Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Bug Entertainment Games

Left 4 Dead Bug Patched Quickly, EVE Exploit Takes 4 Years 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the fast-and-not-so-fast dept.
Earlier this week, news surfaced that some savvy modders of Valve's Left 4 Dead were able to find a way to enable console commands (meant for the PC version) in the Xbox 360 version of the game. This allowed players to increase the size of their character models to ridiculous proportions, spawn unlimited weapons for themselves (or unlimited enemies for other, unsuspecting players), and go around the map deleting objects as they saw fit. A video posted on YouTube showed how to enable the commands. Valve reacted swiftly to the issues, releasing a patch to disable access to the commands a few days later. Several readers have pointed out another exploit-related story which broke recently; in EVE Online, a bug that was reported and went un-patched for four years has recently come to light, apparently responsible for the fraudulent creation of trillions of ISK, the game's currency. An anonymous reader says that (illegitimate) sales of ISK between players and farmers run on the order of $35 per 450 million ISK.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Left 4 Dead Bug Patched Quickly, EVE Exploit Takes 4 Years

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Eve-online bug was reported but the GM that handeled the report mistook it for an other bug 4 years ago.

    Some players kept exploiting the bug without reporting it again and its effect on eve-online has been "profound" according to CCP.

    It is ofcourse impossible to get all the exploit-isk out of the game, we'll just have to live with it. Tech 2 prices are on the rise and the last 2 days have been heaven for market speculators, making billions on market manipulation (a condoned action by CCP)

    • It is ofcourse impossible to get all the exploit-isk out of the game, we'll just have to live with it. Tech 2 prices are on the rise and the last 2 days have been heaven for market speculators, making billions on market manipulation (a condoned action by CCP)

      This doesn't strike you as being... "insane"?

      I mean, fuck, if CCP can build an economy around a game then I suppose it's good for them. Market speculators in a game. It's a fucking game for c'sake, not a damn country/government. I am not sure what to be more amazed at: that a game has market speculators; or that there are people stupid enough to contribute to this "economy".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by powerspike (729889)
        when you spend 40 hours a week in a high stress job, and you want to play a game, sometimes spending $20 to get what you want, instead of spending 1/2 of your weekend "earning" it, can seem very tempting....
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tolan-b (230077)

        There is an in-game market. Why wouldn't there be speculators?

      • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:32AM (#26088365)

        Market speculators in a game. It's a fucking game for c'sake, not a damn country/government.

              To each their own. Some people like shooting creatures from hell when playing a game called Doom, some people like moving medieval armies around a chessboard, and some people like speculating in make believe markets. All of them are GAMES. If you don't like it, don't play it. I'm amazed at your delusions of grandeur that let you think you are God's One and Only Game Censor, and can decide which games are Worthy and which games are Not.

              Short version: no one cares if you don't like EVE. Go play your shooter and leave us alone.

        • I'm amazed at your delusions of grandeur

          I am sorry if I gave that impression. It's not true, and I am truly puzzled.

          • by fitten (521191) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:21AM (#26089103)

            As the other poster said, Eve's market is huge. Ships, ammo, as well as lots of modules for ships (and lots of other stuff including *all* tech2 items) are made by players. The market is quite large so it's easy to do speculation, provided you have in-game money. The prices of the raw materials for tech2 item production are getting rarer? Well... that's going to mean the prices of tech2 items are likely to increase. So, buy a bunch off the market right now in the hopes that prices will go up and you'll get a nice profit, just for waiting a few weeks.

      • by zehaeva (1136559)
        CCP does have an honest to god real life professional economist on staff. ~z
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Scutter (18425)

          CCP does have an honest to god real life professional economist on staff. ~z

          Yeah, but these days we call him an "economist" (with quotes) since he's clearly too incompetent to notice the creation of trillions of ISK worth of materials without the requisite manufacturing/mining process to support it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by fitten (521191)

            You have to have the methods in the game to tack this stuff... records have to be kept about the creation of minerals, etc. and then all of that has to be tied together. Sure, you may have records that moon minerals were being created... there's lots of that going on and it's something probably logged. But you have to correlate that with certain stations not using fuel to create these minerals, if such a think is recorded... "station X used Y amount of fuel and created Z amount of minerals" is something t

            • by Scutter (18425)

              What you say is true, except that CCP has an economist on staff specifically to analyze this stuff. In the year or so since they've hired him, he should have been able to accumulate enough data to make a judgment regarding the total value of all ISK and items in the game and then develop methods for tracking spikes in that value. If you see a sudden large spike, you need to be able to account for it. That's what an economist does.

