Rock to Stone XP - A critical look from a Root Cause Analysis perspective

I’ve worked as a quality control and root cause analysis officer at my place of employment for many years now. I couldn’t help but slip into a QA critical analysis mode when looking at this issue. Here’s my rough draft of a problem solving session for the issue at hand.

Im not sure what methodology was utilized by the dev team in analyzing this issue but this is where I would start. Im not sure where this discussion will lead or if it is even value added at this point. Just wanted to get my thoughts out on a good method for problem solving, root cause analysis, and trend analysis. At this point I’m hoping that a similar method was used and this was found to be the fix with the least negatives.

I also want to clearly state that while I don’t agree with the change, it will not cause me to stop playing. I love this game and am very passionate about it. I want this game to be around for many many years to come. Two of my kids play and I enjoy the bonding time of interacting together in a shared hobby. Ideally I want this to still be thriving when my younger ones are old enough to get in game with us. Ive met great friends and we have an amazing community both in this game and others. So since ive rambled enough I’ll just cut to the chase… lol

Problem Solving Session

What is the problem: Some players are abusing an exploit and gaining levels faster than intended.

  1. Clarify the problem: A portion of the player base is gaining too much xp by mass crafting rock into stones utilizing teaching pies and mass amounts of crafting tables. This enables alts to be bulk leveled from 1 to 50 in a short period of time or level 50 characters to gain many levels faster than intended.

2a. Performance gap: Players are gaining levels faster than expected using mass craft of stones.

2b. What are the negative outcomes if the problem is not fixed? Who or what does the negative outcome effect and how are they impacted?

  1. Expected result: This is where the devs need to provide insight; what is an acceptable rate of leveling.

  2. Root cause of problem: What was deemed to be the actual cause of the issue? Why is it happening? What happens if this isn’t fixed? Who is negatively impacted if not fixed? Are there subordinate or connected problems tied in with this issue? Utilize applicable data points to quantify the scope of the trend then go back and see if your initial assessment of the depth of the problem was accurate. Is it still an issue that needs to be fixed or a small subset of outliers? If it still needs to be fixed move to step 5.

5a. Develope countermeasures: right now we know the countermeasure chosen is to remove stone crafting xp completely. What we don’t know is what other options were discussed.

5b. Perform risk analysis of countermeasures: what are the secondary outcomes of implementing the fix? Who is effected by it and how are they impacted? Are more people negatively impacted by the fix than those impacted without the fix?

5c. Determine which counter measure has the least negative affect: without knowing what other options were discussed this can’t be filled in.

5d. Reassess if selected countermeasures negative affects outweigh the positives gained from implementation: we know the opinions of a portion of the playerbase that doesn’t like this change. What we don’t know is if those upset by this are an acceptable risk compared to the foreseen negative impacts if not fixed in this manner.

  1. Implement countermeasure with least risk: at this point it isn’t been implemented so this and further steps can’t be completed.

7a. Monitor fix for success and unknown side effects:

7b. Adjust as needed to address the occurring unintended side effects:


I think it would be interesting to know what are the answers to these questions that only the devs can answer.
Did they take into account how many of the players knew of this “exploit” and didn’t care or even chose to ignore it (I knew of it, figured what the hey, don’t like it but it isn’t hurting me so don’t fuss over this one, too many other important things to fuss over).

Did they consider other options such as increasing xp in other areas to help players advance faster, more in hunting to encourage players to get out and hunt, increase in crafting in other areas to encourage not just the making of stones but many other items.

Did they consider that cutting down the grinding of other crafting projects may get players to do more in other areas, such as making tools, weapons, simplifying the centraforge so mid level players wouldn’t be overwhelmed at all the steps, my lord, the long process and so many things to take into account. It is mind boggling!

Did they consider who was doing most of the “exploiting” was it just players who wanted to quickly advance their alts or others for other reasons?
Did they consider that it could be builders who were using it to get the materials they needed to do the large and in many areas the beautiful builds (some not so, but beauty is in the eye of the behold, what I see as nice someone sees as a ugly mud hut LOL)

There are so many questions as to why this one. Why not others that many could see as a form of exploit? Were those not in the area of gaining xp and letting the players get more points to use for buying cubits for plots, so ignored?

A well thought-out look at the root cause perspective, hopefully the devs will give us some answers to your questions.
This inquiring mind would like to know.


