Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 41
10-26-2010, 09:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by depauljeff View Post
I doubt buying low and selling high is a violation of the terms of service, if it was, I guess I should have my account banned for buying items priced too cheaply on the exchange and reselling them at higher prices?

Besides, it's not like this vendor was a secret only known to a few, everyone knew that it bought items at 60% percent value, and the people that were smart enough to make cargo runs profited.
You're making a strawman argument. There are pretty important differences between what was happening here and your example of someone buying an underpriced item on the exchange and then selling it for a profit. You're ignoring the risk and effort that was put into obtaining the item which was placed on the exchange in the first place, and the fact that someone was ultimately going to profit from its sale regardless. Whether it was the person who looted the item or the person who purchased the item from the looter is irrelevant. The fact it is your exchange example is not the same as what is being discussed in this thread - a case of a vendor generating an unlimited supply of items on demand and without delay, which could then be sold for a profit to another vendor at absolutely no risk to the player.

Where exactly does this become an exploit, in your opinion? If the Deferi vendor had instead been placed standing directly next to the vendor on Starbase 39, and players were camped at that location "buying low" from one and "selling high" to another, would that be the point it becomes an exploit in your mind? If true, then you're suggesting the 5 minute trip from Starbase 39 to the Deferi base justified the ridiculous amounts of money you could make from loading up your inventory with stackable equipment and hauling it from point A to B.

Please, provide me with another example of how else you can generate an endless supply of credits at this magnitude, this quickly. I'll tell you now - you won't be able to. And do you know why? It's because it's *game breaking* and obviously not working as intended to anyone who puts their greed aside for five seconds to look at the larger picture. And if you were aware of this bug and took advantage of it rather than reported it, there there's a word for that - and there are rules that are supposed to be in place to deter players from participating in that sort of harmful behavior.

Some of you are calling the activity you were participating in "fun". It doesn't matter if you thought it was fun. "Fun" doesn't automatically make something ok, especially if your fun is harming the health of the game and its economy. Nowhere in the TOS/EULA does it state "don't abuse bugs unless you find them to be fun, at which point we guess it's ok". And I'm not suggesting that there is no room in STO for a merchant class, but you know darn well a merchant class wouldn't have you earning these kinds of profits this quickly and easily. Unlike this bug, it would actually be a balanced design. You can use that flawed justification of yours just about anywhere. Someone finds and abuses a bug that allows them to attack other players in PvP while cloaked - oh, well that's the stealth class! Someone finds and abuses a bug that allows them to teleport to any location in the game on demand - oh, well that's the Traveler class! Someone finds and abuses a bug that allows them to be ignore the cooldowns on their powers and be invulnerable - oh, well that's the Q class! Who are you kidding?

If you choose to abuse bugs, your account should be disciplined. Nobody twisted anyone's arm and forced them to make 50+ trips between two sectors with a load full of vendor purchased items. Obviously you had plenty of time to consider exactly what you were doing during those trips.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 42
10-26-2010, 10:20 AM
So we lost our 60% vendor because of some exploiters....The community as a whole gets punished while these guys keep their EC. While i am not extremely disheartened by this outcome; i feel a bit of pity for those that can't really obtain high amounts of EC and need to use as many advantages as possible to get what the want.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 43
10-26-2010, 10:58 AM
I've been thinking a little bit about Values of items and how to acquire EC in game. If I buy a mkXI purple engine for 105 badges and sell it on the exchange for 10 million EC we get a value of about 100K/badge.

In order to get 5 badges I have to do 3 daily B'Tran missions and Rescue Deferi. If I just gathered 5 anomalies, did an Aid the Planet, and collected some plant samples and tricked some Breen then I've earned my 5 badges for a very small amount of effort. Depending on the value of the ATP reward(which could be an EXTREMELY valuable item) I've earned at least 500k in real value, but it will take quite a while to actually get enough badges to pay off.

Now then... after finishing my B'Tran adventure I stop off at starbase 39 & fill up the rest of my space with industrial replicators and make my way to Deferi. I then empty out my hold at the vendor and rescue some Deferi from the Breen.

Now I have doubled my profit while executing my mission with only one small detour, I was going to Defera anyway.. why not load up with goods to sell?

This was not a cheat nor really an exploit... it is called smart business practices.

The amount of extra profit was not disproportionate to what I had already earned, but I had to have the EC to invest up front in order to make it possible.

The real problem with this is that there was not any real "risk" involved, but there is not very much risk in this game at all anyway so it is really no different.

The funny thing was that when the game got patched you couldn't trade stacks of goods - only singles...

I heard of a few people that got stuck with a hold full 6000 + items that could only be sold one at a time to a vendor. Then they changed the Vendor rate and possibly caught a few other players off guard and they got stuck with a cargo hold full of essentially useless goods and they had to take a loss.

If there were some random variance with a few vendors from time to time we would have an element of risk involved with real trade & transport of goods.

