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Infinity Ward Fights Against Modern Warfare 2 Cheaters

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the be-careful-they-cheat dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 203

Faithbleed writes "IW's Robert Bowling reports on his twitter account that Infinity Ward is giving 2,500 Modern Warfare 2 cheaters the boot. The news comes as the war between IW and MW2's fans rages over the decision to go with IWnet hosting instead of dedicated servers. Unhappy players were quick to come up with hacks that would allow their own servers and various other changes." Despite the dedicated-server complaints, Modern Warfare 2 has sold ridiculously well.

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VAC (2, Insightful)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281676)

They decided to use VAC instead of Punkbuster on the PC. Like many of their decisions, this one wasn't well thought out.

Re:VAC (2, Interesting)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281706)

Also, this says alot about the uproar over no dedicated servers:
http://www.blogcdn.com/www.joystiq.com/media/2009/11/gam_boycottfail_580-1258143415.jpg [blogcdn.com]

Re:VAC (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281996)

That shot showed 833 members.
The game has sold how many copies so far?

Re:VAC (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282076)

WHOOSH! You missed the point. Those are members of a group calling for a boycott. Most of them are playing MW2 (indicated by the status under their avatar).

Re:VAC (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282714)

Now I ruin the joke for everyone, but Steam shows all of the playing users in start of the list and non-playing/away/offline members in the end. So the actual amount of users playing is a lot smaller percentage.

Re:VAC (2, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282312)

Plus most of them bought the game anyways I'm sure.

I've just come to the conclusion I'm the only person on the planet who stuck to my guns and didn't buy this game.

Re:VAC (1)

Angeret (1134311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282468)

Heh, you're not alone. There's a bunch of us who wouldn't pirate it on PC or console, let alone buy it. Personally, I wouldn't install it even if made compulsory. A shame really, I purchased COD 1 & 2 based on my enjoyment of 4 in both single and multiplayer games - the only mistake I made was buying COD5. And this turkey? All the reasons given by others as well as not wanting to gun down (or at least participate in) the massacre of civilians. A personal moral decision if you will.

Re:VAC (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282754)

Too bad, you're actually missing a lot of fun. The single player is quite cool, but the fun just begins when you're co-opping the extra missions with a friend or playing multiplayer. The leveling and perks system make it really fun (perks actually adjust your character and playing style a lot) and IWNet works really well. Dedicated server support would of course be nice for those who need it and to keep cheaters off the server, but it's also nice to just jump in the game. And if you're playing with friends, your party will always go to same side and you see each other in game as different color.

Re:VAC (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283954)

I saw MW2 played at a LAN at uni a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I was unimpressed.

The lobby and matchmaking service is pretty nice, allowing you to form a party and then look for games where you can play on the same team, a pity it doesn't work so well in practise. You're stuck with the problem that a large proportion of people leave as soon as they see several people bearing the same tag join the game meaning that you have to go through the matchmaking process several times. Then there's the more technical problem of the game sometimes leaving some players behind when the lobby joins or leaves a game.

When you actually get into a game, there's a small chance that the dynamically chosen "best" host will be terrible and have huge lag spikes. (This while we're all connected through the university JANET connection.) Eventually the game decides to migrate the host, everything stops, a new host is chosen and then the game continues. Then the host quits because his team is losing and we go the the "Choosing a new host" screen again, and again.

This must be some definition of "works really well" that I was previously unaware of.

Re:VAC (1)

KalAl (1391649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283070)

You don't have to participate in it, there's an option to skip the sequence right before it, as well as any time during it.

Re:VAC (2, Insightful)

Angeret (1134311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283464)

Which is another bone of contention - pay more money for less game to start with and I can skip a part of the game, therefore making it shorter? Pass, I'd rather go play Solitaire. I know a couple of people on consoles (who laughed at PC gamers' apparently pointless whining) who bought MW2 and wished they hadn't.

Re:VAC (4, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282560)

From most of the comments I've read about this game and the uproar about it, most people now consider "Pirating with Righteousness" the no-lose alternative to boycotting. It is understandable. I mean, how can we expect some one to live without something so vital to their very survival? It would be like boycotting food! I'm pretty sure there aren't even any other FPS games out there available so what are they going to do?

Re:VAC (1)

kextyn (961845) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283604)

I was sticking to my personal boycott of the game which was hard because I knew it was a great console game (PC and XBox 360 gamer here). My brother bought the 360 version for me as a birthday present so of course I have to play online with him now. On PC I'll just stick with CoD4.

Re:VAC (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283870)

Nope not alone. But I wouldn't have bought it if it did come with a dedicated server, I really just don't like reality-based war games. Not my cup of tea.

