Saturday, April 16, 2016

Widening the Divide - Ubisoft Punishing Players Who Exploit a Glitch During The Division’s First Boss Battle

On April 12, 2016, Tom Clancy's: The Division received a free content update, the game's first Incursion, titled "Falcon Lost" in which players confronted the Last Man Battalion in a water-treatment facility.

The "Falcon Lost" storyline has two difficulties: Hard mode, which is recommended for players who have a gear score that is equivalent to level 31 or higher; and challenge mode, which is far more difficult. In addition, there are no checkpoints in Falcon Lost; if your team goes down, you'll have to restart from the beginning. This is reminiscent of Destiny's initial Nightfall activities where players were expelled back into Orbit upon a total party wipe (before certain updates were put into effect). Gamers can replay Falcon Lost and other upcoming Incursions as many times as you want and still be rewarded with new loot each playthrough.

Clever participants have discovered a rather unique method of defeating the boss and avoiding several waves of enemies. The process involves using the mobile cover skill to clip through a wall. Doing so prevents the game from registering that players are in the room, meaning a group can fire upon the boss without it retaliating in kind.

Ubisoft's community manager, Natchai Stappers responded to this issue on the game's forums claiming that it's working on a fix for this particular glitch. However, he also mentions that those that took part in the exploit violated Ubisoft's code of conduct. Thus, the developer is "looking into what can be done in terms of punishment" which is, in my mind, not the proper course of action.

When Destiny had an exploit known as the "loot cave" they fixed the issue promptly, and then acknowledged the error by making a tribute to the players for bringing the lack of loot to light. They did this by providing a tribute to Rahool, the Cryptarch of the Tower and official engram decoder. Bungie honored (by the transitive property) the players by creating a special Easter egg. They placed the remains of the countless Hive creatures in the caves and permitted players to "disturb them" with a cryptic message bellowing "A million deaths are not enough for Master Rahool." It was a nice nod to guardians who were shooting at a rock formation for several hours instead of partaking in other, less rewarding activities. What Ubisoft plans on doing is placing unnecessary sanctions upon players for their own negligence.

I believe that players should only be reprimanded if they're utilizing an external device (such as "lag switching") or outside software to give themselves an unfair advantage in competitive play (this includes hacking). I believe also that if they're using profanity or sexually explicit imagery in customizable settings there should be some form of repercussion in place. When the game itself is flawed, players should have free reign until the developer patches it accordingly. Ubisoft is forgetting their role. They set the parameters for the game. If they miss something crucial to the stability of the rules of the game, the blame should lie upon them, not that of the players.If this were Dungeons & Dragons for example, Ubisoft would be the Dungeon Master (DM) setting up the campaign, with the setting and scenarios in place. The players, if they outwit the DM should be praised and rewarded, not chastised. The DM would merely adjust encounters for the next playthrough if the party managed to do something out of the realm of his or her intended guidelines.

This may have a detrimental impact on the Division's fanbase, especially for those that have moved on from Bungie's monumental success. Previously, violators had been handed out a 3-day ban and the matter wasn’t pursued any further. However, Ubisoft can also wipe a player’s stats completely if they so desire, rendering a player's time and effort, worthless.

Works Cited

Ayres, S. (2016, April 16). Ubisoft Will Punish People Who Exploited a Glitch During The Division’s First Boss Battle. Retrieved April 16, 2016, from

Makedonski, B. (201, April 15). Ubisoft's looking into how to punish people who glitch The Division's toughest new boss. Retrieved April 16, 2016, from

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ellen Baker Steps Up to the Challenge!

Happy April everyone! I hope everyone's had a good laugh for the first of the month, so to continue that spirit of mischief, I've decided to deviate from talking about video games today to tell you about a meme that I absolutely adore.

What's a meme you ask? Well, essentially it is "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture" (Merriam-Webster). I tend to refer to them as "internet jokes" or "trending events". In any case, recently one such meme has been brought to my attention, one that may or may not spark some extreme controversy.

Ellen Baker (Japanese: エレン・ベーカー) is a fictional tutor character featured in the 2016-2019 edition of New Horizon. New Horizon is a Japanese to English language textbook published by Tokyo Shosek that is used in middle schools as part of their language curriculum. In the fictitious setting of the book, Ellen Baker instructs her students at Midori Junior High School.

On April 5th 2016, Twitter user @haiyore_audio uploaded several pictures of the characters (Ellen Baker included) from his younger brother's textbook. Within the first 24 hours, the tweet generated over 45,000 likes and a whopping 50,000 retweets, with many people expressing adoration for the charmingly cute female character.

Now, for a bit of context, the Internet has a rather poor habit of perversion when it comes to any particular topic, popular or unpopular, real or fictional. What I'm referring to (for those of you that are unaware) is Rule #34 of the Internet which essentially states that:

"...pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject. Therefore, if it exists, there is porn of it. If there isn't, there will be, as there are no exceptions."

On April 7th, 2016, Buzzfeed Japan published an interview with Denchubou (電柱棒), the Japanese illustrator for the New Horizon textbook. In the interview he mentioned that:

"Of course, I do welcome the situation (regarding the massive rise in popularity). But…this is a textbook. I’m worried if parents will start to grow a bad impression, or if people start to forget its educational purpose."
- Translated from Japanese (Know Your Meme)

You can check out more of Denchubou's impressive illustrations here.

Now that there has been a massive amount of global exposure with this character, fan sketches of Ellen Baker have sprung up in a wide range of scenarios, some of which are tasteful and humorous, with others being of the more lewd and provocative variety. After images of Ellen Baker went viral on Twitter, articles for her were submitted to Nico Nico Pedia and the Pixiv Encyclopedia, sparking more than 200 illustrations by enthusiasts (Know Your Meme).