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The Million-Dollar Business of Video Game Cheating

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the why-those-birds-are-so-angry dept.

PC Games (Games) 102

An anonymous reader writes "If you play games online against other people, chances are you've come up against somebody who's obviously cheating. Wall hacks, aimbots, map hacks, item dupes — you name it, and there will always be a small (but annoying) segment of the gaming population who does it. Many of these cheating methods are bought and sold online, and PCGamer has done some investigative reporting to show us rule-abiding types how it all works. A single cheat-selling website manages to pull in $300,000 a year, and it's one of many. The people running the site aren't worried about their business drying up, either — game developers quickly catch 'rage cheaters,' and players cheating to be seen, but they have a much harder time detecting the 'closet cheaters' who hide it well. Countermeasures like PunkBuster and VAC are sidestepped quickly and easily."

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VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884121)

VAC is AWFUL. They admit that it could take several weeks or even months to detect cheaters, then months more to ban them. Steam are *terrible* and thats why I refuse to buy COD / Steam MP games anymore

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884159)

Spoken like a true cheater.

Re:VAC (2)

DrGamez (1134281) | about 5 months ago | (#46884433)

It's effective when playing the long-game.

It's mostly pointless to try to keep up with 0-day hacks as some kind of system-wide approach that covers any number of games.

Really VAC is there to pick up the idiots too dumb to even be allowed to get away with hacking.

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46888617)

VAC isn't useful in every situation though. Look at Dark Souls 2, which just launched on PC last week. The developers released it with VAC after how rampant cheating was in the first game, and a bunch of people were subsequently VAC-banned not for using actual hacks, but for using mods like Durante's or SweetFX to fix the lighting and other issues. Meanwhile, all the actual cheaters simply hex-edit their locally-stored saves offline, where VAC can't catch them.

I wish I wasn't at work, or I'd post the level distribution graph for the PC version, that shows that within a week of release, there are something like three times as many players with level 250+ characters (which is theoretically possible at this point if you don't have a job and grind 24/7) than there are people from levels 1 to 80. The best part is, the cheaters can permanently ruin people's games by invading at level 800 or so and intentionally dying to screw up the hosts's soul memory (which is the developers new solution to "balance" PVP), essentially cutting them off from PVP or co-op.

Re:VAC (2)

v1 (525388) | about 5 months ago | (#46884995)

at $3 per ID when they're having a sale, (which is quite surprising, I wasn't aware it could be so cheap!) the cheapers are quite profitable. If they were quick to ban, say within a few hours reliably, it wouldn't be worth it for most of the cheaters, and they'd quit doing it.

As it is now, you load up your hacks, buy a few accounts, and "rent" some haxor time on the servers for a few weeks, and then they go ahead and ban you, more-or-less right on schedule. That's all it is, they're just working a different business model.

As a game dev, you have your bean counters run the numbers. The number of cheaters "C" subtracts from your legit sales, but adds to your cheat-burn-account sales. There's a point where C maximizes your profit. And I'd be quite amazed if they were off from their proper C by any amount. There's someone in the building who has the job of keeping an eye on non-cheat and cheat sales, making sure that the VAC ban rate is keeping their C at the most profitable point.

The devs and the hack-writers are doing it for the money, the cheaters have various reasons. A few can't shoot straight and legitimately need the help, most just want to pwn the noobs, and a few are just plain dicks.

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46885339)

Don't forget that some anti-cheat systems will keep track of serial numbers (install IDs, BIOS serials, GPU serials), and then ban (or at least flag for investigation) accounts coming from that machine. That way, someone creating disposable accounts will end up having them all banned, even if the accounts actually don't do any cheating.

IP addresses and ranges, same.

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46886197)

Wouldn't most cheats spoof that info when the game requests it?

Re:VAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46887717)

Yes, but if you have read the Slashdot articles about DRM you know that some of the systems also gather information about installed programs and other system parameters and the claim is that this is to prevent cheating.
It seems a bit harder to randomize a plausible but unique browser history or whatever else is used.
If the anti-cheat system supports uploading and running arbitrary code that tries to identify the computer it will be very hard for the cheaters to work around it. (But it will be a major security issue.)

Re:VAC (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 6 months ago | (#46887773)

A breakdown of the situation in a meta-view shows us that cheaters suffer from feelings of insignificance, they feel socially outcast due to some aspect of life they fall short of. This eventually leads to full blown erectile dysfunction. Symbolically, they cannot get it up for the game and participate as the skilled do, so cheats are substituted as a kind of VIAGRA in order to mimic virility. This is sad in the case of female cheats who could avoid the problem entirely by stopping their diet of cookies and chips, getting off their fat asses and doing some excercise instead of substituting video games for interaction with males.
The problem of cheats is purely psychological.

Re:VAC (2)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 6 months ago | (#46888021)

... and a few are just plain dicks.

Err, no. Every last person who loads up a cheat then plays against other people on the net on non-cheat server is a complete dick. It is like entering a public chess tournament with a hidden computer. It utterly detracts from the fun for other legit players who just want to enjoy themselves in a competitive, but also fair environment. If you can not get you head round how to enjoy playing a game online and also doing ok at it, then fine just give up or whatever. Don't try and ruin for everyone else though because that to me is being about as petty as you can get.

300 Large? (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46884145)

$300,000/yr posting game hacks?

Damn, I'm in the wrong business.

RE: 300 Large? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884423)

$300,000/yr for being a middleman between those who find game hacks and those who want them. If you're not a middleman you're in the wrong business. Nothing to do with games.

Re: 300 Large? (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 5 months ago | (#46884587)

If you're not a middleman you're in the wrong business.

Until the cost-cutting comes...

Re: 300 Large? (2)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 6 months ago | (#46885911)

It wont be long before game devs code cheats into the builds themselves.
Once done, enables a new revenue stream:
- "Unlock level 2" = £2.99
- "More game time" = £0.99
- "Overpowered Armor 2.0" = £5.99

I can really see this catching on.....

Re: 300 Large? (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 6 months ago | (#46886785)

That's pretty much what Free to Play (Pay to Win) already does.

Re: 300 Large? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 6 months ago | (#46886991)

How did it feel to be played by Brendan Fraser in the documentary "Encino Man"? How long were you asleep for? Cause that shit has been happening for YEARS.

Re: 300 Large? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46898627)

How did it feel to be played by Brendan Fraser in the documentary "Encino Man"? How long were you asleep for? Cause that shit has been happening for YEARS.