The flaws of this system are inherent in any "Fixed" system of commerce. There is no form of negotiation of price or volume discounts that are normally associated with any kind of market system.

This is called "State Capitalism". The State (or Nation) fixes the prices for all items and eliminates all competition. This ultimately leads to a stagnant market that can't grow and has no incentives for new things, ideas or invention, or risk taking vs. profit.

So to the Naysayers who believe that free trade is an exploit I have a few choice words...

Perhaps you are a socialist/communist. You make the same tired argument & try to rain on some peoples parade. Good luck to you and I hope that when you have destroyed our world economy and wrecked our way of life that the Ghosts of Lenin, Stalin & Mao will shower you with the Accolades you deserve while you slave away in a Gulag. And when your Grandchildren ask you what happened you can say that you made it fair for everyone... they will all have Nothing...

Our Greatness will be Diminished to Mediocrity in the name of Equality
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 44
10-26-2010, 12:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napoleon_BlownApart
So to the Naysayers who believe that free trade is an exploit I have a few choice words...

Perhaps you are a socialist/communist. You make the same tired argument & try to rain on some peoples parade. Good luck to you and I hope that when you have destroyed our world economy and wrecked our way of life that the Ghosts of Lenin, Stalin & Mao will shower you with the Accolades you deserve while you slave away in a Gulag. And when your Grandchildren ask you what happened you can say that you made it fair for everyone... they will all have Nothing...

Our Greatness will be Diminished to Mediocrity in the name of Equality
Nobody said free trade was an exploit. You abusing a bug to make credits hand over fist is an exploit, however.

As difficult as it may be to believe, I've had the misfortune of reading arguments much more long winded and far more eccentric than your trip above off into left field - but the gist of them is always the same: someone is attempting to justify their use of an exploit regardless of how ridiculous their argument sounds.

You can dress it up however you like, spin the argument however you wish, but the fact remains that MMO developers set up rules of conduct to protect their game and the subscribers playing it. You and others knowingly broke those rules repeatedly. Whether you feel you were justified in doing so or not is irrelevant, because you agree to follow those rules in order to play STO. If you refuse to follow those rules, you have the option of not playing this game. What you don't have the option of doing is figuring out a way to circumvent the rules and then writing exceedingly verbose explanations as to why everyone should simply turn a blind eye to your actions.

I feel for the developers of STO because this isn't WoW - unlike Blizzard, they don't have the luxury of 12 million users to minimize the impact of banning large groups of exploiters. And I have no doubt that banning the users who participated in this exploit would have a negative impact on an already shaky population. But I have seen other MMOs in this very same position and predicament, and turning a blind eye to these types of activities ended up being more harmful to the population in the long run.

You see, players want to know they're paying a subscription to participate in a fair, cheat-free gaming environment, and if the developers can't provide them with that sort of environment to game in then they'll take their business elsewhere. Eventually the situation spirals into hopelessness because the cheating becomes more blatant and more widespread as the people who abuse exploits begin to outnumber those who do not, which causes even more players to leave in frustration and disgust. Disciplining players who abuse exploits, in a game with a struggling population, may seem like a risky move in the short term - but it's a much better option than the damage it can cause in the long run.

Besides, permanent account closures aren't the only tool developers have at their disposal to deal with exploiters. They can temporarily ban players, thus still earning money from the player's subscription while denying service to the player. They can also remove the rewards earned from exploiting - in this case the credits you obtained abusing this bug.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 45
10-26-2010, 12:41 PM
Why are we arguing about this?

No one knew it was a bug until dstahl told us it was. As far as we knew it was a feature of the Outpost 3 system. Even the patch notes made it seem that that was the case. No one is going to get banned for selling items at the vendor that gave the best price.

Let it go.


Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 46
10-26-2010, 12:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combadge
SNIP.
Napo, I think I can translate what he is saying. You see it as an oportunity for trading. True that, but some other people abused the crap out of it. This could have been good for the game had they worked with it a bit, and made it a side quest of some type or a variant of a sort to get an acolade, but elected to squish it instead.
Instead of us getting mad, lets find other shinanigans in game. Arguing over something that is decided and done isn't worth the time or effort.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 47
10-26-2010, 01:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackavaar View Post
Why are we arguing about this?

No one knew it was a bug until dstahl told us it was. As far as we knew it was a feature of the Outpost 3 system. Even the patch notes made it seem that that was the case. No one is going to get banned for selling items at the vendor that gave the best price.
This was not simply a case of heading to the outpost in order to fetch the best price selling off a load of item drops you recovered on a mission. That's perfectly understandable. What we're discussing is players getting an inventory-load of vendor purchased items and selling them for a profit to another vendor, and that's entirely different. Nobody "stumbled" across this exploit by accident. Nobody goes buying commodities from one vendor with the intention of selling them for a loss to another vendor - this was a loophole certain players specifically sought after after hearing that the outpost purchased items for 10% more than other vendors.