Re:VAC (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282332)

I don't know what the press release says, but I see from the "Top Sellers" chart on the Steam portal that MW2 has already dropped to number 3 behind a bargain basement Mirror's Edge and a bundle of older THQ games w/ Red Faction Guerrilla.

Something tells me MW2 is not meeting Infinity Ward's expectations despite all the whistling past the graveyard. I'm sure it'll be a money maker, but god-willing, it will be a disappointment for them considering their willingness to crap in the face of the loyal customers who made the COD franchise successful.

.

Re:VAC (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282382)

Actually, the PC version sold very well. See http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=104549 [bluesnews.com]

Re:VAC (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282350)

The point isn't the 833 members, it is that almost all of the 833 members of the "boycott" group were playing the game. It is pretty easy to assume based on that image that even if 2 million people boycotted, almost all of them would still buy the game.

Re:VAC (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282014)

That would make a nice sample image for the "Gallery of Wrong" in this article [encycloped...matica.com] .

Re:VAC (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283008)

Assuming for a moment that this sample size of 21 people, 11 of which are playing MW2, is an accurate representation of the total population (it probably isn't) there's still a few problems. Just like in the Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott group I'm sure there were people who supported the game and were not boycotting it but were a part of the group*. That's sort of like presenting the chance for a male to get cancer and including the results from women in the calculations. Even if this isn't the case there's still a sampling bias. Steam groups are organized by Administrators, In-Game Persons, Online Persons, and Offline Persons if I remember correctly, feel free to correct me. That picture shows the first 21 members of the first page which shows the admin and the people in-game. This isn't a very random sample of this (sub)population.

I've seen this picture thrown around quite a bit and it irritates me. Not because I think the boycott worked, given the Steam statistics I'm pretty sure it didn't, but because the picture is quite disingenuous.

* The group is invite only now, I'm pretty sure it wasn't earlier, but I could be wrong.

Re:VAC (3, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281722)

PunkBuster is just as vulnerable to being bypassed and disabled as VAC is, so saying they should have used PunkBuster is a cop out.

Re:VAC (3, Informative)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281734)

I don't know the specifics of it, but I was under the impression that the guys running punkbuster had more experience with the underlying platform.

Re:VAC (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281940)

Not only that, but PunkBuster actually listens to people. Valve explicitly tells everyone not to to submit info about cheaters, but just says that "VAC will ban them". Of course, that only applies to the public hacks that they can make signatures for.

Re:VAC (4, Interesting)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282170)

But Punkbuster has its own issues. Many players were not able to play on Punkbuster-enabled servers in CoD4 because some driver or other bit of code caused an incompatibility.

Really, any anti-cheat will eventually be defeatable. The bigger issue is that since IW is running all the servers you have to depend on them to remove any cheaters, rather than being able to play on a server with a good team of admins keeping them away. It's possible IW will do an even better job of this, but I think it's that choice that people want.

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282348)

The bigger issue is that since IW is running all the servers you have to depend on them to remove any cheaters, rather than being able to play on a server with a good team of admins keeping them away.

What servers? Was there not some huge stink that blew up just before release was when it was announced that there were not going to be any dedicated servers.

Re:VAC (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282438)

Even if there isn't dedicated servers, there still are listen servers.

Re:VAC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283106)

Even if there isn't dedicated servers, there still are listen servers.

Well of course. They're hosted on a user's machine which is naturally going to be a listen server.

The post I responded to said:

The bigger issue is that since IW is running all the servers you have to depend on them to remove any cheaters, rather than being able to play on a server with a good team of admins keeping them away.

Infinity Ward isn't running any servers. They may be running matchmaker servers (or perhaps Steam is providing that part of the service too) but not the actual systems the game is hosted on.

So there's not really any way for Infinity Ward to swiftly deal with cheaters in the game. The only way cheaters will be swiftly dealt with on listen servers is via player kick votes.

And how players themselves will manage to keep cheaters permanently out of their games until a VAC ban kicks in, well I don't know if that's even possible in a practical way. So I'd fully expect that even if a cheater gets kicked out of a game he'll just hop into another one, and I also expect you might run into him in other games until such time as the VAC banhammer hits him.

Infinity Ward's removal of cheaters from games will be limited to cheaters detected and banned via VAC2.

Re:VAC (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283336)

"Really, any anti-cheat will eventually be defeatable. The bigger issue is that since IW is running all the servers you have to depend on them to remove any cheaters, rather than being able to play on a server with a good team of admins keeping them away. It's possible IW will do an even better job of this, but I think it's that choice that people want."

This is key, really on the PC the best option would've been to include an XBox live style setup so you can select a player as a player you wish to avoid in future. What happens then is when you start matchmaking it wont matchmake you with these players. If people cheat they will soon find a lack of people playing with them. If the feedback is sent to IW, then it'd be a good indicator for who to check for cheating to give account bans too as well, if someone has 500 players blacklisting them then it'd suggest there's probably something there to check out.

