In our first episode of Neverwinter’s exploit history we looked at a rather recent exploit of locking auctions. Today we stay at the Auction House, but go way back to the open beta, where a major exploit caused the only rollback this game ever experienced.
On May 19th 2013 an exploit leaked that described the way of creating an indefinite amount of Astral Diamonds with negative bids on auctions. As you might now, Astral Diamonds are subtracted from your balance after a bid and the mail system returns unsuccessful ones to the bidder. Players found out that if you actually send negative numbers to the server, the math was applied as well. The server would subtract the bid from the balance, but since this resulted in a net positive for the player, send the “owed” amount via the ingame mail system.
In very few hours, players exploited the design flaw and amassed millions of ADs. It also broke the Astral Diamond exchange, because exploiters needed to trade in their ADs when the character cap of 100 million was reached. The bug has allegedly been in the game forever, but literally exploded on this particular weekend in May 2013. As a reaction, the devs brought the servers down and rolled back seven hours, banned several offenders and compensated players with a Caturday Survivor’s Pack.
There are naturally still rumors that not all accounts and Astral Diamonds have been found and cleared, especially since the rollback only targeted exploited currency within a 7-hour frame, not those that was created by players for weeks before that. Till today, Caturday is the only exploit that drew major attention on news sites, but it was only the first of many that caused noticeable damage to the ingame economy.