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

I am using the word “exploit” in a negative manner. Any feature of a game that when used by a player makes the probability of winning other than a uniform distribution, is considered an “exploit” in this case.

This is a fundamental problem. It isn’t so much that Funcom are somehow derelict here, rather the problem is nearly insurmountable. Hence, it isn’t easy to solve. This is why a great deal of patience should be afforded to Funcom, as this is quite the challenging problem.

The argument outline I laid out would be a good way to justify your claim. It is something to think about, no?

Most what I said is based on personal experience as someone who has server admined for several years. Its really not rocket science to determine when someone is doing something wrong for the sake of it.

But in the case of the ones (think its only one really) in this thread saying they didn’t understand the rules. Even if that were true, they are showing a distinct lack of empathy for their fellow players. They want the rules changed so that they can continue doing their behavior, regardless of how it affects other players.

Regardless of the ambiguity of the rules, they are stated in a way to show that its the harm of the server and the other players that results in action. And AndyB has even doubled down on that fact.

The rules as stated are probably as good as they’re going to get. Enforcement has room for improvement, and always will. What players need to decide at this point is if they agree with the rules or not, and make a choice accordingly.

And this is interesting because I don’t like the rules, and I do not play officials because of them (as well as many other reasons). But if I were to play there for whatever reason, I would follow the rules just as if anyone played on a private server I admined on would be expected to.

But some tend to think they’re better than that. That’s the real issue here.


Sorry to butt in to your long discussion but when Taemien said the rules could be summed up as “don’t be a jerk” and you said this:

I’m just curious as to how this could be characterized as a high stakes situation. It’s a video game. It’s all by definition low stakes. No-one’s life or property are in danger. Maybe (maybe!) someone’s livelihood could be affected by banning if they’re a streamer/content creator with no other income who exclusively plays Conan Exiles. But that’s not anyone else’s responsibility right?


Hey, well agree to disagree and Im fine with that, but theres really no need to resort to Taemiens level of name calling me. Its really just not necessary.

That’s the kicker, there is no responsibility on Funcom to allow or to provide access to officials. They may ban for any reason or no reason at all. Too many are acting like they’ve paid a MMORPG subscription and they have some sort of customer’s right to play on officials.

You don’t, I don’t, no one does.

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You’re overthinking it.

While I’m not happy with the end to our conversation, I am happy to end it - especially as I will be extremely busy this week.
That specific comment was not intended to suggest that you are a loud troll (the karmic effect incident involved one loud troll who spammed the forums will multiple threads and posts demanding its removal (and accusing anyone who disagreed of wanting to commit real world crimes)). My apologies if I gave the impression that was intended to label you. While I disagree strongly with your opinion, dislike the way that you are misusing language and feel that you are in places mistaking fact for opinion, I do not consider you to be a troll.


No, dude, I know exactly who @DanQuixote was talking about and it’s definitely not you. There’s no way to show you now, because the person in question was so unhinged – and I don’t use this word lightly – that the whole thread got completely deleted. Not just unlisted and closed, but actually deleted.

Whatever disagreements you’ve had with anyone on these forums, you at least never claimed that those who disagree with you are “people who encourage others to not stop at stop signs and run over children with their cars” (paraphrased but accurate).

I mention this because that’s the incident that made me lose a great deal of my trust in Funcom. The person in question claimed that putting a Nemedian on your thrall, making that thrall wield a damage weapon, and then slapping that thrall around was “cheating” and “exploiting”. When some of us pointed out that it looked like emergent gameplay and that Funcom was well aware of it, this person started ranting in a way I already described above. Shortly after that, Funcom pushed out a change to TestLive that was going to remove the Karmic Effect altogether.

While I’m aware that the timing might have been coincidental and this was something on their list, I’m not too keen to bet on that assumption anymore. Now when I see people who think they deserve to get a change that would ruin my enjoyment just because they’re loud enough, I make sure to speak out.


Perhaps, but this is anecdotal. Given enough random chance, the probability of getting an edge case is going to increase. That you haven’t dealt with one doesn’t really relate that much to other servers. I am not suggesting that it is rampant, hardly. Rather, that this experience doesn’t affect the larger distribution very much, particularly for official servers.

The loudness on the forums isn’t necessarily strongly correlated with the rates of grey scenarios. We likely have many more bans than people complaining about it, many of whom will not see the point in commenting on a forum.

That isn’t precisely clear, because what is considered harmful isn’t clear cut. It is this ambiguity that is the source of the conflict. Further, what happens if both are harming each other? Do they both get banned? What if only one report is filed? Things like this aren’t as clear cut.

I disagree, but only on a single point. As has been noted, I am firmly against permabans. That I think has a real shot of being changed, and I suspect that it would greatly alleviate some of the vitriol in this regard.

