Game Development Reference
A Note on the Asheron's Call Hotfix
January 23, 2001
We wanted to thoroughly explain the cause of today's hotfix, and what impact it will have on you,
Late Monday night, a bug was discovered that allowed players to intentionally crash the server
their characters were on. Additionally, a person could use this bug and the resulting time warp
(reverting back to the last time your character was saved to the database) to duplicate items. By
intentionally crashing the servers, this also caused every other player on that server to crash and
time warp, thus losing progress.
We were able to track down this bug and we turned off the servers to prevent additional people
from crashing the servers and/or duplicating items.
The good news is that we were able to track down all the players who were exploiting this bug
and crashing the servers. As we have stated in the past: Since Asheron's Call was commercially
released, it has been our policy that if players make use of a bug that we did not catch or did not
have time to fix before releasing the game, we would not punish them for our mistake, instead
directing our efforts toward fixing those bugs as soon as possible. The exceptions to this are
with those bugs that significantly affect the performance or stability of the game .
The players who were discovered repeatedly abusing this bug to bring down the servers are being
removed from the game. While we dislike taking this type of action, we feel it is important that
other players know that it is unacceptable to disrupt another player's game in such a fashion.
We deeply regret this bug, and sincerely apologize for the consequences this has had on our players.
— The Asheron's Call Team
In many game companies, an additional “severity�? rating is used in conjunction with
a “priority.�? In these cases, the severity field describes the potential impact of the bug
on the player, while the priority field is used by the team to establish which defects are
determined to be the most important to fix. These categories can differ when a low
impact (severity) defect is very conspicuous, such as misspelling the game's name on
the Main Menu, or when a very severe defect is not expected to occur in a player's life-
time, such as a crash that is triggered when the console's date rolls over to the year
3000. The ability of a player to recover from a defect and the risk or difficulty associ-
ated with fixing a defect are also factors in determining the priority apart from the
severity. In this arrangement, severities are typically assigned by the person who logs
the defect and the priority gets assigned by the CCB or the project manager.