              I'm not buying the "4 year" claim, but I'm also not buying CCP's 4 DAY clai

            • by harl (84412)

              There is an exact number of moons that produce "copper". This number does not change. "Pennies" are produced with "copper". Since the amount of copper is fixed then the maximum possible number of pennies produced is fixed.

              More pennies were produced than was mathematically possible. For years. This is exactly the sort of thing a professional economist on staff to analyze the economy should have found.

              • by zehaeva (1136559)
                except your talking about an mmo that does create money out of thin air. there is no limited supply by which you can gauge against.
                • by harl (84412)

                  That's not true. There are exactly x moons that have "copper". These moons are the only source of "copper." There is a fixed amount of "copper" that may be produced per time period. Money is meaningless in this situation.

                  • by zehaeva (1136559)
                    I wasn't aware that there was "copper" in Eve. Other than that, have I been mislead by TFS? It does say that the exploit lead to the creation of trillions of isk.

                    note: after i posted the comment i responded to you i read up on it and went through that mammoth thread at eve online's forums along with the anonymous post saying its been going on for 4 years. I believe i responded to you again below with a more informed mind as to what was happening.

                    I will reiterate that I find it hard to believe that only on

                    • by harl (84412)

                      There is no copper in EvE. Other real materials but not copper. Your post showed a lack of fundamental knowledge of EvE so I was trying to simplify by using copper instead of Dysprosium and pennies instead of ferrofluid.

                      There are exactly x Dysprosium moons. This does not change unless CCP adds new solar systems. Each moon can only produce 100 Dys per hour. Thus there can only be 2400x Dysprosium produced per day. Period.

                      You responded to me. You said there was no limited supply to gauge against. You'

          • by mweather (1089505)

            CCP does have an honest to god real life professional economist on staff. ~z

            Yeah, but these days we call him an "economist" (with quotes) since he's clearly too incompetent to notice the creation of trillions of ISK worth of materials without the requisite manufacturing/mining process to support it.

            What's more likely, that a guy who got banned falsely claims he reported this bug 4 years ago in an anonymous forum posting, or that a man whose sole job is to look out for things like this missed it for four straight years? My money is on the guy who got banned being a liar.

            • Heh, you've never played EVE, have you?

              Quit that shit five years ago shortly after realizing that CCP had no incentive to fix the poorly designed interface and game balance... haven't looked back.

              Had a lot of potential, but gawd, the implementation sucked.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by harl (84412)

          One who failed to notice that starbase production output of widgets was significantly more than is mathematically possible with the number of moons that possessed the raw material needed for widgets.

          He compiles trivia after the fact. He's a statistician and nothing more.

          • by zehaeva (1136559)
            errr isn't that was every economist does? Also not knowing there is a problem means you don't know to search for the problem. I'm sure that every person who finds out that termites have been eating their house for the past 4 years thinks "how did i miss this?" 3trillion isk over 4 years? tbh that doesn't sound like a lot. What surprises me that there wasn't a singular player over the course of 4 years that didn't report this, or even a series of players that didn't report it. To think that only one player r
            • by harl (84412)

              No that's that a statistician does. No economy training is required to tell me that x battleships were built and y were destroyed. Go read the economic reports put out. They're mere trivia. Anyone with access to the database could have generated them.

              Your example is pure fail. If you called an exterminator and they looked at the house and missed the termites then you might have something valid.

              Next misinformation: 3 trillion isk. That's one person's account. CCP has admitted that many alliances (g

              • by zehaeva (1136559)

                I have read his reports, I beta tested eve for 5 months and then played it for 3 years or so, granted I have been out of the loop for while, please don't treat me like a 13yr old who's only experience with mmo's is wow.

                It's one person who claims 3 trillion isk, on an anonymous account on a 3rd party message board.

                the CCP post by wrangler said 7 corps were found doings this. 70 accounts(so far) and given that most people have 2 accounts or more thats prolly more like 30 people. in any case 4 years does

                • by harl (84412)

                  *sigh* T2 and static rare moons are in fact licenses to print money. It's one of the single biggest complaints in the game, using those exact words. But you already knew that cause you played before these things ever existed.

