Cheating online: how, why, and stopping them. (peppinion)

Cheating online: how, why, and stopping them. (peppinion)


I have no love for cheaters in multiplayer
games. It absolutely ruins the experience of playing
online and makes it very frustrating. Any cheating takes the competition out of
games like Counter Strike or StarCraft. It also can imbalance a game and turn it into
a place only cheaters congregate. Let’s jump into some specific game examples
of cheating and how it affected the game. You know some players are not purposefully
trying to hack or exploit the game but might come across a database bug that they take
advantage of. In Habitat, released in 1985 by Lucasfilm
games, a small group of players found such a bug. They discovered that an in game merchant had
items at a lower price than the a different merchant around the corner was buying the
items for. For hours the players ran back and forth between
the seller and the buyer amassing hundreds of thousands of in game currency. When questioned the players said, “We got
it fair and square! And we’re not going to tell you how!” Of course the players knew they did not get
the currency in a legitimate way. They were initially blinded by their greed
of getting the gold and having more than anyone else on the server. Eventually the players admitted their actions
and the bug was fixed. While Habitat was able to avoid an economic
apocalypse, Diablo 2 was not so lucky. Item duplication absolutely ravaged the market. Basically, cheaters found ways to create multiple
of the same item from just one real item. It was so lucrative sellers were duping items
and selling them on eBay. As soon as one duping method was patched the
sellers would offer a financial reward for another. It wasn’t always used for financial reward
and was so prevalent that many players had hacked items without even realizing it! Blizzard had a difficult time dealing with
the problem because it couldn’t just remove all the items. This would leave many players without any
items at all. Cheating begets more cheaters as people are
more likely to cheat if they think everyone is doing it. That creates the market for buying and selling
the items. There would be no point for the hackers to
sell the items on eBay if no one was buying them. If it’s so extreme many players will consider
it the way the game is played, the new normal. If everyone else is doing it, why not? Blizzard didn’t handle the problem swiftly,
as stated before, and only later banned accounts. The profits were so high for the scammers
that they just bought new copies of the game. There wasn’t a true punishment for the cheating
which allowed it to continue for so long. Halo 2 had a different programming error that
involved the networking of the game. To allow for some network lag, Halo 2 was
very lenient when a player would lose connection. This allowed players to use their modem’s
standby button to artificially create network lag. The game thought the player was disconnected
and was waiting for them to reconnect. In this state other players would lose control
but the host would keep track of them. After the standby was released players would
teleport and have full control back to their position. During this time the host had free reign to
do whatever they wanted to win the game. The exploit became known as standbying. Bungie eventually solved this by banning players
that went into standby too often. Since this cheating wasn’t for profit the
bans generally cleaned up the problem quickly. I think software based cheating is a lot more
well known. Altering the data that gets sent between the
player and the server includes cheats such as aimbots and wall hacks. A programmer has reverse engineered what data
the server is sending or looking for. This can give the game client more information
than it should have or aim their gun right at other players. It can also send misinformation to the server
that a player has killed another player when they actually have not. The only reason for these cheats is to give
the player a clear advantage and ruining others experiences. For viewers who do not know an aimbot is a
program that runs in the background and with a single key press moves your cursor right
onto an enemy. This can be setup to fire the gun as well. Most people try and hide this cheating by
aiming most of the way themselves but making sure they hit the target with the cheat. A wall hack allows the player to see through
walls. Just as a map hack would allow the player
to see the entire map, even the parts they were not supposed to. This has actually affected the Counter Strike:
Global Offensive professional scene. With online tournaments players think they
can get away with cheating and have actually been banned live on stream. They’re already great at the game so a little
aim assist might go unnoticed. This can really ruin a competitive scene. These kinds of cheats are usually against
a game’s agreement but of course that doesn’t stop players from wanting to use them. In fact most of the players who use these
cheats are not the ones who created it. Even if game companies ban the players who
use the cheats and patch the cheat a programmer will find a new way. Software is very complicated and it’s very
difficult to stop cheating. Especially since so many players want to get
an edge over the competition. One method to stop cheating is to encrypt
the information between the game client and the server. IT GlobalSecure was doing just that with SecurePlay. Even if a cheater could decrypt the data it
would be very difficult to re-encrypt and send it back to the server. This system is designed to prevent cheating
rather than banning them. If someone was cheating it made the game unplayable
which is different than a ban since you can’t just buy a new copy of the game. You might remember using a different anti-cheating
software between 2004 and 2006 called Cheating-Death. Cheating-Death ran between the game client
and the server, unknown to the player, and monitored for the use of cheats. For example if you could not “see” a player
because they were behind a wall Cheating-Death would move the player’s location behind
you. If you were using a wallhack you still would
not be able to see the player. Games that relied on Cheating-Death let players
cheat but made the cheats seem ineffective, hopefully frustrating the cheater into giving
up. Cheating-Death would also detect other cheats
and simply disconnect the player. No records were kept of cheaters and they
were not directly punished as cheaters. PunkBuster, which is still in use today, takes
a very direct and strong approach against cheaters, labeling them as punks. Like an antivirus PunkBuster scans the players
