Who Is to Blame the Most for the Huntgate Mess? (RE: Reasons)

So “Huntgate” anyone? Yeah, it’s been some really bizarre and tumultuous days. I guess we’ve seen everything. Hyperbole from all sides, players blaming Cryptic, Cryptic blaming players. Those that feel cheaters deserved what they got, others that felt the game did itself a disservice. I thought long about writing this article, because I’m not a huge fan of taking part in the “he said, she said” drama. Bit since Uncensored undoubtedly played a role in spreading the exploit, and got dragged into the spotlight to some extent, I guess it’s one of those situations where you can’t dodge posting something.

Hyperbole Galore

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In case you’re wondering about the title. It’s related to what was written in this Reddit thread, more specifically this time line. It describes what happened fairly well, but assigns all blame to everyone but the company. And assigning blame is exactly what I’d like to go over today. To a lesser extent we also have to talk the state of the community (again), because it’s closely tied to that. Because one thing the exploit has shown is how deeply divided the player base is. It’s gotten so far that people are willing to purposely spin a story to make the other party look bad. Or at least omit or present “facts” in a dubious way to help create a certain narrative. I by the way do not think anyone does this out of pure malice. It’s just that people feel they are right and gradually use more extreme ways to make them heard.

Our site by the way does fall victim to this as well. We often to present the player and “company critical” side of things because official platforms usually moderate those opinions. That definitely leads to biased coverage as well at times. We still feel like players get more accurate information here, because in contrast to other platforms, everyone can post (and disagree on) whatever they want.

What Role Did Uncensored Play?

In this particular instance Reddit also dragged us into the spotlight as those that allegedly made everything worse than it should have by posting details on September, 2nd. It’s one of those situations which I referred to above where the narrative doesn’t match what actually happened. I don’t fully blame the sub though. We did share some details behind the scenes, but maybe not enough to not come to the posted conclusion. Truth is, several PC players approached us and wanted us to post the details because they were fed up with some players exploiting like crazy. I personally knew about a YouTube video that was set to private, ready to get published and flooded all over Protector’s Enclave, Reddit, and Arcgames. What we did was convince them to wait until a fix. One week before the patch, a second team members got contacted from another source and wanted to write about it as well.

So here’s your tl;dr: Shit would have blown up anyway. If you feel otherwise, that’s your opinion, but it’s most certainly wrong. The smart way would have been to wait for others to post their YouTube vid or whatever and then simply pick that up in a story. I didn’t however anticipate that the whole thing might still be live on consoles anyway. That’s on me, shit happens. But since I also had to honor an agreement with my source to publish as soon as the exploit was fixed on PC, and a second team member wanted to post about it as well, it would have gone up anyway.

What Role Did Cryptic Play?

The other question is what did or didn’t Cryptic do to prevent this mess? In the Reddit timeline there are some interesting aspects I’d like to go over. First of all, the devs knew about the exploit since the preview days of Module 14. Rumor has it that dev Noworries even received exploit details in a PM. That’s unconfirmed, but it’s pretty common knowledge that the info was out there. It still took them more than three months to get a fix out on all platforms. Plus they didn’t try to push the patch through certification for the consoles ASAP and kicking investigation into high gear until we leaked the exploit. Why couldn’t this have been done earlier? There’s other stuff I won’t even go over here. Like banning on Fridays, pairing the bans with the Mod 15 release, etc.

Another crucial span is the time between the exploit leak and the acknowledgment. So let’s say some evil website posted exploit details. Well, crap. And now you need ten days to get a post up although you know that at that point everyone and their mother is using the bug ingame? I agree that being silent about it up to that point was probably for the better, but after September 2nd you’re just worsening the situation. Also, if Cryptic had fixed the exploit in a reasonable time, nothing would have happened. If there’s anything to learn from this: You better deal with this kind of crap asap. Otherwise you just risk stuff to blow up eventually.

This perceived “laziness” by the way was one of the reasons why we decided to post exploits. It was to apply some sort of pressure and create a necessity to fix them. In the history of the game, it almost became a meme how stuff only got fixed after it leaked. There are several examples, and Huntgate adds to those (although as mentioned, this time it wasn’t even intended…).

Officials and the Community

The incident also shows how divided the community is. There are so few people willing to build bridges in positions with power. It just leads to more separation and this whole “us vs them” mentality quite frankly is why players largely blame Cryptic for the mess. The same applies to the content creator scene. It’s no coincidence that pretty much all major YouTubers went out and posted vids bashing the devs to some extent. This might not be completely justified, but is a direct result of the game not working with their influencers appropriately. What irritates me the most is seeing people openly celebrate bans of others because they don’t like them or their opinion/content. Losing players first and foremost is bad. Reasons matter, but it’s a clear second.

