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I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

exploitingeveiseasy.com

One of the most famed solo PvPers in EVE is a player named Garmon, who's part of Hydra Reloaded.

Garmon puts out a series of PvP videos capturing his exploits called "Garmonation" (look it up on Google).  There's now nine of these videos, documenting solo and ultra-small-gang PvP in a number of ridiculously expensive ships and fittings.  The most recent, Garmonation 9, includes PvP exploits in an Adrestia (a unique Gallente cruiser of which only a handful exist) and a Machariel.  This most recent video concludes with an announcement: Garmon and a couple of friends are getting ready to launch a new website to teach EVE advanced PvP techniques.  The website, http://www.eveiseasy.com/, includes a box to put in your e-mail address.  Once you do, you're given access to several initial videos.

One can only assume that further videos will follow, but that those videos won't be so freely available.

Of course, though, right when you're launching a new business venture is the perfect time to be involved in a scandal.

First word of the potential scandal broke a couple of days ago, not long after this Rhea died.  From what I understand, the pilot bug-reported it, indicating that he was caught and aggressed by Garmon's Vindicator outside a safe undock station, but not scrammed or pointed.  The Rhea pilot attempted to warp, but found himself unable to do so.  He was further unable to cancel warp in order to simply redock.  Assuming he was bugged, he apparently logged out, logged back in, was still unable to dock, and was killed shortly thereafter.

Garmon then apparently bragged that he had found a new way to kill jump freighters, and indicated that it would soon be a video on the eveiseasy website.

Suspecting something unusual was going on, about 90 minutes later, Pandemic Legion baited him into another attack, then hot-dropped him with super-carriers and killed the offending Vindi.(1)  And on the Vindi fit, PL confirmed there were no points and no scrams... just three very expensive Federation Navy webs.

It wasn't long until people started playing with the mechanic on Sisi and determining how it worked.  Pandemic Legion immediately took the information gained and put it to use... not by telling CCP about it... oh no... by killing another jump freighter themselves with the exploit about six hours later.  Garmon, undaunted, fitted up another Vindi and got another JF a couple of hours after that.  And the race was on.

EVE News 24 first published an article asking for information, then put together how the mechanic works on Sisi and published it for all to see (text is courtesy of Zeroniss, and edited slightly for clarity):
It works on the principle that when you undock a ship, it is moving much faster than your maximum speed (especially in a freighter) if you hit warp, your ship tries to align while slowing down too (it is ESSENTIAL that your ship has to change alignment, instaundock will always work) this is when you slap it with triple webs.

Once the triple webs hit, under normal conditions your top speed is reduced to 1.1m/s. But your speed is still like 100/200ms as in the kickout from the undock, you won’t be able to stop the warp, you cannot dock either.

You never reach warp because your speed never [drops to 1m/s].  You can’t eject, you can't DC because you are trying to initiate warp, you are ALWAYS going to die.

Needless to say, the fact that Garmon of all people was using a cheap exploit to score jump freighter kills soured people's view of him pretty quickly.  As we know in the United States, it only takes one good solid scandal to burn away any goodwill you've built up over several years.  Michael Vick, John Edwards, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Martha Stewart, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  Examples abound.  The jokes have already started: Garmonationexploitation and hackingeveiseasy.com being my two favorites so far.

Anyway, CCP caught wind of the scandal remarkably quickly and today, GM Grimmi issued this statement:
It has come to our attention that some players are making use of a broken game mechanic involving web modules preventing people from warping, for the purpose of killing them.  This is a clear exploit and anyone found abusing this will be dealt with accordingly.  Exploiting may result in a permanent suspension from the game.  Our Game Design team will be working to deploy a fix for this issue in the near future.
That statement was then modified and clarified to:
We've become aware of an exploit that is being abused by players to catch jump freighters in low-sec in order to kill them. By webbing a ship that has initiated warp, the victim will be rendered unable to cancel the warp in order to dock. This is a clear exploit and anyone found abusing this will be dealt with accordingly. Exploiting may result in a permanent suspension from the game. A fix will be deployed for this issue in the near future.
...presumably so that every person who lost a webbed ship wouldn't petition their losses.  ;-)  The initial badly-worded statement shows how rapidly CCP wanted to get on top of this issue, so bravo to them for that.  It really speaks to both CCP's sense of urgency to respond and the ability of the EVE media and fora to highlight an issue quickly.

