Debate: Should Ubisoft Punish The Division Players for Using a Glitch?
Ubisoft announces that players who used The Division‘s Falcon Lost exploit will be punished. Two Game Rant writers debate whether or not this should be the case, and you can vote!
The debate is sure to rage as players who actively participated in the Falcon Lost glitch are doled out punishment, but two Game Rant writers have provided their two cents on the matter. With Alexander Pan talking about why Ubisoft should take the fall for the glitch, Cody Gravelle makes a case for why a punishment needs be given out for those who know they were doing the wrong thing.
Choose a side by voting in the poll at the end of this article!
Why The Division’s Falcon Lost Exploit Punishment Doesn’t Make Sense
By: Alexander Pan
After a month of grinding, Dark Zone roaming, and loot hunting, there’s no denying that The Division is an unqualified success for Ubisoft. While some fans thought it totally lived up to the pre-release hype, it was nothing but a let down for me. I’ve previously made it pretty clear that I wasn’t a fan of The Division, but that still hasn’t stopped me from spending countless hours in the Dark Zone, which is a testament to the game’s excellent execution of the grind-loot-shoot mechanic. A number of glitches have come up here and there during my time playing The Division, and while I managed to escape the wrath of that agent deleting glitch, I’ll admit that I’ve definitely used those glitches to my advantage in exploiting a loot cave or two.
In my opinion, glitches are fair game and whenever a gamer manages to stumble across something like The Division‘s Falcon Lost boss glitch, I tip my hat to them for thinking outside the box. Video gaming has gotten to the point where it is almost expected that every new title will have a glitch or two, and just as how the ability to go cover-to-cover is a game mechanic, so is the use of glitches and exploits. I was okay with Ubisoft’s decision to patch that Falcon Lost boss glitch, but what I wasn’t okay with was the studio’s decision to punish players who used the glitch.
The Division‘s gaming community has pretty much accepted that sub-par coding and glitches are going to be part of the norm for the game, but the issue here isn’t The Division‘s unfinished state –although releasing an unfinished game is also definitely not okay. What I’m absolutely baffled about is that not only has Ubisoft failed to apologize for releasing a mess of a final product, the developer has decided to deflect the blame onto its paying customers. When I – and millions of gamers – go out and buy a game, the only obligation we have is to play that game within the confines of the universe that was created. Gamers are most certainly not obliged to determine the line between what’s considered to be “fair play,” and what’s considered to be a “breach of conduct.” Using glitches and exploits is merely nothing more than taking advantage of a game mechanic, and is certainly not the same as cheating.
Ubisoft is in charge of The Divsion‘s game world, and part of that responsibility involves writing the rules of the universe and telling us what we can and can’t do in it. Gamers simply inhabit that game world, and use whatever is given to them based on the rules set by the developer. If Ubisoft didn’t want people to exploit all the holes in The Division, then the onus is on the development team to design the game so that gamers couldn’t do that. While I understand that not every bug is going to be found, but isn’t preparing for a scenario like this part of what those beta tests was for? To me, it just feels like Ubisoft sought out free help from gamers with those tests, only to turn its back on them when things weren’t right with the final product.
What Ubisoft needs to understand is that gamers aren’t the ones creating all those exploits and glitches, they’re merely the ones uncovering them. By punishing players for using a perfectly-acceptable game mechanic – albeit in advantageous ways – this could potentially set a negative precedent for future console MMO’s. Rather than patch up those glitches and send out a simple message saying that the glitch is gone, Ubisoft’s actions could possibly prompt other console MMO developers to adopt this policy of punishing players.
I get that Ubisoft is trying to protect the integrity of the game and whatnot, but to bring up yet another Destiny comparison, Ubisoft should have taken notes from Bungie on how to handle a situation like this. When Destiny gamers found a loot cave exploit, Bungie promptly patched it and explained in-depth why it did it. There was no talk about punishing players or shifting of blame, Bungie’s reasons for doing what it did were clearly laid out, and Destiny still remains a popular game because of it.
But beyond losing the trust of the gaming community, this whole exploit fiasco highlights a bigger problem with Ubisoft’s approach to game development. The Division‘s problematic launch was just the latest in a string of troubled game releases, which include Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Rainbow Six Seige. Ubisoft needs to take a long and hard look at itself, and realize that the problems lie with the development process and not with the gamers. Responsibility is a word that’s thrown around a lot these days, it’s just a shame that Ubisoft is so inconsistent with it.
