There has been prevailing for long, a customary among gamers regarding the use of bugs and glitches to their advantage, which has earned itself a fancy term, ‘exploiting’. Some people link it to transgression as it, somehow goes against a man’s ethics to use bugs to their advantage. Other people see it as something that is necessary for the general good of a game and it’s players. Some even go as far as connecting it to cheating. So, does that mean there is no difference between the two?
Before we even begin to sketch a column to keep both of these designated in their own areas, we have to comprehend what each of these terms stand for.
Lets start off by wiping the slate clear. This would give us a wider insight of the subject by disregarding the common misconceptions.
Now, let us chalk down the correct definition for the following terms:
Bug Exploits:- Bugs and glitches are technical errors present within the game. To exploit and use these bugs and glitches to one’s advantage in a manner not intended by the developers is called exploiting a bug.
Cheating:- Utilising third party softwares deemed illicit to manipulate the game by creating advantage or disadvantage beyond normal gameplay experience is called cheating.
In both the cases, the players are susceptible to unfair disadvantage which could possibly be a reason for the person’s defeat at the game. With the theories derived, lets proceed to the next step.
Putting Theory to Practice:
In short, a bug is a pre-existing phenomenon that is caused either because of a developer’s impetuous nature or because of the developer’s deliberate intent to let it through(which is highly unlikely to happen) without a second through while on the other hand, cheating is something that requires a player to download third party software to break the codes of the game in order to abuse it. In one case, it is the fault of the developers and in another it is the ill-motive of certain players to intentionally create advantages for himself by generating conditions to favour him with the help of non-standard/external means.
However, sometimes, it is found that the developers make a mess out of this issue by declaring bug exploiting as a crime. Some even go as far as stalking other people’s streams to monitor any unlawful activity, i.e., the recent PUBG(PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds) incident for instance is a very usual example of how the developers absconded their responsibilities and saved themselves from the incoming censure by banning Destiny(a popular LOL player on twitch) for using a peculiar car bug to his advantage(when you spawn in PUBG, sometimes you do not see buildings; you can see people inside buildings and can even no-clip through the buildings driving over them and killing them). Allowing bugs like this in the first place and then blaming the players for using them in itself is a horrible excuse for escaping the heat of the critics. It’s similar to putting answers on the final sheet of a question paper ‘mistakenly’ and then blaming the candidates for using them to pass the test.
This wasn’t the only instance of players, especially popular streamers getting banned because they show people an exploit that was totally the fault of the developer. Popular Hearthstone streamer Disguised Toast, who was asked by the community to see an interaction between a Priest class card Power Word : Glory, and a Priest class minion Mirage Caller (which summons a 1/1 copy of a minion), he was penalized by Blizzard for showing the bug to the public by having his account banned for 3 days straight. Apparently, when you cast Mirage Caller to create a 1/1 copy of a minion with Power Word : Glory on it, the game freezes totally, and nothing can be done. One can’t cast spells, use hero powers, use emotes, or even summon minions. One can’t even concede to run away from the duel. The only way to fix it was to close Hearthstone using the Task Manager. Seeing Toast, many people started exploiting the bug on higher ranks of the ranked ladder in Hearthstone, and when the number of offences became shockingly excessive, Blizzard blamed Toast and got him a ban(which apparently happened a few hours after he showed the interaction on his stream). Despite knowing that the game had a bug, Blizzard decided to penalize Toast. Despite Toast posting similar bugs in the past, only leading to Blizzard fixing them as quickly as possible. Reigning with an iron fist and blaming players for exploiting a bug that was entirely their own fault is something no developer should do, as it sends out wrong vibes to the players, who are already ready to abandon ship and join other better card games with a more liberal developer policing than them (*cough* *cough* Gwent).
Companies like Valve on the other hand has taken a more, consumer-friendly approach by thanking people for pointing out bugs and glitches and are very swift at fixing them without conferring inconveniences and creating a menace. The BIG incident for instance, where the popular German team BIG exploited a certain crouch-jump bug at the PLG Majors to discover player locations giving the opponents an unfair disadvantage. Even though the incident was met with a shower of criticism from players who deemed this act as dishonest and fraudulent, the players were not denied access to the game on the grounds that this was an unlawful act. Valve observed the affair closely and decided that the bug must be removed because it was over powering one side. Shortly afterwards, the bug was patched without making a fuss out of the issue as they realised that it was their mistake. They added audio to the silent crouch-jump exploit which now makes a sound upon the player model touching the floor and extending the camera height restriction system completely erasing the bug out of the game.
It is only through playing and testing can bugs and possible exploits concomitant with their pros and cons be discovered, after which it becomes necessary to understand the technical aspect of whether these bugs are justified or single-sided. Blue Hole’s aversion towards people who use bugs to their advantage is a determinant of how obstinate, short-sighted and naive the studio has become following its massive success. Ruling the players with an iron fist and keeping them under the fear of ban for pointing out mistakes that were made in the course of development and compelling them to not live by them is outrageous. Silencing the players who invested their hard earned income in a game for pointing out flaws and errors which were the mistake of developers in the first place is an outright act of fascist subjugation. Moral values are left out of the question for it depends on the person and cannot be forced down the throat. This undermines the flexibility of the game tremendously. Keeping the players from using bugs to understand their importance and judging whether their use is fair or not and more importantly why or should they exist at all is a flagrant attempt of stopping people from raising their voice against the developers for their negligence. Instead, studios of such high stature should take to fixing such blemishes at the earliest to avoid any further exploitation and in return thank the player for pointing them out.
ADMITTING FAULTS IS ONE THING AND MAKING EXCUSES IS ANOTHER.