Thank you to all who participated in our August 20 play test! If you joined in, please remember to leave your feedback and bug reports on the forums here: https://forums.ashesofcreation.com/categories/apoc-bug-reports

Toxic Test Server

Are there plans to set up a separate test server solely for toxic play? Allow players to test ban-able behavior like bots, cheats, and currency duping. Encourage people to test every game breaking play style learned from decades of game play and players being jerks.  By working with the devs to identify this in alpha and beta, release will go a lot smoother.

I always remember this story.

"In a recent Ars Technica interview, Garriott shared his war stories about the creation of Ultima Online and the surprises that the community whipped up along the way. The story he tells here focuses on the automated virtual ecology that was made for the sandbox. This carefully fine-tuned system was destroyed virtually overnight when player hordes came into the game and slaughtered everything.

Out of this (failed) experiment came a funny story and some useful lessons that the team used to shape MMO sandboxes thereafter."

By doing this on a separate server the normal alpha test servers can have anti cheat and other rules in place.  players can focus on testing combat, skills trees, quest lines, and normal game play mechanics with out some well-intentioned player killing off the quest giver just to see if it would break the game.

What does every one think of this idea?


«1

Comments

  • While I understand these systems must be tested for the game to be "appropriate" I still think its an incredibly bad idea to let players do this. There has been more drama in this year before the alpha came out over stupid things and making a server just for this seems silly even if it is just a test server. 

    If you want to see how this would end up like just look at the discords guild diplomacy channel
  • I don't know. This just seems like a horrible idea. 

  • You can test duping without being a jerk.

    You can test whether animals migrating (read his entire piece on what happened in UO) and their spawn effect without "being a jerk"

    You can test bot behavior and detection without being a jerk.

    Hmm... if you take the "being a jerk" part out of it, there is no reason why you cannot test this stuff on the alpha server. That is one of the reasons they have testers.

    So you see, there is no need for a different server :smile: If you get selected, do all the things you say, but just don't be a jerk.

  • I'm going to say probably not.

    Intrepid has been their anti-hack/cheat/exploit software into the game from the ground up, instead of trying to add it on as an after market feature


  • Palorian said:
    You can test duping without being a jerk.

    You can test whether animals migrating (read his entire piece on what happened in UO) and their spawn effect without "being a jerk"

    You can test bot behavior and detection without being a jerk.

    Hmm... if you take the "being a jerk" part out of it, there is no reason why you cannot test this stuff on the alpha server. That is one of the reasons they have testers.

    So you see, there is no need for a different server :smile: If you get selected, do all the things you say, but just don't be a jerk.

    If you take being a jerk out of every game I think we can all agree most games would be a lot better.
     
    Some people are able to think of ways to ruin the game for others that a normal player just would not think or wish to do. Most people would prefer to not be a jerk and not ruin others game play.

    A lot of "being a jerk" may be allowed. Pking someone while they are mining, Destroying freeholds for no reason, and Quest griefing. Can a group run into your Node and trigger some boss event and just run away while it wrecks your town?

    I am not claiming to be an expert at this. But at some point there will be jerks and its best to balance the game mechanics early before.

    That was the reason for my suggestion. 

    I want this game to be the best it can be. So even jerks and cheaters cant ruin the fun that I hope to have in this game.


  • People that are determined to ruin other peoples time with cheats and such won't waste them on alpha - they will wait until retail release.

    A specific test for such things would only be done by people not wanting to see them make it to the full release. These people are inherently not jerks, and so would be able to test it out on the regular alpha/beta servers without actually pissing off other players - making the entire point of a separate server for this redundant.
  • No just no. This is a horrible idea lol. If someone wants to test something that’s a bannable offense like hacking they should be banned. There shouldn’t be a safe zone so you can try to see if you can use a program undetected. You may have the best intentions but not everyone will. 
  • "A lot of "being a jerk" may be allowed. Pking someone while they are mining, Destroying freeholds for no reason, and Quest griefing. Can a group run into your Node and trigger some boss event and just run away while it wrecks your town?"

    Pking while mining. Allowed and it gives corruption. Risk v Reward.

