Interesting Strategy: Rockstar Games To Dump Cheaters Into A Game Where They Only Play Other Cheaters

from the trolls-with-trolls dept

Gamers who cheat are an issue that lots of online games have to deal with, though some are much more aggressive than others. In the past, we’ve argued that it’s overkill to ban such players completely, especially when the “cheats” are really just exposing glitches or bugs in the game itself (i.e., fix the damn game, don’t blame the players for your lousy coding). Either way, there’s a legitimate concern that some people are getting an unfair advantage and harming the experience for everyone else. Well, now it appears that Rockstar Games has come up with a solution that’s slightly more elegant than the sledgehammer of a complete ban. Instead, players caught cheating will be quarantined to a version of the game with each other. So, yes, you can keep playing, but only against other players who are cheating as well.

Anyone found to have used hacked saves, modded games, or other exploits to gain an unfair advantage in Max Payne 3 Multiplayer, or to circumvent the leaderboards will be quarantined from all other players into a “Cheaters Pool”, where they’ll only be able to compete in multiplayer matches with other confirmed miscreants. In the event we decide to absolve any of these cheaters for their past transgressions they may re-enter play with the general public, however a second offense will result in their indefinite banishment. In either case, we will be removing invalid leaderboard entries to ensure that the players at the top of the charts have earned their spots fairly.

I am a little curious about the appeals process (it would be awesome if they built an in-game courtroom…), but overall, the solution seems a lot more sensible than outright bans. While some are wondering if some players may prefer this “Cheaters Pool,” I don’t see how that’s a problem. It basically allows Rockstar to offer two different versions of the game, in which the skills required are slightly different.

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Companies: rockstar games

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Comments on “Interesting Strategy: Rockstar Games To Dump Cheaters Into A Game Where They Only Play Other Cheaters”

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Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style says:

Re: Re: Re:

Engadget used to do the same thing before the change to Disqus. I much preferred it. The more insightful/important comments were upvoted and thus much easier to find and see, the fanboy/trolling comments were hidden on the last few pages. Kept the important discussions from being side railed by the same handful of idiots posting under different names and enabled those of us with an interest in the article to be spared such silliness. I rather miss those days.

Anonymous Coward says:

especially when the “cheats” are really just exposing glitches or bugs in the game itself (i.e., fix the damn game, don’t blame the players for your lousy coding)

Sorry, have to pick you up on that statement.. But you can’t just blame the coders for a lot of the cheats going around.. I know you’re talking about cheaters that exploit bugs in the programming to give themselves an advantage, however, there’s a lot more to cheating than just that in modern MMO’s…

There’s also server side and client side hacks, and while server side hacks are relatively easy to pick up on, modified packets and the like, client side hacks are not.. For instance, hacking the client to remove or add certain graphical features by switching values in the client.. Relatively easy to do nowadays but damn hard for the client to pick up on as a hack…

Just saying 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Most cheats; aimbots, wall hacks, and such are not cheats in the game. They are exploits on the Direct X API. Which is all Microsoft. Whenever developers release fixes for cheats they are really just trying to patch around DX problems.

Its a losing battle because as long as the hooks into DX are known, the game isn’t a black box that magically plays games, it allows cheaters to intercept data at the API level and inject data back into the game.

I really wish people would stop blaming developers for game cheats when it falls firmly on Microsoft being too lazy to work to secure the pipeline that only they have full control over.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:


Pretty sure anyone who does cheat won’t write a paper on cheating so that it can be cited.

Furthermore, even if an API would be secured there is no question that someone will always find a way around the security.

Game developers have a better thing to do than playing a game of “whack the mole” … with appropriate citations. Therefore, a game of “whack the mole that cited” … but then the cheaters would, possibly, “whack the mole” – but the original mole and not the one citing.

^Does the above make sense?

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:Aim-Bots

Direct-X is a GRAPHICS and audio calling API. It calls in the software to pull in textures and polygons and in some cases sounds. A wall hack is a simple change in polygons and nothing more. Aim bots are coded into the game by hackers and aren’t even called through the API. And developers don’t intentionally make wall hacks. Hackers do. It’s up to the programmers and developers to code a game to
Make sure everything matches up online.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is probably the biggest advantage. Instead of shoving cheaters completely out of the system, Rockstar is shoving them somewhere where they can be observed and what they do can be used to patch the exploits. Sort of like free quality testing.

The same approach can be used for a lot of real world problems. Bring something into the light, regulate it, and observe it, instead of shoving it into the underground where no one can touch it. Drug prohibition, prostitution, etc.

Kurata says:

This very much reminds me of the Tool-Assisted speedrun case in the past of Super Mario bros 3.