So now the next question is how this will impact Garmon and his new business venture.  Will people forgive him his sins?  What if he apologizes?  American scandals tend to die down because Americans by their nature are a forgiving, generous people.  Hard-core EVE PvPers?  Not so much.  ;-)

Stay tuned.


(1) This quite possibly represents the one and only positive use of a super-carrier hot-drop on a sub-cap in EVE history.  ;-)  Best joke about this loss-mail, from several wags in various fora: "Think we'll see this hot-drop in Garmonation 10?"

31 comments:

  1. I think it's testament to how well Garmon plays the game that he finds exploits like this. If it's possible, then it's allowed as far as I'm concerned. It's ccp's problem if an exploit like this exists:

    "I'm not going to force people to be ccp's police force" - Mittani

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    1. Interesting that you use Mittani's quote to support your stance on exploiting Rosen game mechanics. The Goonswarm policy is "don't report blues."

      If it is possible, it really is up to the player to figure put that behaviour which is obviously broken should be reported, not exploited. On the other hand, exploit the shit out of it until the developers wise up. But that avenue means developer time is taken away from useful things.

      Which path do you feel is better for the game? Recognizing that something is broken and avoiding it is my preferred option. Exploiting broken mechanics is what brought the wrath of the Devs down upon titans blapping subcaps after all.

      Some people just never learn.

      Delete
  2. Our logs show nothing. Working as intended.

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  3. I agree in that this should be a viable machanic. You have to reach certain speeds to initiate warp, and if you can actually reach that speed (by webbing and unwebbing to change max velocity) you shouldnt be able to.

    However, being locked into warp "stasis", not able to cancel warp to dock or maneuver otherwise is a glitch in the games coding; NOT something that should cause players to get in trouble for. It should be something easily coded in to allow a "cancel warp" option.

    In any case, if youre stupid enough to undock a ship and not use session change timers to your advantage (undocking, stopping ship to stay in dock range to be able to redock before being targeted), then you deserve to lose your ship like an idiot. Yes, I know about kickout stations, in which case, you should use another ship to undock and check for campers.

    Dont fly what you cant afford to lose!

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  4. Garmon is not a good solo pvp'er in today's EVE.

    Above average, yes. But I too could be 'good' if I had a T3 boosting alt and 3B isk BC fits.

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    1. Agreeing with this. In an Adrestia going 6k and picking off tackle with a 20+km SCRAM, you are of course going to ownzone tacklers. Prom does ~true~ solo.

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  5. I don't think anyone really cares about this "scandal." Garmon had petitioned the mechanic before, and a GM told him it was an intended mechanic. This apparently can happen in a load of other different scenarios, too. One of the most common is when faction NPC police will web you to death, making you unable to warp. People have petitioned getting webbed by the NPC's and gotten their ships reimbursed. CCP knew it was an issue, and they didn't bother to fix it until it gained wide attention.

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    1. Even if this is true, AHARM is still remembered more for their exploitation of another mechanic that GMs told them was perfectly all right than for anything else...

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    2. Exactly. I also recall reading somewhere in the original post on EN24 that Garmon asked a GM and again their response was working as intended.

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    3. Sounds like a case of the squeaky wheel getting the oil. Something seems ok until a bunch of "victims" cry loud enough. Once the whingers reach a critical mass then CCP intervenes to say that while it was ok before, now it's an exploit. I thought this was supposed to be a harsh game, but it's full of panzies.

      Delete
    4. I honestly doubt the GMs knew the subtlety of the situation, and unless we have Garmons Q&A with the GM then it's impossible to say whether this is anything like that situation.

      It's interesting that you mention AHARM, since they asked a vague question to the GMs, despite them doing extencive testing and realising the extent of what they had unearthed (they asked about sensor boosters and never mentioned tracking disruptors).

      So if Garmon asked

      "if a ship takes longer to warp in some cases when webbed, and I use this, is this an exploit?"

      then he would likely get "no, that's working as intended" but if he asked

      "if I stack 3 90% webs and deliberately and do not warp scram in order to force the ship into a warp which it cannot cancel, is that an exploit?"

      then I would be very concerned the GM team are not on the same page.