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283536)

I'm one of those people who was personally effected. PunkBuster used to kick me at least once a day for absolutely no reason. It eventually got a little better when I disabled Data Execution Protection in windows, but its downright offensive to have to disable security measures just so a game can vouch for you not cheating.

Re:VAC (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282540)

PunkBuster is just as vulnerable to being bypassed and disabled as VAC is, so saying they should have used PunkBuster is a cop out.

You're right. They should have used Cop Out instead. Every other company uses it, and it has predictable and consistent results

Re:VAC (2, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283470)

I wonder if something like this would work.

Add someone to a personal ignore list. The match making would have a negative weight for people in your ignore list and try to put you in a game with fewer of those people. If someone tries to join a game and 50% or more of those people have that person in their ignore lists, the match making won't put them in that game.

Make this list server side and reset after 2 months. Enough time for VAC to kick in. If someone gets voted a second time after the reset by the same person, they would get perm added to that person's list.

This would make it so
#1. you'd be less likely to join games with cheaters or people you thought were cheaters.
#2. if enough people thought that person was a cheater, the cheater could not join their games

Any thoughts?

Re:VAC (2, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282012)

They decided to use VAC instead of Punkbuster on the PC. Like many of their decisions, this one wasn't well thought out.

I personally feel that the only system I have seen so far with a reasonable rate of success is dedicated servers with some sort of permaban of accounts caught cheating. While by no means a perfect system; my personal experience (with TF2 as that is the only FPS game besides MW2 I have played over the last few years) was that I found a gaming site that ran servers for a variety of games. An extended group of people frequented those servers, creating a community of sorts, and I personally never had much problems with cheaters (that I can recall). Either they were banned/kicked swiftly and effectively, or they never logged on that particular set of servers; or possible a combination of the two. Though it should be mentioned that over the last two weeks, or so, of playing Modern Warfare 2 I haven't really seen a lot of players that I could confidently claim were cheating; though I have seen a few that were ridiculously good. Perhaps that is just me not really paying attention.

Cheating or no cheating, sales or no sales, I personally feel that despite Modern Warfare 2 being a really great game at its core, I won't be playing much more than I have; as it really feels impersonal when all the other players are random. And there is no forum for me to hang around talking some trash between matches and evenings. This of course isn't helped by the fact that Iwnet seem to have about a 30% (number I pulled out of my behind but it is how I have experienced it so far) failrate; disconnects, game closings, kicked from a lobby before you have connected to it, random ping, and people leaving games because a map comes up that they don't want to play (Highrise and Estate seem to see half the "group" leave when they come into rotation) leading to lobby's closing most of the time.

Re:VAC (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282534)

I don't let anything running Punkbuster anywhere near my system

Re:VAC (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283088)

+1. The rootkit approach to anti-cheating is stupid. The anti-cheating app should be a regular service the user has full control over. There is no need for a rootkit - if the anti-cheating service crashes or throws an error, the game closes, it's that simple. Any other problems are due to poor game design and lack of decent cryptography. An online-playable game has to be secure, if people can mod the game files or interact with the game in any unauthorized way, that's a security flaw. A little server-side checking would go a long way too. Is player run speed greater than X, jump height greater than Y? BAN. Aim doesn't match signals from the mouse/joystick (verified by anti-cheating service)? BAN. No direct access to the hardware to check that? Have fun playing offline.

Re:VAC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283432)

You've obviously never hacked a game or even seriously considered security issues involved. And there are many, most of them - in fact none of them - can be addressed by cryptography. Some can be addressed by good design, true, but not crypto. And some can not be addressed at all, because if anything depends on what you as the user can see and how fast do you react, then you can always write a pattern matching software to react faster and spoof your inputs. You cant beat that with crypto.

The bigger problem is caused by the fact the client hardware must know more, or know earlier, than the user should. And if your hardware needs to know something, then you can get this information and use it to your benefit. Spoofing user input can be made undetectable. You do it by adding one layer on the PlugNPlay stack and that layer is no different than any valid apps, like the Logitech SetPoint or whatever. No way to detect it heuristically with an acceptable false-positive ratio.

Things like limiting player angular or linear speeed, etc. are indeed implemented server side for most well designed games. Laughable exceptions include Far Cry or more recently GTA4.

Btw, what you will see emerging soon are hacks for console games. Based on hijacking the network traffic. That's going to get mainstream quite soon.

Um, no (4, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281700)

Specifically, Steam's VAC anti-cheat system is in place for abusers of the PC version, and this news is either proof that the setup is proving more efficient for catching cheaters, or proof that even with this arrangement Infinity Ward still can't get rid of the cheating problem.