                  I don't understand your status quo statement. Status quo means the usual not correct. If it's only possible to produce X but you're seeing more than X then it's a problem. The fact that's a been a problem for 2.5 years before you see it doesn't make it not a problem.

                  The players hav

                  • by zehaeva (1136559)

                    maybe i'm being a bit strict about this whole license to print money thing, isk in eve is only generated when you run a mission for a agent or you murder a pirate for the bounty. if no one did either of those things (I maybe missing something else, oohh trade runs!) no isk is added into the system and the total amount of isk in eve (should) never changes.

                    Also has none of the players in arguing that there are not enough moons ever crunched the numbers themselves? I know they guys over at ccp release a db dum

                    • by harl (84412)

                      maybe i'm being a bit strict about this whole license to print money thing, isk in eve is only generated when you run a mission for a agent or you murder a pirate for the bounty. if no one did either of those things (I maybe missing something else, oohh trade runs!) no isk is added into the system and the total amount of isk in eve (should) never changes.

                      Insurance also generates isk. You're correct but the total number of isk on the server is meaningful only to CCP. The fact that it didn't generate isk is meaningless to a player. It allowed them to move isk from a different player to themselves which is functionally identical to generating isk.

                      Also has none of the players in arguing that there are not enough moons ever crunched the numbers themselves? I know they guys over at ccp release a db dump of all the planets moon and stuff, hasn't anyone taken an independent inventory and went "Ein menuten bitter!"? I'm wondering on that.

                      Again ignorance. They've released the schema and the records for all items. What moon minerals are at what moons is not released. The number of moons occupied is not released. This is no way for the players to

                    • by zehaeva (1136559)

                      functional identical to generating isk? we are talking about an exploit here, permission to print money would be permission to generate it out of thin air, even if you do auto gen materials you still need to sell them, and that isk had to come from somewhere, it came from other players who got it from normal sources, they moved isk around, the over all isk in eve did not increase. they did not generate any isk. they functionally generated it for them selves and only in reference to themselves. i know i'm ar

      • by khallow (566160)

        This doesn't strike you as being... "insane"?

        Why should it?

        I mean, fuck, if CCP can build an economy around a game then I suppose it's good for them. Market speculators in a game. It's a fucking game for c'sake, not a damn country/government. I am not sure what to be more amazed at: that a game has market speculators; or that there are people stupid enough to contribute to this "economy".

        I am a market speculator in Eve. I do it because it is fun.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Jedi Alec (258881)

          And if someone else tries to manipulate the markets as well, you can pay people to blow him out of the sky...bit harder to do on Wall Street? :P

          • by khallow (566160)
            Well, like many games, there's a certain awesomeness that isn't easily found in the real world.
      • by mweather (1089505)
        People play fantasy football, and THIS surprises you? At least in EVE you can blow stuff up, too.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a shame that game companies don't realize how much fun this is, and implement a game where the object is to hack the system to inflict grievous nuisances on other players.

    • by Fizzl (209397)

      I have been actually (for years) contemplating creating a MUD where the objective is to bot as efficiently as possible. In addition to exp/money you get better information sources for your bot to use while you progress. For example, at first you only get shape of a monster in rough estimation (good/bad/almost dead), then with progress percentage of health, and finally absolute numbers.

    • by mweather (1089505)
      You don't need to hack anything to be a nuisance to other players in EVE. You just have to not care about your security status.
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      I thought that was Second Life.
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday December 12, 2008 @06:42AM (#26088083)

    Bad console players! You're not allowed access to the console! Bad, BAD players!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by VShael (62735)

      Bad console players! You're not allowed access to the console! Bad, BAD players!

      Now you deserve a spanking! And then the oral sex! (Oblig. Python)

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Yah, seriously... what the hell's the big deal about getting the same console commands on Xbox that PC players already have? It doesn't strike me as anything particularly harmful.

      • Maybe you should try reading the entire summary. Ok, now you know.
        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          I read the summary, and I still don't get what you're saying. Sure those exploits are a problem, but I think that it's more an issue that such exploits were available from the console (the interface) in the first place, and not that console (the platform) players had access to the console the same way PC players did.

          Basically, the summary almost made it sound like the PC players would still be able to cheat since the problem was simply that console players had access to PC-only cheat methods.

