Since the dawn of PC gaming, people have worked endlessly to find new and innovative ways of cheating the system. From editing save files with hex editors to manipulating memory addresses to out-right changing the code of the software itself, people have been cheating their way to victory for decades. Since the dawn of multiplayer gaming, those same cheaters have been mucking things up for everyone. Invulnerability cheats, speed hacks, aimbots, shooting through walls, flying, teleporting, instant reloads and spell-casts, invisibility…these are just a few of the things that people have been doing to ruin the experience for everyone else.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at WHY people cheat, HOW people cheat and what the game developers are doing to try to stop people from cheating.
EDITOR’S NOTE : This feature was intended to be out a long time ago. The delay is because it is seemingly impossible to get gaming companies to talk about the measures they are taking to stop people from griefing, hacking, cheating, etc…It’s not because they want to be all spy-spook about it, either…It’s because they simply don’t want to talk about it. I attempted to engage around a dozen different companies for information about this subject and in every case but ONE, the answer – when I even got one – was usually one or two sentences, along the lines of :
We at [company name removed] take cheating and griefing very seriously and have taken a number of measure to prevent it. We also take any complaints of cheating or griefing very seriously and investigate every instance thoroughly.
Should you require any further information, please see our FAQ located at [address removed]
Of all of the companies I attempted to engage regarding the issue, only Sony Online Entertainment was willing to come forward and talk about the measures they take. Within minutes of emailing them, I had a reply back asking me to sit down with SOE’s president, John Smedley. We had a frank and open discussion about cheaters, cheating and anti-cheating measures and I will talk about that in this article.
I remember encountering my first cheater in a multiplayer game. I was playing the old-school MMO Combat Flight Simulator “Air Warrior” on the GEnie network and an enemy plane (these were all WWII era planes) flew up on me at what seemed like mach 4, then killed me with a single shot. I was astounded that someone had figured out a way to beat the system and appalled that someone would cheat in multiplayer game.
After that came my experiences with Ultima Online, the grandfather of the modern MMO. When I first started playing UO, the game was solid and there was no cheating going on. One day I was attacked by a guy, however, who machine-gunned instant-cast energy bolts at me, killing me before I could even turn to face him. Again, I was appalled that someone would go to the trouble to cheat in a multiplayer game. Why would someone do this? Why would someone consciously go to the effort to cheat, knowing that it would wreck the gameplay experience of other people?
Later, other cheats and hacks and glitches started appearing. People figured out that they could stack paint brushes and use them like stairs to gain access to the top level of other players’ castles and towers and could, from there, get inside and loot their victim’s possessions. They figured out how to modify packets to make every attack hit or every spell fire without fail. They discovered dozens of ways to ruin it for everyone else and every time one hole was plugged, another would open up.
Enter the multiplayer shooter. This seemed like a great idea at the time it happened. Games like Rainbow Six and Call of Duty could be played with or against other people from around the world and a whole new class of entertainment was to open up and show us all a new way to game. Unfortunately this also meant that a whole new class of asshole was about to be born and would spend all of its time making people’s lives miserable.
Over the years, dozens – perhaps hundreds – of multiplayer shooters have hit the market. From World War to Galactic War, throwing knives to energy blades, sniper rifles to plasma cannons, they have been as diverse and prolific as insects in the rain forest. The problem is that every time a new multiplayer first person shooter comes out, the cheats start up. Within seconds of the release of one of these games, the griefers start, within hours people have already figured out how to glitch the software and within days the cheat programs and hacks start showing up.
If you report a griefer, nothing is done about it. If you report a glitch, nothing is done about it and if you report a hack, they MAY do something about it which means that hack won’t work for about 4 minutes but the fix for the hack won’t come out until the next patch, which could be weeks down the road, meaning that the cheaters get to run amok in the meantime and since nothing is done about the griefers, well…the gameplay experience is ruined anyway.
It only takes about 3 seconds to search on youtube and find hundreds of videos of people griefing in games like Modern Warfare. Truly, it’s that fast. I’ll search now and then post the first video I find.
Shockingly, the first video I found was a Machinima video, glorifying griefing. Wow…So I’ll move on the second video I found, because I’m not going to glorify Machinima being a bunch of morons and glorifying griefing.
Be aware, this video has quite a bit of foul language. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.