Man, am I glad I wasn't drinking something when I read that...

NASA bot in FFXI (5, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 5 months ago | (#46884203)

It was the players who nicknamed it that, not the provider. Whoever it was sold an entire external server with a packet router on it that gave an entire linkshell (guild) of people the extra millisecond advantage needed to claim monsters first. The company sold the system for $3000 a pop, and only sold one per game server to ensure that the group using it would have no competition.

The reign of terror lasted about six months before SE finally figured out who was selling the NASA bot system and sent a pointed cease and desist letter. The programmer and designer of the system complied and all the servers were taken offline. Many of the users were ultimately banned.

To this day I cannot believe people would pool together three grand just to get more monsters in a video game.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46884301)

To this day I cannot believe people would pool together three grand just to get more monsters in a video game.

Really, you don't? Let me introduce you to a new way for bored people to spend shitloads of money: in-game purchases. I'm pretty sure people spend much more than a few thousand on stuff.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884639)

To this day I cannot believe people would pool together three grand just to get more monsters in a video game.

Microtransactions cut both ways.

To this day, I cannot believe people would buy hats for TF2 characters.
To this day, I cannot believe people would buy random shit in Farmville.
To this day, I cannot believe people would buy $item in $game.

I don't cheat because cheating costs extra money and detracts from the fun of the game.
I don't buy extra, useless crap in-game because buying extra, useless crap in-game costs extra money and detracts from the fun of the game.

Explain to me again how game developers and publishers aren't trolling themselves...

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#46884693)

To this day, I cannot believe people would buy hats for TF2 characters.

That's because you don't realize just how fabulous those hats look on my heavy.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46885483)

I don't cheat because, ultimately, you can only lose.

If you win, you won because you cheated. Not because you're better, not because you're faster, not because you in any way trumped the other player. The cheat won. Not you.
If you lose despite cheating, you're the loser of the losers. Not only did you lose, but you had an advantage over the other one and he STILL whooped your ass.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46886381)

Unless your goal is to piss off or humiliate other players. That's a game you can win.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 6 months ago | (#46887419)

...The cheat won. Not you.

Thank you for expressing that... something that was nagging me as I read the article and these comments.

I understand why people cheat in Vegas: they might walk away with real money.

I understand why athletes take steroids: million dollar contracts, fan adoration, groupies.

But, the point of online gaming is pure competition. It's anonymous, you don't even get the adoration of strangers. (and you're losing money, to boot!)

Cheating online just seems like bringing a pistol to a 1-on-1 basketball game, gunning down your opponent, shooting the ball through the hoop a couple of times; and then telling yourself what a great basketball player you are.

If you cheat, your score will always be a zero.
Those numbers in the corner don't mean anything...

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 months ago | (#46887993)

But, the point of online gaming is pure competition. It's anonymous, you don't even get the adoration of strangers. (and you're losing money, to boot!)

Cheating online just seems like bringing a pistol to a 1-on-1 basketball game, gunning down your opponent, shooting the ball through the hoop a couple of times; and then telling yourself what a great basketball player you are.

It's not about winning. It's an inferiority complex. It's about dominating other players. It doesn't matter to the cheaters what methods they use, they want to have the feeling of that power over others.

Re: NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884691)

In a game where there's no PvP yet you're still expected to compete with other players for scarce resources... Well, you gotta do something if you want to win.

That's why PvP is so important in MMOs, it let's players solve problems like that inside the game instead of resorting to outside hacks.

Like are still requires to prevent Square Enix games from crashing if you try and alt-tab out of it. And is technically considered bannable cheating.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#46884953)

People are generally stupid, and in particular no-skill people often believe that faking it by cheating elevates them somehow above the competition, while all it does is to ensure they never develop any real skills. Quite a few no-skill people also something similar to "advance" their careers in management positions. There is a reason the economy is so bad at the moment: We have allowed the cheater-scum to take it over.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46886405)

We're talking about video games. There's no "real skills" involved here. It's like scouring the dregs of the Guinness Book of World Records and calling those "skills".

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 months ago | (#46886737)

You are quite mistaken.

The time-frame is insane, that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46885071)

It's been awhile since I played, but the reason was the monsters that they tried to get spawned so infrequently that it was pure masochism to do so. You had two issues, respawn time and the spawn window. The common botted spawns like fafnir were 21 hours, so you'd get all the linkshells crammed into Dragon's Aerie or wherever the mob would spawn for a chance at nailing it. If this meant the mob spawned at 3 a.m. EST, you got up at 3 a.m. EST. Some mobs spawned something like once a week; usually the Chains of Promathia wyrms did something like that.

Then you had the spawn window. The respawn didn't mean it spawned exactly at 3 a.m., oh no. It meant that the spawn window started. That meant it could spawn anywhere from 3:01 a.m. to however long the window was. I forget what faf's window was, but something like three hours or more wasn't unheard of. For Argus, a notorious monster back in the day, it had a spawn window of twelve hours.

Yes, you could wait up to twelve hours camping it in real life. I literally had to warn people to get some sleep and stop doing it before they went crazy. And Argus was a shared spawn, which meant it didn't always spawn: sometimes instead another monster called the leech king would, and the spawn was wasted. you could wait 6-12 hours and the mob you want didn't even show up at all. You'd ask Once he was dead, then you had his 21 or so hour respawn till the next twelve hour window. You could spend months camping him, and they had to introduce a bind on equip version of his drop just to keep players sane.

Then you get into mobs like King Vinegarroon, which didn't even have a set respawn; they had a chance of showing up whenever a certain kind of in-game weather happened in a specific location. Even what we'd consider trash mobs were a pain; camping mobs for poor or vanilla gear could mean four hours in between pops while waiting. just for a second or third tier spear. All the while you did this, you were trying to claim it against multiple groups of players. For one item per drop, not per player. Many linkshells had thirty players or more in them. And ground king drops are bind on equip-you can't buy a ridill from the auction house. Even for RMT, you had to be there and invited into the alliance when the ridill dropped, but before it would randomly be assigned to a player. You'd pay the HNM alliance to kill you, and then wait. (Not that I did-my friend was in a HNM shell on Siren; I was a beastmaster who played mostly by himself.)