  • by Tei (520358) on Friday December 12, 2008 @06:58AM (#26088189) Journal

    Half-Life engine uses a tecnique to have "3D skybox" using a special room where stuff displayed here show in the sky, so anything there looks gigantic.

    Tutorial here:
    http://www.moddb.com/games/half-life-2/tutorials/3d-skybox-tutorial [moddb.com]

    • FYI - We're running on the Source Engine. The 3D skybox isn't really a room... it's just a hollow box covered in Skybox texture that's anywhere in the map outside of the bounds of the regular map area accessible by the players. Everything in the skybox is 1/16th scale to make it cheaper to render. The source engine scales everything up 16 times when it renders it as the Skybox. This is all from memory so I may be off on something slightly... I was going to link to the Wiki but it's down for some reason.
  • ...patching the L4D issues on the online servers, but why must they do the same for user hosted servers or with system link?
    • by Kneo24 (688412)

      The game is designed to flow a certain way, and with certain things being changed, game balance is broken. The console is already a locked down environment, and one of the advantages of that is that every can play the game as it should be played as far as this is concerned.

      Trust me, it sucks to be playing Versus mode when some asshat decides to force the infected to spawn far away from the survivors. It's easy mode for the survivors (they already have the advantage with the health) and hell for the infected

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:54AM (#26088505)

    As you can buy in game time for $35 and resell it for ISK at around the 450 million mark, I believe this is what the poster was referring to; this is actually a legitimate transaction and is supported by CCP (this is nice because it sets a cap on the price that gold/isk sellers can charge out of game and allowing indirect regulation). This exploit didn't allow the creation of ISK, just the creation of high end materials for module and ship production. While those sell for a lot of ISK, it is only other players that buy it so the net player isk production wasn't effected.

  • Pathetic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:07AM (#26088585)

    As someone who played Half-Life and particularly Team Fortress Classic for numerous years and clans at a fairly advanced level (not to mention all the Quakes, Unreal Tourney, etc. etc.) this whole story is a gigantic WTF for me.

    The ranting and frothing of the various console owners who, quite simply don't have a clue - or appreciate - what the in-game console is or does is stunning. I suppose it's kinda to be expected from not really having a keyboard to access this stuff but the responses from the vast majority are shocking (see the kotaku article on this:
    http://kotaku.com/5106048/left-4-dead-xbox-360-hacks-to-ruin-everything [kotaku.com] ).

    First off these aren't hacks or exploits in the traditional sense and generally can't be run unless the server owner has set their server to cheat mode on (console command: sv_cheats 1). The reporting of this isn't crystal clear in the Half-Life engine and can catch people unawares, but only the server host/admin can adjust it. I suppose this wasn't such a big deal back in the day when a 'server' was usually dedicated as opposed to the way it runs on todays consoles (the host player runs the server and plays in it at the same time). At any rate, I imagine that even on the Xbox only the host player can run these commands (or anyone with remote server admin logon). It's not like JoeySmacktard can join your game and use these commands without you going out your way to allow him to do so.

    Secondly, this kind of tweaking is absolutely HILARIOUS (at least amongst consenting adults ;) ). I've some fond memories of many games and mods run on my LAN with friends running around maps in low gravity, movement speed set to several hundred miles per hour or friction set to be negative, throwing everyone all over the place. If valve truly has nuked these commands for good on xbox then I can only say it is a sad day for console owners of the game. It's a co-op game for god's sake, you're probably playing with good friends and once you've worked your way through the standard game such 'tweaks' really give it a new lease of life.

    If these commands were left in without sv_cheats being the toggle and usable by anyone on the server - I will humbly stand corrected. But frankly I doubt it. Glad I'll be getting the PC version so that this sort of stuff is left optional to me - as it should be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053)
      I'm sure the problem is that 90% of the people on consoles aren't computer savvy enough to get that. In my opinion if you have a PC and a console, you're going to get the PC version just because the mouse is so much better for gaming. So the sorts of people on the console or that prefer it won't necessarily be the sorts that "get" what's going on. Particularly if the person "cheating" is just using it to send endless hoards in versus while they're infected and then they turn it off when they're survivor. In
    • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fastest fascist (1086001) on Friday December 12, 2008 @12:25PM (#26091665)
      The problem with server-side variables in L4D is that with matchmaking you have no way of knowing if you're connecting to a vanilla server or some 4chan hellhole. Of course allowing the user to filter out servers that allow cheats should be trivial, but as it is the matchmaking system doesn't let you do that.
    • by IorDMUX (870522)

      I've some fond memories of many games and mods run on my LAN with friends running around maps in low gravity, movement speed set to several hundred miles per hour or friction set to be negative, throwing everyone all over the place.

