Finding Game Exploits

By: Thomas Adams

Since the dawn of games, there have been bugs, glitches, and exploits riddled throughout each game — especially with today’s more complicated games like Destiny or Assassin’s Creed. Many of these bugs are harmless, only resulting in visual and auditory game defects. For example, in League of Legends, your character can use emotes like dance, laugh, taunt, and joke — similar to the ones you may have used in LOTRO. When the game was initially released, players were able to easily reproduce a bug that allowed them to move throughout the map while also using their emote animations (your character is supposed to remain still while using these). Here is a compilation of some funny ones:

As the video states, this bug was removed from the game in May 2010, not because it ruined the game (most everyone agreed it was hilarious), but because it distracted players from normal gameplay.

However, not all game bugs and glitches are harmless. There have been many exploits throughout history that have drastically altered gameplay. One recent exploit that has affected the League of Legends playerbase included a champion named “Ashe”. Hackers were able to exploit a bug in the game files and when they had Ashe on their team, certain other champions in the game had their abilities drastically altered. As you can imagine, this had adverse affects on gameplay, specifically in ranked games. Here’s an example of the exploit being abused be the champion Azir. Usually he is able to spawn the gold and red turrets you see in the video once every few minutes — a reasonable ability that can be dealt with. However, using the aforementioned exploit, you can see him spawning turrets on the map every few seconds that attack all enemies in their range.

As you can imagine, bugs like this can ruin the gaming experience for everyone affected by it.

Our discussions about free will and constraints on Thursday got me thinking about game bugs, or “loopholes” in the design. Players end up finding these bugs and sometimes exploiting them for personal gain. For me, when I start a new game, I always try to push the limits of the game, try to figure out what I can and can’t do. I would attribute this to human nature. The game designers apply their constraints on the game they create, but the players do not always want to be bound by the game designer’s rules. Our desire for free-will experiences and limitless possibilities drive our search for game bugs and glitches.


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