The NASA guys could dominate the server in a way impossible to think of. I don't think people really knew how insanely hardcore old FFXI was when it came to the end game. SE wound up fixing some of the stuff by introducing token systems and less powered, but adequate gear that you didn't need to waste your life to get, but NASA happened because FFXI's endgame, and even the game in general, was masochistic to the point of causing literal harm in players lives.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46885495)

Then that's a flaw in the game rather than a problem of the players. Personally, if this was in some way required to continue playing, I'd simply stop playing and continue when the chance to get it becomes more sensible or the problem has been remedied.

but by then, you're already invested (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46885921)

Same AC. You've already spent a LOT of hours getting to the point to where you can participate. Back then getting to the level cap, and grinding the exp you need to earn the merits that will make you not gimp to participate would take a tremendous amount of time. It took me about a year of hard play for my first 75 back then. Heck, just getting to level twenty and surviving the first noob party area Valkurm dunes would take forever, due to losing exp when you died and even deleveling. Or just doing the Chains of Promathia Promyvion quests to open new areas. By the time you've reached 75 you are hooked, because if you weren't you'd have quit like everyone else who left.

You don't think entirely rationally at that point. You have the sunk cost of your character, and the reinforcement from the friends you make in the game. This isn't like WoW, which was intensely individual, trivial to level in till the cap, and easy on the rewards. FFXI conditioned you to accept spending a ridiculous amount of time spent doing things just to get to the cap. Leveling from 18-20 was probably as hard as many WoW endgame instances, and by the time you got to endgame, you often took the ridiculousness of it in stride. Kind of developed an espirit de corps about it.

Re:but by then, you're already invested (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46894587)

I've spend hours on "old school" MMOs where group play was key and instances were rare, if they existed at all. Every single MMO that succeeded, without fail, ensured that there is no frustrating waiting spot in the game. Grinding, yes. I've ground away countless hours in DAoC, mowing down armies of enemies for that minimal, pixel-sized growth of the xp bar. But it was never a waiting game.

People can dig grinding. They can accept killing enemies over and over and over, hoping that at some moment in time they drop something with a chance to drop that borders on the nemesis asteroid hitting Earth, or just for XPs sake. What people don't readily accept is waiting in line or, worse, assembling at some point to kill a timed boss.

An example:

A decade ago, Westwood sunk themselves into making an MMO. Earth and Beyond, they called it. Soon they were gobbled up by EA (the place franchises go to die). The game lasted a whole of about 2 years and could today serve as the textbook example of what NOT to do if you want your MMO to last. It had a lot of things never seen before in MMOs that could've made it WoW before there was any WoW. A storyline that's been developed as you play (and at a rather fast pace with a new "chapter" being thrown at the players every other month rather than every other year with an expansion). Interesting and believable NPCs. Missions and quests (believe it or not, that was a novelty back then). FULL voice acting (ok, just at the beginning as they decided it's "too expensive" to keep up with it, thanks EA!). Story-wise it was awesome.

It was the completely shot mechanics that sunk it. Not wanting to go into details like the shot balance, unnecessary classes and poor endgame content, what really ticked people off was simply that EVERYTHING was on a spawn timer. The worst atrocity was an NPC on a planet who was level 30 (of 150 max level). In other words, everyone and their dog could one shot that boy long before they maxed out. That NPC dropped something that EVERYONE wanted. I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was pretty much a necessity to have it. That NPC was on a spawn timer, once a week at $time, at $day that beast spawned. And as if that's not bad enough already, it was a key storyline quest NPC for a class.

One can probably guess what happened. At $time and $day, a billion people assembled in the location of the NPC, ensuring that the nanosecond he spawned an insane overkill set in and he was vaporized, leaving the players of aforementioned class out in the cold because they could neither progress in their story nor accumulate the skill points they needed to advance in their power levels.

It took seemingly forever for EA to finally admit that this might not be a good idea. But since that was only one of such problems and most of the other ones were not even addressed ever, the game (which even today has a very faithful following that even reverse engineered the whole shit and created fan-run EaB servers long after the game was canceled) barely survived into its second year.

Re:but by then, you're already invested (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 6 months ago | (#46896167)

BTW, the wikipedia article talks about monthly story driven updates (you say a new chapter every other month). Not sure which is right.

Re:but by then, you're already invested (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46904869)

They did monthly updates, but alternating they were content and story updates.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46886635)

Square-Enix had never done an MMORPG before, and worse, they're Japanese so they didn't really understand what people liked/didn't like about the early MMO's. All they knew is they wanted their own. Thusly they made a game only crazy Japanese conformist min-maxers who love grinding for grinding's sake would love.

In many ways the PS2's other MMORPG, EQOA, was a better and more enjoyable game.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46887229)

they're Japanese so they didn't really understand what people liked/didn't like about the early MMO's.

Let's replace "Japanese" with "black" and see how that reads:

they're black so they didn't really understand what people liked/didn't like about the early MMO's.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46896953)

Let's replace "Japanese" with "black" and see how that reads:

Alright, it was badly worded. But how else can I say:

Square-Enix and other japanese developers don't get/understand the gaijin market outside of Japan in ways they should if they're wanting to sell games to us gaijin.

It's not racial, it's cultural. Kind of like how us Yanks don't get "Branston Pickle"

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

Gibgezr (2025238) | about 6 months ago | (#46889079)

ChronoCloud, that was a weird post. While Japanese gaming culture has some marked differences when compared to, say, N.A gaming culture, it is just plain racist (and factually incorrect) to say "they're Japanese so they didn't really understand what people liked/didn't like about the early MMO's". I'm guessing your frame of reference excludes the early Japanese MMOs, for example.

As for EQOA being "better and more enjoyable" than FFXI, I totally disagree, and I guess I'm not the only one; EQOA is long gone, but FFXI is still going strong.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 6 months ago | (#46895967)

I think he really meant "games that were popular with the mainstream Japanese [country] culture compared with the tastes of people that live in other countries" (and probably meant the USA specifically).. Rather than literally meaning the term Japanese to mean anybody of Japanese descent, regardless of where they live.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46896937)

While Japanese gaming culture has some marked differences when compared to, say, N.A gaming culture,

There are a LOT of differences gaming culture wise which affects the mindset of Japanese developers. While I'm not 100 percent agreement with Phil Fish's opinion, I think Japanese Development houses simply haven't adapted well now that they have to compete on a level playing field with top of the line formerly PC-only US/UK/CAN developers like Bioware, Blizzard or Bethesda.

it is just plain racist (and factually incorrect) to say "they're Japanese so they didn't really understand what people liked/didn't like about the early MMO's".

