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LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Koatanga » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:23 pm

Cheating is not part of the fundamental framework of WoW. It is in fact prohibited in the terms of service. It is therefore not reasonable to expect cheating as the normal course of events.

As far as participation in virtual space being optional, I question the relevance of that argument. Of the many things in life that are optional, such as food that tastes good, clean water, housing that doesn't leak, education, transportation, and a laundry list of other luxuries that we commonly take for granted including laundry itself, why single out someone's hobbies and pastimes?

People can be as much emotionally invested in their pastime as they are in their work or relationships (participation in which is also optional, I might add).

Are you suggesting that if your partner cheated on you, you would be fine with it because your participation in the relationship is optional and not essential to your existence?
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby sahiel » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:42 pm

Brekkie wrote:And no, "the act hurt someone's feelings" is not, by its self, a quality that establishes an act as taking place within Real World moral space, because of the fundamental quality of the Virtual World being that participation in it is OPTIONAL. Not like Real Life.

"Feelings? Look mate, you know who has feelings? Blokes what bludgeon their wife to death with a golf trophy. Professionals have standards."

Which is to say I agree, hurt feelings is not something that the guilds are responsible for, they didn't ask anyone to invest such feelings in them.

Brekkie wrote: Those people also bought into the Poker Game, knowing how it worked, and thus cannot complain that they are scandalized by another player having used deception against them. Deception is part of the structural framework of how a game of Poker works. And if they have a problem with that, they are free to get up from the table and happily go on with the rest of their life, or switch to playing Go Fish.


However, slipping extra Aces from out of your sleeve into your hand in Poker is cheating, is against the rules and will get you banned (or worse) from that establishment.

Comparing bluffing in poker to choosing to defy the ToS in WoW and cheat to try and win is a facile argument, the correct comparison is the one above. Bluffing would compare to using the absolute best potions, flasks, gems etc, i.e.; a viable part of the game which the best players do naturally whilst those at lower levels might be less prone to.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:36 pm

Blizzard called it cheating, the TOS calls it cheating, the freaking people who did it called it cheating. It's not any more debatable than 2+2 being 4, it's cheating. There is zero merit to any argument suggesting that it was not cheating. Frankly, I'm a bit discouraged that that particular thread of this discussion managed to last past the first page.

As for the moral implications, again Theck's comments just don't make a proper comparison. It's not that they cheated in a video game, no one cares when someone uses cheat codes or abuses some mechanic in a game in which there is no competition. However, they cheated in a competition, that competition took place solely in the real world (it's really measuring how well a real person can run an avatar in a specific virtual world), solely by real people and solely against real people. For goodness sakes that competition is mostly of their making in the first place.

Now, as I have said, the fact that no one is really injured by this cheating, there is no tangible reward to winning, etc... does mitigate some of the moral implications, but it doesn't get rid of them entirely. It was cheating, and there will always be a certain stigma attached with cheating. Frankly, in this case that seems to match the nature of the cheating, they can't play for a few days and had their ill-gotten gains removed. That's about as minor a punishment as I can imagine, and it re-levels the playing field so that they can still win. All will be forgotten soon enough, the cheating wasn't a big deal and neither is the recourse.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Brekkie » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:17 pm

No one is contesting that it was cheating. That is not any more debatable than 2+2 being 4. There is zero merit to continuing to bring up that term constantly as it completely misses the entire focus of this conversation. I'm a bit discouraged that that particular straw man argument continues to be brought up constantly, as if the shear weight of the word negates everything else anyone has said.

The focus of the conversation right now is NOT whether the actions taken were "cheating", which is after all just a word, but whether cheating in a virtual world which occupies a different and disconnected moral space, and which harms absolutely no one whatsoever, is actually something reprehensible. There is an extremely interesting debate to be had there, which has broad implications across the developing technological integration of our society as a whole, if we actually sit down like adults and have it.

Ultimately, what one "Can" do is limited merely by your physical capabilities (which in the virtual world consist of your technical knowledge combined with the programming within which you operate).
What one "Should" do is a SELF-IMPOSED limitation based on a risk-benefit analysis which goes on subconsciously.
People keep using the two words as if they are interchangeable, which they are certainly not. That is an important philosophical point.

the concept I am trying to bring up is that when an act is victimless, in a virtual environment why should one subscribe to self-imposed limitations without good reason?
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Klaudandus » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:31 pm

Don't they want fame, recognition, more sponsorships and eventually, actually make a living out of full time gaming? Treck said as much. Not so victimless anymore if cheating means you gain a sponsorship over the other.