What if you were reported for doing an action that seems totally in the rules and within the spirit of the rules, and were permabanned? What if you were one of the (rare) grey bans that I am referring to? Given that you, like me, don’t play on official servers, suppose that your user name were color coded to let everyone on the forums know that you were permabanned from official servers (or other similar inconvenience)?

I disagree with the sentiment. The former might be true in many cases, but the later is false as far as I can see. I don’t think that many on the forum make a particularly convincing case, but my reasons aren’t from any specific circumstance, nor any collection of them. If we assume that grey cases are going to occur with some frequency, then it stands to reason that there will be permanent errors in judgement from Funcom. That alone is enough to request a change.

No problem, I am interested in this conversation, somewhat. Here high stakes is relative to the game. I am not suggesting that the high stakes are high for a person’s standard of living, or life satisfaction. Rather, I am suggesting that it is high stakes in their ability to enjoy official servers. Suppose we consider a more extreme version. Let us suppose there was a similar problem with steam. Would you consider the deleting of your $1,000 video game library, high stakes, relative to the norm as it is now? (Keep in mind that humans don’t interpret pleasure and suffering in absolute terms but in terms of where they are at any given time [see Prospect Theory Prospect theory - Wikipedia]). While the ability to play in official servers might be less important to you, that doesn’t mean that it is less important to others. We have to keep this in mind when making our evalutions and judgements.

That’s debatable. It depends on what you mean by responsibility. Ethier the way you are using it is tangential (like in a moral or practical sense) in which the discussion is still in play, or your are referring to more legal meaning of responsibility, where it becomes irrelevant to the discourse (in my view).

That is what separates us from the rest of the great apes, our ability to overthink.

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Take care, and I wish you a productive week.


Yikes, at least it helped gain perspective no? Having to deal with absurdities like that, makes discussions like this a lot more pleasant me thinks.

Sounds totally reasonable to me. You should always be highly skeptical of bureaucracies, regardless if they are private or public. They are very prone to doing foolish things as they have very limited access to information and training (its not like they have the funds to hire a statistician to critique their processes [though I am open to intern with them over the summer; shameless plug, I know]). Recall Robert Conquest’s 3rd law, “The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies”

Well okay… but you can philosophically justify anything if you frame it in the right way. It seemed to me that you were suggesting that ambiguous rules that appeal to some form of common sense are OK if the stakes are low, but not if some real harm is in play. So I suggested that there are no real harms in play here, therefore it should be OK to have ambiguous rules relying on common sense. Rather than a massive T&C-style legal document with clearly spelled out definitions of harms and boundaries.

You seem to want to define the harms relative to the context? The problem is, if you do that, things will look like real harms that by any other measure are not. So if you’re using high stakes to mean something like “high stakes with regard to someone’s ability to play on official servers” then sure, ambiguous rules appealing to common sense will seem inappropriate. But then if we define harms relative to the context, when can we use rules of thumb, common sense, etc? The stakes will always be too high. Every rule will need to be a massive well-defined legal document. How many dumplings a business lets me put on my buffet plate will become a serious matter if I think the stakes are defined only in terms of my ability to get (or not get) free dumplings.

I think you made a good point elsewhere about maybe needing to define harm in this case. But any definition of harm needs to be relative to other harms, not the context, right? Otherwise how can we adjudicate what is at stake? Prospect theory is all well and good but I don’t think it seems very helpful in this case.

This is a good point I think.

So is this.

It’s actually important to me as it happens, as I generally only play on official pvp servers. But I recognise that it’s not really important in the scheme of things and that practically, Funcom can do what they want and aren’t beholden to anyone


There’s a lot that separates us from apes, and not all of it good, like being obsessed with hearing ourselves talk.

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That is what I understood from your post and thats why I said it bothers me and gave an example that, at least in my opinion, shows that pratically everything in the game can be and is beeing exploited by people one way or another, but that doesn´t automatically mean they are doing it intentionally or on purpose. Some people just trying to be clever. As stupid as this might sound, but it is the truth. You can see it very often in pvp. People think they are clever and smart until someone comes along and shows them they are not.

Exploiting for most here means people are doing something intentionally. And people asume that if someone is doing something intentionally it has a greater impact on the server since they are doing it, well, intentionally. Therefore it must be punished. Thats why I tried to show the example with the stacking methode and the drawbridge in the statue on pvp servers. In both examples people try to mitigate the damage that explosives do. They do it intentionally and it is an exploit. But only one methode gets you banned by Funcom, the other does not. I asume it is, because Funcom doesn´t really know about it. And this is exactly why I think they should have never started the whole rules stuff on official servers. Because they do not know their own game and their community. I just have to repeat myself, I am sorry. They actually do not have a glue what stuff really impacts peoples game play in the long run. They just hear the constant complaints from people and do take some action that they think are appropriate which only leads, in my opinion, to further problems at least in pvp. Rules only work if they make sense to people and the same offenses get equally punished. But for being able to do that Funcom needs to know whats going on on their servers. And they actually do not and never did.

