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SHATTERING SHARDS AND DREAMS [Author: Lietgardis]

To explain, the quest ends with the destruction of the Shard of the Herald, the final soul stone binding AC’s most visible Bad Guy. As most would agree this is a Bad Thing, the final dungeon is PvP+ only — again, giving players the impression they can affect their game. Groups of player defenders and attackers were expected to form, conveniently creating dynamic content. On all servers save one, though, the information elite were able to go in and destroy the crystal without most players aware the quest existed.

If that wasn’t cheap enough, consider the situation on that last world. Thistledown mounted a defense over the weekend, one that’s been supported around the clock. Setting aside the true motives of the organizers, they apparently intend to protect the crystal until the next patch three weeks from now. While the storyline still requires the crystal to be destroyed, it would be something special for this one server to get away with a solid defense until the end. You know, pretending like a group of players can impact the world.

At any moment, though, a small group of players could waltz right through the dungeon and destroy the crystal with no threat from the defenders. Portal exploits allow non-PvP-flagged characters to enter the dungeon, nullifying the defense. They would sit and watch, helpless, while white dots killed what they’d spent days defending. While not as destructive as duping, it’s a serious morale issue — imagine watching that shard shatter, helpless, because of poor game administration.

And it is poor game administration. Microsoft will not bring the servers down to fix the issue, and have so far refused to devote anything to the situation — no advocates will be stationed in the dungeon. Exploiters will not be teleported out of the dungeon, will not be spoken to, and will not be banned. They’ll get away with it. It’s tacit acceptance of exploitation, the acceptance that’s been present in the game since release.

It’s not too late to change policy. Enforce ethics — this doesn’t need to be a game where deliberate and willfull exploiters are allowed to exist without sanction. If advocates won’t be stationed in the dungeon around the clock, take measures after the fact. If a band of NPKs destroy the crystal, just ban the assholes. They’ve deliberately and willfully broken the rules. They’ll have ruined the one last stand of players trying to physically affect their world in a positive way. Is there a good reason why they should still be allowed in the game?