Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Teleport Hacks in Ranked PvP? Blizz says ‘No Problem’!

A friend of mine recently showed me a funny little trick one day while we were out killing ghosts in Netherstorm. “Watch this”, he said, and proceeded to run straight off the edge of the world, which is usually a good way to die and incur a 10% item durability loss. “Yeah, wow. That was pretty sweet”, I began to say as his character disappeared over the precipice. I turned to the next ghost, to continue the grind while he made the inevitable corpse run. He was standing right beside me again.

“Umm… but I just… you were… uhhh… wtf?”

He demonstrated again, this time running straight into a pack of mobs, before popping back to beside me. None of the mobs aggroed, nobody seemed to care.

I was intrigued.

Apparently there is a macro you can write that, when spammed, will confuse the computer of anyone standing nearby. The person spamming the macro has his or her screen lock up a bit, and anyone standing near him assumes he’s lagged out. Your computer continues to report back that he is still performing whatever action he was doing, in hopes that the connection will be restored in a second, and picks back up again where he left off. This results in the person in question being able to ‘walk forward, spam the macro, stop walking, keep spamming’… and have their character just ‘run forward’, but only according to everyone else’s screen.

We’ve all seen this phenomenon. The warrior is running forward to pull the next pack in UBRS, and just… keeps… going. There’s that instant when you get ready to freak out on them in vent, and then nothing happens. He just runs harmlessly through the mobs, and a second later you find that he went line-dead. I just never realized there was a way to do it intentionally.

This doesn’t fool anyone that isn’t human, though. Server-side, the mobs know you stopped running forward and don’t aggro. A hunter’s pet will still chew on your face where you stand (and you won’t even know, as your screen is frozen), and unless a mage is trying to frost nova or AOE you, you’re probably still in range of their pyroblast. It’ll just go ‘where you actually are’ instead of ‘where he thinks you are’.

The obvious implication of this is that melee classes (and casters, to a lesser degree) are stuck in a bind during ranked PvP arena matches. Now, I won’t go all doom and gloom about it, but in my limited arena play (maybe about 50 matches), it’s happened to me about 5 times. Ten percent is not a huge number, but it’s not 1 in 50. One of these times was a druid; stuck in bear form with no rage, at about 10% health, with me hovering around 20. I had a full energy bar, and was chasing behind him backstabbing backstabbing backstabbing, and getting ‘out of range’ errors. Suddenly he blinks out of in front of me, and I spin around to find him sitting on a full health bar 20 yards back; popping back into bear form again for the clean up. Apparently, some mastermind on the forums has said that this is impossible, and even went so far as to call me a liar… the /sit portion of the macro would interrupt a druid’s slow heal spell casting, but maybe he popped instant casts (Rejuvenation + Swiftmend), or maybe he used a Nature’s Swiftness + Big Slow Cast for a full heal. The fact is that had he gone caster in front of me chasing him, he would have been dead; with a shiny new pair of stainless steel antlers growing out of his back.

Remember -- while the person’s screen locks up, the server doesn’t. This means it’s possible to start running forward, spam the macro, start walking BACKWARD, cast some crap, push some buttons, all while spamming that macro, and still have stuff happening -- all while your character’s ghost form (with his new ghost points, no doubt) is running away from your original position. Rogues can even sprint and use it, and it shows them as sprinting away. I wonder if it works during whirlwinds or anything fruity like that..?

So. What to do? Well, I posted a thread on the general boards with the words PvP Exploit in the subject line, which is always a guaranteed way to get views (because honestly, everyone WANTS to cheat in PvP), and asked for a hot fix ETA. Everyone laughed, and pretty much said ‘welcome to last year’. This is not only ‘not news’; there are many ways to go about doing it. If you play in windowed mode, just dragging the window’s title bar around while walking forward is enough to set the condition off. Then you’re not even using a /sit macro, and would be perfectly fine to cast a 25 second heal that hits for 800 billion!

The best part is that Blizzard has apparently known about this since the introduction of Warsong Gulch, and has just never done anything about it. Warsong Gulch has always been a hotspot for such antics as wall walking and rooftop camping, so that doesn’t surprise me, but ranked PvP arenas? Does this fall under the tried and true “clever use of game mechanics”? If so, I think I’ve just figured out the name for my new 3v3 team.

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