Um, no. VAC2 is easily bypassed or disabled by most competent hack writers. They like to pretend that VAC is the holy grail of anti-cheats but it's just as vulnerable as PunkBuster or any of the league anti-cheats.

Re:Um, no (3, Informative)

NoName Studios (917186) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281878)

Even if VAC detects the cheater, the way it deals with it allows hackers to go on. VAC detects, logs, and then bans the player two months later. The cheater causes two more months of grief to the player base. The only reason it waits two months is to make it difficult for the cheater to figure out which hack caused the ban.

Re:Um, no (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282162)

This is on the other hand a good thing. Granted, the time should be max 1-2 days, or even 6 hours, but this gives nuisance to the cheater because he doesn't know what exactly got him banned from VAC. And it gives nuisance to the hack maker because he also doesn't know directly what got him and his hack banned. If the ban was instant with a clear message, they would directly know what caused in and either warn others or improve their hacks.

Re:Um, no (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282466)

That is actually a very bad design choice. See, with VAC I can attach a debugger, and at my own relaxed pace figure the game out. Or Vac, for that matter. They dont even care to make it difficult to attach a debugger. This way I will have my hack done with no hassle. If the account is banned in 2 months, fine, i will get a clean one.

Now with PB it is a different story, try to debug it carelessly and you will find yourself banned in no time, making debugging slower and generally more difficult.

To add, MW2 has a dated engine which everyone and his brother knows. It has been tweaked but not much. How about that: the game's player list is referenced by a static variable. And it's a straight, static array with braindead simple structure. The engine also offers flags like 'isVisible' which make lightweight, non-DX hacks a pure pleasure to write. No attempts whatsoever to make it difficult to hack the thing. Compared to RedOrchestra or even Battlefield series, COD was traditionally the easiest, by far easiest, to hack. If you reverse the thing you will notice the programmers did not care one bit to make it hard. To add some perspective: most hobbysts have had their hacks ready one day after launch, and a few days later mainstream cheating sites were filled with in-depth reviews of the data structures. It took few months for such level of details to become public knowledge for BF2, and for games as RedOrchestra it *never* became public. Looking at COD6 code I'd venture a guess the dev team was not treated very well and was all but motivated. Just my few cents.

Re:Um, no (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282006)

That's because the PC is an open platform and just as DRM can't work, anti-cheating software like this can't work. The client is untrusted, anything on it can be worked around.

Re:Um, no (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283454)

I considered this, but anti-cheating software doesn't really have the same design flaw as DRM. With DRM you're trying to prevent the user from viewing the content under certain conditions but allowing them to view it under others - it doesn't work, especially since the key to decrypt the content is going to be on the users' machine somewhere. Anti-cheating can allow the user to look at the content all they want, you're preventing the user from altering it or faking certain inputs and outputs, which is entirely possible with proper cryptography, lots of client-side verification and a little server-side verification. Some of Windows' copy protection mechanisms work this way and are 100% effective - copies installed with generated keys can't be updated via Windows Update. Hacked games could be blocked from playing online the same way.

Also see my other post further up: http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1462144&cid=30283088 [slashdot.org]

The destructoid article is wrong: no dedicated (2, Informative)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281760)

the destructoid article shows the use of a patch that enable the console, to change game defaults configs to something insane (insane fun? the video looks like fun). It can be a step to dedicated server, but is NOT a dedicated server. Is still a machine hosted by a player logued and playing the game, it needs a GPU, etc, etc..

NOT DEDICATED.

Re:The destructoid article is wrong: no dedicated (1)

ProzacPatient (915544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283064)

Somebody I know said he heard a rumor that Infinity Ward is going to add dedicated servers eventually because of all the pressure from the PC community.
IMHO a snowball in hell has a better chance then that because publishers and developers lately are hell bent on fighting piracy and their solution is to setup big brother piracy protection under the guise of "match making" like; Relic Online, IWNet or Battle.Net.
Not only that but Infinity Ward would have to rewrite a substantial amount of networking code to support dedicated servers since the client/server model is very different from peer-to-peer.
So no, unless the planets are aligned just right and pigs fly I say there is no chance in hell that Infinity Ward is going to change this version of CoD.

Re:The destructoid article is wrong: no dedicated (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283548)

Or they just C/P from COD4, it's the same engine

5th Thread (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30281782)

5th Thread! YEA!

Oh, AGAIN? (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281822)

For those not in the know, this is how the conversation goes.