    Destroying Freeholds. Can only be done in a two hour window after a successful siege of the parent node. Can't be done for shits and giggles.

    Quest griefing. Need examples before I could answer.

    Can a group run into your Node and trigger some boss event and just run away while it wrecks your town? No, boss events are based off of node leveling actions and are not player initiated. Same goes for monster coin events. Those are server generated and players have no control over where and when they occur.

    Hope this helps.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited November 2018
    Eibwen said:
      
    Some people are able to think of ways to ruin the game for others that a normal player just would not think or wish to do. Most people would prefer to not be a jerk and not ruin others game play.



    Since you mentioned UO in your first post, I will mention an example from it. Some jerks would lure trains of mobs in dungeons down to a certain room where others would be farming drops. At no time were any exploits or cheats used. Now back then, UO was full on PvP and full loot drops. If you died and someone was near you for whatever reason, chances are you lost EVERYTHING. Imagine hours worth of farming gone in an instant.

    There are many more examples from many other games, but you mentioned UO, so I figured it would be a good example.

    There are a billion ways around flagging systems, which is why they are so terrible and those types of games never make it in the long run. You end up with servers full of jerks, since the good people get tired of the B.S. after a while. Ultima Online did not make Trammel (PvE world) because open world PvP was so awesome. They made it because with open world PvP, it opens up many, many, many paths of abuse and players want fun, not anxiety. It is truly sad that game developers seem to forget the lessons learned from the past.


  • Palorian said:
    Eibwen said:
      
    Some people are able to think of ways to ruin the game for others that a normal player just would not think or wish to do. Most people would prefer to not be a jerk and not ruin others game play.



    Since you mentioned UO in your first post, I will mention an example from it. Some jerks would lure trains of mobs in dungeons down to a certain room where others would be farming drops. At no time were any exploits or cheats used. Now back then, UO was full on PvP and full loot drops. If you died and someone was near you for whatever reason, chances are you lost EVERYTHING. Imagine hours worth of farming gone in an instant.

    There are many more examples from many other games, but you mentioned UO, so I figured it would be a good example.

    There are a billion ways around flagging systems, which is why they are so terrible and those types of games never make it in the long run. You end up with servers full of jerks, since the good people get tired of the B.S. after a while. Ultima Online did not make Trammel (PvE world) because open world PvP was so awesome. They made it because with open world PvP, it opens up many, many, many paths of abuse and players want fun, not anxiety. It is truly sad that game developers seem to forget the lessons learned from the past.


    Yes I played UO Before the PvE and safe zones. I still remember my horse ran away after it bucked me off a player was kind enough to teach me what griefing was after he killed me and repeatedly did so as I naively tried to recover the items from my body.  I still blame the horse. To this day I have a deep hatred for for all living mounts and only use them when absolutely needed for travel.

    I prefer open world PVP I enjoy the risk of death while even farming. I good pvp fight is great fun. As you said if someone can game the system to the point death is unavoidable, just stepping outside it becomes no fun.     

    What happens If a group of high level player feels like camping an area mostly used by new players? Yes the high level player go red but then what? Do the newbies just log off till a higher level player gets bored and feels like bounty hunting? 

    With the node systems 'griefing' may not just be jerks just being jerks but a sound military tactic to to disrupt another nodes ability to increase size. how will this balance out with people just wanting fun?
  • The only 'toxic' behavior in an MMO in my opinion is cheating or really bad abuse, other than that I dont care how many insults people throw and how much newbies somebody hunts, just prepare for the consequences.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited November 2018
    Eibwen said:

    Yes I played UO Before the PvE and safe zones. I still remember my horse ran away after it bucked me off a player was kind enough to teach me what griefing was after he killed me and repeatedly did so as I naively tried to recover the items from my body.

    My first taste was going into a dungeon in full valorite armor and some guy said "Nice armor." and then I was dead and he was wearing my armor. I learned that if you wanted to wear nice stuff, you better be able to defend yourself!

    What happens If a group of high level player feels like camping an area mostly used by new players? Yes the high level player go red but then what? Do the newbies just log off till a higher level player gets bored and feels like bounty hunting?