Can't have your cake and eat it too.

And with this, I bow out for the night.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:36 pm

If you are frustrated by that constantly being brought up, then stop comparing it to things that are not cheating.

It's not entirely victimless, people put in time and effort preparing themselves to compete and that effort is compromised by someone else cheating. I don't think anyone has called it reprehensible, but there's no such thing as a competition with other people that exists outside of a moral space. The play field is virtual, but the people performing the actions are not. As such, I don't think there's anything particularly unique or interesting to this situation, it's really fairly simple. Had this been some sort of sanctioned event instead of an informally built competition, I don't think there would be any doubt about this, regardless of the virtual play field.

It's hard to answer your last question, I mean why should anyone do anything without good reason? To bring it back to this situation, why should someone not cheat...well I think we are seeing how there is potential punishment and a stigma to go along with it. Had it been a sanctioned event of some sort, they likely would have been disqualified outright. So the answer to that is the same that it is to every other similar situation, when you deem gains are not worth the risk of the consequences (including those self imposed by your own value system).
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Brekkie » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:34 pm

I just don't understand the intimation that, because a competition takes place between real people, one MUST base actions on other people's feelings, rather than the rational and strategic choice.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:58 pm

Brekkie wrote:I just don't understand the intimation that, because a competition takes place between real people, one MUST base actions on other people's feelings, rather than the rational and strategic choice.

Other people's feelings really don't matter. However, the competition itself needs some form of integrity and fairness or it ceases to exist. There's a lot of gray area with WoW PVE because it wasn't ever designed for this sort of competition, that said we do have at least the TOS. Of course that is not always cut and dry either, there are strategies that get considered "creative" instead of being an exploit, but this didn't fall into that case it violated the rules of the game in a rather obvious way.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Koatanga » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:28 am

Brekkie wrote:I just don't understand the intimation that, because a competition takes place between real people, one MUST base actions on other people's feelings, rather than the rational and strategic choice.

So just to clarify, are you completely OK with boss-kill exploits as well?
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Absalom » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:36 am

Treck wrote:As for Blood legion, please...
They ran LFR 3-5 times or whatever in total, and its unlikely they ever discovered it, they were just lucky not to, and now they can sit on their moral high horse saying whatever they want when its clear they didnt even try to use the LFR system as clever way to getting lower tier setbonuses, and that just shows that they are not very competative.


I tend to stay out of things like this because I know how easy it is to get sucked in, but I do want to set the record straight about a few things.

We learned about the exploit on Thursday evening, before it was fixed, as we were in the process of running our 6 groups of Normal 25M clears for gear. When we found out, we reported it to Blizzard. A few members felt that we should take advantage of the situation, but the majority decided the right thing to do was to carry on with our plan of finishing our Normal 25M farm and proceed to run multiple LFRs to maximize gear without using the exploit. We set foot, for the first time in LFRs, on the Sunday after the exploit had been patched.

We always had a plan to utilize both Normal modes as well as LFRs (we ended up running 15 in the first week) to maximize tier set bonuses. You can have an idea of just some of the planning that went into the first week of Dragon Soul Normal modes here: http://www.bloodlegion.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=14816

Exploits are never fun. For the innocent or the guilty. They are divisive for everyone. When Atramedes first came out and everyone was scoring kills using line-of-sight gimmicks, we lost several days worth of rankings arguing over whether we should fall in line. We eventually did in that case, but we nearly lost a few members in the process.

As a whole, we tend to be more cautious than zealous when it comes to gray zones of conduct and have been working with Blizzard to make the rules clearer (eliminating world buffs persisting in raid zones, for instance). If that makes us less competitive, so be it.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby degre » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:50 am

theckhd wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:I would agree with you that the infraction is mostly victimless and I think that mitigates some of the moral implications.

This "moral/immoral" angle has been bothering me for... well, probably the better part of a week or more, and I couldn't put my finger on quite why. But in reading the last few pages, I think I've gathered my thoughts enough to vocalize it well.

It's a little silly to talk about game choices being moral, because it's not real. As you said, it's a mostly victimless crime; no real-world harm is coming to anyone involved, and the worst lasting effect is other guilds losing or gaining prestige in a video game.

Several people have brought up the "you'd think differently if you had kids" angle. That's what bothered me. I think that argument is bullshit.