Unless evidence to the contrary is presented I’ll give the devs the benefit of doubt. They have been forthcoming with discussions in the past about issues and the devs routinely ask the community its thoughts on matters. I hope that all points were considered and this truly was the option that causes the least harm.

While I don’t agree with the course of action i’ll adjust as needed to the change if implemented.

1 Like

i def use it to get some plots
been running a town since release and without this xp i would only have one level 35 character and i have a lot off hours spend ingame since release
im glad i exploited and got some level 20 alts
our the game would become very boring to me
i feel like two type off players keep ruining the game for me the hardcore players we want it all fast
and the players that want there level one with no rep to have the same changes as players who build up there rep
its pretty clear i love the game and im here for a longtime but i need some xp love for the social work and a little more for building
being boss off a guild and running a town/hub gives no xp just coin atleast the period it was not nerfed lol
what i think they need to add is a way for organizing players to get there xp for time spend ingame helping it grow if that makes sence :smile:
i actually dont know what i need just wish people did not exagerate each time we have a little thing to get us some xp

1 Like

Massing EXP negatively impacts the game because it means less people are buying cubits for plots. This means there is less funding for the game. This means further updates are in jeopardy. This means all of us are negatively impacted by them not addressing this mechanic.

It is one thing to play a game and put effort into it and get rewarded for your time. It is another thing completely to press a button a few times and get 10 levels. I say bravo for the fix. The only issue I have with it is that I am a new player and wasn’t able to use it as much as some folks so I am not 50 yet. (Too bad, so sad.) However, woe is me is hardly any reason to cry foul.

The “grind” is the beauty of this game. Anything worthwhile is not easily obtained. If you could log in and do whatever you wanted in a short period of time you would have tired of this game ages ago. The game is a journey not a race. Enjoy the little things.

That’s my 2 cubits anyway.


This isn’t necessarily correct. At least some of the people gaining plots through level cubits would not have the resource or desire to pay for those cubits so would wait or do without.


Well that is the world we live in, isn’t it? I would love a Ferrari too, but I can’t talk my wife into letting me sell our house for one. However, the good news is you can still level in game at a reasonable rate and get your cubits without spending cash if you so choose.

James has already stated that this nerf is not tied to people buying cubits. Since this is not tied to money concerns for the devs we cannot make the claim that it negatively impacts the financial outlook of the game.

In regards to your second point that is simply a gross oversimplification. Let’s take the example posted in the update thread where the player amassed 11 million xp. That was the result of 1.5 weeks of mining (that’s a lot of effort) and over 4 hours of work at the crafting tables to setup the crafting queues. So, no that is not just clicking a few buttons and gaining 10 levels for no effort. That is an extreme example and probably far from the norm. The shock factor in this is that he waited and did it all at once. If the stones were processed on a hourly or daily basis would the xp coming in steadily seem so extreme?

I do agree with your last point of the “grind” aka progression of the game is a good thing if done correctly. Players should steadily see progression of levels and abilities when they put in effort. My concern is there has been a steady trend since early access to artificially increase the rate of progression by slowing down the xp gained by players.

What i’m hoping for is a middle ground on this issue. Ideally the solution would meet the devs expectation of slowing down leveling rate for late game characters without also slowing down the natural progression of early and mid-game players.

Currently there seems to be a disparity between what the devs think is an acceptable rate of leveling vs what a portion of the player base thinks is an acceptable rate of leveling.

I think it would be beneficial to have a sort of climate survey conducted so the devs can get data on what players feel is a reasonable rate of leveling. This way neither side is making assumptions about how the other is feeling.


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Testing 218: Exoworlds, Blink, Rift and Umbris!

I think we have very different ideas of what a reasonable rate to level is and this is probably the root issue. You seem to feel that

and I would disagree strongly. I think the beauty of the game is what players can create and putting up artificial time barriers to keep them from doing so in a reasonable amount of time just creates frustration and quite frankly encourages players to seek other avenues for fun. I have never felt any sense of satisfaction in the grind needed for mining the smart stacks of rock I needed to work on my build and I do not value any players build based on the fact that they are using a material that is harder to maintain. I could care less if you have a marble tower, does it look good to me and does it show creativity on the part of the builder. That is what I think matters.