      Delete
  6. Chalk it up to Eve being Eve. If something involves all in-game mechanics, I say game on. Besides, the fastest way to get unintended consequences of game mechanics patched isn't to report them, but to exploit them and cause a stink.

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    1. "Chalk it up to Eve being Eve", whilst perhaps acceptable from the standpoint of the average player, does not work terribly well as far as Public Relations is concerned. I think that Garm may have shot himself in the foot with this.

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  7. Well we can't have huge power blocks having their logistics being done by more then a few single players in jump freighters. Imagine they had to come and guard the undocks their jump freighters use.

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  8. I think what happened is someone at CCP figured out that if this mechanic was working as intended, then NS would find it nearly impossible to ship things in and out with JF's. Could you imagine the rage from the NS alliances as they were forced to protect their assets from webbing ships at all the stations they used.

    AHARM also petitioned GM's multiple times to get the answer they wanted. IIRC

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  9. First off, as far as i'm concerned its not an exploit until, eve says it is. Therefore, its unfair to call garmon an exploiter as there was no indication that this mechanic was considered an exploit at the time he purportedly used it. Second off, JF's are an example of a broken mechanic in and of themselves. They are essentially they have been use as a risk free way of transporting goods across eve. The use of JFs has reduced the opportunity for pvp to occur in eve by making transportation too easy. So if someone has found a way to bring some risk to the use of a jf -- well good for them -- they should be applauded for their ingenuity and dedication to the sandbox of eve.

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  10. There are a lot of comments like Anon0618's, so I want to address them all as a group. This response isn't aimed at Anon0618 except so much as he is most successful at summing up his points with a minimum number of words. So, my response:

    It's easy to say "it's not an exploit until a GM says it is."

    It's also bullshit from start to finish. If you got one of your ships killed in this fashion, using no points and no scrams, right off a station and within dock range, you'd be pissed.

    The fact that you try to justify Garmon's tactic with a stream of "how easy" JFs are clearly indicates that you recognize this but want to spin it with some fluff about how "they deserve it."

    It speaks volumes about the human capacity for self-delusion.

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    1. "If you got one of your ships killed in this fashion, using no points and no scrams, right off a station and within dock range, you'd be pissed."

      Please -- there are many times in eve where you lose a ship to hopeless situations -- how about large blobs hot dropping on you? or jumping through a gate and finding a well organized gate camp with the entire gate bubbled? Well you say there are things you can do to prevent such things -- such as scouting the gate -- well there were things the jf pilot could have done to prevent his demise -- he could have scouted the exit -- he also could have used the session timer to his advantage stopping his engines immediately -- or he could have insta-undocked. Losing a ship in eve is always a pain in the ass but just because it is doesnt mean you get to whine and have the mechanics of game changed to suit your playstyle. As for JFs, its clear that they hurt the game. It is also clear that eve is a sandbox -- if the sandbox means anything it means that you take the tools that ccp gives you to bend the game towards your will -- so yea if a player is able to light a fire under the jf's good for him as the jfs due deserve it.

      Delete
    2. Epic reply anon0709.

      "It speaks volumes about the human capacity for self-delusion."

      Volume is now at Maximum.

      Delete
  11. Is bumping a ship to keep it from aligning now also an exploit as it prevents warping without points or scrams ?

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  12. There's an obvious difference between the situations raised by Anon0709 and Anon0744 and THIS situation. In THIS situation, the player SHOULD be able to cancel warp and dock back up. There's no in-game reason why this shouldn't be possible, except a game bug.

    This isn't a hot-drop or a bump. This is a player that should be able to hit Control-Space, then click the dock button, and can't because of :CCP:.

    It's absolutely no different from having your ship suddenly and independently start a self-destruct timer that you didn't initiate and can't stop, no matter what you do.

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    1. To use your own terminology, your reasoning is "bullshit from start to finish."