<snip>

As I have said already more then once and been completely ignored every time, you can't compare, you are taking examples that are NOT similar to what happened here, as when you on a rampage in GTA and do what everyone knows GTA for, pay the bitch, bang her in the car and then beat to death to get your money back, that is the game, that is how meant to be played, beating the bitch is part of the rules, is what make GTA the game we know, but this LFR exploit is completely different, you were not following the rules, all the opposite, you were violating a set of rules that you, not your character, you person behind the screen read and accepted, technically, you were violating a contract.

I hope you appreciate the difference between violating a mutual agreement and fraggin' people in a game.

A similar thing could be renting a car, signing the contract where they tell you to return it with a full tank and then you show up with an empty tank claiming that you didn't fill it because you car allowed it to be driven back without the full tank, and then trying to avoid paying the charges because, well, the car has retuned... after that, when someone pointed out to you that you had signed a contract stating that you had to return the car with a full tank all you could say was 'fuck that, I tried to return it all the same, I failed, I pay the tank, but for me was worth trying not paying'.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Klaudandus » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:08 am

Brekkie wrote:I just don't understand the intimation that, because a competition takes place between real people, one MUST base actions on other people's feelings, rather than the rational and strategic choice.


Wait a minute, are you saying the strategic choice, in any competition, is to cheat?

Don't you mean actions within a competition should be based within the rules of said game, in order to keep the integrity of the game (and yours) and such, the results of the game be recognized and validated by the spectators?

Because, otherwise, you're condoning EPO in Tour de France, underaged gymnasts in the olympics, steroids in baseball, improper car modifications in F1/NASRCAR - because it makes sense to cheat, everything else be damned.

Nevermind that Landis is a joke, Bonds is a joke, the chinese olympic team (while incredibly skilled) is eyed by others wondering if whether they're cheating or not again, et al.

That's the risk of cheating, but apparently, according to you, only people that are playing at the highest level have the gravitas to call others a cheater... that argument is pure bullshit.

Hasn't Treck say that they play for the fame, they play so the fans will recognize them -- well, the fans can also call them cheaters, whether Treck likes it, or you for that matter. The moment you play for the recognition for others, the moment others can judge you if you fuck up. It comes with the deal.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby theckhd » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:33 am

degre wrote:As I have said already more then once and been completely ignored every time, you can't compare, you are taking examples that are NOT similar to what happened here, as when you on a rampage in GTA and do what everyone knows GTA for, pay the bitch, bang her in the car and then beat to death to get your money back, that is the game, that is how meant to be played, beating the bitch is part of the rules, is what make GTA the game we know, but this LFR exploit is completely different, you were not following the rules, all the opposite, you were violating a set of rules that you, not your character, you person behind the screen read and accepted, technically, you were violating a contract.

I hope you appreciate the difference between violating a mutual agreement and fraggin' people in a game.

A similar thing could be renting a car, signing the contract where they tell you to return it with a full tank and then you show up with an empty tank claiming that you didn't fill it because you car allowed it to be driven back without the full tank, and then trying to avoid paying the charges because, well, the car has retuned... after that, when someone pointed out to you that you had signed a contract stating that you had to return the car with a full tank all you could say was 'fuck that, I tried to return it all the same, I failed, I pay the tank, but for me was worth trying not paying'.


But violating a contract is not inherently a moral or immoral action. It's a strategic choice, and presumably the contract outlines the consequences for violating said contract.

As a counter-example, the recent housing bust put many people in a situation where they were actually better off long-term if they defaulted on their mortgage (and ruined their credit rating in the process) rather than continue to pay it. I saw an interesting documentary about it a few years ago on Frontline (or some similar show). A decent portion of the show was spent discussing whether it was a "moral" choice to make. But morality shouldn't even come into the decision there; the contract was written up, and specified what would happen if the homeowners didn't pay. The consequences were clear. It was a strategic decision for the family, nothing more.

Fridmarr's point about the integrity of the competition was a better rebuttal to my thoughts, and one I honestly don't have a good answer to. My best response is that when the rules aren't enforced very well, and the competition is so loosely-organized as WoW progress races are, it's hard to translate the cheating issue to a moral stance.

If everyone agreed to play by a certain set of rules set up by the competition organizers, which in this case is the TOS, then one guild stepping out of line to gain an advantage would be a more clear-cut case of violating that mutual agreement. But that's not how the progress race is set up. There is no committee saying, "these are the rules for this competition." It's a player-driven competition, where the best we can do as far as "rules" is to point to the TOS. But finding loopholes in the mechanics and exploiting them is also against the spirit of the competition, and that's more or less accepted as standard operating procedure for these guilds.