But they didn't understand, at least they didn't understand the tastes of us Gaijin. While there may have been Japanese MMO's those tended to stay in Japan, while FFXI was one designed for the world...and Square-Enix didn't do a good job of it or informing their player base. Let me give you an example.

I played WHM and as you know the WHM has some nice weaponskills, which means you need to be up front using your weapon battle-cleric style. The WHM can equip armor and weapons to play that style. But...the crazy conformist heavily Japanese player base think healers are dress wearing Aeris style staff-chicks cowering in back,

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmw... [tvtropes.org]

  not Western style battle-cleric.

http://dnd.jeffandeden.com/lin... [jeffandeden.com]

And Square-Enix never went out of their way to say to the Japanese players. "Hey quit being so god-damned conformist, there are MULTIPLE ways to play characters, the game is designed that way, so lighten up". So people who played WHM's in a way that the game actually supported were often "cursed out" by Japanese players for playing their own characters the way that worked best for them. Admittedly, battle-cleric was a better option for Hume WHM's than Taru-Taru ones.

As for EQOA being "better and more enjoyable" than FFXI, I totally disagree, and I guess I'm not the only one; EQOA is long gone, but FFXI is still going strong.

FFXI is much more annoying and grindy than EQOA was. The economy was also ruined for us Gaijin because we got thrown in there with the heavily Japanese player base instead of on our own servers with an economy that wasn't @#$@# up after NM campers, and obsessive grinders messed it up for the years they had it before we did. Sure it had some features EQOA lacked, but overall EQOA was a better "game". I mean after all you could actually de-level in FFXI and lose the ability to use the equipment you're wearing! And the way subclasses worked meant you had to fill up bank space with equipment you needed to level the sub-classes.

Sure FFXI is still running, but it's because Japanese players, more than most, are stuck in gaming's past. Playing 2D RPG's on their PSP's and FFXI on their PS2's. The vast majority of japanese FFXI players are playing it on the PS2.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 6 months ago | (#46886459)

What you describe is a nightmare. I sincerely hope that when my son gets older, he does not fall into some kind of trap like this where he poop-socks it for some stupid game just to get some pointless digital trinket.

I'd rather deal with just finding weed in his jacket pocket, like normal people.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 6 months ago | (#46887025)

Sounds like an incredibly shitty game. I'm glad I never wasted time playing it.

More seriously, what you just described is not a game. It sounds more like a psychological torture device.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 6 months ago | (#46887863)

Ehhh StillAnonymous, Eve Online is about as bad or worse but with PvP. Besides FF11 is an older MMO and it is enjoyable. Crono is just stating only 1 negative point of view the game but hey, if you want to have your kids smoke weed, go right ahead and let them know too.

Re:The time-frame is insane, that's why (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 6 months ago | (#46888949)

When the shell with a NASA bot (Toki) moved to Seraph, we simply pulled out of the Land Gods race and focused on {sea}, {sky}, Dynamis, ToAU, and Limbus instead. The NASA group didn't waste their time on the {sky} spawns and we always hit {sea} when they were doing Dynamis runs. They did gank our Xarcabard one go round.

The leaders got busted for gil-buying shortly before NASA went down, then the rest of the shell dissolved when it died. Most of them transferred servers since they were blacklisted from endgame on ours. Harmony restored.

I still play XI casually. I had led a Dynamis shell and finished Gjallarhorn then later on Dardaubla, so I still hop on a couple times a week to help the remnants of that old group out.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 5 months ago | (#46885399)

To this day I cannot believe people would pool together three grand just to get more monsters in a video game.

Haha, in EVE Online its pretty common to see people spend couple of grand on one ship, just to have it permanently destroyed the next day.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46885411)

In the early days of Everquest, people made a lot of money eBaying characters. In fact, there were whole guilds that were devoted to exploiting game mechanics in order to make characters to sell.

The main reason for this is because the early MMOs were difficult. Difficult enough that paying $1000 was worth it for a level 50 in EQ1 with decent gear, or for a decent tankmage with skull armor in UO. Plus, all content in the games was contested, so unless you were in a top tier guild and were well equipped, there wasn't much to be done endgame.

These days, MMOs are a bit easier, and ironically a bit more challenging because of encounter difficulties. Garrosh on raid finder is a lot different from Garrosh on heroic, for example.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46885517)

A BIT?

What makes MMOs "difficult" today is mostly the players, less the content. Back in the "good ol' days", you'd have to have an IQ above room temperature to make it to top level. Today... I don't know, are we at "you find your epics every week in your mail if you can't be assed to raid" already?

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 6 months ago | (#46888891)

Square Enix still knows how to make a mean HNM type monster. I'm stuck on Titan Extreme on FFXIV. Unlike the old HNMs of FFXI, though, you don't have to compete with a hundred other people just for the opportunity to fight him. While there are still elusive open-world type HNMs with stupid spawn times (I've never even seen Odin or Behemoth), they are within open-access fights called FATES that anyone can join.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46892307)

Get good.

They already heavily nerfed their top end content, pretty much proving Opportunist's point. Apparently making content that only the 5% of the player base who know how to play video games could complete was considered "bad" so they greatly decreased the difficulty of the content and added automatic bonuses to players who fail at it.

So they don't quite just mail you your epic loot - but they sure as hell don't make you earn it.

And you're not missing anything with those stupid "open world" boss fights. Everyone gets a participation award for simply whacking in the general direction of the boss, there's no competition to get the claim and there's no skill involved in the fight. Just stand there mashing "1" and you're all set to get your free end-game loot.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 6 months ago | (#46894015)

I don't know anyone who has finished Coil 2, Turn 5 (aka Turn 10) yet. There's your content only 5% can complete.

My first Titan EX attempt, about half the failures were my fault. Lately it's been everyone else that sucked. My free company still doesn't have enough at 50 for an entirely FC run. One or two more there should do it....

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46894981)

I don't know anyone who has finished Coil 2, Turn 5 (aka Turn 10) yet. There's your content only 5% can complete.

That's because it doesn't exist. Turn 9 is the last turn currently released.

And it was beaten something like a week after it was added.

Titan Ex is so easy that it's been on farm status for so long that no one I know even bothers with it any more, especially since it doesn't drop anything useful any more. And they nerfed it anyway!

