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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Important Information About Ozimals Exploit Patch

As some of you may be aware, a change implemented in 1.3 designed to reduce incorrect parent generation distribution created a new bug. The bug would occasionally produce double nests without generation loss, generally on those same overburdened sims but also during lag spikes and other periods of high server load.

Ozimals began receiving reports on July 17th of using this bug to exploit and create multiple nests. The vulnerability exists because it was possible to use a set of parents to get multiple nests by picking them up in the second that the nest was created to avoid the drop in love and gens.

As soon as we received the reports we immediately began around the clock work researching and preparing a fix. We completed the fix and began testing just a few days later and have gone through 5 internal betas to completely close the exploit. Changes with the birth process must be handled carefully and tested thoroughly so as not to create more problems than are solved.

While the coding team put a fix together, Malk and I began to gather data on the number of occurrences and who the owners were. The vast majority of instances were one time only. However, there was a small group of around 30 people who clearly exploited the situation. Those people have violated the Ozimals Terms of Service and per the section below have been removed from the game, their bunnies have been removed from the grid and they can no longer own Ozimals products:

"People who exploit, scam, cheat, or cause grievous problems amongst the community could have their pets removed from the grid and be denied the right to participate in Ozimals games, present or future. This is not a step that we will take lightly, but we will take it if necessary."

We have comprehensive data on every single nest produced using this exploit and those of you who unknowingly purchased nests produced by these banned sellers WILL NOT be penalized or have those nests or bunnies removed from your possession.

Some of you expressed concern that we did not immediately come forward to announce there was an issue. There are two reasons for that. One, we wanted to spend the time working on the fix and gathering data on the exploiters. Two, we didn't want to give information out that was not common knowledge before we had a fix ready to go, because that would only cause more people to attempt the exploit.

We are wrapping up testing and should be releasing the patch in the next couple of days. Since this is an exploit fix, you MUST update your bunnies within 3 days of the release of the patch. Please start your preparations now for the upcoming patch.

We also are doing extensive data tracking and will be running these data reports several times a day until the patch is out and all bunnies have been updated - we will investigate all instances that occur and will continue to remove people from the game who attempt to exploit while the update is in process.

If you currently have extra nests accidentally produced by this bug from bunnies you own, you need to file a ticket at http://support.ozimals.com. to get those turned in and your account removed from the investigative process.

We understand that this is a serious step and we do not take it without a great deal of data and research. Our primary goal is to protect our customers and the integrity of the game that you play. We appreciate all the support we were given while we took the time needed to handle this situation properly.

If you have any questions please use the support portal primarily and alternatively, the thread we will be posting in the forums. We are going to have to continue extensive work to get this patch out and may not be able to monitor chat as frequently as usual to answer your questions.

Much <3,

Your Ozimals Team

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