It's already all around the WoW forms that most of the top guilds were exploiting the LFR system to gear themselves up. I'm not the one to point at their actions and call them exploiters or cheaters, for all I know this may be some other "smart use of the game mechanics". It happen before...
Here is what DREAM Paragon, on of the top guilds, had to say about this (well, sort of, at least it's from their blog):
Yes, the LFR... Looking for Raid... a chance to join up with 24 of your friends/non-friends/acquaintances and clear some raid content on the Baradin Hold difficulty level. You might even get some loots for the trouble! So what happened and why have other popular MMO and WoW forum sites been abuzz with accusations of bugs, creative game mechanics, or exploits in relation to the LFR?
Well, evidently a combination of careful planning by the elite guilds to run LFRs (I did mention yesterday that LFR was factoring into strategies, but I had no idea what was going to happen over the course of the day at that point) and a game bug resulted in something unexpected. But this was something most of the top guilds followed as, like most things buggish during the early days of a new patch, sometimes it's not entirely clear what's a bug versus a new mechanic, what's a creative use of gameplay versus an exploit. I'm not suggesting that all the guilds unwittingly partook in an accidental series of LFRs that resulted in an accidental and magical appearance of available loot, but the way in which the guilds had laid out their plans appeared to expose an actual bug that just made the process less cumbersome than had been originally expected. Were these guys always planning to do a lot of LFRs? Oh yes. Had they expected it to be this easy? Oh no. Were they going to stop the race because of a bug? Unlikely. And since it seemed like everyone else was doing it, were they pressured even more to keep doing it? Yes. Whether we like it or not, the race (and how we prepare for it) is often conducted in silos and we rely on hearsay or rumours to actually know what each other is doing. Should they have done it? Probably not, but it's easy for me to sit back and mull over grey areas of the game like this and decide what is or is not ok--these raiding guilds often have to make quick decisions based on what they know their competitors are already doing. As one elite raider whose guild did get involved said to me, "If I'm in a 100m race with 9/10 competitors doping, I have to dope as well to stay competitive." I guess there is truth in that statement, but there is always a choice not to dope, right? But that could very well mean you lose the race if you chose not to do what you think everyone else is doing. And not every elite guild did feel like they had to do it, they chose to prepare in a different way. As one elite raider from an elite raiding guild that did not get involved in the LFR situation said to me, "There is always a choice."
The bug that allowed this faster turnaround has been hotfixed, as I understand it, and while there are still a lot of contested debates out there about what was wrong or right and whether there should be further punitive action, we have yet to know if anything additional will be done. But if something does happen, keep in mind that I checked the top 10-15 guilds alone and found that the majority of them had conducted their LFR runs this way so we may see a different progress race or outcome if those guilds are penalised. And what about the many other guilds throughout the game that did the same thing? Shouldn't we penalise them as well?
I'll probably have more to say as the days continue, but for now, I'll leave it there. Again, keep in mind that these thoughts are my own and do not necessarily reflect what Paragon or its individual members might think.
Method has an article about this matter too:
So what is "LFR exploiting" and is it actually exploiting?
LFR basically works as follows; you join LFR with your character and upon killing a boss for the FIRST time you are eligible to receive the loot drops - any additional kills of the same boss within the same weekly reset of LFR will not allow you to roll on/receive loot.
Unfortunately Blizzard overlooked some scenarios and if you log your character out OR re-enter the instance AFTER a boss has been killed you will be able to loot that boss subsequent times (after already being 'loot saved' from your first kill). Despite the item levels in LFR being pretty low (384), this exploit allows the advantage of gaining valuable set bonuses and trinkets on certain classes.
Currently the situation is as follows; multiple top guilds have apparently made use of this bug to gain the mentioned above. These guilds were basically presented with two choices on Wednesday 4.3 release;
1. Ignore the obvious bug and continue the LFR farm without looting the items, putting themselves at a disadvantage against their competition.
2. Utilise the bug, get their set bonuses and trinkets and stay on level with the competition and possibly risk the consequences from Blizzard.
The majority chose to use option 2 and the key word from the above is "risk", in the past we have seen multiple bugs in raiding and those that made use of these bugs received minimal punishment from Blizzard (if any at all). I can assure you that the majority of raiders who made use of this bug are expecting a minimal tap on the hand punishment. The risk vs return was therefore seen as good by the top guilds, and the scales just further sway off the chart when you also see other top guilds already using the bug - there was no question for the majority, it was a pre-determined decision, you must be on a level playing field to remain competitive (winner or loser?).
I can speak for Method in saying that we are disappointed that yet another obvious bug has popped up in regards to progress raiding (or rather preparation).
Blizzard reaction came on the official forums:
We’re in the process of implementing a hotfix to fix the exploit, and are deciding what steps we'll be taking for the gear that was already obtained.
In short, we’re already well aware of the issue and once corrected there will undoubtedly be significant consideration taken into the best course of action – this is unlikely to be done at a customer support level, however, and as such I’m afraid we’re unable to provide any further elaboration.
There was a huge topic a few hours ago on the official forums about this matter also. I said was because the topic was deleted apparently...
There were some rumors in there that the players who "exploited" the LFR system were banned for 72 hours. But if you check top guild players you can notice that is not true at all. Or am I reading it wrong?
The thing is that if you check most of the players from any of the top guilds you'll notice that all have everything they could get from the Dragon Soul LFR.
It's clearly that it is/was a problem with the LFR system and Blizzard does not like how some of the guilds dealt with this issue. I think we will have to wait and see what will happen next.
Now I ask you, How do you feel about this? What do you think Blizzard should do? How do you think this is going to be fixed?