This is not a Funcom bashing, it is, in my opinion, what caused all the problems in pvp over the last 5 years. This constant tries to fix stuff that they do not really understand the background of, has formed and shaped the pvp community greatly to what it is now. One decission/action lead to another. It has unpleasant consequences if you make repeatedly the wrong deccissions based on ignorance and lack of knowlegde. Now they try to force rules on people because of too much bad impact their deccissions made in all the years. It seems to me as if this rules are like a lifeline to them. The last hope to fix a situation that they do not know how to fix otherwise.

They are not stated in a way that shows the harm of the servers. They are stated in a way that Funcom thinks it does. This is a big difference. It has yet to be proofen that the rules are not harming the servers population in the long run and therefor really have a good impact for the community. What I personal see right now on official servers is more the opposite. If Funcom is aiming for having empty officials servers then they are doing the job just fine.

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?


Or, lowering the stakes, by getting rid of permabans.

True, but with the kind of discussion I am referring too, this is sensical. We are, afterall, taking about changes to motivate marginal increases in sales for Funcom (atleast that is the direction I am going with). In this case what might seem minor can get blown up in importance.

Mostly in terms of players continuing to be customers (buying DLCs, providing free marketing via word of mouth, etc.). A ‘harm’ is something that threatens to reduce sales as a result of not satisfying customer wants (ie the ability to play on offical servers, in this case).

How does this follow? There is a difference in kind to your character dying and having your ability to play in official servers at all. I don’t see why metricizing this distinction automatically makes all negative outcomes equivalent. Take a different game, like Diablo 3, where there is a hardcore mode with permadeath. Is it not sensible to point out that the ‘stakes’ are ‘higher’ when you play hardcore mode vs standard mode? If this is sensible, why does expanding this concept to being permanently banned from playing offical servers in Conan Exiles make it nonsensible?

Maybe. Could you be a bit more concrete so that I can understand where you are coming from? I am not seeing the reasoning here.

This was to justify the use of the example and to detract from counterarguments of the type, “you could just go without a steam library”, etc.


It is important to you to some extent. That it isn’t necessary for survival, doesn’t make the utilty of the outcome irrelevant.

Actually, they can’t, as they are a business. Legally, they are in clear for this kind of thing, but they are beholden to satisfy our aggregate desires to remain profitable. In this regard it is important to have these discussions, particularly if some of us wish to continue to receive new content from Funcom. They need to stay in business and remain relatively profitable to maintain stability. Otherwise, that will interrupt content-making.

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Here I am playing off the idea of Aristotle’s notion that humans are rational animals. Instead of being rational, I posit that it is the ability to think abstractly (ie overthinking) that makes us distinct as a species.

Thank you for the clarification. I was using the terms emergent gameplay and exploit interchangeably. The fault is on me and not him. Is there a term, that would make sense to you, that would be the superset of both? The point is that the distinction between emergent gameplay and exploit isn’t always clear cut, and I would like a word that is value-neutral for an element of this kind, prior to knowing whether that element is emergent or exploitative.


From an anthropological standpoint as humans prosper they can afford to supply their bodily resources with fewer animal products, and thus become cleaner and freer to think about the sentience of creatures. During the great Philosopher’s time, food sources were scarce, therefore relegating some animals to the cruel inhumanity of feedstock lifestyles. These thought processes still persist to this day.

Advanced modern societies such as New Zealand have agreed there is a level of sentience in almost all mammals and have protected them accordingly.

Many modern scientists, zoologists and animal-specific experts agree the level of cognition is dependent on the advancement of the brain, and that some species may be raised and trained to act in an “organised manner very much like rational thought.”

Aristotle said the defining factor between humans and animals is rational thought. It would seem that either he was not able to live with creatures, ate them, or subjugated them. How else could a smart man like him miss the obvious: my sheep is 4.5 years old and exhibits rational thought regularly and with vigor. She’s the “lowest” animal we have other than a 9-year-old rooster.

Then, as now, we must remember rational thought is not a given human trait. It must be awakened, cultivated and grown.

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I wish there was, but I can’t think of any :confused:

Sure, we could come up with something, but the nice thing about terms like “emergent gameplay”, “software exploit”, and similar, is that you can link to a source definition that is (at least somewhat) authoritative. :man_shrugging:

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