  • Developer: We need to design-in anti-cheat methods from the get-go, or honest players will get raped.
  • Producer: And that'll delay my demo, right? Where's my demo? Show me a demo. Demo-demo-demo.
  • Developer: But it'll save us time in the long run, and we won't have to play whack-a-hacker catch up after release, with all the costs and bad press...
  • Producer: Yeah... but I'm only producing it up to release. And are you going to be relegated to the support crew, or am I going to take you with me to my next exciting project?
  • Developer: Uh... I'll get on with the demo.

That's the best case scenario. A depressing number of devs don't even consider trying to design-out hacks, and think that whack-a-hack is a winning long term strategy, despite the decades of evidence that say it ain't so. I'm looking at you Blizzard.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281948)

Given Blizzard's sales numbers, I'd say that they have a solid decade's worth of evidence that what they are doing is a thoroughly winning strategy...

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (2, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282080)

I would, with little evidence to support my claim, say that cheating in level 80 PvP isn't really a big issue in WoW; at least not that I saw when I played it last. If you get caught cheating in WoW you risk getting an account ban; which means losing a lot of hours, sweat and blood; invested in the game. Of course gold farmers will still try to hack and cheat as much as they can, but at least they don't run around doing it in PvP.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282632)

People didn't need to cheat in WoW in the first place aside from buying gold. Twinking in the level 19 battlegrounds and raping people with your leet purples pretty much accomplished the same thing for the most part.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

Vohar (1344259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282830)

Now that they've added xp gains in pvp this doesn't happen as much anymore. You can opt to turn off all xp gains to stay at level 19, but then you only get matched with other players who have xp turned off.

So yeah, Blizzard didn't like that 'cheat' either.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282870)

So yeah, Blizzard didn't like that 'cheat' either.

Nevermind that they left that 'cheat' in for five years.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

Whalou (721698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282918)

What I liked about twinking wasn't the fact that I'd be overpowered, it was that there was a point where I could say: "I have the best gear possible for this level" and not have to constantly grind/farm to update my gear.

Having players who disabled XP gain matched against each others means that winning and losing is a contest of skill and teamwork. I see that as a positive aspect. Destroying outmatched people got old surprisingly fast for me.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282294)

Mmm, fair enough, it's true that Blizzard are succeeding despite their best efforts to design in problems.

They could be winning more though, if they didn't have to spend support money on playing whack-a-hack, and cut off players (and their revenue streams).

Bear in mind that whack-a-hack is forever. You can only stop doing it when your game becomes so unpopular that nobody is hacking it any more.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282058)

It's because, on the PC, you can't, without shifting everything server side.

Even then by the time we have the resources to shift everything server side we'll probably also have the resources client side on the PC to do in game pattern matching and have cheats that just match images sent to the client and respond to automatically aim at them or similar.

The idea of cheat free gaming on the PC is a fantasy, it can't happen, it's not a suitable platform for such endeavours.

Similarly though, I'd never want to see rid of the PC because it's openness is important in other areas. The issue here is that the PC's biggest advantage is also it's biggest disadvantage for things like online gaming.

I'm sure developers understand this, that if you want to deal with cheating then cat and mouse is the only way, at best you can just play whack-a-mole with the worst hacks. Perhaps the biggest improvement for the likes of Blizzard is that people need accounts to play their game, and if they do play whack-a-mole they can at least ban accounts and convince players not to cheat based on them possibly losing hundreds of hours of investment in the game.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282234)

You realise that you're enumerating design decisions there, not immutable laws?

If you decide to give up control of the servers and design your game in a way that allows clients to win just by sending the right "I did X" packet, then it's game over as far as anti-cheating is concerned. But there's nothing forcing you to make those decisions.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283050)

No, it's not that simple.

Even if you don't give up control of the server you cannot protect against many different cheats. Player locations have to be sent even when they're behind a wall or whatever because otherwise they pop awkwardly into view. Models/art assets can still be hacked on the client to be more visible and similar regardless- even if they're not stored locally and sent every game session they can be modified in memory by a determined cheater.

Aimbots are always going to be possible because you can still alter the executable in asssembly. A guy known as nopcode did this as far back as Quake III writing an aimbot directly into the Quake III executable.

No amount of CRC checks, encryption can protect because the cheater always knows what CRCs are expected, and the encryption keys are always used by the client to decrypt content or commands so that they can be used by the client to render and so forth in the first place.

At best on a logical level you can eliminate cheating by severely limiting your game's design, but that's really not a solution- especially when closed platforms like consoles don't have to. There is no solution to the problem that on an open platform, whatever the client has access to, the cheater has access to and can modify it or use that data outside it's intended purposes to give themselves an advantage too.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

Tainek (912325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283750)

Which further goes to prove, The only good anti-cheat protection is a human admin.

Which is why I have actually stuck to my boycott of the game.

Re:Oh, AGAIN? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283890)

Have a look at my post here:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1462144&cid=30283336 [slashdot.org]

It is possible to have human admins on the distributed system too.

