TEST OF ETHICS [Author: lum]

To start, let’s look at the event in question. The “Test of Tactics” is a team-based PvP competition designed to produce the “Best of the Best” – which guild can give the most ass-whuppin on the other guild’s team, basically. It’s a lot of fun. Well, it was on most servers.

On Bristlebane, it happened that the winning team actually fought at warp speed. You see, they exploited an arcane bug involving how resurrection spells work in EQ. The GMs killed every participant before the competition – to clear every player’s buffs and ensure that each team was on an even footing, mind you – but this team managed to figure out how they would be left with a spell buff called “Spirit of Scale”. Spirit of Scale, or Scale for short, is a travel spell. It makes you go faster. It’s not intended to be a combat spell – and is much faster than combat spells that do the same thing – so it automatically poofs whenever you take damage from a spell.

Only if you do what the team in question did, you cast Sprit of Scale first – and the little known bug is that it survives your death. Once you die and are resurrected, you have the speed buff (minus the icon) until you are killed again or zone. Now, your Scale spell is now completely undispellable. You are really fast, and you will remain really fast until you die. You can race across the field and smack your opponents with your sword disrupting the first spells they try to cast. Some Test of Tactics, hm?

Some might consider this, oh, cheating. Maybe even exploiting. Certainly grounds for disqualification, right?

Wrong. As GM “Lady Daegarmo”, the event coordinator put it, in a cloyingly in-character account posted today,

Lady Daegarmo’s smile could not be mistaken as she knew that all of her teams effort to make this tournament a story of legends was unfolding. As she turned a corner, she suddenly stopped smiling, as she saw a team in distress.

She ran up to the group, and smiles were not seen on the faces of these champions. Lady Daegarmo asked “What is wrong? Do you not have your gear? Is your team missing members? What has caused you to not enjoy the festivities that are in front of you?”

With heads hung low, and spirits crushed, the party answered. “We beg your forgiveness, for we have failed you. You see, our team cheated to win our regional event, to earn our right to be here with the true champions, and we are so heartbroken by our actions that we are unsure if we wish to compete with those who earned their right to compete.”

“Our homeland has found out of our dishonorable deeds, and does not bless our presence here. We do not have the hopes and dreams of our people behind us. We do not have their prayers and their wishes to give us strength to defeat our foes. We ask for forgiveness and wonder if we should still enter the event.”

This was not a request to enter the event, without question it was a plea to dismiss the group so that they would not need to make the hardest decision they would ever have to make, the decision they knew in their hearts was right.

Lady Daegarmo paused and thought for a moment. The team was defeated, a lost cause before they entered the match. With as high of spirits and hopes that the other teams had, no amount of skill or courage could make up for the loss of morale by this team. As a Knight herself, the Lady pondered what punishment she would give those involved.

Disqualifying the team was an option, but by those who truly understood justice, knew that such a decision would be considered merciful, for it ended the pain and suffering of having to bring themselves to resignation.

Lady Daegarmo spoke “You have admitted to me freely the crimes you have done against your homeland. Send this message, that I give you the right to enter this event. Spread the word so that all of your countrymen know that you can freely make this decision to enter this event, or resign if your hearts so tell you that is the path you wish to follow!”

For those of you who don’t speak Elvish, here’s what actually happened (huge bitmap screenshot, quick and light text transcript). Basically, they initiated a conversation with Lady Daegarmo, taking screenshots the entire time, to justify to everyone concerned that using a bug in a PvP tournament was OK since it wasn’t expressly against the rules. And in fact they had every intention of using it again in the cross-server finals.

However, the team involved had a crisis of conscience within its own ranks. Four of the seven members resigned the tournament rather then compete. The three remaining were forced to forfeit the finals. However, they all kept the titles and uberloot that they won from the server semi-finals (super-rare fanged skull stilleto for the rogue, special title appended to the team leader’s name, et cetera).

What’s the message here? That Verant has a somewhat inconsistent policy towards rules enforcement? That players can’t be trusted more than four inches away from an adult at all times? I don’t know.

I prefer to think that the four team members who resigned rather than perpetuate a travesty Verant was perfectly willing to continue delivered the real message. When the true test was given, some passed.