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Is Exploiting Rampant?

Lewis Burnell Posted:
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It appears that exploiting is a thing in Black Desert Online. Although I’ve never seen anyone use an exploit, there have been plenty of threads, posts and comments in recent months to suggest it is happening. That’s not entirely surprising as players will always cheat, in any genre, as long as there are gains to be made. Bypassing existing rulesets to secure an advantage over another can save considerable amounts of time and allow for easier gains, especially if it comes to items and duplication. I can see why people do it as I’ve done it before, but I’ll never fully understand it.

Many years ago and to digress a little, I used to play a game called Neocron. A small MMO but one that still remains my firm favorite and when playing it, some friends and I discovered an exploit. If you opened a trade window with someone and attempted to transfer them the maximum amount of money possible (32,000,000) - even if you didn’t have it - you could then close the window, have them do the same to you and suddenly you’d be 32,000,000 credits richer. I’ve no idea why it worked but my friends and I proceeded to exploit this bug for several months. Although we were already rich beyond measure (without comparison on our server) we still did it. We didn’t need the money but on discovering the exploit, spent the next few days squirreling away several billion credits: enough money to do as we pleased but money we never needed. To make matters worse, we never told the development team and until the day I stopped playing Neocron (many months after), it was never fixed.

Although I never gained from the exploit (it literally sat unspent in my bank) looking back, that one exploit alone could have crippled most of the trade in the game. In fact, the repercussions - should my friends and I have used our wealth - would have likely been permanent and long lasting. Without major intervention from the development team and possibly a wide scale rollback, I’m not sure its economy could have ever recovered. Our exploit would be like discovering how to instantly materialize several million gold in Guild Wars 2 and to then begin manipulating the Trading Post with it.

As I’ve grown older my tolerance of cheating has decreased to the point where I’ve very little sympathy for those who exploit and who are later reprimanded. Unfortunately and when it comes to Black Desert Online, Daum are seemingly slow on the uptake and those who are found to be exploiting are treated with kid gloves. The  recent announcement that the Valencia and Siege Mode Update is to  be delayed, seemingly because of rampant player exploitation isn’t entirely surprising.

You only have to do a quick search on Reddit or Google to find plenty of signs of hacking, with Google kindly providing a variety of tools to duplicate money, items or even exploit storage values. The majority of which are still working. There’s a growing sense - if not anecdotally - that hacking and exploits are running rampant in Black Desert Online with Daum doing very little to combat it. Although there have been statements from Community Members detailing how they take a hard line against such people, it isn’t necessarily enough.

Based on their recent forum post, it’s clear Daum aren’t happy with their detection software. That’s fine and it’s good to know something is being done, but it certainly doesn’t make me feel particularly satisfied with the whole situation. When I was 18 and finding exploits in Necron, I had little thought for the wider game or my actions in it. Now and as a thirty year old who not only enjoys a level playing field, but understands how cheating can truly ruin a game and its reputation, it makes me question my play time.

The more worrying aspect is the fact that as gamers and once we know a product is rife with those who exploit and cheat, with little consequence, it’s a reputation that’s difficult to shake. Only yesterday when mentioning Black Desert Online to a friend, he simply replied with “That’s the game with all the cheaters?”. When you have companies such as Blizzard, ArenaNet or Epic providing instant, lifetime bans for exploiting - while often publicly shaming - it seems bizarre that Daum haven’t followed suit. If they are and they certainly claim to be, perhaps they should go on the PR offensive and name and shame. I’ve often admired Chris Cleary for such an approach and the community seems to reciprocate.

Have you encountered exploiters in Black Desert Online? Do you think it’s prevalent? Does it even bother you if it is? How do you think those who exploit should be treated? Let me know. 


Lewis Burnell

Lewis has played MMOs since Ultima Online launched, and written about them for far too long.