Oddly though, whilst I play on the Xbox and never saw the issue with the P2P system because that's how it works on the XBox and because you don't really tend to get cheating as such there anyway (at least not aimbots etc.) I have to say MW2s netcode is fucking awful. It's the first XBox game where I've seen multiple bad hosts picked such that lag is an issue. It was never a problem in MW1 so effectively not only have they moved PC gamers to the P2P networking platform but they've broken the networking platform in the process. I don't know why they didn't just stick with MW1's network code which worked perfectly well in this way.

I actually thought PC players were whining about nothing, because on the 360 their net code always worked fine in this way, what I didn't count on was them fucking it up in the process of moving PC gamers onto it so it's now effectively just broken for everyone.

Barely a start (3, Interesting)

ifrag (984323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30281950)

ONLY 2500 accounts? That's not even a drop in the bucket, the slightest slap on the wrist of the anti-competitive players in MW2. Based on personal experience of having an aim-bot user in roughly 1 out of every 3 matches I'd say 2500 isn't even a start. Maybe it's a lot worse in some game modes, especially the 16 player "big game" matches where it's more likely simply due to having more people in game (or more targets? I suppose the bots like having more victims). I don't even like having them on my team, even though it's usually a win because the bot ends up stealing almost all the kills, or they just settle for a 25 kill tactical nuke and end it. Maybe if they get up to 2500 accounts per day it'll make a difference.

Re:Barely a start (2, Interesting)

Toridas (742267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282160)

I'm rank 42, I play probably 90% domination and 10% team deathmatch (not ground war) and I haven't seen a single person I would call a cheater, unless you count a few people who hacked their rank.

Re:Barely a start (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282230)

the worst i have seen on the xbox is booster sessions, but nobody i would accuse of outright cheating.

Re:Barely a start (2, Insightful)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282774)

I've seen the videos of aimbots and the ability to see players' positions through walls.

As far as aimbots go, It's genuinely hard to tell if somebody is using one most of the time. Even my noob ass has pulled off some pretty unbelievable shots. If you're decent enough to get some of the better kill streaks, you can easily rack up a large amount of kills.

As far as wall hacks go, I HAVE had several experiences where opposing players have been practically supernatural.

In addition, I've had times where I'll plant 3 rounds square in the chest of an enemy without recording a single hit. It could be lag or extreme horrible luck, but my aim was spot on.

Even if IW manages to ban every hacker in existence, there will always be some very skilled players out there. It would be nice to know that some of the most severe beatings my team has received could be attributed to cheating, though.

Re:Barely a start (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283298)

Heartbeat sensor :D

Re:Barely a start (5, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282236)

Oohhhh... I see... you're that guy -- you know, the one who always yells OMFG HAXXXX every time they get killed. Aim bots are notoriously difficult to spot as there are a lot of people out there who are just ridiculously good -- I have a feeling most of the "hackers" you have seen are just people who are way better than you and consistently snipe you in the face from across the map. Is this annoying? Sure. Is it something that they should be banned for? No.

Re:Barely a start (5, Insightful)

mike_c999 (513531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282412)

Got to say this is so to the point.

Many time I've made some good clean kills followed by a lot of "OMFG nice wall hack/Aim bot/cheating...." and I'm not even that good.
There are far more competent player out there make far more constant kills than me and its not cheating, Its just good reflexes and hard work.

My comment is to just get over yourself and have fun.

Re:Barely a start (5, Interesting)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282954)

This is why I like COD's Kill Cam. There were many times where I thought "No way that guy killed me in 2 bullets with a SMG", only to find that there was a sniper up in a tower across the map who was taking pot shots at me too. The feedback you get about how people take you out is invaluable, and one of the reasons why I play COD Multiplayer more than most multiplayer games.

Re:Barely a start (2, Informative)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283160)

Being at the top of an FPS community causes a lot of accusations. I was banned from a large percentage of old NS servers because of accusations, but unlike my competitive counterparts I didn't even use a pistol script (which was allowed in competitive play). Ignorance is bliss. If they were honest, they'd simply say they don't want people of a certain skill level on their server.

Re:Barely a start (2, Interesting)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283876)

I'd say anyone who is even moderately good at a FPS, or even just had a few lucky days has had this happen. Let's not forget being banned for the grave offense of "Killing the admin." :P

I remember once turning a corner in CS:S, while playing as CT and finding 4 Ts aiming my direction. My response to this situation, understandably, was to hold down fire button while backing out in the direction from which I came. While the first guy that died was a fairly legit aimed shot, the other 3 that fell to lucky headshots during my wild blasting were mere luck. A kick/ban vote was immediately called. Considering their poor reaction time attacking me, I was surprised at how quickly they found my name in the list while screaming "Hacks!" But then, CS players have always been better whiners than players.