      Agreed. In my old LAN parties, one person would serve as a "referee" to control the physics of our TFC or CS world while the rest of us duked it out in a game world with friction that might turn off at a moments notice, or a gun that could turn into a rocket launcher when you least expected it. It wasn't "fair", but it was hilarious and immensely entertaining to all involved.

      There's another important use for the console, as well: Fixing mistakes from the original developers. I can't count the number of

  • I've said it once [slashdot.org] and I'll say it again. PC game developers are complacent about quality. Too complacent. There is in fact a culture of complacency among PC developers. Console developers by contrast, owing to many years of zero patch capability after release, have much, much higher standards and bugs, major and minor are not tolerated to anywhere near the same extent as they are in PC titles.

    This problem has not gone away and is only becoming more evident as PC developers attempt to port or move into conso

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Poor comparison.

      There is 1 hardware configuration for a Nintendo. The developer develops to it and it is done.

      There are probably a billion hardware configurations for a PC. Impossible to test everything.

      • But there's one software developer for the platform.

        There are a dozen or so MSX configurations and, granted compatible, on all of them, I can slap metal gear or gradius into it and play

        There were half a dozen or so CD-i consoles. They "Just Worked" all the same.

        This isn't the only case. The FM Towns platform back in the late 80s and early 90s were another example. They even ran on the x86 platform!

        Why are gamers putting up with this bullshit? Windows SUCKS for this reason. There's no reason to accept b

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zysus (123604)

      You are missing a key point here, something that embedded developers understand. It is much easier to support software on 1 platform, where you have complete control. (Such as a console)
      On a PC you have thousands of hardware and driver configurations, other conflicting pieces of software that you may or may not know about, library versions. All kinds of unknowns. It is a whole different beast.

    • Not entirely true... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Junta (36770) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:26AM (#26089145)

      In terms of complaints about getting a game to run 'at all' or 'with sound at all', that comes down to hardware complexity. No development company will have this sort of glaring omission on any sane console platform, due to the consistency of hardware in the field. You'll note also that PC developers have tweak-able settings for resolution, geometric complexity, etc etc, because they don't know what hardware they are going to run into. It's just that simple. Richer APIs have helped abstract the differences better, but they are still there.

      I think the console development issues can be more attributed to the complexity of the platform. Frankly, I don't remember having to acquire many patches before the latter half of the 90s for PC games. Some of the fancier DOS games had issues, but a lot of the DOS games simply didn't have a lot to worry about.

      Another complicating factor is the aspect of multi-player games. The mentioned bugs, for example, would not even be worth a patch if it were not a multi-player game. The multi-player aspect requires all bugs that must intentionally be triggered that can provide unfair advantage to be patched. You can find scores of bugs that were exploits in Console history. Final Fantasy 7 W-ITEM underflow bug and Wild Arms Item underflow bug come to mind off the top of my head, The vast majority of patches for modern games have fallen under this category, fixing exploits and fine-tuning balance. This goes for both PC and Console games. Take a look at a single player game and a multiplayer game in the current generation and you'll be hard pressed to find a multi-player game without patches, yet single-player games exist commonly without patches. Before the current generation, internet multi-player gaming on consoles hadn't gotten off the ground, so it wasn't as much a concern, while internet PC multi-player has been common over the last 6-8 years.

      And finally, I have seen on occasion games lock up or just glitch in the console world too. Some games released multiple versions of ROM cartridges, and a publisher, if bothered, would exchange an older, buggy one for the new version. It was rarely worth anyone's time to do so, but they still had glitches that slipped past QA. Generally you could avoid them, but still.

      • by AdamHaun (43173)

        Frankly, I don't remember having to acquire many patches before the latter half of the 90s for PC games.

        There wasn't really a good way to distribute patches prior to the late 90s. When Microsoft was forced to change the disk compression program in MS-DOS 6 due to a lawsuit, it actually had to mail floppies to everyone. It wasn't until widespread adoption of the internet that people could reasonably be expected to play a version of the game different from what came in the box.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LingNoi (1066278)

      This is the dumbest thing I have ever read.

      It just shows you have no idea about game development.

