An exploit is the misuse of a software feature or bug in a way that allows a player to generate in-game benefits without the risk or time expected by the game's designers. It can involve the use of a third-party program and it includes generating currency, experience, or other things of value to players. It also includes actions that allow one player to gain a gameplay advantage over other players.
ArenaNet will temporarily suspend players for using exploits deliberately and permanently suspend those who purposefully and repeatedly make use of them, depending on the severity of their actions.
Identifying an exploit
ArenaNet defines an exploit as any deliberate action that provides an unfair advantage over other players or otherwise hurts the game, community, or economy; it does not matter whether the exploit is a hack or makes use of a mechanic (bugged or otherwise) within the game. Before taking punitive action on an account, ANet considers whether players made deliberate use of the exploit; use of hacks or bots is always assumed to be deliberate. In addition, players that publicize an exploit are also subject to suspension or even banning, regardless of their motives, since well-publicized exploits require ArenaNet to react immediately to prevent the abuse, which diverts resources away from the rest of the game.
For a variety of reasons, the company cannot define precisely what will be considered an exploit, but they have offered the following rules of thumb:
- Does it seem too good to be true?
- Would your friends consider this to be an exploit?
- Does it provide you with an unfair advantage over other players?
- Could this be the result of a bug introduced with a recent update or new feature?
- Does this seem like something that could be reasonably considered to be intended by ArenaNet?
If you are still unsure after answer these questions, the safest thing to do is to avoid taking advantage of the potential exploit and report it via the methods listed at the top of this article. Do not try to replicate the exploit on your own; just provide enough information so that ArenaNet can do so.
Reporting an exploit
Chris Cleary, Online Game Security Lead for ArenaNet, posted these guidelines on Reddit on how to report exploits:
As a gamer, I understand wanting to get an edge and sometimes it is easy to get carried away. I sincerely believe that players know in their gut when it comes to "did I abuse this bug too much". I also understand not wanting to report things if the thought is that you will get in trouble for it. That being said, it's likely that others will find and report a problem and it's much better to be a reporter than a reported.
So you found an exploit, here's what you should do:
1) If you can, find out specifically what causes the exploit
2) Reproduce the exploit a few times to make sure you have it down correctly
2a) If you can't reliably reproduce it, that's fine!
3) Report the exploit to firstname.lastname@example.org
3a) Include your Display Name and preferably the Character Name that you exploited on
4) Clarify how many times you believe you may have done the exploit
Things you should not expect when you report an exploit
1) A response. We can't and wont respond to any report via email@example.com. We get a ton of emails and we can't comment to players on the state of when things are going to get fixed. On the rare chance that we do need clarification, you'll get a response.
2) Immunity. If you grossly abused an exploit and profited (in some way) then decided to report the issue. While it's going to look significantly better if you report the issue to us, it's still bad that you abused it heavily.
- Primary article: Diminishing returns
Diminishing returns (DR) is a type of anti-farm code implemented to reduce the impact on the economy of botting. To a lesser extent, it also provides some protection against exploits whether known or not.
|Skips||A skip is when players take advantage of a loophole in the game's design to skip a trigger for a particular section of task, such as a dungeon or a particular boss. A common example is exploiting the terrain to avoid a boss blocking the route to the next area. This type of exploit is most common in dungeons, where experienced players try to reduce the time spent to a minimum.||This has the potential to result in a ban if this method is used by dungeon runners, i.e. those who sell off slots in a dungeon party to those who just looking for tokens or completion credit. As is the case with other exploits, most players are unaffected; bans were only handed out to those who deliberately and repeatedly skipped content in order to sell slots.|
A hack uses third party software to alter the functions of the game client,
|Teleport||The user can move to any location on the map instantly. Involves manipulating the client into telling the server a false location.||Used by bots to farm resource nodes or chests. Difficult to report because of how rapidly the character moves. Create a support ticket with the server, location, time/date and a description of the behavior.|
|Speed||The user moves faster than normal, anywhere from a 1% to a 1,000% boost. Some versions allow the character to ignore certain control effects, e.g. chilled or immobile. Used by bots to farm more quickly; used by players to gain advantage in WvW and Structured PvP.||Difficult to detect minor abuses. Report suspected uses and support will be able to determine whether characters are using skills or hacks to move at the rate seen. Players will seem to move at regular speed, but will run into obstacles and seem to "lag", jumping ahead every few seconds.|
|Noclip||Allows the user to move through obstacles, purportedly because the collision-detection is performed by the client without validation on the server.||Easily observed, since the character will literally walk through walls or other barriers. The character will appear to get stuck in terrain in strange locations or even underground. Sometimes the character will be literally be cut in half by the terrain.|
|Gravity||Allows characters to jump or fall farther than normal. Gravity can be set to a negative value or zero, allowing the character to fall upwards and jump over obstacles or avoid enemies.||Character shows a similar behavior as when modifying the speed. The character will seem to have missed a jump or run into an obstacle and will appear behind or atop the obstacle after a few seconds.|
|Dungeon teleport||The teleport hack is used to bypass triggers in dungeons to skip portions of the dungeon or the entire dungeon.||Dungeons takes place in a separate instance, making it unlikely for other players to report. Partially addressed by diminishing returns.|
These exploits have been removed from the game.
