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"...it's just not worth it!"
Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat, right? Sadly the old saying doesn’t always hold true, either in real life or roleplaying games. It seems that every day someone finds a new to exploit a bug, or some other questionable trick that skirts the boundaries of legal gaming. But developers aren’t stupid, and many are taking new measures to crack down on players who try to hack, bot, or otherwise cheat their way to the top.
- EVERQUEST ~ There’s good news for all EverQuest gamers who long to play on a level field -- developers are cracking down on RPG cheaters, and guilty parties are not allowed any second chances. A message from Piestro, the EverQuest Community (forums) Manager, states: “Players who partake in cheating are hereby put on notice: stop now. This isn’t an idle warning. We have quietly invested significant behind the scenes effort into detecting cheaters quickly and accurately. The vast majority of players enjoy the game on a fair and even playing field. Those who gain unfair advantage over others will not be tolerated. You know who you are, we know who you are, and you now have your warning.” A couple of weeks after the warning, Sony Online Entertainment did in fact ban several hundred accounts belonging to RPG cheaters, an act which backed up the message, “Cheating isn’t worth it!”
- RUNESCAPE ~ Developers of the game Runescape raised the fairness bar even higher. After successfully nuking most of the “bot” RPG cheaters and banning offending accounts, courts granted Jagex (the company that created the game) the ability to subpoena personal information of the offending players. They did this because RPG cheaters ruin the gaming experience for others who play by the rules. According to Jagex, the software gives “bot users significant unfair and contractually prohibited advantages over legitimate players.” To their credit, Jagex did offer several warnings, and even filed a suit against Impulse, the bot software, first before requesting player information.
- OTHER GAMES ~ Even in lesser known games like Perpetuum, from Avatar Online, RPG cheaters are a big problem. Some players in the sci-fi indie sandbox exploited a bug allowing them to enjoy ill-gotten gains like equipment, robots, and other commodities! Avatar not only took back the loot but they also perma-banned every last offending account, an act that attests to their zero tolerance for RPG cheaters. Accordding to the game’s blog, they fixed the exploitable mechanism and not only warned that similar offenders would face the utmost severity, but also invited anyone with further information or who felt they had cheated out of their hard-earned wealth to contact them privately.
Sadly, not all cheaters go punished. Earlier this year an article at DiedAgain reported that “cheaters who passed muster in Round 2 of the Nissan GT Academy will automatically move on to Round 3, despite being huge asses.” Why would a game allow RPG cheaters to progress in a major skills contest? Most likely because with a big name like Nissan as the sponsor, big changes to things like the schedule wouldn’t be smiled upon. To their credit, developers did promise to take preventive measures to avoid cheaters from prevailing in future rounds of the competition.
Personally, I like Matt Mihaly’s response to a blurb posted on the PlayNoEvil site a couple of years ago: “In Iron Realms we virtually never ban an existing character/account.Instead, we just turn them into a shrub, leaving them with the ability to do nothing but rustle gently in the wind.” How frustrating! Knowing I could still log in but virtually do nothing would definitely keep me away from the ranks of RPG cheaters.
Have you ever been caught cheating in an RPG? Or anywhere else? Did you ever get by with it? I’d love to hear about your experiences -- and your comments about this article, too. Thanks for reading!