If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if everyone in the world had unlimited money, the latest fiasco with ZeniMax Online Studios’ MMO The Elder Scrolls Online gives some insight into that. Two weeks into launch, the many adventurers in the world of Tamriel discovered an exploit in the game that allowed items, including money, to be duplicated ceaselessly. The result was servers filled with players rolling in the dough and top-tier gear.
The existence of the exploit has been known to beta testers of TES Online, with one player stating that he reported it during testing on February 7. “Wasn’t the only time I reported it and it was infuriating that no-one at Zenimax responded to follow up on such a serious issue” he writes. The developer’s lack of action resulted in many exploiting the glitch with joyous abandon, until a Reddit user brought the issue to light, pointing out that the glitch was so easy to reproduce that one could do it accidentally.
Exploiting the glitch involves depositing stack of items in guild banks, causing them to duplicate. The duplicated items could thus be sold for gold, and the process could be repeated endlessly. The resulting chaos had players accumulating billions of dollars in gold and legendary items in a short amount of time. More seriously, the economy has been flooded with insane amounts of money and what were supposed to be rare crafting items, rendering both of these things worthless.
ZeniMax has since temporarily closed down guild banks to prevent players from doing any further cloning. They have since released a new patch that will alter auto-stacking in guild banks. “You will now have to stack items in your inventory before placing them in the guild bank” the patch notes read. No word as to when guild banks will reopen, though.
Additionally, ZeniMax is looking to ban any identifiable culprits who abused the glitch: “We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abusing exploitable bugs, and those who were found doing so will have their game account permanently banned” reads a statement from their representative. It remains to be seen how the studio will address the many players who bought duplicated items without necessarily having done anything wrong.
The Elder Scrolls Online launched on April 4 for the PC, and versions for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are on their way in June. The MMO is due for its first round of add-on content in the form of Craglorn, a new region for high-level players to adventure in.