For the first time in my pugging career, I have bumped into a lone individual who appeared to be overtly zealous about not utilizing “exploits” and certain kinds of cheats. Normally, I’d get that from guild groups who don’t like exploiting (which I greatly respect by the way— don’t see too many them around these days), but I don’t blame the guy— personally, I’d rather do the content in a fair manner and learn to actually complete it proper instead of relying on an exploit to complete it only to find out it gets patched in a later build. I won’t mention names but if you’re lurking around, here’s a toast to a legit Cliffside Fractal completion. I was in your Fractals group as “Fleeting Flash”.
Now, this thread isn’t about naming and shaming exploiters, and the anti-exploiters complaining about others who do these exploits. Instead, it’s a thread that hopefully clears the blurry line between a “genuine exploit” and a “tactical advantage.” I know I’ve been doing my part in reporting anything that looks like an exploit to email@example.com by providing some screenshots of how to reproduce them (meaning that I would do or have someone demonstrate the action one time to see if it’s actually an exploit), but even I, myself, do question if certain actions that my pugs are doing falls under Exploiting or just “Utilizing Dem Elite Skillz Yo”.
But it got me thinking: what surely defines an exploit?
I know the more obvious ones, like glitches in terrain (eg. the “Mountain Shortcut” in Caudecus’ Manor, which is mostly patched) and “bugging” certain encounters so that bosses do unexpected behaviors (eg. stacking in one of the “safe spots” in the Snow Fractal so that the Legendary Svanir shaman cannot hit you, which has been patched) could be considered exploiting … but I’m sure there might be parts of dungeons that could be wrongly labeled as exploiting, like skipping certain mobs and/or bosses; or everyone bunching up in ranged to avoid a hard-hitting melee attack, or bunching up in melee to avoid a hard-hitting ranged attack.
Skipping bosses is one thing that bugged me— we all know that skipping Kohler in AC is not an exploit and perfectly acceptable in a technical sense. You can sneak past by him without aggroing him and you should be fine. On the other hand, skipping Korga in the Arah Jotun path got me scratching my head because you still aggro that ugly undead ape, but does running very far away to break aggro in an attempt to skip Korga acceptable? Note the key element between the two encounters: Aggro. The former does not aggro with a successful skip while the latter does aggro regardless if the skip was successful or not.
“Cheesing” encounters is another thing that sort of bothers me, but if the boss can still kill me just because I’m careless, then I think it’s not exploiting. Stacking in melee range for Subject Alpha in CoE is an example of what I think is a valid tactic because Alpha can still kill me if I don’t dodge and/or heal myself if things get hairy. On the other hand, having everyone stacking in a “safe spot” because a boss or any adds it spawns can never hit you would be exploiting, for example the tree in front of The Mossman’s house (which has been patched in the 28 Jan 2013 build).
Maybe I’m wrong on some accounts of reporting since I never hear anything back when I email my reports, but back to the original subject: it would be nice to know what distinguishes between a genuine exploit or just doing legitimate tactics to make the encounter more easier.