Gameloft just can't seem to catch a break lately- They've got studios closing up left and right, and this weekend hackers have absolutely been going crazy in Order & Chaos Online [Free], their WoW-like MMO which launched in late 2011. This is one of those pieces of MMO history that I feel like happens way more often than you'd think, but you only ever read about after the fact. Apparently a player in Order & Chaos (And again, we're talking the first one, not the sequel Order & Chaos 2: Redemption [Free].) got access to something that players are referring to as the "test box" and things have been going nuts ever since.

What is the "test box?" Well, it appears to be a big piece of the toolkit that GM's (or "Game Masters," the online support people in an MMO) use to do things in games. It's not a unique thing to Order & Chaos by any means, MMORPG history is full of surprisingly hodge podge ways that these games are held together, whether it's through special items, secret commands, or other stuff that GM's use to fix player problems and keep the game running like a well oiled machine. In the case of Order & Chaos, those functions seem to be done through this test box which contains what are supposed to be GM-only spells and other functions, which anyone who possesses the test box can use.

The above video shows what it all looks like in action, but using the test box, players can do nearly anything they want in game, from creating infinite gold to creating items, from summoning any mount in the game to... infinitely creating additional test boxes to give to other players. We've been told test boxes have been spreading like wildfire over the last couple days, and the state of the game right now is, in a word, chaos.

Gameloft has posted on Facebook that they're looking into all this and everything should return back to normal later today, but how do you even unroll from this? Rumors are spreading that players have had access to test boxes for months now and have been selling items and gold, and if that is true, this is going to be one hell of a mess for Gameloft to clean up, as who knows how detailed their logging even is to trace this all back, if it's possible to roll back at all. Even if they remove all the artificially created items and gold, the existence of those things for (allegedly) months now have had rippling effect across the in-game economy which is impossible to undo.

account_suspension_oac1.png

Complicating things further, what do you do to people who have test boxes? They've spread like wildfire in the past couple days, it seems like tons of people have them, including unsuspecting players who just accepted a trade request from some random person they don't know. Banning everyone with a test box is probably the way to go, but is that fair to people just accepting random trades?

Anyway, I'm super curious to see how this all plays out, as Gameloft has one gigantic mess on their hands here. If there's any up-side here, it's that this is at least one of their older games, and not a flagship title for them... But, being an older game, it means there's players out there who have (potentially) been playing for five years now. To be a fly on the wall at Gameloft this morning...

  • kg3281

    As a long time player of O&C (since summer 2011) it's sad to see this happen to what was once a amazing mobile mmo. That said Gameloft has made many changes to the title over the last several years which have caused a rapid decline in the population and left many players looking for alternatives.

    All players who had one of these test boxes in their possession regardless of whether the contents were accessed or used received a ban of 4 years. I'm not confident Gameloft will stand their ground here as they stand to lose a massive portion of their player base and historically have caved in response to their players criticism and ludicrous threats of law suits and refunds.

    During the summer of 2014 after an extensive abuse of a in game glitch allowing players to gain access to nearly unlimited permanent stat boosting items called gems which typically cost a large sum of real world currency to acquire all who abused it were banned for 1 year. Within a few days the punishment was reduced from 1 year to only 2 weeks.

    Unfortunately for order and chaos I think due to poor management and a long list of bad decisions the game is at a cross roads and neither path leads to a happy ending. Uphold a long term ban and lose many of their loyal players or reduce the punishment to a few weeks and give the honest players the impression that cheating only gets you a slap on the wrist. Either way you lose players and you lose income and for a game with a already declining player base since its glory days a few years ago the future looks bleak.

    • kg3281

      Sorry for thr giant paragraph it removed all the breaks I entered.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        It shows up if you're using a normal browser, dumb Disqus bug I wish would get fixed already.

      • Shiro

        I say pull the plug and shutdown the servers

      • dancj

        I have (without the spaces) programmed into my iPhone's autocorrect just for this Toucharcade.