Re:Barely a start (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282660)

Indeed. A lot of communities require proof before they'll ban a hacker, generally a demo. Shame communities can do neither of these things.

Re:Barely a start (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282672)

I can attest to this. I've been called a cheater in CoD4 a fair number of times simply because I use terrain and cover well and snipe people, especially snipers, from clear across the map using an M60 with iron sights as a semi-automatic rifle.

Re:Barely a start (2, Insightful)

MetalPhalanx (1044938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282930)

Unfortunately, "That guy" is at least one third of the gaming populace, with a large overlap with the "Rage quitters" group.

I agree totally though. I semi-regularly get accused of hacking for some of the stuff I manage to pull off, and I don't even feel that it's really that special. But, it's the internet. And, no-one could POSSIBLY be better than THAT GUY at ... so if they beat him, they MUST be hacking, right?

Re:Barely a start (1)

MattSausage (940218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282500)

I would seriously doubt your stats on "aim-bot users".

First off, people pull off ridiculously insane and difficult shots regularly in the console versions of the game. I would submit that a vast majority of aim-bot users are simply 13 year olds with twitch reflexes that make you and I and our much more aged and rusty 20-30 year old reflexes pale in comparison.

Re:Barely a start (2, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283646)

It's called aim assist, which is basically the same thing as an aimbot

Re:Barely a start (1)

Ascagnel (826800) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283660)

The aim bots could be MW2's excessively iffy lag code. I've seen quite a few reviews that mention unbelievable kills, and one that explicitly mentions banana bullets like this [gameplanet.co.nz] .

Re:Barely a start (1)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283800)

Hah! There are days where I'm dialed in and tear things up, and then there are days where I'm tired or not quite with it and might as well run around the map backwards unloading entire magazines into the sky. Strangely enough, put a beer or two in me and it seems to boost my skills a bit.

Re:Barely a start (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283180)

One in three? Yeah right. You're just not as good as the teenagers who live that game.

The most annoying part of MW2 (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282144)

Is that I have to open a bunch of ports and do port forwarding to my ps3 just to play online... their support forums say to turn on pnp on the wireless router, which is absolute crap, they do not really list the ports being used other then a wide range.. and anyone thats using linux/openbsd/similar firewalls and routers, have to play trial and error on which ports to open without removing all rules and forwarding all ports to the ps3....

I frequently get punted during host migration in the middle of a game.... since my natting is strict (according to their display, even though I opened up some of the ports and relagated the ps3 to an untrusted portion of my network)

Re:The most annoying part of MW2 (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282344)

That happens frequently even with open NATing. They seem to have some problems with their networking and matchmaking. It used to happen occasionally in MW1, but it seems to very frequent now.

Re:The most annoying part of MW2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282498)

Just curious. What happens when you enable UPNP on your router? Does everything suddenly work like it should? I realize that's far from the optimal solution for a number of reasons, but if it's the solution that works properly, then it's the one that works properly. And it doesn't require all their users to have networking certifications to set up.

Not this time (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282196)

Maybe the sales figures in the press releases are true, but there's no way to know how big the sales could have been if there had not been such bad word of mouth before release.

I know this much: The sales charts on the Steam home page showed that unlike Borderlands and Dragon Age: Origins, the pre-sale of MW2 didn't even make the top ten until just before release, where as the pre-sale of the other two went right to the top very early on.

The only way to deal with a company that ignores consumer wishes is to not give them money. Personally, I decided to spend my time and money with Borderlands and DA:O instead.

We'll see if the sales figures continue to grow now that the scene "demo" of MW2 has been released. I bet that one will allow for dedicated servers.

Re:Not this time (1)

Decameron81 (628548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283002)

Maybe the sales figures in the press releases are true, but there's no way to know how big the sales could have been if there had not been such bad word of mouth before release.

IMHO, the true impact of this decision will be seen when they release the next game in the series. I purchased the game, not knowing about the lack of dedicated servers support. It won't happen again (it's unplayable online for me at 160 ms minimum ping).

The only problem is that probably they won't realize why people won't be buying the game as much next time.

Stats (2, Interesting)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282252)

Are there any correlation statistics between pirates and cheaters? Are pirates more likely to cheat?

Re:Stats (2, Insightful)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282414)

I don't believe pirates are likely to even be playing multiplayer in the first place. Everything is tied into Steam this time around, even for those who bought the box off the shelf.

Re:Stats (1)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282504)

Private server hacks nonwithstanding, of course.

