Episode #122 – The Spirit of Vanilla (Radio)

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Let’s get physical!

…I mean, topical!!

There’s news and opinions everywhere over the last week as the players play around with exactly what they can do with Classic.  We discuss the ‘spirit of vanilla’ and what basis Blizzard may or may not have to ban people for certain in game actions.

The show sinks its teeth into the meaty topics of dungeon layering, the bans resulting from its use, demoralizing shout issues, aura caps, the Devilsaur Mafia, ninja looting, need vs greed, and more.

Highlights Below:

  • Calling Countdown #1 – Dungeon Layering & Bans w/ Lionsoul & Squito – 4:20
  • Calling Countdown #2 – Warrior ‘Nerfs’ & Aura Caps w/ Guyev – 40:55
  • Calling Countdown #3 – Your Economy Is Not Breaking + The Devilsaur Mafia w/ TianSG – 1:06:05
  • Calling Countdown #4 – How To Deal With A Ninja + Need vs. Greed w/ Celebrity, Itachi, & Lionsoul – 1:54:15
  • Calling Countdown #5 – Layering Spawning Observations w/ Jigantor – 2:24:35

 

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https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/countdown-to-classic/id1352967778

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14 thoughts on “Episode #122 – The Spirit of Vanilla (Radio)”

  1. “Doing something that harms others and exploiting the mistakes of others is fine because it’s the fault of the person for being vulnerable”. Yeah this episode is going to be a hard listen for me. Not everyone needs the threat of punishment to act morally. I have never exploited layering when I very easily could have just by asking for an invite in a global chat. Similarly, I would never steal cash from someone even if they carelessly left their wallet open right next to me when going to the restroom. Blizzard screwed up by adding layers in the first place, but the people literally exploiting bugs and ruining the classic experience, economy and gaining huge advantages over others are also terrible. The bans are completely justified.

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  2. Hi. A friend recommended your podcast and I am glad I came across it.

    I am an American attorney who, like you, has practiced criminal defense extensively. I have also, however, written EULAs for some popular internet service providers–though it is certainly not my specialty.

    I think your construction of the contract is influenced by your criminal law background. You’re reading the EULA like a criminal statute, that has to provide sufficient notice of prohibited conduct. And although I know nothing about Australian law, I am sure you have the rule of lenity or something like it. I am similarly sure you have some rule against vague criminal statutes, or something like void for vagueness–a criminal statute must provide sufficient notice of the prohibited conduct for which the defendant is being prosecuted.

    For the sake of your readers & listeners, the rule of lenity is a rule of reading a statute where a court reads an ambiguous statute in the light most favorable to the defendant.

    But that’s not the context we have here. Here we have a commercial licensing agreement. Rules of *contract* construction apply. So I don’t think the same kind of strict rules of construction that you seem to employ may apply here. There is no void for vagueness principle in contract construction.

    Worst case, you may end up with a failed contract–a failed meeting of the minds–so the licensing agreement would be void and the consumer wouldn’t even have a license to use the software (!).

    I very much enjoy your *style* of construction and your desire for further articulation by Blizzard–some further written notice. But I don’t think that’s necessary to enforce the agreement we have here. It’s not a criminal statute. It’s a contract. Whether that kind of notice may be a good idea as a matter of customer service. . . that’s a separate question.

    Accordingly, I disagree with you. I think it’s very appropriate to ban these folks who violated the agreement. I think Blizzard could properly revoke their license to play the game entirely.

    What a delightful podcast. Now I have to turn to this motion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mario, glad you found the show and am happy to hear you’re enjoying it. Thanks for a such a great, well thought out response, I got a kick out of it and you raise fantastic points. I wasn’t leaning on the void for vagueness concept but mainly just trying to do some statutory interpretation, which would be a bit more universal, but I would agree that the criminal field is always at the forefront of my mind haha! Thanks again 🙂

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  3. The argument for justifying layer exploit in this episode is stupid, stop blaming layers for layering exploit. Layers are added by Blizzard because otherwise the queue time will be excruciatingly bad. It was added as good intention, not for people to exploit it to gain advantages and say “Hey, don’t blame me, blame Blizzard for giving me this method”. Like for example, if you see a car in the street with the key still in, do you steal the car and say “don’t blame me for stealing the car, blame the owner for giving me the opportunity” when you are arrested?

    Seriously, the players who exploited layers did it with full intention to get ahead, stop trying to reason out of the punishment thinking you are innocent because it is doable in the game.

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  4. I think a big thing that wasnt really brought up/ misunderstood in the podcast is that the people that actually got banned was exploiting the instance layer hopping bug! People who are just layer “abusing” in the open world have not received any bans. And sadly i think the misunderstanding there kinda makes the episode futile :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there, it was a bit of a misunderstanding on my part as I’d read some comments that the more egregious world farmers may be getting banned which apparently might not by the case, so that was a poor assumption on my part. But the analysis of the EULA stands up 🙂

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  5. The entire explanation about how layering is “legal” seems fundamentally wrong, as if you decided the outcome and are trying to come up with a justification for it.
    Layering is not a design flaw, exploiting it for something not intended is. I think it’s crystal clear to anyone that it was never intended to help people overcome natural resource bottlenecks (everyone can farm an infinite number of resources) but it is there so people don’t have to camp mobs that badly to be able to do quests. Mobs were generally not intended to be a bottleneck, except instances with reset timers or named mobs etc. Resources and items were, to some extent. Mob reset takes some time to prevent too efficient farming, not to stop one person to do the quest because someone else done it.
    I can’t really believe that there are people that don’t understand it.