At start, a player had shown a speedrun of Super Mario Bros 3 which was just perfect, no wasted jumps and such. Many people admired the player for his dedication to the game and for his prowess.
Of course as you now expect, it turns out the speedrun was done using tools allowing to go back in time in the game, to slow down the game and so on, to correct mistakes.
This sparked an outrage of watchers, but afterward, it also created a new category altogether of speedruns : The tool-Assisted speedrun which shows a perfect play to which you can look up to and attempt to reproduce yourself as close as people, eventually showing new tricks you could use in your own speedruns of videogames.

What RockStar is doing looks quite alike to that : creating a new category that some might enjoy, while others may not, and show something to look up to : either ways of finding exploits, ways to correct them, or maybe even a new market to catter to.

G Thompson (profile) says:

This sounds very interesting and is brilliant thinking “outside of the box” which Rockstar is known for.

Though a suggestion.

There should be an ability for players who don’t cheat to observe invisibly the cheating players so we too can see the nuances that show up (make it easier to spot those that are cheating elsewhere then.. BF3 anyone???)

Also there needs to be a way for non cheating players to join (if only for a limited time..say under a reward system) the cheaters game as an invulnerable godlike enity to bring wrath and ruin down on them all.. Muwahahahahahaha NOOBS beware!

JJ (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This isn’t really “outside the box.” Valve has been doing this for years with their games (Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, etc.) If you cheat, you’re banned from playing on any server that has the “anti-cheat” flag set, which is most of them… so you’re stuck playing on a few servers mostly populated with other cheaters.

The only difference I can see is that, in Valve’s system, non-cheaters are allowed to play with cheaters, if they want… you can even activate cheats, play on the the cheat-enabled servers, then disable the cheats and go back to the main servers again, because you only get banned for cheating on an anti-cheat server.

– Josh

Anonymous Coward says:

Heck, if it were up to me I’d throw the cheaters’ pool open to opt-in play, and not count any ‘cheating’ done in that pool when considering whether someone has a clean record to continue using the main pool; it seems perfectly legitimate for the same person to want to play in each environment according to their respective rules.

I do have to press the ‘fix your games’ sentiment that some have questioned; I’ve spent a substantial number of years in a major Japanese MMO, where there was a troubling tendency for the company in question to ignore a flaw in their system for a long while, get to the point where significant numbers of players were taking advantage of it, without actually saying anything consistent on the matter, and then finally retroactively decide due to sufficient vocal complaining from some players that, oh, yes, this *is* cheating all of a sudden, and out comes the ban-hammer (and the long-overdue patch).

Not all issues can be solved trivially. That doesn’t excuse not really trying to solve issues at all, or deferring policy decisions so long people infer permission from your silence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ant, that was a pointless and childish response. Not everyone cares about creative intent or how you or anyone else thinks something is ‘meant’ to be. Your line of reasoning could just as easily condemn self-imposed challenges as being just as removed from creators’ intent in gameplay as cheating. (And self-imposed challenges face enough of a headwind from min-maxers in cooperative play without pointless and unjustified rants on how the game is ‘supposed to be’)

trilobug says:

It sounds like a good idea in theory, but I find moves like this end up splitting the community, and thins the available lot to legit players. It’s not like it hasn’t been tried before. Similar to DRM those that cheat are going to anyway – I rather quit from a bunch a games for cheating than have no one to play with. However, this is Rockstar and they will probably have enough people playing so it isn’t a problem.

Wally (profile) says:

Valve and other things

“Instead, players caught cheating will be quarantined to a version of the game with each other.”

First I would simply like to say this is an excellent idea. This should probably only apply to those who use trainers online, not for single players.

As for the trolls, there are three types:
1. Group one doesnt know anything and act like they do.
2. Group two will mess with you, but only to get you to lol with them.
3 Group three will mess with you to know end, bully you to oblivion, never stop harassing new people, and are extremely narcissistic.

1. Group One can be diffused quickly and reasonably by users.
2. Group Two are the clowns and are generally helpful if you ask them for assistance
3. Group three fits into the category equivalent of being an outright bully ruining things for everyone. It is sort of funny at first, then this category goes after anyone who tries to shut them up when a lot of people start complaining. They listen to nobody unless somebody is an admin, and as soon as the admin is gone, they continue.

Now, that being said, people are going to scoff and say “Get over it, it’s the Internet.” Those people tend to forget that the Internet was made for free exchange of ideas. It is wise of Rockstar Games to do this because trolls (of category three at least) ruin communities and the game experience of new customers. I’m glad to see someone is taking action and fighting back at bullies in some way.

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