    That happens in other games, so just a matter of what the devs have planned. Any time you have world PvP, you are going to have people who camp spots frequented by newbies. And no, forget all about any bad thing that may happen to someone who gets flagged. Seriously, that is a joke :smiley:   People will flag just for the sake of flagging and bragging rights. Hell, people in UO would go out on purpose just to be labeled a Murderer and get flagged red. It was a badge of honor.


  • The only 'toxic' behavior in an MMO in my opinion is cheating or really bad abuse, other than that I dont care how many insults people throw and how much newbies somebody hunts, just prepare for the consequences.

    It all depends on whether you are trying to foster a stable community or not. If I am playing a game and the chat is toxic, I just disable the chat. If I find myself needing to trade or whatnot, I will then enable it just long enough to get what I need. So is that the type of community the devs had planned for AoC? There are games that I love to participate in chat and the "community" and there are games that I don't dare enable chat on.

    That being said, there were nights in one game when me and my friends in Global chat would push things a bit far and we would have the server's "mom" put us in our place. Ah, damn I miss her. Nice lady.

    With your comment I would add racist speech and the likes. Having chat go a bit far is not that bad, depending on the context. Any time you hit the racist button though, I am against that and feel those people should be banned.
  • Palorian said:
    The only 'toxic' behavior in an MMO in my opinion is cheating or really bad abuse, other than that I dont care how many insults people throw and how much newbies somebody hunts, just prepare for the consequences.

    It all depends on whether you are trying to foster a stable community or not. If I am playing a game and the chat is toxic, I just disable the chat. If I find myself needing to trade or whatnot, I will then enable it just long enough to get what I need. So is that the type of community the devs had planned for AoC? There are games that I love to participate in chat and the "community" and there are games that I don't dare enable chat on.

    That being said, there were nights in one game when me and my friends in Global chat would push things a bit far and we would have the server's "mom" put us in our place. Ah, damn I miss her. Nice lady.

    With your comment I would add racist speech and the likes. Having chat go a bit far is not that bad, depending on the context. Any time you hit the racist button though, I am against that and feel those people should be banned.
    Well yeah to me an mmo is just like a second world in a way, so anything goes really but there are times when too far is too far.
  • I think we have strayed away from the intent of this post and have gotten to just discussing toxic behavior. I think this was a constructive post and enjoyed discussing the topics with you, but I do not want to beat a dead horse. Most of what we are discussing is talked about in in 100 other posts :wink:
  • Palorian said:
    I think we have strayed away from the intent of this post and have gotten to just discussing toxic behavior. I think this was a constructive post and enjoyed discussing the topics with you, but I do not want to beat a dead horse. Most of what we are discussing is talked about in in 100 other posts :wink:
    Like any thread does .w. true that though :3
  • Eibwen said:
    What does every one think of this idea?
    You don't know how things work.
    Finding a exploit is not a easy task. If someone is smart enough to create a bot/hack/whatever, he is also smart enough to make profit out from it.
    Expecting ppls to waste hours into it for no reward is dumb.

    Also you even miss the definitions. That's not what you call toxic.

    btw: if there are dupe bug, then it's already too late. Things like that comes from architectural issues in the game's core, and if a bug of that level is present, it's a clear sign of incompetent/lazy development, and then there likely will be even worse exploitable things present...
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited November 2018
    Heres the thing.
    You will never stop people being jerks !
    As long as people get pissed off, lose their temper or be upset for some reason or other...you will always have people acting like a jerk. And normaly because someone was a jerk toward them (aka trolling). Its the butterfly effect....karma...etc.

    The trick is not to stop people being jerks, the trick is to allow them to be jerks in the right place and time for the right reasons.
    Think of it as letting people get their jerk off.
    :)

    That is what the corruption system is, and that is why their are events where the corruption gloves simply come off.

    A hacker server is not necessary, because such behaviour is ongoing and monitored anyway.
  • akmaa said:

    btw: if there are dupe bug, then it's already too late. Things like that comes from architectural issues in the game's core, and if a bug of that level is present, it's a clear sign of incompetent/lazy development, and then there likely will be even worse exploitable things present...

    umm... no. Calling the devs incompetent and lazy because of a dupe bug is just wrong. It seems maybe you have some grudge against someone and just making a blanket statement like that serves no purpose. There have been dupe bugs in every single online game I have ever played over the past 25 years.