    • torosama

      I completely hear what you are saying... I was in Xenocide before it was Xenocide even and helped found and actually gave the guild that name. Made some lifelong friends and had a great time. What killed it for me was the cheaters and lack of any real punishment. When they released the arenas (me being a diehard WoW pvp'er) I was super excited ... until you had that stupid piece of equipment you could equip and unequip that would heal you to full health and you had cheaters acting like they were badass and better than everyone when they were cheating through the ranks. It just ended it for me, that and adding all the P2Win shenanigans , I just quit and never looked back. Most of my friends have migrated to O&C2 and beg me to play but I just can't bring myself to do it, though I miss them all. At least they still text me.

      • https://www.youtube.com/user/craycraytoes CRAYARC

        Well well, if you miss us sooooo much, play O&C2 already Toro 😉

        It's Arcane. Faire and the rest of Xeno says hi too :)

      • torosama

        LOL! I keep waiting for the next non-gameloft replacement for o&c, it never seems to arrive.....

      • https://www.youtube.com/user/craycraytoes CRAYARC

        Stahp, we know Gameloft dominates the mobile mmorpg market.

        Besides, I approached you in the random outskirts of the Internets. Now you're obligated to play. It's courtesy!

        ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • vicsark

    I remember in the early days of the AppStore, the text MMOs from Storm8 (World War, iMobsters...) being also plagued by hackers. Some did PC software based cheats that allowed automation. Others hacked the in game currency and resold it to idiot players. Etc...
    And the developer never really dealt with it, making honest players the idiots in the room.
    I'm curious how much resources and people it takes to control those hacks, glitches and cheats for the big studios like Riot Games and Blizzard.

  • flashbackflip

    VERY interesting. Waiting for the next chapter of this story..

    • kg3281

      I manage a private community of players for the game on Google+ with about 1k members and based on some of the information being shared it sounds as if Gameloft is reversing some bans.

      I've yet to see any concrete proof of this happening but I'm being informed that anyone calling the company directly with a threat to bring a law suit is having their ban reversed.

  • Jakeopp

    Used to enjoy gameloft games...back when they actually made premium titles and released games regularly

    • JudasKain

      Exactly. Miss that too. Unfortunately the income generated by f2p p2w is too great to pass up. Players know they're being nickel and dime'd till perpetuity. So when the sense of achievement/fun decreases due to repetitive grinding, players will likely hit back with these hacks.

  • Nekku

    How is this a "hack"? I watched the video and it almost looks exactly like the pet box which was dropped from a Lv60 rabbit located out of map. I mean, how does it get there, huh? Magic? No, this was obviously an Dev who has placed it there. I bet that's the same bs which has happened here.

    • kg3281

      @Nekku

      You're correct it's not a hack but it's a violation of the companies tos which every player agrees to adhere to.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Six of one half dozen of another.

      • Mess

        You say "Tomato" I say "Aluminium". Or something

    • https://www.youtube.com/user/craycraytoes CRAYARC

      That pet box was awesome. Ghost bear cubs for everyone!

      Such adventurous times. Lol.

  • boydstr

    Let's be clear I use sometimes a cheat on consoles,but I harm no one because I don't play online in your example a game like Order and Chaos become on playable because the odds are in favor of the cheater and others have no fair chance you can't call this gaming and I don't understand why they do this because the fun of gaming is leveling up and feel a little stronger and more perks become available that's the reason I like to play games I think Gameloft and other online games need to be better monitoring and kick out the people that spoile the gameplay for fair players.

  • speetz

    I used to love this game but sipped because I only had an iPhone and lack of can when they went f2p, though the game was still fun. I am curious how it will end up an if the second game is any better since it's built with the pay model in mind from ground up but I probably don't have a new enough device to play anyway... GL is weird as they make good games with hot and miss payment models, but who knows...

  • hauer

    Interesting, what would happen if all the players have a "test box"? May be a new game will emerge.

  • fearlesskk

    Just close the game. Problem solved

    • kg3281

      Interesting turn of events.

      Appears all player bans were reduced from 1 year to a mere 2 weeks.

  • darkich

    I actually suspect this could be intentional move by Gameloft itself.
    Why?
    To migrate players to the sequel!
    Order and Chaos 2 was a massive development and needs to gain a lot more ground to start returning the investment.