In this episode of our Exploit History we go all the way back to Module 1: Fury of the Feywild. The bug we are going to talk about has its seeds in the quest sharing mechanic. Players are able to share quests from their log with the party to make running with friends easier. You can join a friend’s session, get the quests and accompany them on their adventure. It doesn’t matter whether you already completed the quest yourself and you get the full rewards.
The feature might actually be unknown to some, because its usefulness is limited. Normally players just solo the storyline and only team up for dungeons. The need to pull alternate characters or guildies to 70 for example is just not there. It actually makes tons of sense for the foundry, but as we know the foundry has developed into an unloved stepchild. Not all quests can be shared though. Some one-time quests like tutorials are excluded because it doesn’t normally make sense to complete them multiple times.
Additionally dailies and weeklies are not eligible because they are on a timer. But in the case of the Arcane Reservoir the devs forgot to set the appropriate flag. Neverwinter itself meanwhile doesn’t seem to check whether players are actually allowed to receive the quest. Either you can share it, and then everyone in the party can receive it, or you don’t. That’s why the Arcane Reservoir quest could unintentionally be completed multiple times per week.
Although it was very obvious that it was not intended, players didn’t care and the lfg channel in Sharandar filled with more and more sharing requests and offerings over time. Nowadays after several tweaks the campaign is not substantially longer than others, but back then you needed months for a completion. Since the major culprit were the Sparks, the exploiters gained a significant advantage.
For some players however the journey didn’t end so well. After fixing the bug the devs decided to hand out bans for exploiting the weekly mission. Said ban wave was accompanied by some irritations. Free-to-play players received higher punishments than those that had spend ZEN. Additionally the exploited Sparks were never removed, meaning that some players were banned for three or seven days while having exploited campaign progression worth several weeks and months. It also fueled the discussion of proportionality. Back then several dungeon exploits were live and heavily exploited, but bans, if at all, few and far between. Parts of the community argued that you can’t let those players get away while banning others for a comparably small infraction of gaining an advantage in a campaign.
Sharing the Arcane Reservoir quest was the first exploit related to the Sharandar campaign, but it was not the only one. Stay tuned as we will touch on more stuff in upcoming editions!