In response to "Misadventures in Role-playing" from The Escapist Forum: This is great. It's like griefing the AI. Good article, I'm reading through that site and it's awesome.
I remember doing something similar in the Command and Conquer 3 campaign. Many events were triggered by very specific effects or actions, and it was often possible to work ahead of the AI to make your life a little easier, if you knew what and what not to do. I can recall one instance where the enemy had set up an ambush for a vital transport vehicle that moved on its own, and I kept failing, getting the vehicle destroyed, and having to restart. Eventually I sent a bunch of my troops to the ambush point at the beginning as soon as the game started. Sure enough, no enemies. I kept them there until the transport was in range, at which point the ambushers appeared for the first time--surrounded by my troops. It was an easy (and ironic) win.
I remember doing this in Morrowind, purely by accident. I had killed someone important to the main quest, and decided to see what happens when I continue anyway. I had to work the hard way to actually complete the main quest.
Of course, there were some great things you could do with stacking effects that let you create potions and spells far more powerful than should ever be allowed.
I never knew there were whole groups of people dedicated to that sort of thing. Thanks for such an informative article!
In response to "The Thin Red Line" from The Escapist Forum: It's a simple thing. Valve essentially has an open channel to gamers via Steam, Steam updates, the Tf2 blog, and many other methods. All it takes is: "The exploit discovered to reach the RED rooftop as an Engineer on map Name should be considered an exploit. We are working on a patch to eliminate it now. In the interests of balanced gameplay and enjoyable experiences for all players, please redistribute this message on your servers and warn/remove any offending players."
That's all it takes. The gap between an exploit being discovered and closed is systematically reduced by "official stigma", enforcement by server-owners, and separation into servers that care about balance and servers that don't care. Once the exploit is patched, the servers re-mingle as they become indistinguishable again. Simple, quick, clean, effective.
Of course, notifying players that an exploit exists for class on map may cause a temporary upswing, but I think it'd balance out in the common player's favour.
The entire idea of me not being able to do what I want with software I have legitimately bought bothers me no end. For me it is obvious I'm allowed to use any in-game glitch I can find. Using an external tool is obviously cheating if it is an online game. I'm a computer scientist, so my area of expertise is correctness of programs. For a software developer to put the responsibility of correct programs on the customer is flat out silly.
Especially when said customers have to guess what "correct" means. All that responsibility lies with the producer, not the consumers. If gamers need to be told how to play their games, something is wrong with the games and not the gamers.
That's my opinion anyway, but I don't play online regularly. Frag mayhems or cheesy grinding doesn't attract me.