Worse yet, when more than half of the competing teams engage in a practice, and there's a serious expectation that they may not be punished for it, it's a lot less clear. Again, it's a player-driven competition. The "rules" are only loosely defined as the TOS, because there's no commissioner or organizer that defines exactly what the rules of the competition are. What matters is perception: if people use a technique that's against the TOS, but people still recognize that kill as legitimate, then the fact that it's against the TOS has no bearing on whether it's off-limits for the competition. In that sense, the "rules" are basically defined by whatever the community is willing to bear when recognizing a victor. If the community thinks that exploiting LFR to get full tier is a valid tactic, it almost doesn't matter that it's against the TOS.

In other words, if an activity in violation of the TOS becomes standard practice amongst the competitors, then it's almost implicitly accepted as OK for the purposes of that competition. The only way to prevent that is to actually enforce those rules in the competition. Blizzard's bans don't even directly accomplish that, because they're simply a consequence of violating that contract. They indirectly accomplish it by making the risk disproportionately high such that the reward is no longer worth it; in other words, making the consequences of violating the contract extremely stringent.

In fact, Blizzard can't enforce the rules of the competition, simply because they are not organizing the competition. They provide the field and the stadium, and can prevent certain players from entering the stadium if they wish, but they don't actually set the rules of the flag football game going on in that stadium. If you really want to treat the progression race as a true competition with clear rules, you need an organizing committee that can disqualify teams for using exploits. Something like having an "official" contest site (i.e. WoWprogress or something), which might choose not to list Method or Paragon on their sites because of this exploit.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby degre » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:04 am

To be fair I mostly agree with what you say, in return all I'm saying is simply that does examples are not valid for me as I don't see anything wrong in shooting someone in GTA as that's how is the game meant to be played, you can't say that breaking the rules isn't really immoral because there you can, killing someone in GTA you're not breaking any rule, you're actually doing exactly what you are supposed to do.

And again, this issue is extremely different then any exploit might have been used for a boss, you get there and you try everything, I've seen people referencing the adds kited away in magmaw, but was exactly that the dynamic used in UBRS for Drakkisath? So couldn't people think that they were allowed to do the same? If then Blizzard decide that they didn't want that and for that specific boss you can't kite them away, they'll fix it, but they can't punish you for using an allowed mechanic in the game. Same goes for other LOS issues that protected you from casts, why shouldn't people try it when there are actually multiple fights where that is exactly the mechanic, if Blizzards decide that it shouldn't be allowed then they'll go and make so the cast is not broken by LOS.

All of the above are clever use of game mechanics that can't really be regulated, you do whatever you can to kill boss, if then for some reason works out that wasn't allowed Blizz will fix it and, as stated multiple time by them, what's dead is dead, unless there's been extreme foul play they'll just let the kill go and fix the mechanic, and they'll rarely punish anyone.

This case is different, they were told they couldn't, they knew they couldn't, this isn't a grey area, you know since Vanilla that you are not allowed, so by breaking this one rule you were not in a grey area, you knew you were badly breaking the rules.

To close, I understand the competition thing, I've originally stated how I understand their behaviour, but all I'm saying is that rules have been blatantly broken and you can't compare this one issue with all the rest, because it doesn't compare, it's apples and oranges.
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Re: LFR Exploit - Loot / Tier drop farming

Postby Shoju » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:31 am

Theck, you aren't comparing a competition to a competition. I, as one of the people whose argument you called bullshit, will try and take a moment to put this in perspective for you.

theckhd wrote:But violating a contract is not inherently a moral or immoral action. It's a strategic choice, and presumably the contract outlines the consequences for violating said contract.


I don't care that they violated the contract. That isn't why I don't approve of what they did. I don't approve of what they were involved in a competition, with REAL PEOPLE and they cheated. That is the problem I have with it. That isn't a strategic choice. That is expressly against the rules of the competition. I don't care that they cheated. I care about the attitude that they have had about it since then.

As a counter-example, the recent housing bust put many people in a situation where they were actually better off long-term if they defaulted on their mortgage (and ruined their credit rating in the process) rather than continue to pay it. I saw an interesting documentary about it a few years ago on Frontline (or some similar show). A decent portion of the show was spent discussing whether it was a "moral" choice to make. But morality shouldn't even come into the decision there; the contract was written up, and specified what would happen if the homeowners didn't pay. The consequences were clear. It was a strategic decision for the family, nothing more.


This, is not making a point that is relevant to the discussion at hand. We are talking about livelihood here, money etc... This isn't the same as violating the rules of a competition.

