Monday, October 18, 2010

Cheating in Online Multiplayer

I'm going to talk more in-depth about one of my biggest problems with online gaming: cheaters. In this post, I'll be using Call of Duty 4 as a prime example, since that's where I see this bullshit the most. I have the Xbox 360 version, so Microsoft is supposed to be able to detect whether or not someone is hacking and cheating automatically. However, there are still quite a few who are undetectable (and if you want proof that people are indeed cheating, look at the leaderboards, particularly the kill ratings), and usually try to hide their cheating ways by trying to play legitimately, but they usually still do little things that give it away. Playing on Hardcore can render a couple of the cheats useless, but many still work well.

For instance, there is a name display hack, which always displays the names of everyone, so they can not only tell who's on their team, but they can even see the names through walls, and if they have deep impact on (they likely do if they're using this hack), then they can easily shoot your through the wall. Now, here's the problem. Just because they shoot you through the wall does not mean they know you're there. They may have gotten lucky, since there may have been a person in front of the wall they were trying to shoot at. Otherwise, you can tell someone's hacking if no one is around that area, or if they only shoot one or two bullets and manage to hit kill you. Hell, that's a general rule of thumb even if there is no wall: if someone only shoots a bullet or two, particularly from a sub-machine gun more than halfway across the map, and it hits you and kills you, that person is very likely cheating.

Either that or they make themselves seem legitimate by coming around to get you, so they're in plain sight when they see you to seem legit. Sometimes they are, like if there is a UAV (radar) activated, but half of the time I've had that happen to me, it wasn't even on. In fact, I remember a time when I was hiding in a building for a bit, shooting someone out a window (somebody else was in there with me at the time). After I kill that person, I move away from the window a few feet and sit for a moment to see if anyone will come through the door, and sure enough, after about fifteen seconds, a guy far away pops up from behind a corner, immediately shoots a rocket launcher through the doorway (not even enough time to aim), and hits me with a direct hit. And there was no UAV at the time, so there was no other way for him to know I was right there, so it would've been dumb for him to waste a rocket on nothing if nothing were there. It's too hard for me to believe that was based on luck or skill, mostly because you don't just go shooting rockets at random because that's a bad strategy, since you can only have two shots with it, until you die and respawn, and the guy only died a couple of times during the game. And got a kill score higher than thirty.

Which reminds me of another thing that should tip you off on who's cheating and who isn't. If there is someone who is consistently never or rarely dying and getting a shitload of kills every single match/map (and there's usually one of those mother fuckers every game), there's a good chance that person's cheating, but that depends on how that person is playing. If they're one of those run and gun types, then they're probably cheating, because in Call of Duty 4, doing that will typically get you killed often. If they're sniping people out from a secluded location, particularly one that takes time to get to (which makes me wonder why they don't die anyway, since they usually have to be wide open to get to those places most of the time), it's kind of believable, but still makes it not much fun to play if some asshole keeps sniping you out every minute or two (by the way, sniping like that takes little skill, and if anything, shows a lack of it, despite the large scores attained).

But beware of reporting these people. If you do it enough, and it turns out they're not cheating (somehow), then you could be the one who ends up banned. Some of these people are either just being legally cheap, or are insanely good (i.e. a person who needs to do something else with his time, even if that means playing a completely different game and not just, you know, switching to Modern Warfare 2). So if you're thinking someone is cheating, but aren't completely sure about it, just give them a bad rating. Otherwise, if you've seen enough proof, such as another person not dying after several hits in Hardcore mode (if I remember correctly, Juggernaut only helps in Normal mode, and even if it worked in Hardcore, it wouldn't help you last more than a couple of hits), or if someone one-hit kills you in Normal mode (no head shot) all the way across the map with a pistol literally almost immediately after being killed by you, then it probably wouldn't hurt to report them.

And of course, I am certainly not against cheating in video games. Sometimes doing so extends the life of your game with neato codes that you can use. And you want to make your purchase worthwhile, so if you can't beat a game, you're not getting the full experience. That's another instance where cheating can save the day, and it's nothing to be ashamed of if you ever have to do it, since there are quite a few games out there that are otherwise good, but are just too fucking hard. However, the one instance where I can easily make an exception is in multiplayer games, particularly online. It just goes to show either a person's lack of skill or inconsideration for the concept of having fun whenever someone feels the need to use cheats and hacks online. If there is one thing that makes me think a person is less of a gamer for doing something, that's it right there: the need to cheat in multiplayer, for a person who otherwise can't play worth shit in the game. On second thought, what I think is worse is if someone is really good already and still feels the need to cheat in multiplayer. Either way, it's stupid.

P.S. Not that I care much for winning or competition compared to having fun, but for those who do, it's because of bull shit like this that, for a game style that I otherwise usually do at least decent at, I usually get low scores in this game. If you normally do well in games like this, like I do, and expect to do well, think again.

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