Get. Good.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46894699)

I don't mind letting "casual" players (I actually hate that term, what's "casual" about it? I'm a casual player since I also have a job, so I can't play 24/7 yet still I tend to get my share of top level, top gear raiding... if people can't play well, that's not "playing casually" that's just "sucking at it"). And before someone comes and cries "But the 'casual' pays as much as you do, why shouldn't he get to see all the content?", I agree, there's no reason why some dungeons should be barred to you because you're just not ... "good enough". You should be allowed to get there. But just like someone who works better than someone else should earn more, so should someone who plays better get better gear.

To stay in the parallel, you both get the same paycheck (or gear), just the numbers on it will differ.

That's something I can very well live with. What I fail to see the fairness in is that someone who is worse than me should get the same kind of reward. Would you consider it fair that someone who delivers poor work gets as much paid as you do?

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46887911)

I paid $0 for WoW for 0 monsters; how mainy people paid more for more monsters?

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 6 months ago | (#46887967)

Three grand is peanuts. How about spending $100,000 [tentonhammer.com] ?

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46888497)

The worst example I've ever seen, by far, is Star Citizen. To get an idea, the game's initial crowdfunding phase happened nearly two years ago. The initial idea was simple - pledge X amount of money to receive a certain spaceship when the game came out, along with a handful of other perks.

The game is still not out yet. They're releasing an alpha soon, but contrary to the promises they made (the pledge package I bought had alpha access), they gave out only 3,000 alpha keys, mostly to their mega-donators. There are people who have paid $10,000 already for a spaceship in a game that doesn't even exist yet. No one, not even the development team, are pretending that it won't be blatantly unbalanced when the mega-donators start with fully-loaded, armed-to-the-teeth flagships that as of today are still promised to have infinite respawns in a game where permanent ship destruction is a main mechanic.

Needless to say, I pulled my money out the second I heard about this stuff. There's no point charging $3,000 for a hack when you can charge $10,000 for what will essentially be an "I paid to win" button. It's not like no one's buying them either - I can remember that at least 20 of the $10,000 packages, as well as a bunch of $5,000 packages, had sold when I went to get my refund.

Re:NASA bot in FFXI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46895375)

To this day I cannot believe people would pool together three grand just to get more monsters in a video game.

Really? Are you new to the Internet? Ok, forget the Internet. How about any hobby?

Even POTUS is Venerable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884209)

Obama is a real "Black Sheep" being just a dirty half breed dirty American and Kenyan.

Saddam is his baby name. Call Saddam Saddam to his face. See what uz getsz.

Say Saddam Boy. You danc'n to butt fuck Silvers bitch tonight right ! Dat my Saddam home boy.

(y)

Valve needs to up the ante too -- SourceBans, etc (4, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 5 months ago | (#46884271)

I run a 16 player (coop) L4D1 server, a 32 player TF2 server, and a 32 player Insurgency server.

I *really* wished Valve would provide better out-of-the-box tools to admins. Plugins like "TooLateTooBan" to ban disconnected players shouldn't even be needed in the first place -- they should be built into all Source games.

For example, why doesn't the server automatically log Steam Id, IP, and Handle? Why the hell do I have to write a SourceMod plugin to do this? And then I can't even use this on newer Source games like Insurgency because SourceMod doesn't work (yet).

When a community on a server has more then a few admins we can self-police. But we can't do this if the admin tools are lacking, broken, or "unsupported" !

IP baning does not work well (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46884315)

As people can easy bypass it by doing something as easy as rebooting the modem.

Also it can flag the wrong person and it can get tripped by user behind NAT / proxies

Re:IP baning does not work well (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884353)

A modem reboot won't reset SteamID.

Re:IP baning does not work well (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 6 months ago | (#46887699)

A modem reboot won't reset SteamID.

Ipconfig /flushdns ?

Re:IP baning does not work well (2)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 6 months ago | (#46888095)

A modem reboot won't reset SteamID.

Ipconfig /flushdns ?

Nope, that won't change your SteamId either. The only thing that will is signing up for a new steam account and buy the game again under that.

What you can do though it to log the MAC address of the card, IP, SteamID and cross reference all of them across all steam games. That way if someone gets caught cheating then tries to set up a new steam account without changing their MAC address then the ban comes with them.

You should also make that information available to users so every player can lookup any other player and see a list of all the MAC addresses (minus the last 2 digits), IP's and SteamIDs that the player has had in the past. In the past I used to play a lot of AA2 and that used to have this and it's still online even though the game is dead. None of those bit of information are really that much of a secret, but it did make it much more difficult for the average clueless, non-techie to hide it when they had been caught cheating in the past using a different account.

Re:IP baning does not work well (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 6 months ago | (#46890413)

Mod parent up.

Your explanation is spot on. We ban by Steam ID, but use the IP for cross reference.

Re:IP baning does not work well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46884403)

Regrettable, but Too Bad. If you are serious about your gaming you should be investing in a faster connection with a static IP anyway. The bans are worth it to catch the cheats and no one is gonna cry if a few n00bs get swept up by accident.

Re:IP baning does not work well (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46884439)

I am serious about pinball and you really can't cheat there and if you try to do some the other players will see you doing it.

Re:IP baning does not work well (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 6 months ago | (#46887709)

I am serious about pinball and you really can't cheat there and if you try to do some the other players will see you doing it.

You grab a few ashtrays that are always around and set the front legs on them, your leveling the playing field (which has gotten steeper though the years).
Level it just before the tilt pendulum hit's it's limit. Then play your game, it's much slower and not as much fun but you can rack up some points as long as you don't move the machine too much and tilt it.

Re:IP baning does not work well (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#46888039)

and other players will see that and they too will have the same setup as well.

Re:IP baning does not work well (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 5 months ago | (#46884467)

Regrettable, but Too Bad. If you are serious about your gaming you should be investing in a faster connection with a static IP anyway.

Outside North America and Europe, a lot of online gaming goes on from cybercafés (indeed, gaming is often the main reason for their existence, as other users of the internet are an afterthought). So, if you were to penalize one user there for cheating, you could be limiting the ability of 20 other, innocent gamers to play.

Re:IP baning does not work well (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 6 months ago | (#46890375)

That is why we ban by Steam Id which is a) unique, and b) persistent, since it is by Steam account.
i.e. STEAM_0:#:######

We also use this utility
http://steamidfinder.com/ [steamidfinder.com]

Re:Valve needs to up the ante too -- SourceBans, e (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46884445)

Wait... people still run Insurgency servers?

Well, guess I know what I'm reinstalling tonight!