Re:Stats (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283232)

I don't believe pirates are likely to even be playing multiplayer in the first place. Everything is tied into Steam this time around, even for those who bought the box off the shelf.

actually before the patches it was playable even with pirated copies of the game, now you get kicked after a few minutes of playing, but you can still use the older version even if it will take a lot of time to find out other people with the same version

How about non USA/Europe players? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30282300)

If you're not going to allow people to host their own servers, then you screw up Brazilians who don't get less than 250 ping. Ignoring a country with 150 million people and a project to bring internet connectivity to every home in a couple of years is a really good plan. Besides, we love being treated like a 3rd world country. Worry not, we'll remember this, when we laugh our ass off playing in a hacked server with a pirated copy of your game.

Re:How about non USA/Europe players? (-1, Troll)

windex82 (696915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282416)

Oh, you want to consume the goods brought to you by a company who operates outside of your own then blame them for your countries failures? Sounds like a plan, lets hit up slashdot.

Re:How about non USA/Europe players? (1, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282418)

Ignoring a country with 150 million people and a project to bring internet connectivity to every home in a couple of years is a really good plan.

I don't think they really care about a nation that pirates the majority of software products regardless. Pirates tend to justify piracy any way they can just to feel better about it.

Re:How about non USA/Europe players? (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282566)

If you're not going to allow people to host their own servers, then you screw up Brazilians who don't get less than 250 ping. Ignoring a country with 150 million people and a project to bring internet connectivity to every home in a couple of years is a really good plan. Besides, we love being treated like a 3rd world country. Worry not, we'll remember this, when we laugh our ass off playing in a hacked server with a pirated copy of your game.

I'm reminded of a comic that makes it difficult to take this post seriously.

Re:How about non USA/Europe players? (0, Flamebait)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282710)

To be fair, nobody wants Brazilians on the internet on the first place, let alone on our game servers.

By the way, Brazil is a third world country.

Re:How about non USA/Europe players? (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283628)

Well, although all my games are original, either bought or rentals, I have come to terms with the fact that I can't play online FPSs. It is kind of a chicken and egg situation since due to piracy it is unlikely for publishers to invest in server infrastructure in Brazil but due to poor online performance the motivation to officially buy the games is reduced. In any case, I find myself avoiding games with a big online part (or any online/multiplayer functionality). It feels so 2004.

It didn't exactly sell ridiculously well... (4, Insightful)

Runefox (905204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282784)

While it outsold MW1, MW2's PC port sold a paltry 3% of total MW2 sales - I believe that says quite a lot about it.

Frankly, I'm fairly sure that's what they're going for - Cripple the experience on the platform that's easiest to pirate for, and encourage people to move to the locked-down platforms (360, PS3). At least, that's what it looks like to me. There's more money in the console versions, and the numbers pretty much scream as much. I can hear it now - "Why bother with the PC this time around? It only sold 3% last time and look at the piracy! Just focus on the 360/PS3". I wouldn't really even give a damn if not for the fact that controllers are absolutely worthless to me as far as first-person shooters go.

Re:It didn't exactly sell ridiculously well... (1)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282960)

I've been looking for buddies to team up with online, but practically everyone I've spoken with has picked up a console version of the game. What struck me was how many of them actually preferred using their thumbs. Some of them didn't even know there was a PC version in the first place.

At any rate, I'm with you. I'd be fine with the consoles if they'd just let me plug in my keyboard and mouse.

Re:It didn't exactly sell ridiculously well... (2, Insightful)

MetalPhalanx (1044938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30282970)

Unfortunately, the people making the decisions have probably never held a controller, let alone attempted to play an FPS with one.

Re:It didn't exactly sell ridiculously well... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283804)

I have an it sucks, the only thing I like about it is that it is stupid easy to kill people, thanks autoaim

PFFfff...... (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283066)

The game is reusing a old engine, that probably already has lots exploits well know, and his weakness well know.
But this time the attacker can run the server. So he can do anything to the server.

So you start with something that is weak, vulnerable and his problems well know, and move to a setup that make it more vulnerable, and remove any ability from the community to self-protect from jerks.

MW2 (2, Informative)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283580)

Anyone else think "MechWarrior 2" whenever they see the acronym?

Dedicated server support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283598)

Teknogods (who have a good reputation on releasing non-steam cracks) just posted about their progress here:
http://www.teknogods.com/
So dedicated server support should be coming in a few weeks.

Off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30283692)

I was considering buying CoD 42 (omg I missed 5 through 41!) and mistakely hit this site: www.steam.com

"This domain is not for sale."

I wonder who has been bothering them?

Zombies or people who are brand whores (1)

yoda589 (1609519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30283984)

ya, and then watch that most of those sales that are "record Breaking" are by a few idiot's who got bribed by IW and Activision just to buy them, ohh wait it is those zombies who cant think at all and sold their souls to Infinityward and Activision...
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