Have you ever crafted stone on a low level character? That is not oversimplified or exaggerated. Sure, you have to collect the stone but aside from that it’s literally clicking a few buttons.

Anyhow, I’m not going to take time to rebuttal all of my points. I felt the need to speak up due to the disparity of opinions being thrown out on these forums.

If you guys truly think crafting stone is deserving of the experience rates you’re receiving from it I am not one to challenge you. However, for me I feel like it’s disproportionate to the rest of the game… And I happen to love the rest of the game.

1 Like

Most crafting is just clicking a few buttons. . To make refined stone I load in the stone and click a button and wait for the processing to finish. The only exception to this is the centraforge. Every other bit of crafting is literally loading the machine and clicking to queue the recipes. If you have 100 work benches and then max the queue on each it is 3,000 clicks and moving between machines and this does not include the time to load all those machines, so scale makes a difference.

Most other things you’re crafting can’t be obtained so easily with AOE mining and thus it involves more than just clicking as does the stone.

I must have missed your 1 million refined stone build since you’re clearly not crafting that stone for experience and you’re only doing it because of build requirements, eh?

Again, this is a silly argument to be had. Especially when you’re validating the fact that the experience gained from mass crafting stone is balanced as is.

I think the point you’re missing is a lot of people agree the stone leveling method is currently OP. However nerfing it to 0 is not the solution. There are people who don’t abuse this method and really just use the stones to build/make bricks or other blocks.

My compromise would be to prevent teaching pies from giving a bonus to stone crafting and/or change the xp gained from 2 to 1. But If you think this nerf will stop people from finding a why to cheese xp for plots you will see (or not see). People always find a way in this game. Manipulating the sandbox is a game in itself



That is an idea I can get behind. However, I still think whatever rate they come up with should be decidedly lower than more difficult crafts or tasks. So even at 1 experience it still feels to me as it would be a bit too high with teaching pies since rocks are so abundantly easy to come by.

It is not like anyone is realistically crafting rocks out of necessity for a build or for the fun of it. That’s the main thing I was trying to drive home. If you’re mass crafting tons of rocks with 100s of tables I am betting it’s for EXP.

I mean hell, I have abused this method with all of my rocks so I am not condemning it. I’m simply saying it’s too much and not even by a close margin. It is excessively too much.

Actually I do not have a million stone solo build as I have not (until they announced the nerf to the xp) ever used this purely to level. I have mined where I needed the color of rock for my build or to get some other resource like coal. So unless you know everything I have built and done in the game until now, your statement is nothing but guess work and a bad assumption on how I play the game. However if you want to see a build where I did contribute stone and other materials to it, take a look at Exodus. I would think with several million prestige their actually might be millions of stone in all the builds.

I do not have or use AOE tools so again do not make assumptions about how I play the game and I will not do that to you.

edit: However if you personally think is such a bad idea then do not use it. I am not sure how others using it damages or affects your play in any way.


I think a good compromise is a fractional xp gained per X units similar to how spanners work. I think it’s every 3rd or 4th repair that gives something like 1 or 2 xp.

Make it a complete waste of time to abuse but still give xp for it for normal usage.

My current character is level 23 working of getting refined stone for my base. Needing 288 stones for 50 refined blocks isn’t horrible but getting no xp for the crafting of the stones kinda sucks.


This topic took a lot of effort to type up.

1 Like

Just a bit. Took a few hours to properly organize my thoughts and to make sure it wasn’t a rambling mess.


I’ve spent money for cubits, gleam club, and I will purchase the upgrade for PS4 when it’s available. I don’t like the choice of 0 xp for the task and I do like the ability to mass craft and get xp. Personally I don’t care if it’s lowered or adjusted, but I want xp for my time. The amount I get is not what people are talking about, and I don’t personally know anyone that does. I get about 2 levels from mass crafting stone every 2 weeks. I like everything the devs have done so far, but I don’t like this 0xp thing. Frankly I think this topic blown way out of proportion, I’m still waiting for stats that prove its being abused and harms the game, and i still don’t understand how it’s an abuse in a sand box game that has no PVP. At this point it seems based on the posting from a handful of individuals that put massive amounts of hours in the game to be able to do it. The devs can do as they wish, and I’ll still like the game but from what I’ve read in the word walls being posted, most players do not want the change.