    Star Wars Galaxies was an awesome game when it released. Nobody I have ever talked to had anything negative to say about it, at the time of release. We won't get into NGE.... *sigh*. Anyway, it got out that if you exited the client when you were boarding a transport, it would put your char in a void. It could take between 5min - 30mins to get logged back in, but it would load a backup of your char. Soooooooo... just put what you wanted to dupe in a container, jump on a transport and close client. That way was not 100% reliable, but it worked good enough for the cheaters.

    There are more complicated ways to dupe, but that gives a good idea of the situation. Fast forward to Ark: Survival Evolved. Same thing, but you needed to crash the server. Take the items you want to dupe, load in obi and then crash the server. Crashing the server was easy :-) You just needed to build a bunch of electrical conduits with lights (hundreds) and turn them all on at once. That would lock the server up and it would reboot. You now have the items on you AND in the obi :-)

    There are a few tried and true ways to dupe in various games, but the above examples take advantage of char backups. You only need to stumble upon a situation that forces the game to load your char from backup after you get the items off your character.

    I don't care how good a dev is or how much experience they have or how big of a budget they have. Duping will ALWAYS exist in EVERY game. What matters is how closely the devs monitor the community and discover them and get them patched. There will be people who discover them in alpha/beta and keep it hidden. I won't know until next year. I have complete faith in the devs, but I have a limited budget and cannot afford hundreds of dollars to help test :-)

  • this is a video of Garriott talking about the virtual ecology problem in UO. This whole series of computer game "war stories" is pretty great.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited November 2018
    Heres the thing.
    You will never stop people being jerks !
    As long as people get pissed off, lose their temper or be upset for some reason or other...you will always have people acting like a jerk. And normaly because someone was a jerk toward them (aka trolling). Its the butterfly effect....karma...etc.

    The trick is not to stop people being jerks, the trick is to allow them to be jerks in the right place and time for the right reasons.
    Think of it as letting people get their jerk off.
    :)

    That is what the corruption system is, and that is why their are events where the corruption gloves simply come off.

    A hacker server is not necessary, because such behaviour is ongoing and monitored anyway.

    LOL. The part about being a jerk in the right place and time is so true. Earlier I mentioned how one night me and some friends let things get carried away in chat. I think if anyone stumbled upon chat during that time, they would have believed that server was toxic. Sorry, it happens to the best of us. It is the repeat offenders that cause the serious issues. Someone letting a bad word slip or an insult slip, that is going to happen. (*looks innocent*)

    As far as the corruption system goes, we will have to see. Like I mentioned in a previous post, some people want to be flagged. It will be a badge of honor for them. Anytime you reward negative behavior, there will be people who want those rewards. Granting a different title like "Murderer" or altering their characters name or color (making them red?) is a reward. This is not an opinion of mine, it is a well known fact.

    At this point in time I have no faith in the corruption system, solely because I have not seen it in play and I have not seen how this community will respond to it. I have experienced similar systems in the past and I have never seen one that works. Ever. :-) I am in no way complaining or insulting it, just stating my opinion of what I know.

  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited November 2018
    this is a video of Garriott talking about the virtual ecology problem in UO. This whole series of computer game "war stories" is pretty great.

    Honestly, just go to YouTube and do a search for "Richard Garriot" and watch all of his videos. Besides the tours of his castle and his talks about going into space, he has a bunch of good interviews that give insight into game development. I always wished I could have attended the going away party. I wanted one of those "We created worlds" shirts. :wink:

    Edit: found a link showing them. https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/ultima-online-is-being-outsorced.7214/page-3
  • akmaa said:
    You don't know how things work.
    Finding a exploit is not a easy task. If someone is smart enough to create a bot/hack/whatever, he is also smart enough to make profit out from it.
    Expecting ppls to waste hours into it for no reward is dumb.

