A Curious Case Of Sudden Exploit Banning

I love reading about serious rated WoW PvP in the same way I love reading about the hardcore elements of EVE Online – it’s a alternate world of gaming that I’m unlikely to get into, but that I can understand enough to find the various scandals, conflicts, and frustrations interesting. I remember from the old Quake days that PvP can reach a ridiculous level of polish, where very, very small details in a map or character design mean the difference between life and death – and reading about how important those tiny emergent behaviours become is really fascinating.

And so, today we have Cynwise writing about a new issue that is rocking the world of Rated Battlegrounds – the hole in WSG’s fence:

There’s a spot near the middle of the Horde fence in WSG where, if you approach it just right, you can jump onto the fence and then on to the other side. It’s over the tunnel entrance, to the left of the little juke in the fenceline, by one of the torches.

No matter the faction, pretty much every twink FC knows about this jump. Pretty much every twink knows about this jump after playing level 19 for any period of time – you see people going over the fence all the time, you better figure out how to do it quick or you’re going to be SoL. I expect that this is not as commonly known in Rated Battlegrounds, but skilled FCs know how to do it.

Seriously, this fence jump is the worst-kept secret terrain exploit in PvP. I’m a terrible jumper, and even I can do this jump. It’s a little odd, then, that Blizzard GMs have finally come out and started saying that this jump is illegal and will get you a warning and a ban.

It’s easy to see how, no matter how trivial it initially sounds, this is actually a pretty darn serious issue for serious PvPers. Entire tactics, and tactics on top of tactics, will be based off the principle that you can jump through that particular fence. Suddenly and arbitrarily deciding that it’s no longer allowable – after nearly 6 years – is going to have pretty major shockwave effects on the world of Warsong Gulch play, maybe even affecting the balance of wins.

(To go back to my prehistoric Quake days – lengthening the rocket launcher platform in DM4 would have been a tiny change, but would have totally changed the way that map played).

At the same time, this is, obviously, an unbalancing exploit – there’s no equivalent hole in the Alliance fence that Cynwise mentions. And with Rated Battlegrounds now in play, equal balance becomes very important. It’s a difficult call for Blizzard, and an interesting debate – does the exploitative nature of this jump mean it should be removed? Or is it an emergent property of gameplay?

What do you think? Do you have experience with WSG fence-hopping? Or, like me, were you enough of a noob you didn’t even know that hole existed?

_Quote taken directly from Cynwise’s post.

Find Cynwise’s Field Notes at http://cynwise.wordpress.com/_