Re:Valve needs to up the ante too -- SourceBans, e (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 6 months ago | (#46886007)

The HL2 mod is now a stand alone 2014 game.

* http://store.steampowered.com/... [steampowered.com]

Re:Valve needs to up the ante too -- SourceBans, e (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46888659)

Definitely going to check that one out, I remember playing it when the crew first developed it, and I thought it was probably the best "war-sim" FPS out there at the time.

Side note regarding Steam - I'm really digging how they've embraced the modder community by folding them in as full (for lack of a better term) games - Just Cause 2 MP being another of my favorite examples.

Re:Valve needs to up the ante too -- SourceBans, e (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 6 months ago | (#46890559)

Valve has always understood the long tail. Ubisoft/EA is the complete opposite of Valve -- smegging clueless about what customers want.

Ubisoft: We'll sell you same shit year after year. Map editor? Mods? 4+ coop support? Begone because "obviously" _everyone_ pirates our game; we have complete and utter contempt for our PC players even though they helped build our company before we could do shitty PC ports!

Valve: Here are yearly dirt-cheap sales so you can play with your friends. You can run your own server -- most of our games have an in-game server browser. Here is a map editor too so you can guys make your own maps! The team behind L4D's custom campaign "I hate Mountains" even had Valve record new voice lines! That custom campaign is extremely well-done!

Basically, Valve respects their customers; other large publishers treat them like a resource to be exploited.

CFAA? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46884391)

Criminal justice systems, perhaps understandably, aren't preoccupied with people cheating in online games. “Especially when it’s international,” Gibson said. “Then you’re talking about the FBI and Interpol. If someone stole $10 million in diamonds, call them. If someone is hacking your game, they don’t care.”

Really? Isn't FBI bound to pursue possible CFAA violations? I mean, cops already used it for a number of other idiotic things already, haven't they?

Re:CFAA? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 months ago | (#46884569)

Really? Isn't FBI bound to pursue possible CFAA violations?

As soon as you can show $10,000 in damages from one instance of cheating, perhaps.

Re:CFAA? (1)

PIBM (588930) | about 5 months ago | (#46884623)

Possible lost sales from this and future game because people are cheating and those noticing it will make bad publicity out of it and prevent sales ? A single instance with 63 other people seing it can be worth quite a lot I expect :)

Re:CFAA? (1)

MonkeyBoy (4760) | about 6 months ago | (#46886001)

It can, but it'll only happen once the media companies get serious about computers. Right now they're content to let their software divisions bring in profits without any need to legislate laws to protect their antiquated, broken business models.

Once they realize their software divisions are doing poorly due to, well, because they're the ones running the companies, they'll start prodding their lobbyists with sharp sticks to "protect" their software divisions too.

Re:CFAA? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 6 months ago | (#46887037)

Online cheating is to buying/participating in DDoS attacks as torturing animals is to serial killing.

Best to stop it early.

I cheated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46885091)

I was playing Dayz and getting real tired of not having a car.
It took about 6 hours between online research and programming to get a working memory hack working.
When it only takes one call to readprocessmemory to learn anything you want about a game the legit players never stand a chance. While anticheats are a good option part of it has to be on the game programmers themselves. There is simply no reason my client should know what's in someone's backpack from 15km away.

Re:I cheated... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46885529)

It's rather hard to implement such a "need to know" strategy in games, as odd as it may sound. It's simply easier to dump all the information on your computer and have it, instead of the server, decide what you should and what you should not see.

Runescape Bots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46885143)

A couple years ago I was developing bots for very popular game called Runescape. As a 16 year old I was pulling in thousands a month and I was at the low end of the spectrum, one of my buddies made $100k in a year at 17. And we were only getting a small slice of the pie. The bigger developers and the resellers were making hundreds of thousands. The two guys running it all made millions every year. What a wonderful world we live in. Ill answer any and all questions about it.

MSN Gaming Zone Backgammon allows cheats... (4, Funny)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 5 months ago | (#46885197)

MSN Rated Backgammon doesn't even charge extra for cheats. Anyone who can figure out the bugs in their poorly written and administered code can employ the well know "Stalled Time Out Exploit". In this case, a "staller" who refuses to complete their turn can make the game "time out" on their legitimate opponent. This awards them the rating points and takes them away from the victim. I have been documenting and reporting every instance of this cheat every time it occurs to me for two years. But its been happening since 2003. At this point, I have a folder full of screen captures and one hundred unanswered letters to the "Zone Master" and it is all I'll show for this effort. I feel like I'm in jail with Tim Robbins in 'Shawshank Redemption' writing to the department of corrections for a library fund.... Its always AMAZING to me when an institution remains totally, willfully IGNORANT of a widespread problem. What is even MORE egregious is MSN's complete DENIAL that the problem even exists - so that when you pursue answers to why you keep experiencing this, there is NO MENTION in any of there FAQ or help forums. At one point I was so pissed off I took the issue up in a Microsoft Dev Forum (which pissed them off) and finally an admin admitted to be that Microsoft had in all likelihood purchased the application from a third party vendor and that they did not have the ability to repair the code. These bugs were not a problem at first, until they were discovered and exploited, and as Microsoft has proven to the world, a defect exists only after it does damage to the customer, and only then if it becomes widely recognized. Screw you MSN. I gonna play opera in the jail yard and expose the warden as a crook. Now if I could just get a pile of cash burieded by an oak tree...

Re:MSN Gaming Zone Backgammon allows cheats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46885581)

Wait people still play *ANY* kind of game on MSN Gaming Zone? Wasn't the "Gaming Zone" shut down year's ago as it was? :P

Re:MSN Gaming Zone Backgammon allows cheats... (2)

wasteoid (1897370) | about 6 months ago | (#46885769)

Either this is one superbly-crafted joke, or there is actually someone playing backgammon on Microsoft's network. Hard to tell. A cautious kudos to you either way.

Re:MSN Gaming Zone Backgammon allows cheats... (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 6 months ago | (#46895417)

Poe's Law. It really is glorious either way, you're right.

Out the Back Door (2)

number17 (952777) | about 6 months ago | (#46886103)

How many "hacks" are created by the devs of the game and sold out the back door?

Re:Out the Back Door (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 6 months ago | (#46887069)

Or the front door in cases of "Pay to Win"

If you can't beat us, let us join you. (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 6 months ago | (#46886245)

Well, the problem is the same as in securing your hardware: Physical access = Game Over.