    • The decision to release buggy software often does not lie in the hands of the developer, but the business paying the developer. In many cases, bugs and vulnerabilities are well known, but a business decision is made to release anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mrgreenfur (685860)
      Good points. But this won't last for long as games get more complex and consoles get internet enabled for post-release patching.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kneo24 (688412)

      Today, that is still the case with consoles.

      That is not true. Console games are having these issues now too. Fable II, Fallout 3, GTAIV, and the list goes on.

    • by brkello (642429)
      You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. It is infinitely easier to program and test on one platform (i.e. a console) than it is to test for every possible PC configuration out there. It doesn't matter how good you are or how hard you try, there are always going to be combinations out there that you wouldn't even think of testing on that cause these issues. The only way to deal with this is with patching after the fact. So you have to give PC games a bit of slack.

      You have to be realistic
    • by Draek (916851)

      one thing they cannot deny is just how solid and reliable console games have been, and continue to be. You put in the cartridge/disc, and the game "Just Works(TM)" from day one. No patches, no bugs, no crashes.

      And yet, this is an article about the patch Valve put out to fix a bug in the console version of Left 4 Dead. Not to mention that if you've never had a console game crash on you, you mustn't be a very serious gamer either.

      This is a standard which PC developers should obviously be reaching from, yet in over a decade, by objective measures, they have not made one lick of progress in this direction.

      Use Steam.

      People are not going to put up with imbalanced, glitchy or hacked PC games for months in online play

      Exactly. Which is why they won't buy those games for consoles. Compare and contrast the console version of Team Fortress 2 with the PC version, then tell me about "imbalanced".

  • ISK? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:46AM (#26088839) Homepage Journal

    Eve Online's currency is Icelandic Kronur [wikipedia.org]? No wonder they're in trouble!

    • Interstellar Kredit is what the original abreviation was for, but seeing as CCP, the company that makes EVE Online is from Iceland [ccpgames.com] I would say yes.
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      One (in-game) isk is still worth more than a Zimbabwe dollar. Food for thought (Perhaps Zimbabweans should play EvE for a living instead...)
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:49AM (#26088855)

    apparently responsible for the fraudulent creation of trillions of ISK

    No, that's not it at all. I'm not sure how TFS ended up at that conclusion

    The bug was a manufacturing bug, similar in some respects to an item duping bug. Certain types of production in EVE are multi-step processes where materials get made in to other materials before everything finally is made in to a finished good*. Players could build certain mid-process manufacturing materials (we'll call the fake materials [stuff]) without needing the materials/inputs normally required to build said [stuff]. This resulted in a lot of [stuff] being made out of nothing that was then used to build finished products. No ISK was ever created since this exploit created [stuff], not ISK. The exploiters could sell their fake [stuff] to other players for ISK, but there was never any more ISK in the game because of it.

    Ironically this was better for the vast majority of players who were not in to manufacturing, since the deflation that results from the excess [stuff] meant they could get many finished goods for cheaper than what they should actually be at. The flip side is that correcting this means that prices on the deflated goods are about to shoot up like a rocket, in other words the game is about to hit a period of rapid inflation as the market corrects for the lack of further fake [stuff].

    *Specifically, it was an exploit involving Tech 2 manufacturing. The production chain looks like this, and things that could be fraudulently made are tagged with [stuff]: Raw Materials -> Basic Materials [stuff] -> Advanced Materials [stuff] -> Components -> Finished Goods

    • The 4 years bit is also speculation and hasn't been confirmed by any proof.
    • I don't play EVE, but it sounds like if one could make an infinite amount of item x then if I wanted fast cash it'll be faster to just sell the items to a NPC, which would create ISK.
  • On this Eve bash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:59AM (#26089437)

    I play the game, Eve and there's a bunch of hate going on for the developers, CCP as a result of this bug. I think the bashing of CCP is excessive, but it's worth considering why it might have happened.

    First, much has been made of the claim that CCP "knew" about the exploit. Why has this assertion been made? Because the exploit in question was "petitioned", that is, someone complained about the exploit to an ingame admin some time four years ago. I gather this was reported multiple times in the same way though it's hard to figure out who's telling the truth. But what is the petition proces for? Resolving an ingame problem with a user. If the user is ok with the outcome ("I have free stuff!") and isn't currently cheating, then I gather the petition is closed. So one possibility for the failure is simply that the exploit never got reported as a bug either by players or by the admins handling the problems. I wouldn't be surprised, if the admins never bothered either because it wasn't their job (since the bug wasn't resulting in actions that required immediate admin correction) or because that part of the game was notoriously buggy.