    About people abusing it, it is natural for certain people to abuse flaws that’s fine, we know from real life some people will steal if they think they won’t be caught, it should also be fine that they are caught and get punished for it.
    Also, the game is not a race, 99% of people aren’t playing it to “win” it as most people don’t play diablo to win the ladder. That’s ok when you play it for work but most of us play it for entertainment.

    Like

  6. The stance on the mafia thing is interesting.
    Some people are basically denied a portion of the game. This creates a meta, something not intended within the game where people that all pay the same amount are differentiated. So the effect doesn’t stay in game, it affects people out of game (they don’t have the same chance of getting similar access to game’s features).
    If someone cuts your electricity “by accident” in the evening when you’re known to play is the also fine? Same effect. They make it “better” for the server as there’s less people on it. Soon enough there’s only a small group of people playing that managed to drive everyone away. How is this fair or benefitting the server?
    It’s not the same as corpse camping, unless you camp the same guy over and over every day. That would be harrassment and I believe it IS against the rules.

    Like

  7. Under the EULA section regarding license limitations and Blizzard suspending or revoking the license to use the platform:

    “cheats; i.e. methods not expressly authorized by Blizzard, influencing and/or facilitating the gameplay, including exploits of any in-game bugs, and thereby granting you and/or any other user an advantage over other players not using such methods;”

    When you were analyzing this you specifically mentioned the part about “including exploits of any in-game bugs” but you skipped over the beginning, which is really all you needed.

    “methods not expressly authorized by Blizzard”

    Layer hopping is not expressly authorized by Blizzard. It is not a user facing feature or mechanic. It is a server capability for the back-end to handle increased server capacities. You can’t layer hop by say, right clicking your portrait and choosing what layer you want to be on. Switching layers is possible so that you can still play with friends despite a population split to handle the crowds. Joining a group to switch layers, then immediately leaving the group is not how layer switching was intended. All of this by itself is enough for Blizzard to justify bans if they want to.

    In addition, “influencing and/or facilitating the gameplay…thereby granting you and/or any other user an advantage over other players not using such methods”

    This part is easy. People layer hopping to force respawns of bosses, thorium veins, or devilsaurs are influencing gameplay using a method not expressly authorized by Blizzard giving them loot, experience, or economical advantages over players that aren’t layer hopping. So even if the act of layer hopping itself wasn’t bannable, using layer hopping and accomplishing pretty much anything afterwards could be.

    And finally, section 10 (Term and Termination) subsection B (Termination):
    ii. Blizzard reserves the right to terminate this Agreement at any time for any reason, or for no reason, with or without notice to you

    Blizzard doesn’t need a reason to ban someone. This is an End USER License Agreement. Blizzard doesn’t have to be bound by anything in here. If Blizzard decides that something shouldn’t be allowed and they want to ban people for it, then they can do that, whether there’s a specific clause in the EULA or not. Although as I covered above, there is. To be honest, I’m amazed this is the first case of people being banned for layer abuse. I was watching Jokerd’s stream when he hit 60, and I was flabbergasted that he was streaming while layer hopping, convinced that Blizzard was going to issue a ban quickly to spell out that this wasn’t okay.

    Overall, I would say there’s reason to be mad at Blizzard over this fiasco. But it’s not for having layers in the first place, and it’s not for deciding to ban people finally. It’s for not setting a precedent earlier and for not having controls in place that would stop this from having been an issue to start with.

    I only discovered your podcast a few weeks ago and I’ve been really enjoying it so far. It’s been helping to keep my hyped up and eager to play even when I’m stuck at work. But your first segment this week was very difficult to listen to. I found myself getting legitimately angry that I couldn’t respond to you and your first two guests in the moment and that I was only listening to a recording.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You hit on a lot of great points, all I would say is it’s down to interpretation and argument at the end of the day. I was reading the paragraph to be all inclusive, so that it still had to be termed a bug to invoke the rest of it, but that’s just me. Absolutely agree that Blizz can ban for any or no reason at the end of the day if they see fit. Their game, their rules. Sorry the call disappointed you, the other side is coming soon.

      Like

      1. Oh I wouldn’t necessarily say it disappointed me. I was mostly mad that I couldn’t counter argue in the moment, which could be considered the goal with your style of calls, especially on controversial topics. Definitely looking forward to the other side when I get caught up, I mostly listen during my commute to and from work so it takes me a little while to be current.

        Regarding the Devilsaur Mafia segment, I would point out this section from the EULA:
        “Disruption / Harassment: Engage in any conduct intended to disrupt or diminish the game experience for other players, or disrupt operation of Blizzard’s Platform in any way, including:

        Harassment, “griefing,” abusive behavior or chat, conduct intended to unreasonably undermine or disrupt the Game experiences of others, deliberate inactivity or disconnecting, and/or any other activity which violates Blizzard’s Code of Conduct or In-Game Policies.”

        I would argue that while the general idea of a mafia controlling the prices of a certain type of item might not be against the rules, several of the practices that would go toward enforcement would likely violate this section. Colluding with the opposite faction to make sure a competing farmer in the region stays dead/corpse camped directly falls under griefing. You might even be able to make a case for your example of a rogue stealthing on someone’s kill waiting to snipe the skin also falling under griefing.

        I really do enjoy the show, you’ve got a great thing going Josh. My wife and I are in the middle of buying a house, but once our new normal for monthly expenses settles down, I’m definitely planning to subscribe on Patreon. Looking forward to the new episode!

        Like

    2. Ubercaek,

      I agree with a number of your points except that Blizzard is not bound by the agreement. If Blizzard is not bound by the agreement, it probably won’t be a legally enforceable agreement.

      Like

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