Item Duping Exploit in ESO – Nostalgia, anyone?

treasure chestZenimax has taken action against players who have been using an exploit to duplicate items in ESO, gaining millions of gold in the process. Zenimax started tackling the exploit yesterday, when the guild bank system was temporarily disabled and some guild bank feature fixes were applied.

Community Manager Jessica Folsom on item duping:

Yesterday, we identified an item duping bug in ESO that some players chose to exploit. We acted quickly, and have since fixed the issue. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abusing exploitable bugs, and those who were found doing so have has their game account permanently banned.

Item Dupes are nothing new to MMOs or Elder Scrolls Games

Item duping, or item duplicating, is nothing new to MMOs or RPGs in general, but how long it took Zenimax to even acknowledge this bug, which by the way is said to have existed and reported by players in the beta, is worrying.

If you’ve played the previous Elder Scrolls games, there’s a good chance you are aware of similar exploits and bugs, which allow you to gain items or gold in an abnormal way. In fact, every single Elder Scrolls game had an item dupe glitch of some sort. Looks like Elder Scrolls Online is no different in that respect. It’s almost as if item dupes are an easter egg waiting to be found in every TES game.

Well, it didn’t take long this time.

Consequences: Bans, Rollbacks?

Jokes aside: since the previous TES games are single player, there’s no real harm done. However, Elder Scrolls Online is an MMO, and item duping has serious consequences to the player-driven economy.

Zenimax has started banning accounts they believe are linked to item duping, and it seems lots of “innocent” accounts are being taken down in the process. Bans on its own do not cut it, because the gold and items created through the exploit have already exchanged hands and are spread across the player base.

The good thing is that there is really not much you can do with gold in ESO yet. There’s a limited number of mounts, which are the most expensive items in ESO right now. You could always buy tons of soul gems or siege equipment from vendors, but apart from that there’s no real use for gold. Duping Legendary crafting upgrade items, however, would be very beneficial. It *should be* fairly easy to track down the players who have hundreds, maybe thousands of these items in their bank / inventory. Tracking down every single duped item is not an option, though.

There has been no word about rollbacks – only bans so far. Bans aside, it will be interesting to see just what Zenimax decides to do, if anything at all.

Personally I think the item dupe exploit won’t (didn’t?) hurt the economy much in the long run, but it’s certainly a blow to the PR of Zenimax & ESO. I’m happy it happened at this stage of the game, rather than later when you’d have more gold sinks to use your wrongly acquired gold on.

How big of an effect do YOU think the exploit had for ESO?