Ok folks. Time to reveal what's been going on last couple of days.
So as players have noticed and posted threads about, some prices have gone up recently. We've been looking into it to decide if we needed to intervene and as a results discovered a serious problem. It seems not all of this was just organic changes in the economy.
A group of players found a way to buy gift pigs from the store for FREE. This was a complicated exploit where you had to make a number of specific steps, and it involved things like editing memory using hacking tools etc.. while you may be curious the details aren't too important to the outcome, and in the interest of not teaching people to damage the game I won't go into it further except to say that it wasn't something trivial anyone could just do. It required a lot of steps and specific circumstances, and even certain accounts/perks.
The players involved were careful to hide what they were doing by spreading out their purchases. Most of what they bought was stored. This means most DID NOT make it into the economy. That's the good news. In total we recovered a little more than 96% of it. How? Well, a lot of it was simply stored in realms as gold gift piggies. Not much was sold to other players because there's no point selling stuff if you have access to free cubits. Some of what wasn't stored was spent in the cubit store.
But the bad news is.. that other 3-4% still accounts for a fair amount and what wasn't spent in the cubit store, could be used for vends and trades, and that could have contributed to recent price rising in some cases depending what was bought. Though many items went up in price before this started too, so it's a contributor but not the entire cause. Sometimes things are just rare or become increasingly rare for other reasons. It's actually difficult to trace precisely how much of the exploit cubits were used for what because you have to trace it all down one by one for each player involved and all their alts. It's a big loss of time for us, but we're reviewing the logs now to get all that detail. Could take several days.
We debated rolling back the server to a previous date, which is what many other games with in-game economies have done is cases like this. We haven't completely ruled it out yet, but we mostly have because the amount of damage to players and community from a rollback seems right now to heavily outweigh the economic damage done so we want to avoid that if possible. We'd have to go back 10 days to cover all of it. If it was just a day or two we could do it more easily and probably would. But, I don't think players want to lose 10 days.
So what can we do? Well... Once we finish going through the logs we can via sales/vends/contests inject some items into the game to bring anything we think has gone up as a direct result of this back down to at least pre-hack levels if not beyond just as a general measure to combat item inflation. We may do some other things as well. A lot depends on what we find as we continue to investigate. The exploit itself has been patched and the players involved and their alts banned from the game.