Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Infinite Tracking? WTF?

First of all, this post (like the whole blog) is my personal opinion, not the opinion of AHARM or anyone else.

I wanted to take a chance to tell my side of the whole Magnetar "exploit" story. For those completely unfamiliar with the story, there used to be a bug involving combining the bonuses of Magnetar wormholes with ship bonuses that would allow one to get negative tracking, damp someone to a negative lock range and lock instantly with negative scan resolution.

I will start at the beginning. AHARM was living in a class 5 wormhole (not a Magnetar). We liked running Sleeper sites in Magnetars, because they have a 100% bonus to damage that doesn't effect the sleepers. We decided to move to a new home in a class 6 Magnetar. A couple weeks after we started moving, some guys were playing around with the bonuses in our new home and noticed that there seemed to be some bugs. We sent a petition to the GMs asking if things were working as expected, and at first were told they were. When we pressed to speak to a more senior GM, we were told that it was considered an exploit to use the effects, and they would be fixed. A month or so after this, I took a 6 month break from the game, and stepped down as CEO of AHARM. While I was gone, we heard from some other folks about them discovering and using the Magnetar effects, so a member re-petitioned the issue.

He was told, "wormhole effects are meant to be used". He did not press the issue more, he did not explicitly ask about the effects in question. If I had still been active at the time, I personally would have not accepted that as an answer, but folks didn't ask for the details.

AHARM started using the effects against Sleepers in May of 2010. We didn't use it in PvP until Rooks and Kings invaded in September. At the time, nearly everyone in corp, including me, though it had been OKed by the GMs (the member that had asked about it had left AHARM and EvE by then).

Rooks and Kings lost a fair sized fleet to us with us using the effects. After the fight, they were able to reproduce the effect and re-petitioned CCP. After much internal CCP debate, Magnetars had all ewar effects turned off, R&K had their ships reimbursed and AHARM was fined by CCP.

CCP removed around 97 T3s from our POSes in w-space until we paid them 60 billion ISK. We paid them, and the ships were returned.

Certainly if I had to do things over again I would have done some stuff differently. We certainly should have pushed CCP harder to fix the effects earlier, and we certainly should have confirmed with them exactly what they meant when they told us all effects were meant to be used.

I do think this issue is exactly why we need a wormhole resident on the CSM. W-space has some unique effects and challenges, and its fair share of bugs. See for an example of one that just showed up with incursions, and is still unfixed.

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