Fridmarr's point about the integrity of the competition was a better rebuttal to my thoughts, and one I honestly don't have a good answer to. My best response is that when the rules aren't enforced very well, and the competition is so loosely-organized as WoW progress races are, it's hard to translate the cheating issue to a moral stance.


No, It's not hard to. It was expressly against the rules of the agreements that you signed to play and use the software with which the competition is being run. There is no vagueness to it. They broke the rules of the agreement to play and use the software.

Is the competition loosely organized? yes.
Are the rules enforced sloppily? yes.
Does that make it anymore against the rules of the ToS and EULA that you, myself, Treck, and all the rest of the players of wow signed? NO.

Is it hard then to translate the cheating issue to a moral stance? No! You broke the rules that you agreed to.

If everyone agreed to play by a certain set of rules set up by the competition organizers, which in this case is the TOS, then one guild stepping out of line to gain an advantage would be a more clear-cut case of violating that mutual agreement. But that's not how the progress race is set up. There is no committee saying, "these are the rules for this competition." It's a player-driven competition, where the best we can do as far as "rules" is to point to the TOS. But finding loopholes in the mechanics and exploiting them is also against the spirit of the competition, and that's more or less accepted as standard operating procedure for these guilds.


I completely disagree with the bolded section. You are trying to say that there needs to be a mutual agreement above and beyond the rules and agreements set forth by the software owner. Wouldn't the fact that these rules / agreements that you agreed to so that you could use the software hold true?

You are using the software on their server. Your point would hold true if there was another company, or another group that was in charge of running the servers with which the competition was set taking place. That's pretty much a good old fashioned case of my house, my rules.

Worse yet, when more than half of the competing teams engage in a practice, and there's a serious expectation that they may not be punished for it, it's a lot less clear. Again, it's a player-driven competition. The "rules" are only loosely defined as the TOS, because there's no commissioner or organizer that defines exactly what the rules of the competition are. What matters is perception: if people use a technique that's against the TOS, but people still recognize that kill as legitimate, then the fact that it's against the TOS has no bearing on whether it's off-limits for the competition. In that sense, the "rules" are basically defined by whatever the community is willing to bear when recognizing a victor. If the community thinks that exploiting LFR to get full tier is a valid tactic, it almost doesn't matter that it's against the TOS.


Why? Why is it less clear? Why is it less clear just because a bunch of people do it? Is it any less clear that speeding is against the law when oh so many people do it every second of every day in every place with roads, laws, and automobiles? If you get a ticket, is a valid defense "BUT THEY WERE SPEEDING TOO!?"

Perception is what matters? Really? So it doesn't matter that by clicking agree on the EULA and TOS that you agreed to not engage in said behavior? Why are you so quick to throw out the rules that you have to agree with to be allowed on their servers? Because there is no governing body?

You agreed with Blizzard's rules to sign in, and be their servers. Therefore, anything that you do on their servers is governed by the rules of the TOS, and EULA. This includes competitions.

Trying to go back and say "Well but there is no governing body that says so" after the fact is muddying the waters at best.

In other words, if an activity in violation of the TOS becomes standard practice amongst the competitors, then it's almost implicitly accepted as OK for the purposes of that competition. The only way to prevent that is to actually enforce those rules in the competition. Blizzard's bans don't even directly accomplish that, because they're simply a consequence of violating that contract. They indirectly accomplish it by making the risk disproportionately high such that the reward is no longer worth it; in other words, making the consequences of violating the contract extremely stringent.


Why? Why is this the case? Why are you so quick to toss the ToS/EULA out?

In fact, Blizzard can't enforce the rules of the competition, simply because they are not organizing the competition.
They provide the field and the stadium, and can prevent certain players from entering the stadium if they wish, but they don't actually set the rules of the flag football game going on in that stadium. If you really want to treat the progression race as a true competition with clear rules, you need an organizing committee that can disqualify teams for using exploits. Something like having an "official" contest site (i.e. WoWprogress or something), which might choose not to list Method or Paragon on their sites because of this exploit.


Actually, yes they can. They can say you will abide by the contract you signed to enter, or you will GTFO. Once you are in, you aren't in for good, for life, with no expectation of discipline just because you made it in the door.

I don't understand why you are so quick to dismiss the EULA and TOS as rules to the competition. Even without a governing body for the competition, you have to abide by the rules of the TOS and EULA to continue to be allowed on the field of play. Therefore, the rules of the TOS and EULA are the enforceable rules for the competition.

If you don't want to abide by the rules to use the field of play you have an option.

Find a new field of Play.
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