Rockstars New Hacker Solution – Could It Cause More Damage Than Good?
A recent article on Gamasutra included details on a new method Rockstar have been using to deal with cheaters playing Max Payne 3 online. Instead of smacking them round the face with a well deserved ban hammer, Rockstar have opted to deploy a new technique, hackers against hackers. Players that are discovered using any form of an illegal advantage, such as modded files or exploits, will be thrown to the dogs in a special server group known as “Cheaters Pool”. First time cheaters will be placed here until their case can be reviewed, but if they’re caught doing the dirty again, they’re cast aside like yesterdays paper and banned for good. Although this appears like great news, could it cause more damage than good?
The first thing that came to mine when reading this was Call of Duty Modern Warfare. Through no fault of my own, Punkbuster decided to have issues with me and I was banned from legitimate servers. Having never used a hack in my life, this got on my nerves a bit but I soldiered up and tried the non Punkbuster servers. I was expecting to find at least a few servers that weren’t filled with hackers, but that was naive and stupid as every single server was filled with people using cheats and exploits. I’d already got a few hundred hours tallied up and wasn’t enjoying the game that much anymore but it was still annoying to be playing with blatant cheaters. So what makes Rockstar’s technique any different to the infuriatingly stupid Punkbuster? Well, not much really. The main bulk of the process is automated, and although it could have a 99% success rate in identifying hackers, no automated anti-cheating process is foolproof. So what happens to the innocent gamers that get the shaft? Personally, I’m quite a big fan of Rockstar and any issues I’ve had with games before have been resolved, with the exception of the terrible GTAIV PC port, but that’s a topic for another day. I’m sure they’ll get the innocents back out of the Cheaters Pool at some point, but how long will it take? Hours? Days? Either way, an innocent player that deserves a fair experience has been shafted after paying $60 for a new game. You could argue that a full out ban is just as bad as it stops them playing full stop, but I’m not sure I like this method either.
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