As I asked before, in their mind how much money can they reasonably make in that 5 minute trip/effort before it starts dawning on them that maybe this is an unintended and harmful bug, one that shouldn't be repeatedly abused? What's the exact credit amount where that should start clicking with people? Because I'm pretty sure had these two NPCs been located right next to each other, nobody would be confused about this bug - so, obviously the distance and the time spent traveling versus the profits made it is a justifying factor for some of them.

Frankly, I don't buy this "I didn't realize I was exploiting, I just assumed it was perfectly legitimate to make millions of credits so quickly and easily, even though nothing else in the game plays that way - truly, this is my surprised face" line some of the players are feeding us.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 48
10-26-2010, 01:12 PM
Damn good post Combadge. This a MMO; as such, having people that have access to infinite wealth causes fluctuation in the economy. This causes people that treat EC as a limited commodity will get screwed.

Sure, in a single player game, you want to cap your currency but when you can influence the market through an unintended method, it most definitely crosses the exploit threshold
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 49
10-26-2010, 01:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combadge
This was not simply a case of heading to the outpost in order to fetch the best price selling off a load of item drops you recovered on a mission. That's perfectly understandable. What we're discussing is players getting an inventory-load of vendor purchased items and selling them for a profit to another vendor, and that's entirely different. Nobody "stumbled" across this exploit by accident. Nobody goes buying commodities from one vendor with the intention of selling them for a loss to another vendor - this was a loophole certain players specifically sought after after hearing that the outpost purchased items for 10% more than other vendors.

As I asked before, in their mind how much money can they reasonably make in that 5 minute trip/effort before it starts dawning on them that maybe this is an unintended and harmful bug, one that shouldn't be repeatedly abused? What's the exact credit amount where that should start clicking with people? Because I'm pretty sure had these two NPCs been located right next to each other, nobody would be confused about this bug - so, obviously the distance and the time spent traveling versus the profits made it is a justifying factor for some of them.

Frankly, I don't buy this "I didn't realize I was exploiting, I just assumed it was perfectly legitimate to make millions of credits so quickly and easily, even though nothing else in the game plays that way - truly, this is my surprised face" line some of the players are feeding us.
Wait. What? Did I miss something?

As far as I know there are no vendors that sell items for less than 60% of retail value. If there was such a vendor and people were purchasing items and reselling them at Outpost 3, then yeah, that would be exploiting. But this is all theoretical, right? To my knowledge there was no such vendor. People were just using the Outpost 3 vendor as the choice location to sell drops, which isn't an exploit.


Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 50
10-26-2010, 01:19 PM
Well... I suppose some people are happy when the dog-catcher finds someone's lost pet and takes it away to be killed. If that pet had just had an RF-ID tag it would not have happened so it would be the owners fault that the pet was put down...

Thus it would be the Developers Fault that these problems exist and not the players for using a game feature for profit... yet the Dog (player) gets killed for the Owners (Developers) negligence and society pays for both the dog-catcher and the incinerator bill.

You are blaming the dog for roaming outside the "fence" when the dog doesn't know what a fence is really for... The fence is there to protect all the dogs from each other and keep them safe... the RF-ID tag is a safety precaution in case the fence fails.

Our agreement with Cryptic is the Fence that is meant to protect us from each other and to keep us safe.

Cryptic left the Gate open. We see the gate is open and escape...

You are the nosey neighbor that calls the dog-catcher and now we get killed. But you say it is the dogs own fault for wandering through an open gate.

The "Bug" was not in the Deferi system. The problem was the vendor at SB-39. The profit in itself was not "game changing" in any real way.

The result of this whole thing is totally inconsequential as it has been fixed in an arbitrary and debatable fashion.

The real problem is that we have an economy in-game that simply makes little sense on an overall basis.

Our in-game economy is simply based on spending time playing the game doing things and acquiring items... these items come from "No-where, do not really exist and have zero real value".

The only benefit is a marginal at best increase in effectiveness for one player over another in a PVP setting or in a Fleet action Award. That's it... There is no other difference at all in the game play. All PVE scenario's do not require anything special or anything to be purchased in order to be successful.

What is lost is much more important.... we have lost any semblance of supply and demand and ventured deeply into a total fantasy of economics as whole functional system.

We need a proper balance of risk and reward with some randomness and some quantity of scale.

For example... I might find a vendor that will offer me certain goods at a certain price for a certain number of units that is variable and subject to change at anytime.

I might Believe that I can get a better price for them in a remote sector that is involved in a conflict and is not receiving an adequate supply of goods. so I will purchase as many as I think makes sense.

Perhaps in order to get a better deal I might need to take on some "undesirable" products that will take up space and not net any real profit, but it helps me get a better deal on what I really want to buy and trade.

This market complexity is what is missing. It exists somewhat on the exchange, but all those items essentially come from "nowhere", Cost Nothing and are the products of mostly random chance and investment of play time.

Perhaps some of us might be more productive working on the base problems of the STO economy rather than trying to get a job working for Big Brother, or calling for player sanctions.
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