Thoughts on Cheating in Multiplayer Games
Posted on 23rd Aug 2010 at 14:16 by Joe Martin with 98 comments
Still, one of the few multiplayer games to successfully capture my attention has been the Modern Warfare games, which ensnared me with their speed and slow dribble of achievements and new weapon unlocks. I’ve been known to dabble in Left 4 Dead and various Source mods, like Plan of Attack and The Hidden, but MW2 multiplayer is what I tend to play when I want to shoot a real person, generally.
And yesterday, I had my first definite run in with a cheater.
To some of you the surprising part will obviously be that it’s taken me this long to have a run-in with a cheater – but, again, I don’t play MP that much. And anyway, maybe I have had encounters with cheaters before and I just didn’t know it; it’s not exactly rare to hear cries of ‘HaX!’ ring through a server, not for me to get killed by players who can predict my every move.
The surprising thing to me though was the boldness of this player, who confirmed that he was cheating when accused of cheating by another player. He seemed proud of the fact. It boggled my mind.
“So what?” He declared, “Everyone does.”
No, I informed him (using language I can’t quote verbatim here), they don’t. Then I called him a loser and quit the server. Some would call that a rage quit, but it was more an acknowledgement of futility than an act of anger. I didn’t quit because I was angry at him; it was because there was no point playing in that match any more. It would be more fun to go back to the singleplayer.
This gun shoots homing lightning rockets coated in anti-matter lava, automatically
It honestly baffles me why anyone would want to cheat in a multiplayer game like that, not least of all because Valve’s VAC system means you're putting your Steam account at risk with every hack. In a singleplayer game cheats can be useful and occasionally make sense – using God Mode to get past a troublesome battle you’ve been stuck on, for example. Or for allowing you to breeze through the incredibly repetitive last third of Doom 3.
In multiplayer games though, there’s none of that. There’s no goal other than the fighting and if you cheat you’re effectively undermining even that. You can reach the top of leaderboard, but even you have to recognise that it’s a hollow, pointless victory, right?
There are a few circumstance I can see multiplayer cheats being fun or useful, but only really on servers where the whole point is to either grind for achievements or to try something new. One of the only matches of Counter-Strike I ever enjoyed was one where everyone had cheats on and spent the game making human pyramids or towers – but that’s still fairly rare to see. Most people play a game to play a game. If you’re using cheats to play a standard deathmatch then you’re just going to end up going through the motions and hating the game, surely?
Honestly, what’s the point?