You've got folks running software on their hardware, they're going to be able to do whatever they want with that. I can see the ethics behind punishing people who cheat against other non consenting folk, but this statement bugs me:

I told Gibson that I found [repetitive cheating] behavior mind-boggling. He isn’t confused by it. He’s just angry. “Give me five minutes alone with a hacker or a hack writer,” he laughed. “That’s what I think about that mindset.”

If it wasn't for hacking and cheating in games I wouldn't have taught myself how to program as a child. In fact, the first thing I did when I got any new game was save the game, do some action, save it again and do a hex-diff to scan for the change, and edit the byte values to give myself more ammo or items or money, etc. I'd still take pride in beating the games without cheats, and in competitive servers I wouldn't cheat, but amongst other hacker friends, or on my own servers I see nothing wrong with cracking games. I've added new game modes, weapons, and levels to games via patching the EXE and data files.

Lots of folks bought Doom when they already had Duke3D and Quake just to play with new weapons I added to the game: Flame Thrower: Replace rocket launcher projectile with imp fire ball frames, limit its range by making it disappear after a duration [use the frame tables], increase ammo counts, reduce the damage and reload for VERY rapid fire, replace the projectile's death frame with Archvile flame attack, FIX the damn Archvile flame animation sequence so it animates smoothly. The sound effects preempted itself, so rapid fire would make a great whooshing sound as big beautiful gouts of fire shot out and went crackling up the walls. It was beautiful and all done with just a hex editor using in-game graphics, and I couldn't for the life of me imagine why the game makers didn't have it in the game already... High Explosive Ammo: Set the bullet puff / bleed frame to be the rocket launcher explosion, great fun in co-op w/ specially designed insane difficulty levels. Then there was the Tactical Force Gun: Plasma rifle bolts w/ no damage, high HP, partial invisibility, and high mass, but slow speed. You could make a time-limited wall of force by strafing. You could maintain a barricade, trap folks against walls or via encircle them, great for escape. BFG mines: Zero speed BGF blasts, without the bright bit set - they look small but have a big radius for hit-detection, and just twinkle as a little dot until someone walks into the detection range and they explode -- When these mines go off, invisible kill rays shoot from the "owning" player's current location even elsewhere in the map, but aimed in the original direction the blast was fired at (because that's how the BFG code worked, yep, the biggest and "best" weapon is/was fucking buggy as all hell, ruined would be a better word for it, come the fuck on Carmack, do you even algebra? [gamers.org] ). So, I'd do a binary diff and produce a binary patch that worked against a certain executable version to avoid distributing modded EXEs themselves so as not to break copyright. Soon DEHACKED came out, and even more folks were able to mod the EXEs. Thus when Doom2 just gave us one more shotgun barrel, everyone was fucking pissed! The hackers had shown off what the engine was capable of, so the game felt like a half-assed attempt to monetize the same game twice.

My most successful hack was when I finally managed to fix the BFG in Doom2.exe by having the rays shoot out from the blast instead of the player and gave the ray direction the reflection vector of the surface it struck or reversed it if it was a player. This required reverse engineering the fixed point math format, and I had to find some unused area for my machine code to be inserted -- which was easy because Carmack's off by one error left 512 bytes of PLAYPAL unused #1 (red,pain colors) and #9 (yellow, item pickup), and COLORMAP #33 was another 256 byte palette-maps that was completely unused in the engine (was light-amp effect in an alpha). This enabled me to create a generic plugin system for my patches by jumping to those PLAYPAL and COLORMAP based offsets in memory, thus new functionality could be loaded by PWAD file instead of by additional patches to the EXE. This fix granted so much more flexibility in "hacks" and made the BFG so awesomely usable and more balanced (banking its damage around corners, kills the person that fired unless you dodge it's blast -- folks would hilariously Kamikaze if they heard the blast about to go off, killing the BFG holder who immune to the unfixed blast). It became a mandatory requirement to install my hacked patch on all of my town's competitive network BBSs (IPX network simulator = 4 player deathmatch pre-Internet), and they wouldn't move to the newer doom.exe versions until after I had a new patch out for it out. It's not like Doom wasn't rev'd several times, why not fix the retarded BFG bug that fires out your ass from the other side of the level that the blast is on? It's not like players didn't complain...

And that was just one game, there were dozens of others over the years we kept adding new life to. I got free access to several local BBSs and free Internet access though their gateways by making exclusive mods for their tournaments. Point being: Us "hackers" (modders) were giving new life to the games and lots of folks were buying the games just to play the "hacked" versions (game mods). Many people would go buy a game because they could use "hack" making tools with it to create their own mods. One of the main things that made Doom and other FPSs so profitable was that they were so hackable. To this day folks still buy the original game to use the new source ports and new mods and mod tools which function with the original assets. The same goes for Quake, Descent, Tribes, and many other games.

That Gibson is angry at the "hackers" or "hack writers" is just fucking daft. Be mad at the cheaters who cheat. You don't get mad at Smith or Wesson when someone gets shot, you go after the shooter not the gun maker or bullets. Ugh. He wants to be in a room for 5 minutes alone? Bring it on Gibson, lots of us real hackers know martial arts. [catb.org] You'd be down and out in 5 seconds if tried anything on me. Control-fuckery is the main reason I stopped playing games that don't have custom / private servers -- It's not the whole game if you don't get the server too. Folks police their own servers like hawks, I'll even remote-console from my smart phone if enough complaints hit the server when I'm out. The basics to user management are simple: Ability to record in-game demos on the server side, let players report said demos as evidence to server admins, and let folks report servers for abuse too (I've seen virus servers in Quake and TF2 servers). Vote-kick temp-ban helps but it can be abused. Server operators can circulate a time-limited IP blacklist (because permaban hurts legit users, some people actually do learn their lesson, and it's just a game folks). You can't fix people problems with software. DRM servers put needless death sentences on games.