memory for well-known hacks and cheats. If something is found they are banned from
the game and it is announced to all players. PunkBuster keeps track of cheaters with a
GUID, a special identification key that is generated from their hardware. PunkBuster has never released exactly what
hardware this id is being created from. There is a Master Ban Index of cheaters which
can be used to keep known cheaters out of your game. This strong approach to cheaters calls them
out, labels them, and prevents them from playing other games that use PunkBuster. This software really defined the rules around
cheating. That it’s harmful and disruptive, and should
be handled with a swift ban. The system is not perfect since it scans everything
in memory. Anything in memory that looks like a cheat,
even if someone copy pastes something to a different program you could be banned. Quick shoutout to Valve Anti Cheat or VAC. It’s also still in use today banning people
from mostly Valve’s games, Counter Strike, Half Life, and Team Fortress 2. There’s not much information about it and
the way it works is very secretive as to not give cheaters any help to defeat it. Pokémon Go is handling cheaters by not banning
them but showing them low level pokemon they don’t really want to catch. The server figures out the person is botting
and starts sending them specific data to change their gameplay experience. Either the cheater will not notice and continue
in their own little world not ruining the game for others or they will notice and become
discouraged from cheating. In my opinion this is the best way to handle
cheaters. While public shaming does have it’s place
it’s so much better to leave them to cheat in their own little world. Or if a game can create more annoyances that
drive the cheater to stop playing altogether. Encryption is also a great method but unfortunately
SecurePlay and Cheating-Death are no longer available. A lot of companies try and write their own
anti-cheating software but it is not the most effective method because it’s usually not
the focus of development. An example of failed cheat detection is Grand
Theft Auto. Rockstar has implemented their own cheat detection
that is notorious for not catching anybody. GTA4 had a serious problem with cheating and
that idea carried over to GTA5, even if it wasn’t true. This drives legitimate players away or makes
them turn to cheats as well. Rockstar has tried to combat this by causing
illegal cars to explode once the player gets into them. They might succeed but the game’s image
is already tainted. If cheating is so frowned upon and leads to
permanent bans why do people still do it? A lot of the reasons from my part 1 video
still apply. Many gamers enjoy long games but don’t have
the amount of time it takes to complete them. Or maybe their friends are able to invest
more time and they want to keep up. Buying gold in an MMO can save time. Buying a leveled account can save even more
though. Blizzard removed the need to buy gold through
illegal means by allowing purchasable WoW tokens that essentially trade real money for
in game gold. Those leveled accounts while not specifically
cheating for the buyer were probably created by speed hacks and botting. Playing god can still be fun and now it has
the added benefit of ruining the game for others. As you walk onto the battlefield and with
a single button press everyone around you dies. You’re not only above everyone else no matter
the skill level but you can now see their cries of “hacker.” One Canadian gamer was doing just that. To vent from his shitty day job he was spending
$25 a month on cheats for Battlefield 3. Eventually he was banned but just bought more
legitimate and pirated game keys to fuel his addiction to cheating. He’s not alone either, there is an entire
subculture around cheating like this. I figure if there’s a business around it,
there must be enough people buying them. I’ve touched on this a little earlier but
on some level these cheaters are intentionally trying to make the game less enjoyable or
cause emotional distress for others. Typically this behavior is labeled as griefing
but both experience the same enjoyment out of creating a negative environment. The goal is often to annoy as many players
as possible to gain attention. If you’ve played minecraft then you’ll
probably know. You’re building this nice house and someone
comes over and burns the whole thing to the ground just to antagonize you. If you haven’t played Minecraft think of
it this way. You’re on the beach building your sandcastle
with friends, you’re having fun. Someone comes over and kicks your sandcastle
down, right into your face. Pretty rude and insulting right? But in the digital world there is no consequences,
the griefer can just leave the server never to be heard from again. Cheaters experience the same enjoyment out
of making someone feel inept and rage quit. The ability for humans to rationalize their
behavior is impressive and with cheating it’s no different. A lot of players can feel as if everyone else
is cheating and they are a victim. They turn to cheating as a way to even the
odds. You’re no longer getting one over on your
opponent, just reinstating equality. If the cheater starts getting rewarded or
praise they are more likely to continue to cheat. A well fought competitive online match can
be one of the most exciting game play experiences and cheating ruins that. For me it’s disappointing the lengths some
people go to for cheating, spending money on them is just ridiculous. To the cheaters find a new game to play, one
that has less of a time requirement or a single player game you can cheat in. If instead you find yourself in a game with
a cheater just know it’s not directed at you and don’t give in to the rage, that’s
what they want. You know what’s up, hit that subscribe for
more videos like this. Thanks for watching.

3 thoughts on “Cheating online: how, why, and stopping them. (peppinion)

  1. Speaking of GTA V, I've played the online mode twice, both times there were "hackers" there.

    The first time someone spawned a lot of cash randomly around the streets, not so bad. Except it can get YOU banned if you use it.

    Second time someone turned my characters head into a giant wheel, it transferred over to singleplayer as well forcing me to restart the game, annoying but harmless.

  2. I'm so sick of it now I just play 1 player, it's pointless they spend 60 quid on a game to then have invisible and invisible god hack on. They might as well watch someone else on YouTube getting a Moab and pretend it's them and save themselves 60 quid.

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