Funcom apparently doesn’t understand that the players have at least been its customers

The only way I could call this whole thread “pleasant” is in comparison to incidents like the one I described, but that’s setting an extremely low bar. While I do have a certain degree of empathy for people with serious mental health problems, I’m not going to use them as a yardstick to measure our conversations on the forums.

I can’t think of a way to be “clever” with gameplay mechanics by accident. Every time someone comes up with a clever way to get more out of a game, it’s on purpose. I assume that what you’re trying to say is that they’re not doing it maliciously, but there’s a big, important difference between “on purpose” and “maliciously”.

“Exploiting” is one more word people on these forums are throwing around willy-nilly, assuming it means whatever they want it to.

An exploit takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability. There are some things – like speed-hacking – that you can unambiguously define as exploits, without consulting Funcom. But when it comes to in-game mechanics, the difference between an “exploit” and “emergent gameplay” lies in how Funcom defines it and nothing more.

There are two notable cases of this dilemma that I can dredge up.

The first one is the Karmic Effect. It works both when used by players and by their thralls, but thralls don’t wear out the equipment. So, on PVE-C and PVP servers, people came up with an idea to make the thrall wear a karmic piece of armor while wielding a damaged weapon or tool, and then deal damage to that thrall directly.

All of us who used it thought it was an example of emergent gameplay, maybe even intentional, but not a very useful one, since repair kits are much easier to use. Then came Siptah early access and it became an extremely useful trick, because kits were hard to come by and the Nemedian was pretty easy to get. And then Funcom clarified that it wasn’t, in fact, intentional or desirable, and that they wanted to get rid of it. Whether we like it or not, that made it an exploit.

The other example is even older and much, much worse: fence foundation stacking. What makes this example worse is the fact that Funcom first said it wasn’t an exploit, and then later decided that it was one.

Why do I bring this up? Well, because of this:

It’s definitely intentional. You don’t accidentally stack fence foundations. Stacking is done as deliberately as undermeshing. The difference between whether it’s punishable or not is nothing more nor less than whether Funcom thinks you should be allowed to do that.

There are a few things that the vast majority of us can immediately agree shouldn’t be done. Speed-hacking, DDoS-ing, undermeshing, stuff like that.

Stacking isn’t one of those things. Neither is claim spam, at least on PVP servers. These aren’t things that people will easily agree on, but it doesn’t matter, because Funcom is the final arbiter of those rules.

Where Funcom goes wrong, as usual, is communication. The problem is not that they fiddled around with the wording of the rules. The problem is not that they decided to crack down on infractions that they used to let slide. The problem is that they didn’t communicate it sufficiently well.

I’ve seen this sentiment expressed so many times, and it only becomes funnier on each repetition. Not one of the people who claim that “Funcom doesn’t know what’s good for PVP” has ever considered that maybe Funcom doesn’t share their opinion of what PVP should be like.

Maybe the current meta of stacked foundations and claim spam to protect from offline trebs isn’t the pinnacle of PVP prowess that people consider it to be? Maybe the changes to the healing system and dodge rolls and all the other things that made people flock to the forums to write about how that was the final nail in this game’s coffin, maybe those are because Funcom doesn’t share your vision?

Maybe those of us who roll our eyes every time someone claims that Funcom has “finally killed this game” do so because we’ve heard it on repeat for years and the game still isn’t dead?