      You seem to think that because the jump pilot cant do anything but die that there is something wrong with the technique. In eve, however, asymmetry of conflict is the rule not the exception. The pilot who is perma jammed cant doing anything to save his ship; the pilot who is bubbled, scrammed and blobbed cant do anything to save his ship; the pilot who is being kited by someone flying under his guns, cant do anything to save his ship. In short eve is full of situations where the outcome of the conflict was decided before combat actually began. There is simply no legitimate difference those situations and the one here at issue. Sure you might say that ccp expressly intended the above situations to take place but did not anticipate the unusual use of webs at issue herein. But so what? The whole point of the sandbox is to take tools that are given us and come up with unexpected, unusual uses for those tools. If ccp is slam every unexpected use of a tool that it provides merely because of the whining of the people effected by us, then we are no better then the wow crowd. In truth the PL players had the right idea. They used the sandbox to get back at the garmon -- they baited and blobbed him. That is the way a sandbox game should work. If there is a problem, fix it yourself, don't go running to mommy ccp. And I suspect that in your heart of hearts you know this -- unfortunately, I also suspect that what this whole article was about was just an attempt to point fingers at garmon and say that he "just not all that."

      I'm also disappointed at your defense of JFs. As I recall you articles -- you have lamented both the empty spaces in null and the apparent extensive use of bots. Well guess what? JFs are directly contributory to both. You want space to be occupied? Make it harder to move around. You want to hamstring bots? Make it difficult for them to move their wares to market. (I know somebody will say that we will got bot transport ships -- but if they are forced to jump from system to system then you got a chance at killing them).

      Delete
    2. Your missing the point though, this is a situation where the JF pilot has left himself ways to protect himself(warping straight to gate or canceling and docking), and they can being negated by something that shouldn't be negating them. In effect it is like my using a TD on a drake and the drake not being able to lock me due to the TD, that is the comparable situation not the situations where a pilot chooses to engage in combat.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous you have the most twisted lack of logic I have seen in a while .. are you just butthurt because you won't be allowed to abuse this and get easy kills or are you are you simply that retarded? How can you miss the blatant exploit at work?

      Furthermore, JFs are one of the things that make fulltime life in nullsec viable currently and therefore allow people to occupy the space. You would want to make every single legit null pilot's life a market/supply nightmare because... for what reason exactly?

      Delete
    4. @ Elloise kashada -- when you have to resort to ad hominem attacks you know you've lost the debate.

      As for JF's being what made null living possible - are you so ignorant as not be aware that there was null life before jf's and jump bridges? People whine and moan about how null as largely become a wasteland devoid of life except for bots. Well JFs and jump bridges are the direct mechanism that created that lifeless, bot filled void known as null. You want to bring small scale pvp back to null -- then you must confront the op'ness of JFs.

      As for the triple webbing being an obvious exploit -- well explain how that is so? What exactly makes it an exploit? You cant do it - because in all fairness -- the technique is identical in all respects to many other one-sided tactics used in eve. In fact, the only thing that makes this an exploit is that CCP says it is. There is no logic or fairness involved. Really, the only thing at issue here is holier then thou folk wanting to throw stones.

      Delete
  13. The bigger scandal is that nothing was done until a Goonswarm jump freighter was killed. Then Mittani got CCP on the batphone to do the news article saying it was an exploit.

    I find it very discouraging to even keep playing this game with this kind of corruption going on it. Why bother to fight Goonswarm if you will later have whatever tactic and/or ship nerfed/deemed an exploit??

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    1. Seriously? Because the Mittani and Riverini are such great friends...

      Also because this wasn't an unintended problem?

      Yeah, totally not a bug that you can't cancel warp, or do ANYTHING while you get killed. Only a bug once it was used against Goons.... here's your tinfoil hat.

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  14. http://eveopportunist.blogspot.com/2012/03/eve-is-easy-vs-web-exploit.html

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  15. I wouldn't be that bothered if it was my jump freighter. But I don't cry about some pixels so..... More dead JF's please!


    MB.

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  16. Better go petition kickout stations, they are obviously exploits that deny the player the opportunity to cancel warp and redock.

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  17. You don't need a triple web vindy for this, this bug has been in the game for ages. Noticed a while back that whilst a rapier dual webbing a freighter/Orca on a gate was useful, it totally ruins the warp out when leaving a station, especially where the freighter had to turn. So hardly suprised its finally been exploited.

    And you might want to try it on Orca's and normal freighters too.
    (Apparently its only JF's where it's an exploit... )

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