In Jagex’s own words as of April 12, 2021, “A number of exploits within the Elite Dungeons have now been fixed. Over the coming weeks we will be looking at actions we can take against the small minority of players who exploited these issues.” These bugs had been in place for months and allowed for a person to skip through portions of any Elite Dungeon to get to the final boss. This means being able to fight Seiryu, the Blackstone Dragon, or the Ambassador without killing the lead up trash mobs and prior bosses. The best drops of course come from the final bosses in each Elite Dungeon and this bug lent itself nicely to enabling the farming of these bosses. Today I want to talk about what the next steps going forward should look like.
The RuneScape rules are very clear that abusing bugs can result in a ban. Going back years over years, one can remember countless situations where someone abused a bug or even worse, used macro bots in RuneScape. These people were never sure that they would get banned or even if they should get banned. Here at our establishment we make it a priority to stay away from the shady side of the game. As a result, unlike some others, we didn’t raise awareness of the bug or talk about how it worked. We’re going to continue with that, but let’s be clear, if you wound up being caught by this bug there’s a very high chance that it didn’t happen by accident. If it happened more than once, it definitely didn’t happen by accident. Players in general but more so those who abuse bugs feel they have exclusive rights to do whatever they want in RuneScape, but at the end of the day, we’re all bound by an agreement that governs our actions.
What should be done in this case? All accounts that knowingly abused the bug should be banned and items earned removed from the game ecosystem in actual items or cash value. All accounts that tested the bug to see if it was real, once and only once, should have any progress earned rolled back. All accounts that abused the bug and transferred profits to their alt-accounts should be banned and their alt-accounts along with them. This is a bug that has been well known for months within the PvM community but only recently was addressed by Jagex prior to the Login Lockout. The fix was to be shipped the week after the Login Lockout occurred but was delayed by a month. In that time it’s only fair to assume bug abuse skyrocketed.
Why is a ban so important? An ever evolving game such as RuneScape lives and dies on its integrity, both in terms of how the players conduct themselves but also how the game studio conducts itself. A game where there’s fragrant disregard for rules, ethics, and integrity goes down in a spiral decline quickly. What can start with a few players showing off can spread outward; it can create a community where “because we can” is the driving impact, and should a bug become more widespread it could potentially impact the game’s economy heavily. Any modern MMORPG needs to focus on integrity first and foremost. Jagex is known for this and must continue.
By banning players involved a precedent will be established that says, it is not alright for players to show off a bug or glitch just because they can and that others “need to know”. This is often rooted in in the whistle blower mentality triumphed many times in the real world in war zones. RuneScape is not a war zone and a bug with the Elite Dungeons system does not require a full tour to the war zone with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Others see an opportunity to go for an adrenaline rush on something that’s not sanctioned quite simply because it’s available. Nonetheless, everyone who engaged with this exploit “just because they can” has diminished the integrity of the living entity of RuneScape.
Others will say it’s only a game! If it’s only a game, the primary objective of anyone who’s playing should be fun, right? And if abusing the bug to earn, craft, or manipulate millions of GP will get your character ahead, why not? It’s only a game they say. It’s sad to say but the view of many of the players who abused this exploit to earn millions and billions of GP is that just because it’s in game and not patched means that it’s perfectly fine to use until something changes. No, every player who engaged with the exploit lowered the integrity of the Elite Dungeons system.
Finally, what about economic impact? While the bug has been on the public radar for at least a month, on Jagex’s radar for a little while longer, and on the radar of the exploiters for longer than that, what damage has been done to the economy? The primary effect of any banned player will be to remove any items from the game ecosystem as well. Items that have already been sold will have to have their GP value removed from the game’s economy. Items that have been consumed are sadly unable to be removed unless it’s decided the associated GP value should also be removed. The amount of money that was able to enter the game is no doubt substantial. The economic impact on the integrity of a live game with a GP focused exploit can not be understated.
Whether it was for showing off, or because it’s only a game, or because of the economic impact caused by the exploit, a precedent needs to be set. Other game franchises are known for their communities being inherently toxic (not naming any names) and it’s imperative that RuneScape not go down this path. Having interacted with the RuneScape community for almost 20 years at this point I can confidently say that it is one of the best. We need to keep it that way and that’s why all abusers surrounding the Elite Dungeons Exploit need to do the time.