What Role Did the Players Play?

Which brings us to us players. If you exploited and got caught, tough luck. Of course the initial reaction is to blame Cryptic for leaving the exploit in the game for so long. That’s not wrong, but I guess in the vast majority of cases players knew exactly what they were doing. Nobody has to exploit, people voluntarily choose to do so. The ones I talked to by the way were very reasonable. Most said they deserve a punishment, and only lamented on the severity for the most part.

There is one caveat though, which brings us back to the time span between the exploit leak and the acknowledgment. At that point, everyone was doing it on consoles and even for “legit” players it got increasingly harder to avoid getting sucked into exploiting themselves. Even if players still did something wrong, I think it’s fair to point that out. It almost feels like PWE purposely let that linger to set a trap for the players. I mean they absolutely didn’t, but it’s just so hilarious.

So in the end, it’s as always. It takes a good amount of bad circumstances and coincidence for stuff to culminate into something like Huntgate. Everyone made mistakes, and rigorously pointing fingers doesn’t help. Not the game, not the community. Maybe it’s fair to put it like this: The only ones that have all the power to prevent this in the future are the devs, Cryptic and PWE, themselves. If they are able to pull the right strings, react more promptly and more transparently, we won’t ever witness another Huntgate again.


What’s your take on this topic? Who’s to blame the most? The players, Uncensored, the devs? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit our message board!

Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 75,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.

j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

15 thoughts on “Who Is to Blame the Most for the Huntgate Mess? (RE: Reasons)

  • Avatar
    September 23, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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    something to add for those with security experience…

    your actions fall right under responsible / coordinated disclosure IMO.
    while the different types have been debated for decades, most would agree this is the most acceptable manner IMO.

    cryptic’s response… not so much.
    a company that keeps pulling that crap will have everyone go right into full disclosure mode as a big F YOU.

    dont lose any sleep over what you did.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_disclosure_(computer_security)#The_vulnerability_disclosure_debate

    Reply
  • Avatar
    September 23, 2018 at 4:48 pm
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    Nobody who did this and got caught for doing it, has any sympathy from me, that includes some of my friends. You knew you could be banned for what you were doing, you got caught, accept the consequences. I do feel permanent bans were too harsh considering how little of an impact this exploit has, but if you took the risk and got caught for it, it is entirely on you.

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  • Avatar
    September 23, 2018 at 8:06 pm
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    Well from what discussions I have had with guild mates, and zone chat conversations, I can honestly say that the player base doesnt seem upset with crypitc at all. the general consensus is that if you cheat and get banned then thats your fault. some questioned the severity, but lets face it, if someone tells you not to do something and you continue to do it thinking that you are above the terms of service for whatever reason, then your arrogant arse deserves the ban permanently.

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  • Avatar
    September 23, 2018 at 11:31 pm
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    Good article, nice resume of the situation. The timeline of events is also interesting. I had no idea the exploit was known for so long (preview?) on PC, and didn’t remember that they need time to get certifications on consoles.

    Knowing all that, I’ll stand by my position, as it’s not all black and white. Cryptic did a major mistake not fixing it soon enough, and players did a major mistake by exploiting the hell out of it. Players that did only a few glitched hunt received a fair ban;
    – 1 day, 3 days? Not the end of the world, and it’ll make you think twice for the next discovered exploit.
    – Permaban? If you exploited it 24/7, spread it with youtube/twitch, I can consider that normal, it’s not your average Joe’s exploit.
    – AD removed? The glitched rad/ad is normal to be removed, but I find it too much to remove the AD earned in a legit way aka farming or paying.

    My only concern, as always during the ban waves, is with false positive. These are always very badly treated, and almost never compensated for being ban for nothing. Even if I don’t use the exploit, I’m always afraid to be tagged as a false positive.