|400 crafting||When grandmaster crafting was first introduced, there was a bug that allowed characters to continue to gain experience by crafting using recipes rated at 400 in the remaining five disciplines. This allowed characters to level to 80 for relatively small amounts of coin and karma.  This was fixed in the September 3, 2013 update.|
|Bulk ingredients||Though not officially an exploit, players used Karma to purchase mass quantities of bulk ingredients, mixed them in various recipes, and sold to vendors for profit. This was combined with farming certain dynamic events that triggered frequently. Since that time, food can no longer be sold to vendors.|
|Karma weapons||The original pricing for the greatsword at the Cultural Weaponsmith had a typo, reducing the karma costs by a factor of 1,000. These weapons could be combined in the Mystic Forge to create exotics or rares to use or salvage for ecto. This was combined with farming certain dynamic events that triggered frequently. Players taking advantage of this hundreds of times were banned; those taking advantage of it dozens of times were suspended. Those who were banned were allowed to regain their account by apologizing and promising to delete their wealth acquired through this method. Some who tried to launder items or coin through others were re-banned. (The talk page includes a discussion about measuring the net impact on the game.)|
|Duping||Some bugs in the game allow players to duplicate items, usually by using items in two or more different contexts at the same time. In August 2012 it was possible to use the mail system in combination with the crafting system to duplicate materials.|
|Dungeon reward exploit||The reward for dungeon completion was meant to be subject to diminishing returns, yielding 20 silver for the first completion and 2 silver for every completion of a path after that. However, this was not in place everywhere until November 14th 2012; people switched to bugged servers to work around the intended mechanic.|
|Snowflake exploit||Snowflakes introduced in Wintersday could be used to craft level L75+ rare or exotic equipment that could be salvaged for Globs of Ectoplasm. Unlike other crafting-to-salvage items, after salvaging with a Black Lion Salvage Kit, these items not only returned ectos, but also the activator used to create them, the Brilliant Snowflakes. This allowed people to craft, salvage, and then use the original materials to craft again, thus converting a few cheap Mithril Ore into the more valuable ecto. This was considered to be the same as a duping exploit and ArenaNet banned players who repeated this 150 or more times.  The recipes for the jewelry were disabled, closing the loophole.|
- In the case of a few historical updates, some players have expressed concerns that ArenaNet has been arbitrary about enforcing this policy with respect to bugged mechanics, particularly when they have introduced new items or recipes. In response, ArenaNet has stated that they only take extreme action against those who repeatedly abused a game loophole. In the two cases above in which ANet provided specific numbers, bans were only handed down to players who took advantage of incorrect pricing 100s of times or used a perpetual crafting bug more than 150 times.
- Although the company rarely comments on specific situations, they have officially stated that the farming of Black Lion Keys is permitted.
- ^ Chris Cleary on Reddit Guidelines for reporting exploits.
- ^ Official forum post, Chris Cleary responds to questions about selling dungeon slots: players were banned for skipping content, not selling slots.
- ^ Reddit, Devs respond to Reddit thread about 400 crafting bug
- ^ Official forums,Official forum post on the 400-crafting exploit.
- ^ August 30, 2012 Reddit post, ArenaNet posts on Reddit about security issues, including permanent bans to 3,000 players who "substantially exploited" this bug.
- ^ Follow up on Reddit regarding karma ban Chris Whiteside explains why the permanent bans were converted to 72-hour suspensions.
- ^ Official forum thread, Gaile Grey explains how the ban was applied to the "worst offenders" only.
- ^ Guild Wars 2 World Records, One player describes the specific steps required.
- ^ Gaile Gray on the official forums Official response to "[whether] Black Lion Key runs [are] an exploit