Yesterday was a hot mess for the fans and developers of Neverwinter alike. Exploiters decided to take advantage of an in-game bug in a massive way that resulted in netting the exploiters real world money in-game and non-exploiting players with an in-game economy that quickly spiraled completely out of control. Ultimate resolution was that when servers were brought back online characters had been rolled back seven hours and the auction house remains offline.
Players, however, are reporting inconsistencies with the rollback, like losing characters progress and items earned but retaining all their Astral Diamonds earned during the affected hours. Forums were on fire yesterday with claims that the exploit which caused the server shutdown has existed since closed beta and was repeatedly reported by multiple players many times. Players were also reporting that the exploit is identical to the one to hit Star Trek Online a while back.
I can’t confirm or deny the veracity of any of the forum claims, but if true then the developer is responsible for everything that occurred yesterday. Alpha and beta testing exists to find and close bugs in software. There appears to be a growing trend to push out games and content as quickly as possible and damn the consequences to the customer base if there are known bugs in the code. If you have an open beta with a released cash shop, it is no longer a beta product especially in the free to play gaming market. Developers may be on safer legal grounds by calling their product beta, but the only people they are fooling into believing that the game hasn’t launched are the legal system which cannot move at the speed of technology.
Personally, I was enjoying Neverwinter immensely when I found time to play. However, after yesterday I doubt I will be going back unfortunately. There are FAR too many games out there that are equally enjoyable that have developers and development teams that track down and close bugs when reported. Had the servers been wiped completely, the game taken offline until the exploit bug which caused the mess yesterday, and the other mass reported exploit bugs surrounding the Foundry, then I would have enjoyed returning to play Neverwinter.