Assassin's Creed Odyssey's Story Creator mode (opens in new tab) is a neat editor that lets you design and share quests using some of the same tools employed to build the game. Pretty quickly, players realised they could also use it to farm XP, as well as cash, with minimal effort. Not for much longer, however, as Ubisoft wants to put a stop to it.
While you can't just make a quest that doles out XP or cash for nothing, it's possible to create one that's so quick, simple and low-effort that it's effectively the same thing. Testing them last month, I just stood around for a couple of seconds while NPC allies killed enemies and that was it—reward earned. In a singleplayer game, you might think it would harmless, but Ubisoft disagrees.
"These exploits risk jeopardising the overall quality, integrity, and purpose of Story Creator Mode and results in less visibility for the creative, interesting and frankly fantastic community stories that have been published," reads the forum announcement (opens in new tab).
Visibility is a point I hadn't considered. When looking at player-created quests on the map, I saw as many farming ones as regular ones, all of them potentially taking the place of a more full-featured quest. But a change in the terms of service and bans for people creating these exploits seems severe if that was the only problem. It's not, of course, because Ubisoft also sells XP boosts and the like. These farming quests were competing with Ubisoft's shop.
Ubisoft doesn't mention the shop in the announcement, but it seems a likely concern and would explain the actions the publisher is taking. As well as the ToS changes and possible bans, these actions include removing farming quests from the recommendation system, so they can't enter the Hall of Game or tending section; hiding all stories reported for exploitation; and further solutions with future updates, to be announced nearer the time.
Looks like it's back to mercenary work, then.