    Also you even miss the definitions. That's not what you call toxic.

    btw: if there are dupe bug, then it's already too late. Things like that comes from architectural issues in the game's core, and if a bug of that level is present, it's a clear sign of incompetent/lazy development, and then there likely will be even worse exploitable things present...
    This is a real poor attitude.
    I am the type of person that will hand money back to someone if I see them drop it.
    It's sad you can't even fathom someone doing something good.


    If a definition of a toxic gamer does not include:
    If someone is smart enough to create a bot/hack/whatever, he is also smart enough to make profit out from it.
    Expecting ppls to waste hours into it for no reward is dumb.
     Then you are right I have no clue how things should work.




  • Eibwen said:
    akmaa said:
    You don't know how things work.
    Finding a exploit is not a easy task. If someone is smart enough to create a bot/hack/whatever, he is also smart enough to make profit out from it.
    Expecting ppls to waste hours into it for no reward is dumb.

    Also you even miss the definitions. That's not what you call toxic.

    btw: if there are dupe bug, then it's already too late. Things like that comes from architectural issues in the game's core, and if a bug of that level is present, it's a clear sign of incompetent/lazy development, and then there likely will be even worse exploitable things present...
    This is a real poor attitude.
    I am the type of person that will hand money back to someone if I see them drop it.
    It's sad you can't even fathom someone doing something good.


    If a definition of a toxic gamer does not include:
    If someone is smart enough to create a bot/hack/whatever, he is also smart enough to make profit out from it.
    Expecting ppls to waste hours into it for no reward is dumb.
     Then you are right I have no clue how things should work.





    I'd say to ignore that Eibwen. You don't have to be smart and make a bot/hack/whatever. People can encounter exploits while just out walking around. Every exploit I have encountered on my own was by complete accident. It is what you then do with that information that defines whether you are an exploiter or a tester.

  • Palorian said:
    this is a video of Garriott talking about the virtual ecology problem in UO. This whole series of computer game "war stories" is pretty great.

    Honestly, just go to YouTube and do a search for "Richard Garriot" and watch all of his videos. Besides the tours of his castle and his talks about going into space, he has a bunch of good interviews that give insight into game development. I always wished I could have attended the going away party. I wanted one of those "We created worlds" shirts. :wink:

    Edit: found a link showing them. https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/ultima-online-is-being-outsorced.7214/page-3
    I have the greatest respect for Richard Garriott. He pretty much shaped my early gaming years with the Ultima series. I have been disappointed with Shroud of the Avatar though. Hopefully Ashes will be the game I hoped Shroud was going to be.
  • Palorian said:
    this is a video of Garriott talking about the virtual ecology problem in UO. This whole series of computer game "war stories" is pretty great.

    Honestly, just go to YouTube and do a search for "Richard Garriot" and watch all of his videos. Besides the tours of his castle and his talks about going into space, he has a bunch of good interviews that give insight into game development. I always wished I could have attended the going away party. I wanted one of those "We created worlds" shirts. :wink:

    Edit: found a link showing them. https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/ultima-online-is-being-outsorced.7214/page-3
    I have the greatest respect for Richard Garriott. He pretty much shaped my early gaming years with the Ultima series. I have been disappointed with Shroud of the Avatar though. Hopefully Ashes will be the game I hoped Shroud was going to be.

    Oh man.... I have been a fan of his since Underworld. I remember the day he left Origin. I was crushed :-(

    I like to pretend that SotA does not exist and he is working on the real UO2. Anyone remember the UO2 trailers from back before UO:TD was released? Anyway, SotA may be for some people, but I almost regret buying and upgrading my packages there. Waste of money? I dunno. It is like they asked each other what pisses customers of the most and then made the game surrounded by those things. LOL.

    Right before he got canned from Origin/EA, he gave an interview that said something along the lines of "sex with NPCs is the next logical step". A short time later he is no longer working there. Years later we get Fable and The Guild, where you have sex with an NPC and have kids. People loved that. RG was right :-) Chronicles of Elyria is doing the whole family thing in their game.