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  • Avatar
    September 24, 2018 at 12:30 am
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    The whole thing stinks from a fair distance.
    -1st of all I am one of those that took advantage of the glitch and I accept the punisment of the Ban.
    -What I don’t accept is Cryptic STEALING valuables and AD from players, I get it you can take a part of my rough AD but STEAL normal AD that I worked hard? Valuble multiple items worked months to get cotsing tens of millions?
    -As it states above the Dev had an amount of reports to fix the exploit since preview. They did nothing, the glitch makes it out on Mod14 release on PC and several months later wait for it….it goes through with consoles too! WTF Cryptic? are you scratching your butts there or do you actually do your Fkn job.
    -I have something in my mind that smells like conspiracy theory but it might be not far from reallity. The economy was crap ppl have gone rich from mastercrafting or various other methods. There is huge amounts of AD in certain hands and certain people control the economy. That sucks right? So Cryptic relieases a preview mod with a potential exploit. the exploit gets reported several times and it goes through as we said on PC and months later on consoles without a fix. If I was a company and someone told me about a mistake “I” made and I could possibly be losing money from that, I would go on an emergency maintenance break and patch it in like 1 hour. But wait I had the chance to fix it on Preview why didn’t I? Maybe just maybe, I can let everyone to exploit it and then Ban them for a few days and steal am big chunk of their wealth, so that way the economy gets in a better way and people will need to buy Zen Again, right? WRONG!!!! Also how can I investigate who did glitch and how much and who didn’t… hmm I ll Ban and steal from most of them anyhow, its my game I can do whatever the fk I like.
    -People will never trust you again Cryptic with their money! Noone will buy Zen (apart from a few new ignorant guys). You lost your big money spenders thats for sure and you crippled the playerbase. Was that your intention wanna wipe the board clean and start over? The word is out. I am taking my money and going elsewere.

    PS. To the guys that are on their high horse, and didn’t get a ban. As I said I accept the Ban no problem and I deserve it. But keep in mind that a lot of people that even do the hunts or even go to Barovia got banned and stolen from aswell. So you was just lucky that weren’t between those poor fellas. Would you speak the same words you speak now if you belonged to that group?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      September 24, 2018 at 3:06 pm
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      So are there documented reports of falsely accused people getting banned/fined?

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    • Avatar
      September 25, 2018 at 3:33 am
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      >>>
      The economy was crap ppl have gone rich from mastercrafting or various other methods. There is huge amounts of AD in certain hands and certain people control the economy
      <<<
      Knew it already cause some big names got banned but you confirmed it.
      I would expect that such an exploit with rough AD would be used mostly by players that don't reach the daily refine limit aka "poor" players, casuals, low geared etc.
      But NO the players that exploited the most are the rich players, the ones that control the market and the masterwork.
      Such sick greedy behavior.
      Can you pls at least try to explain why all these multi million players used this exploit? Just out of curiosity.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    September 24, 2018 at 1:30 am
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    I have come to the conclusion that if only Cryptic would have put an ingame admin message saying something about it (‘There is a glitch in Hunts. If you use it, action will be taken against you, including bans and/or take away your profits’) this would not have scalated to this degree.

    When the patch notes came out on PC, saying the glitch was fixed, I understood them as a playfull slap in the wrist, like ‘haha its fixed, dont do that again’, not something so serious as to warrant bans and this AD-taking mess. BTW, until this site posted the details of the glitch, I did not know about it and how much people was gaining from it.

    If things were better managed at Cryptic/PWE… The bans seem okay for me. The AD-taking is understandable: I make 3million AD in a day, get a 3days ban when nobody can exploit the glitch anymore then enjoy my rewards? That seems unfair. But since AD ~= Zen and the AD from the glitch may have been used already… I dont know what I would have done to put things back to normal, to be honest.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      September 24, 2018 at 3:18 pm
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      a warning would have been a nice gester. I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made since it seems probably that anyone exploiting likely knew they were participating in the activity. but a warning could have softened the blow a bit

      Reply
  • Avatar
    September 24, 2018 at 1:50 am
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    At the end of the day the playerbase should put their big boy pants on and suck it up, that being said there are circumstances where folk that went into these for the first time would not necessarily have surmised it was an exploit, that being said after a few runs you would have figured it out.

    This was discussed in parties and without doubt, the fact it had been running for months without action on PC definitely was a factor in many peoples decision to do this (whether the haters like it or not).

    It was viewed as the same as the Cragmire Crypts glitches back in the old days and the final boss on FBI or the key glitch. Arcs history on this seduced players into thinking ot was fine to do. Indeed one of my contacts raised this with a Dev they had contact with from way back and were told “just don’t rub our noses in it or broadcast it and you will be fine.

    All that being said I feel the punishments were generally proportional in the main, from what I can see those who did it for a few hours on one day escaped punishment (Dabble factor one) those that did a couple of hours over 3 days or less, got a one day ban and some AD removed (more than what was gained I am informed), now removal of the gains I actually sympathize with however going beyond those gains on the lower offenders is unnecessarily inflammatory.

    On Saturday on one of the console platforms the instances were a wasteland with next to no one on of any consequence, Protectors Enclave the Port and Omu all empty. Whether the High horse brigade like it or not the vast majority of the player base got sucked in those same players have unquestionably glitched in the past and are hypocritical in their condemnation (sorry in the early days without a bubble pally you weren’t getting off the campfire in cragmire when mod 6 dropped), so spare us your hype.

