Exploit History Vol. 11: The Resonator Exploit

Exploit History BannerIn today’s episode of our Exploit History we’re going to deal with one of the more devastating exploits we’ve seen. On August 4th 2014 a video went viral using a popular ingame PVP chat channel, which showed how you could infinitely farm Astral Diamonds with Astral Resonators. Resonators were lockbox loot that pretty much only granted 45,000 Astral Diamonds on average. Other than the Jeweled Idol you couldn’t trade those in directly, but had to farm Astral Rifts across the Protector’s Enclave.

Evil Rifts

Those interactions with the Rifts took a few seconds. By posting the Resonator on the Auction House during the interaction, players were able to harvest the Astral Diamonds without losing it. Apparently getting the cash at the end of the interaction was not dependent on having the Resonator in your inventory. You only needed the item to start the harvest. That way exploiters would infinitely farm Rifts. All they had to do was start the harvest, put the Resonator on the Auction House, collect the AD and cancel the Auction.

This video shows how the Rifts were supposed to work:

[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP1ru67oVM0″ https=”yes”]


The news quickly spread around all message platforms and the game would come down for emergency maintenance later that day. As quick fix the devs made Resonators invisible on the Auction House. Later they simply stripped them from all lockboxes. Players begged for a rollback, but none was performed. It wouldn’t have done too much anyway. The exploit was allegedly live for months and already had done its damage. The game suffered the worst ZEN backlog in its history at 12 million+ because of laundering and AD flooding the market. Reaching the AD cap of 100M on characters suddenly became a non-issue. Next to maxing out characters, players and guilds developed into massive suppliers for gold sellers using the exploit.

The hole mess also led to a divide within the community. Players threw around accusations, faked screenshots and all sorts of shit. Especially some members of today’s Synergy guild were in the center of attention, but to their defense none of those named got banned initially.

Bans and accusations

Cryptic however did look into the issue and and took action elsewhere. The most popular ban that went public was the one of degraafination. As leader of the well known PVP guild Essence of Aggression and writer of an extensive guide on how to make ADs, he claimed to only have tried the exploit once after it leaked. It obviously can’t be verified, but what does sound like a cheap excuse could not be that far-fetched. Some of the bans were only based on having Astral Resonators up on the Auction House. That could be exploiters, but also legit players that were just trying to sell them. Add that the devs have shown they are not very reliable when it comes to sorting out stuff. Either way, players that got involved in any shape or form were at least acting stupid.

Overall the Astral Resonator exploit was truly legendary for its impact and severity. It wasn’t the first time a long interaction caused problems by the way. So stay tuned for more in the future on our Exploit History!

Exploit History: Locking Auctions – Caturday – Masterwork Nodes – Permadodge – Arcane Reservoir – Full GF Runs – Attribute Enhancement – Using the old Refining System – Killing Fulminorax and Valindra From Below – Skipping Shadowfell

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2 thoughts on “Exploit History Vol. 11: The Resonator Exploit

  • January 23, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I was here for this one and I was one that begged for a rollback, it so screwed the server up (for months and months and months and months) in addition I wanted perma bans on anyone who participated.

    There is certain cheats (like ya know, some map jumping) is one thing.. but to basically make AD out of thin air for millions and millions and millions, was ridicolous.

    BTW.. I knew of 2-3 poele back then, that didnt have junk before that.. all of sudden sprouting r10s and perfects the next day.. ya.. right they did it right.

    It wasnt even the zen market to me.. it was the effing PVP queues.. they got DESTROYED overnight.. in hindesight I find it funny now.. as they totally screwed up, with all the gearing and imbalance issues that it has.

    But back then.. when you were sprouting r8s and a greater.. and bam 20% of the competition , just got r10s and perfects.. IT Was devastating

    They shouldve done at LEAST a 3 day rollback of the server.. to fix things.

  • July 22, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I was the leader of one of the top 5 or 6 PVP guilds at the time. PVP was highly competitive prior to the exploit. I don’t mind saying because its common knowledge now, but it was mainly Chocolate Shoppe guild that benefited from the exploit. That guild kept the exploit VERY quiet within it’s ranks. They used the ability to seemingly out of thin air completely BiS gear a player to poach many of the best PVP players from rival guilds and build a lethal roster.

    The reason I mention all this is because of one of the biggest failures in Neverwinter exploit history. Most of the primary exploiters either went completely overlooked by Cryptic or only received a temporary ban of 3 to 5 days. The second major failure – the one that resonated for months and even years into NW’s future – was that Cryptic didn’t touch the multitudes of alt accounts the exploiters set up to hold their ill-gotten gains. What happened after that was an arms race in the PVP community against a superpower with unlimited funds. Funds that were stolen and, therefore, were not out of pocket. Every match vs these players went from fairly balanced (pre exploit) to complete obliteration. PVP stopped being fun. PVPers stopped being able to keep up in the arms race and gave up hope.

    Some PVP guilds closed up shop and quit NW because of the skewed playing field. Next time you sit in a Domination queue for 20 minutes waiting for a match to pop just remember this exploit. It was the death sentence for PVP in NW and the game’s active community never really returned to it’s previous participation numbers. This is what happens when game managers & devs don’t completely clean house and remove the in game currency acquired by illicit means when shutting down an exploit. If you leave the gains in game, the competitiveness of the game is impacted long after the exploit is gone.

    RIP Neverwinter PVP. It was the best of times until it wasn’t.

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