By the way Ubisoft has handled this Division exploit debacle, no amount of free DLC and games will win back all the trust that has been lost. There is still a small window to do some damage control, but the way I see it, I’ve just found a reason not to visit The Division‘s virus-infested New York City ever again.
Why The Division’s Falcon Lost Exploit Punishment Makes Sense
By: Cody Gravelle
Just a year removed from the discussion of ethics in loot-farming that the original Loot Cave and its subsequent successors began, it’s the same song sung to a very different tune in Ubisoft’s The Division. Beyond the fact that Ubisoft somehow managed to ship The Division with its own Loot Cave, despite the lesson from Bungie being fresh on the gaming world’s collective mind, enterprising Agents have also managed to locate an extremely beneficial exploit that exists within The Division‘s current end-game content. Ubisoft, apparently, is unhappy with its playerbase, and has decided to mete out punishment to those who used the exploit.
While the company has yet to say what that kind of punishment could be, the fact that Ubisoft recently went on record as saying it was going to begin actively banning The Division cheaterspermanently has caused what can only be described as a bit of a moral panic in the community. Fingers are being pointed in every direction from players who used the exploit, but the overwhelming consensus appears to be that Ubisoft is to blame for releasing the first Incursion with such a giant glitch built into the code in the first place.
Whether or not Ubisoft is actually to blame, however, is a matter of opinion – one that, to me, is quite clearly in Ubisoft’s favor. I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t believe any of the players who exploited the Incursion should be banned for life. I also think that, whatever the punishment, players who did willingly take advantage of the exploit have earned whatever comes for them – even if it is that perma-ban people are so worried about.
To understand how this mindset is problematic, imagine you’re given a loan from someone. You agree to a specific set of terms – rules, guidelines, general understandings – and agree on a specific sum of money. When you are given the loan, however, you find that you’ve been given $200 extra. What do you do?
If you answered “take the $200 because that loan shark is clearly bad at their job,” then feel free to remain convinced that Ubisoft shouldn’t punish people for exploiting its game. If you believe that taking the $200 would be wrong, but exploiting The Division‘s glitch is fine, then I think there’s a disconnect in that thought process.
In the case of the $200 extra loan, any punishment or repercussions for not reporting that excess would be a direct result of your own actions. It would be easy to blame the person who loaned you the money for the mistake, except you agreed to specific terms prior to the loan and you willingly, and with full knowledge of the mistake, took advantage of it for your own personal benefit.
The same is true of The Division‘s glitch. Players who took advantage of the Falcon Lost Incursion’s bugged state did so despite playing a game that clearly has some ground rules that shouldn’t be violated. Being able to do something within the context of a multiplayer game and actually doingthat thing are two different actions, and the latter is problematic if it is both unintended from the developers and provides any sort of advantage for a given number of players.
Online multiplayer games are built around the notion that, factoring out luck, the more skilled player should be the one with the advantage in any given situation, and that rewards should be given because of that player’s skill. Exploiting the Incursion glitch is a clear violation of the trust between a player and a developer to maintain that relationship between player skill and reward. Some gamers want to be the best at a multiplayer game like The Division or Destiny simply to be able to make that claim – but for the rest of us, loot and other rewards are the main reason we pursue those lofty goals.
So when loot becomes invalidated, or a challenge that provides better loot becomes much easier to accomplish, there’s a breach in ethics that’s the fault of both the developers who let the glitch slip through their testing and the players who abused it. Arguing that the mechanics existed within the game doesn’t really matter; the actual argument should be over whether using those mechanics wasintended. Knowledge that an exploit shouldn’t exist and then doing it anyway is also an acknowledgement that the action goes against what is supposed to be happening in game.
Do I think the people who used the exploit are bad? No. Do I think it’s ridiculous to assume a stance that basically puts all responsibility on Ubisoft and the development team at Massive Entertainment to eradicate all glitches in all of the new content it puts out? Yes, absolutely.
Whether or not I think Ubisoft will ban people who used the exploit, I think it is well within the publisher’s rights to mete out whatever punishment it sees fit. Using exploits is a clear acknowledgement that a gamer is willing to go outside the boundaries of the intended game state to gain an advantage, and in doing so, I think they should take full responsibility for their actions. That extra $200 is pretty sweet, but there’s a reason a lot of people would give it back. That same philosophy should exist within multiplayer games like The Division.
The debate is sure to rage on amongst community members, as Ubisoft attempts to trace all those that were making use of the Falcon Lost glitch. While resulting punishment is certainly up for discussion, as Ubisoft decides how severe the repercussions will be, readers can offer their own opinion on the matter through out poll below.