we tolerate. When possible, we will educate players on what is and is not intended by game design. If this education goes unheeded, action can and will be taken against those involved.
Due to the out-of-the-blue nature of this message, many WTF posts followed. Because, you know, it's not a proper thread if you don't have at least six WTFs on the first two pages.
To be a little more specific, the guild in question was using repeated line of sight exploits which prevented the mobs from attacking back. Also, using a pulling exploit which allowed them to only agro boss mobs. Both are considered exploits, and the guild in question was previously warned the night before. We want to reiterate that exploitation of high end content will not be tolerated.
This official clarification left a sour taste in the mouths of the officially sanctioned steenkin' exploiting guild and those who love them. Flipside of the coin stories were offered, including one by an apparently in-the-know level 10 Gnome (assumed to be an alt of a suspended character) who offered an example of the Hunter pull method used in relation to the first warning, and described the Warlock/Rogue pull used in relation to the suspension:
This is what oyu guys are wanting to know.
The guild in question was warned not to do it. They did NOT ever repeate it after the warning. They did not use line of sight exploits ever.
The guild pulled by having a warlock summon a rogue who tagged a mob. The mob then ran to the raid group and the guild killed him with his guards present and offtanked as the encoutner was intended.
So, No pulling using warlock summons. No pulling using hunter snare traps followed by feigning.
Should save some of you guys some trouble inthe future.
It would seem this level 10 Gnome was in fact in the know, for as sure as cries of "Nerf!" follow one-on-one fights, our good friend Maleki was quick to reply:
Ok, so basically your saying the guild in question must be warned for every variation of the exploit? Last night, the GM let you all off with a simple warning. Less than 24 hours later, you proceed back to do the same thing.
Actually, yes Maleki. You are correct. Congratulations, you may take part in the Lightning Round. For you see, apart from the fact that the two pulling methods used are more than just variations of the broad term "pulling-in-a-dungeon-the-way-it-wasn't-intended exploit" - they are quite distinctive from one another - , if you don't warn players of what an exploit is then, surprise surprise, players won't know what combination of tactics or abilities actually is an exploit.
You see Maleki, as I hoped you would have learned in the example of your UO days above, and to put it bluntly for ease of use, you've got to be very specific when dealing with players. To warn players for using one unintended pulling method and then suspending them for another loosely-related unintended pulling method just doesn't cut it.
To borrow some well-put words from the thread in question;
Here's a crash course in game design (and how I wish more 'new school' developers were 'old school' mud builders).
You absolutely, positively CANNOT expect the player to adhere your vision of an encounter. Whatever your intentions may be for content, the players can and will be creative and find new and interesting ways to make it easier, or flat out circumvent it.
The solution to this problem is simple. Warn folks of said issue, and be specific. You cannot make overbroad blanket proclamations and later use it to apply to a given incident (FCC anyone?). After warning is given, close the hole, or god forbid, repair said content.
It's not up to the player to adhere to the 'spirit of the encounter'. You gave them the tools to raid with, if you don't want them using it, restrict these abilities/tactics so there is no choice. Attempting to discover your intention for an encounter is not their responsibility. It's yours. As is educating you Customer Service staff in regards to policy in these cases. It really scares me that CS is this uninformed about the content they're supposed to be monitoring. I'm not sure I even want them helping me with any issues I may have.
To close, this isn't as open and shut as say...speedhacking, or maphopping (tho that's debatable). You're placing way too much responsibility on the PLAYER, and not nearly enough on your unfinished, poorly conceived, untested content.
So you can either continue to the blame the players for broken content, or the testers and developers who allowed to enter a live state in the first place. See which one has the resources to actually SOLVE the problem, and you'll have your culprit here.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm heading off to stand hesitantly in front of some monsters, club halted in mid-air, and debate to myself whether I'm going to get my arse banned because I pulled them the wrong way.