Despite the fact that it was pointed out in closed beta, SE did not realize that their system for skilling up caster classes could be taken advantage of. This was not really an exploit as I see it. The system was working as it was intended to, but because SE didn't expect players to group up that way it was overlooked.
Is this true? I know for the first 2 phases of Closed Beta you didn't get any SP through healing, not too sure about phase 3 though. Never really tried a 'Mage' class at that point.
Yes, but it wasn't specifically dealing with healing or buffs. It happened that caster classes in general were skilling much faster than other classes. If you team up with a melee class as a caster and you're about as active as they are, you will still come out ahead in skill points. If you think about it, it just makes sense. If a party of 5 is fighting a mob, all of the melee have one target... the mob. If you're healing the group then you have the mob as a target including your group, so 6 potential targets for your spells including yourself.
I agree that an exploit is an exploit, but in this case it was just begging to be raped. This is also not on the level of things like the duping or fishing rusties from back in the XI days. It's closer to smn burns. Using something that is working as it should to a higher degree than the devs thought people would. The same is true on the other extreme.
Take weapons and gear wearing down as an example. Actions you perform in game are all meant to make your gear wear down. The mechanic is working as intended. So therefore, by definition of exploit, removing your clothing while synthing qualifies as well. So in this case, should SE have a maintenance to disallow 'skinny crafting'? Should we investigate people who are using this to their advantage and strip them of the gil it should have cost them to repair? If it's going to be black and white, then it's gotta be pitch black and ghost white.
The term 'paid beta' only applies to games with subscription fees. The premise is that people feel like they're paying for a game that should not have been released in its current state. As we all know, with MMOs content, patches and the like all come in downloaded updates. I like to use analogies, so here goes...
In essence, having the ability to patch and update content allows the developer to write a post dated-check(content), but still make the players believe they have already been paid. If I were SE I could come out and say "Hey guys, the level cap is going to be 50 and we WILL have endgame content available at launch!" I would be able to make this claim even though there is currently no endgame content. How? Surplus. By keeping people from advancing beyond a certain stage I buy time to actually develop and implement that content I promised. You really have no way of knowing that the endgame is non-existant because you can't get to the level you need to be before I take your money for a few months to create it.