    Now as I understand it, the bug is as follows. There is something called a "player owned station" or "POS". You start by anchoring something called a control tower which for our purposes can only be anchored in a fixed number of spots, one per "moon" in the game (my SWAG is hundred thousand locations). Near that tower, you can anchor other POS structures. Some are for defense. One is to extract a resource "moon minerals". You can attach factories, drug labs, asteroid ore refineries. The most important structures are (chemical) reactors. You store various moon mineral resources and reactor products in "silos". The reactors take input products from some silos and dump the output in other silos. Think of it like a flow chart made of industrial widgets. There are two layers of reactions known as "simple" and "complex". Every moon mineral (of which there are maybe 15-20 types) goes through a simple reaction (where it is combined with another moon mineral) and then a complex reaction (where the resulting simple reaction product is combined with 1-3 other simple reaction products).

    Economically, most of the value coming out of reactions comes out of the second layer of reactions. The reactors for complex reactions are bigger and most POS can only handle one such reactor. That often means that a chain of reactions can spread over half a dozen reactors or more. The really efficient corporations (Eve equivalent of guilds) can run dozens of these things to generate all the reaction products that the Eve markets consume. That's if you do it the fair way.

    Eve like many such games has a one hour downtime. Some enterprising players apparently discovered that one can manipulate a single reactor so that over downtime it fills the output silo with the desired reaction product even though no input material was used. Normally it takes a week or longer in real time to fill that silo and you need to fill the input silos with the appropriate materials. The complex reactions, being the more valuable ones and the final product of POS reactions (which would immediately be bought by manufacturers), were the ones that were exploited. Certain moon minerals were far more scarce than others. In fact, it was to the point that a lot of the game activity centered on controling sources of those moon minerals. This was all bypassed by creating the complex reaction products that had the valuable moon minerals in them.

    For your edification, here's a screenshot [scrapheap-challenge.com] halfway down the page showing a control tower (the big vertical thing), a bunch of silos (9 of them present along with a "coupling silo" which looks identical, meant to buffer the flow of output product), and two reactors (on the far left), one complex and one simple. "Online" means it is active and able to do something. "Anchor

    • by KagatoLNX (141673)

      I think the downtime aspect was the key.

      When you petition in EVE, normally a GM shows up and they can use the game's audit trails to find the smoking gun. If it's a bug, it gets pretty obvious.

      The auditing infrastructure is built around the realtime game. During "downtime" it's all batch processing, and I would be willing to bet that it either generates tons of useless audit logs with cryptic descriptions (which EVE is kind of famous for). Worse, it may be that it generates none at all!

      Since there was re

      • by khallow (566160)

        I just realized something. I gave enough info in my previous post to link me to my primary character in Eve. You just need to be an adequate data miner to find it. Hi data miner!

        Moving on, you have a good take on it. It's remarkable that the exploit stayed hidden for so long. Honestly, I thought such things would crash the market hard. So I'd have to disagree on the "limitless source". Something kept t2 gear from becoming dirt cheap. I'm guessing that the knowledge wasn't that widespread. Maybe the cheaters

        • by Andy Dodd (701)

          "Something kept t2 gear from becoming dirt cheap."

          The limiting factor on T2 gear prices quickly became the values of datacores required for invention. Even if the production materials were 100% free, T2 items would have been expensive due to the value of blueprints per production run.

          • by khallow (566160)
            One can create arbitrary numbers of alt accounts and these accounts do not need to be active and paid for in order to farm datacores.
    • by brkello (642429)
      The issue with Eve is that it wouldn't surprise anyone that devs knew about this exploit and used it themselves. That's the problem when you have a history of dev cheating and not firing the people responsible. This is also the problem with having a single shard. The whole game is effected by this. And the people who don't use exploits suffer from not being able to compete on a level playing field. Hopefully CCP does the right thing this time and bans people who used this exploit.
  • Your illegitimate isk sales numbers are nonsensical. The legal means of buying isk is cheaper. Why would you pay $35 for 450m and risk getting banned when you can pay $35 for 600m [eve-online.com] and _zero_ risk of a ban?

RADIO SHACK LEVEL II BASIC READY >_

Working...