    He is one of the few devs that I will buy their product no matter what. I may regret it after, but it won't stop me from buying the next one. Raph Koster is about the same. I started following him when he was Designer Dragon. I don't blame him for SWG:NGE, even though he was in charge. :-)
  • Palorian said:
    umm... no. Calling the devs incompetent and lazy because of a dupe bug is just wrong.
    No I say it cause - as a developer myself - exactly know how does those things works, and I also know why they choice this route, but that not change the fact, that it comes from incompetent/lazy design.
    In a well designed game, clients are only slaves, they didn't have any way to change anything in the game themselves.
    But that ofc rarely happens thanks to the lazy and/or cheap design, where they want to spare server resource and/or "forget" to check things cause either by being lazy or incompetent.

    Every bug or exploit comes from someone at the development did something wrong. You can be PC, and try to defend them, but that doesn't change the facts, and are actually harmful to the game.

    Ppls trend to label the ones who find exploits evil, but in the end they didn't really did anything, just used what's given by the developers themselves. Flagging them evil is just self washing, as they want to hide the fact, that their own incompetence lead to issues...
  • akmaa said:
    Palorian said:
    umm... no. Calling the devs incompetent and lazy because of a dupe bug is just wrong.
    No I say it cause - as a developer myself - exactly know how does those things works, and I also know why they choice this route, but that not change the fact, that it comes from incompetent/lazy design.
    In a well designed game, clients are only slaves, they didn't have any way to change anything in the game themselves.
    But that ofc rarely happens thanks to the lazy and/or cheap design, where they want to spare server resource and/or "forget" to check things cause either by being lazy or incompetent.


    Although I respect your passion for the subject, this is just wrong on so many levels. Not the fact that the server should never trust the client, that is well known and there have been a billion roundtables, forums, books, articles and late night drunken discussions on the matter. Hell, go back to the days of MUD/MUSH games and the topic was there. Raph Koster, who I respect more than any developer, has talked about this until he was blue in the face. No, what is wrong is making blanket statements saying every bug and exploit could have been avoided.

    Since you do not want to actually discuss this and are only taking this opportunity to insult devs, I will refrain from responding to you any further. It is not about being PC, it is about showing respect for the hard work of actual developers. I do not blindly defend them. Check my post history :wink: , but I will never insult a developers skill or ability, unless I can look at their code first. Actually, even then I wouldn't. I think I have insulted maybe one coder in my life, but damn... you should have seen his code.

    I can guarantee there will be dupes and exploits in this game. 100% guarantee. The question is not whether there will be, the question is how quick will the devs respond?

    Lastly, people who discover exploits are not all labeled evil. People who discover them, keep them secret and abuse them are. One area I am on the fence with is YouTube videos. If there is an exploit and it appears the devs are ignoring it, should it be made public? How do you know they are ignoring it? How long has it been out?

    One day you are walking and you jump over a boulder and your game crashes. After you log back in, you discover a sword in your inventory that you put in a chest a few moments ago. You go back to the chest and discover a sword there. Freaking out, you run back to the boulder and jump over it and your game crashes again. You have discovered a dupe exploit. What do you do?

  • Palorian said:
    Since you do not want to actually discuss this and are only taking this opportunity to insult devs
    I didn't insulted anyone, named not even a single developer or game. I just labeled facts, even if it was raw. It's up to the reader whether he interprets as a insult or not. Ofc if he can sense that it is exactly happened in x game, then he will interpret as a insult as facts hurt.

    Palorian said:
    One day you are walking and you jump over a boulder and your game crashes. After you log back in, you discover a sword in your inventory that you put in a chest a few moments ago. You go back to the chest and discover a sword there. Freaking out, you run back to the boulder and jump over it and your game crashes again. You have discovered a dupe exploit. What do you do?
    Exactly this is what I was talking about. That's on a so bad level of issue, that in any decent company a developer like that would never be recruited in the first place.
    Obliviously, the players would exploit it, that is the minimum to be expected.
  • If I found a bug such as that, I would NOT exploit it, I would report it.

    Perhaps the GMs would reward me, they should, but probably not.  But that doesn't really matter.

    If we, the gaming community, want clean games that are not ruined by 'cheaters'  then we bear responsibility to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

Sign In or Register to comment.