    I will admit I got a one day ban for this as did many many others, if they had punished everyone who did this to any degree, there would have been no one to play on Saturday at all (save a tiny handful).
    To those who went over the top and got Billions of Ad in value(yes I have been informed of this reality) you deserve whatever they do you, to the rest of us who dabbled to a much lesser degree and stopped as soon as the post went up from Nitro on PS4 well tough we did it we cant complain, however I do concur that taking stuff over and above the gains was out of order, however deal with it and move on.

    The long term impact of this on the game is yet to unfurl however there is an awful lot of ill will out there right now towards Arc and it seems worse to me than Coalgate was, its hard to envision that this wont hit their revenue stream!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    September 24, 2018 at 6:29 am
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    I think the whole thing is silly.
    As a newer player who has spent money on the game, I’m a lot less likely to spend in the future.

    No matter what angle you look at it, Cryptic looks incompetent … either from a ‘communicating with the community’ aspect, or from a ‘patching and maintaining the game’ perspective, they look like a second-rate outfit and Neverwinter is worse for it.

    So yeah, some players took advantage of a bug and got banned. But it’s also bad press for a company that doesn’t really need it.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    September 24, 2018 at 10:03 am
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    I am also a newer player (~ 2 months). I’ve been banned for some number of days greater than 48 hours (I can’t tell you how long because I haven’t received an email nor have I received a response to my support ticket). I’ve spent a decent amount of money on this game and have converted a lot of zen to AD for use on the AH since becoming a player. I glitched just like everyone I know who plays the game with me, including guildies. I accept some sort of ban and removal of raw AD gained through the glitch (which I assume has happened to my account).

    Bottom line is, will I ever buy zen again? Nope. If the AD that I had just converted from zen on Thursday before the ban is gone, that’s as good as stealing money from my wallet. I know there are plenty of posters on here who will tell me I got what I deserved. Any compensation coming my way because of the enormous bugs in CR that waste AD on health stones and strolls? Yeah, didn’t think so. These devs may not have killed their game, but they certainly will be losing a crap load of profits from zen sales. That’s assuming people like me even bother to stay around and keep playing after this. Too much competition and too many other options out there for my entertainment dollars.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      September 24, 2018 at 11:35 pm
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      You stole from their wallet just cause they left it open for a few months and now you that they put their hands in your wallet to take back the money you are cursing and condemning…that’s the qualities of almost all those who took advantage of the glitch, that’s not the people I want to play with, be happy that you were not permabanned. And also think that actually you were stealing from me and the other players who didn’t took any advantage of the glitch so don’t feel bad when you are being condemned either here or in game chat.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    September 25, 2018 at 9:54 am
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    How have we stolen from Cryptic? Nothing in this game cost them anything. But they have stolen plenty of money, both real and virtual from me. They knew about the glitch since the preview and choose not to fix it. They could have delayed the release of the mod until it was fixed and certified and choose not to. It’s the Microsoft approach, release it now and patch it later. Where is Cryptic’s responsibility in all of this? Oh, that’s right, they don’t take responsibility for anything. If you think they don’t steal from us every day, think again. The RNG rate in this game is disgraceful. And for those of you that are going to say “Nobody forced you to spend money on this game”, you would be right. But Cryptic, Perfect World, and ARC rely on and take advantage of the addictive nature of video game by putting in a gambling aspect in the game. If you tried to play this game without spending money, you would spend the next eleven years trying to accumulate the resources to make a viable character that others would play with. And it was entirely forseable that people would take advantage of this glitch and they let it happen. Then they overcompensated themselves for the loses. Most of the AD that they took from me was converted from ZEN. As to all hear that are judging those who did the glitch, get off your soapbox, I guaranty that all of you have done things both in life and in this game that you knew you shouldn’t do, but did it anyway. Your no better than anyone else. This game is made to funnel money out of your wallet. If you haven’t played long enough to figure that out, then you haven’t earned the right to judge anyone. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but Cryptic refuses to accept any of it.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    September 25, 2018 at 5:43 pm
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    I wonder how many times people got banned for using the glitch exploit in Fbi on final boss, or in MSP on Kabal, or even the crit severity glitch. I stopped glitching hunts as soon as they released the statement on Sept.12th, but don’t really see the difference between glitching hunts and any other glitch that players took advantage of. All they had to do was release the statement when they knew about it and I wouldn’t have participated, instead they left the cookie jar out for people to steal from, and set up a Nanny cam to catch the offenders, seemed very backhanded to me. I don’t care that I got banned, but certainly wouldn’t spend any money on the game going forward, they’ve mishandled way too many problems to trust them with my cookie jar.

    Reply

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