For my next game project I've been experimenting with a tiered architecture approach: Authentic Servers - up to date servers ran by makers of the game, require an account to connect; Recommended Servers - private servers in good standing with the community, running no more that a few versions behind, authenticate by proxy to enforce author's banlist, and may have additional requirements, mods, and bans; Outlaw Servers - The wild west territories with their own rules, running whatever version, on modding, cheating, banlists, maybe not having any rules or authentication at all. The server listing system is decentralized so the outlaws are listed on the master server list, but hidden by default in the client. Let the users filter by the type of experience they want to play. This way newbs have a decent experience, and the unruly hackers and flamers who get banned can still play the game, just not in the respectable parts. Unfortunately, it's my experience that opening the source code of games greatly increases the cheaters, and it only takes one bad apple to spoil a bunch of games. I've seen open sourced games go back closed source and watched the cheating plummet too. So, I want to test out whether opening the source code to older versions of the game could be a valid middle ground. A BSD license approach will let new client / servers be released closed and after sufficient changes have been made the older versions can be open sourced, allowing the community to really go wild with mods and even help fix and secure upstream game code. Bonus: When the central auth server shuts down, dedicated players can run their own, so the game needn't ever die. If you want to play with the nice community of approved servers, you'll need to have an account, and that means folks in the approved servers are paying customers. Pirates can hang out with the outlaws.

Leaderboards have a big problem with cheating too, but IMO, it's a solvable issue: Tournament matches with in-game refs / moderators on approved servers. The average player doesn't compete with the top players anyway, so it's not like every match needs to be ranked. The drama over voting in refs, moderators, and which servers and mods should be community approved can't be avoided, so why not leverage it to bolster the community cohesion. Anything is better than being banned for no reason, or worse: curiosity, and having no way to play the game you bought. ugh.

Also, the trickle of new content in today's AAA locked-down no mod DLC only games is fucking pathetic. Not allowing modders to monetize mods? Man, you're missing out on a HUGE piece of pie. $5.00 for a couple of new multi-player levels? That's asinine. We've got folks still making total conversions of Quake and Doom games for free. You could let modders sell their user generated content in your game's mod store, and take a cut of the proceeds. Content creators get some cash for their efforts, the really good ones probably become gamedevs, maybe you higher the best to make new content for the game, and you get free money, a lot more than it takes to keep the servers online.

Re:If you can't beat us, let us join you. (2)

xarragon (944172) | about 6 months ago | (#46887295)

Very well written entry on the topic. I agree on almost every single point you have made, esp. the "control fuckery" part. From my experience modern games are even less effective at keeping cheaters away than games made 10 years agoe. Tools like PunkBuster allowed you to vote out players even without the presence of an admin, perfect for servers without constant monitoring. The weird thing is that when I have asked more recent players about these features, it scares them; "I do not want to vote anyone out of the server!".

Re:If you can't beat us, let us join you. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46888233)

tl;dr, you're a hacking faggot.

Re:If you can't beat us, let us join you. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46888393)

Funny, just like the rest of the hacking shitbags you make some illogical reason to justify being a complete douche. So much pride for figuring out how distort someone else creation. Hopefully you get rectal cancer form sitting on your fat ass.

I've worked on countering these type of cheats (1)

Coditor (2849497) | about 6 months ago | (#46886451)

and it's very hard. We had good success not in stopping a commercial cheat system directly, but identifying the cheaters correctly. Our game was small enough that by making the cheat developer work too much they eventually decided it wasn't worth the money they spent on development. Most big online game companies don't care enough to even bother doing anything, other than maybe buying some commercial product that's easily bypassed. They make enough money up front that pissing off some customers isn't important. The funny thing is that people spent more on the cheat product than on the game.

Re:I've worked on countering these type of cheats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46886989)

The funny thing is that people spent more on the cheat product than on the game.

People want to show off for other people espicially in competitive environment. And for some of us the ways of "showing off" are not limited to legit options and it's not rewarding enough of owning the actual platform itself. I guess that's the basic psychology behind it.

Key point it the Value loss for the game owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46886995)

The value of the game and setup is lost at much higher rate than the profit made from cheating,
many games that good fun to play like COD older version was spoiled because of players that was cheating,

Im not saying the life of game is 10+ years, but playing a game 6months or 12 is not uncommon but this
time a lot more short if you keep running into games that lack support to stop cheats.

Circle of trust (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 6 months ago | (#46887091)

I have a solution, at least in part. Have a circle of trust so that:
1. You can only play if you know people in the service (or at least have a few very notable seed individuals which dev's trust)
2. If an individual is reported (and verified) as cheating, have a non-trivial penalty on the individual(s) who are in said friend group
3. If the upstream peer continues to be penalized for their peer's cheating, they can choose to drop their association essentially stopping the other guy from playing (unless they have other upstream peers willing to support them)

The system relies on a person knowing others, which is a hassle in the video gam troll world, but it means there's truely a penalty for not just players, but their peers as well. As a cheat provider, you'd be less likely to target said system, because the cheaters will be soon weeded out of the 'good players' pool

Just a first swipe on the idea, enjoy.

The reality is... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 6 months ago | (#46887585)

... online DRM'd games lead to this naturally. Game devs/pubs brought this on themselves by taking servers out of the control of players hands because of greed. Many people get hacks to get around paying for anything in online DRM'd games. Who'd of thought it, cheats being cheated by the original cheats (game pubs/devs).

My support for AlterIW.Net was to catch/ban cheats (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 6 months ago | (#46887599)

ie: CoD MW2, It's not easy, then you toss in recoil of the weapon and it just becomes a war of words, very hard to prove. We had two people who's function was to judge weapon recoil and only they could ban or bless the player.

For me it was also important to recognize a good player, as my son was banned from just about every server he played on, he's just freaking good. This is an old clip I made proving an accused cheater was really just a good player. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

But just goes to show just how hard it is to nail a cheater. What one thinks is a cheat, is another being very good.

I'm not a cheater, but my style begs to. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 6 months ago | (#46887615)

IDKFA was more than a phrase, it's how I started my games. http://www.gamefaqs.com/ [gamefaqs.com] is my source of faq's and other unknown tricks of a game.

My son brought me into CoD, he's good, and cheat free. I not only set an example by following his lead but I see no sense in cheating in these types of games and honestly I'm one that would benefit from doing so. I'm not a good shooter, if in an engagement I'll almost always lose be in on foot, armor, or aircraft. (were talking CoD or BF3).

I have a lot of BF3 friends and know a few cheat on the sly. Coming over a hill from an obscure direction (jet crashed) when one of my friends picked me off, it was slick and shouldn't of happened. They knew me after the kill and I figure they knew they had been caught, but I said nothing.

Even if I were to turn them in nothing shows they were cheating, they maintain an approvalable battle record.

I say this affirming the fact that some are cheating but not for progression, or any spectacular Rambo stuff. Just doing so in the back ground gaining very little from it.

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