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Valve to punish TF2 cheaters, reward others

Valve to punish TF2 cheaters, reward others

Valve has announced plans to punish item harvesters in TF2 and reward honest players with exclusive halo items.

Valve has done a fair bit of expanding and tinkering with Team Fortress 2 since it was first released, with the latest free add-on being the addition of in-game hats and items that you can pick up from randomly spawning item drops. Unfortunately, as with all systems, some players are now exploiting the system and using third-party apps to harvest items.

Well, says Valve, that stops now.

Valve has today announced that TF2 gamers who make use of the various third-party idling applications to collect unlockables will be stripped of all their collected in-game items. Apparently only about five percent of TF2 gamers do such a dishonest thing, but soon they'll be a very angry five percent.

Remaining players however will be compensated for coping in the face of these cheaters with a new and exclusive hat that'll only be handed out to honest players - and it looks like a halo too!

The whole system is part of Valve's renewed zero-tolerance policy towards the use of external applications, says Valve's Erik Johnson.

Oddly though, not everyone in the Valve community is happy about it and groups like HealersAgainstHalos have popped out, with medics refusing to heal anyone wearing a halo until Valve issues an apology to cheaters. Over-sensitive atheists are also moaning at Valve for filling the game with Christian propaganda.

The new halo headwear will be called 'The Cheater's Lament' and will be added to the inventory of honest players very shortly - so feel free to post pictures of your headwear in the forums. Or just let us know what you think.

94 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
robyholmes 3rd September 2009, 12:49 Quote
Got it late last night, works on every class. The people that didn't cheat also get higher chance of getting more hats now too, but weather you need to wear the halo I don't no. I think valve did the right thing here.
BenK 3rd September 2009, 12:52 Quote
HealersAgainstHalos. Inspired :D
iwog 3rd September 2009, 12:55 Quote
I want a halo, it will look spiffy on a spy as he backstabs you and then looks all innocent with it above his head.

I'm pretty sure using any automated software in any Valve game is a violation of the EULA so I'm glad Valve have come down heavy on the cheaters and all those QQing in the HAH group dont have a leg to stand on.
steveo_mcg 3rd September 2009, 12:58 Quote
I've still to get a hat, poor me, though i hadn't even heard of the cheat to get them till now.

Some people will get upset at any thing, for proof go hang round the steam forums.
AshT 3rd September 2009, 12:59 Quote
I would be happy with at least 1 hat drop at some point, I've played it loads and got nowt ...
DragunovHUN 3rd September 2009, 13:00 Quote
"until Valve issues an apology to cheaters"

WTF?
TomD22 3rd September 2009, 13:03 Quote
"Cheaters" is pushing it a bit far.

Valve introduced some new items (hats) which drop randomly while you are playing and are incredibly rare (like, so incredibly rare you need to play the game on average for about 200-300 hours per hat drop).

So what a lot of players who rather wanted some hats figured was, if you get hats randomly then you can increase your chances to a slightly more reasonable level (i.e. you're likely to get a hat after a couple of weeks, rather than months) if you just hop on a server, minimise TF2, and 'idle' there while you get on with other stuff (when you don't actually want to play, obviously).

Then one guy took the obviuos next step and wrote a small program that would connect you to servers where you could idle without actually having to have the full game running and sucking up power/resources on your PC.

Tens of thousands of people used it, for several months, and Valve didn't say a word so everyone pretty much assumed they were OK with it. After all, a lot of players were annoyed at the way you get items (hats), since the random drop rate is so low and doesn't really reward skill or playtime as the class you want the hat for or anything like that, and this was one simple solution for them.

And then suddenly, out of the blue, they turn round all call all of those players 'cheaters' and delete every item they've gotten. Bit extreme really ^^

And it seems a sort of backwards response. I mean, so Valve created an item system that a large proportion of customers dislike so much that they're willing to go to some effort to circumvent it. But rather than taking that as a sign that the item system needs to change, they arbitarily and without warning punish all those players and tell them they've been cheating. It's just not a great way to relate to your players/customers.

Oh well, /essay. I just thought bittech jumping on the 'omfg CHEATERS' idea was a bit of a shame :p
[USRF]Obiwan 3rd September 2009, 13:16 Quote
TomD22 that was a good piece you wrote!
NickCPC 3rd September 2009, 13:19 Quote
I am made livid by these developments. There was NO official stance on the use of idling programs by Valve previous to this update last night. The point is all the idler program did was to act as a server overnight while you were sleeping or out at work, and you might come back and find you had a hat. It didn't circumvent the drop system at all - it didn't give you any extra chance of attaining a hat, merely simulated you spectating on a random server. It was NO different to setting up a local server on your PC and joining spec on there. I am furious with Valve for this, I mean they gave no prior warnings about no using an idler program and then suddenly their stance changes with brutal force.

If Valve had set up a decent drop system then there would have been no need anyway for an idler program - the community responded to a problem with Valve's implementation. Furthermore, if you look at it from an economic point of view it is more taxing on your system to run a server and idle on it, than it was to simply run the idle program. Several people I know who used to run the idle program now are basically specing on local servers and operating that way. Also, I think there were more people who simply didn't know about the idler program - if they had done I reckon they would have used it! So people who are being pompous and wearing their hats with "dignity" deserve to not be healed, I certainly won't be helping them. In fact, if I'm determined to pick on people on the opposing team wearing the halos.

As has been mentioned on the steam forums - it's like driving along a road with no speed limit, then a speed limit being imposed and ticketing everyone who previously had sped over the new limit. It's disgusting and anyone who looks at the situation objectively (i.e. it didn't circumvent the drop system at all, and players who were basically helping to point out to Valve that the drop system was crap) are now being punished. I almost feel like throwing in the proverbial hat and returning the game and asking for a refund if this is how the community is being treated.
Psy-UK 3rd September 2009, 13:21 Quote
Cheating? It was hardly any different then idling in a server other than the fact that you didn't have to run the actual game. The droprate remained the same so non-idlers and idlers had the exact same chance of getting items.
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 13:27 Quote
I agree with TomD22 and NickCPC, it's a very poorly implemented policy and punishment. Also, consider that even though of the total owners of the orange box only 4.5% used the idle server, of regular players (i.e. once a week) it is closer to 1 in 3. Many saw it much like how you can get customisable skins or whatever. Doesn't improve in game performance at all, just makes it a bit more efficient.

Ultimately though the real failing is the random drop system, it has drawn heavy criticism because there is this awesome content (hats) that people want, but it's unlikely they will ever get. That's why the idle server came about. The owner of the idle server even said publicly many times if Valve want him to stop he will, but Valve never once issued a formal statement saying it's bad or it's good.

The fallout now though is the community is divided and the atmosphere in games is a bit icy. I hope this will blow over soon, but there are servers banning you if you have / don't have a halo, medics healing if you have / don't have a halo, all sorts. Valve really should be focusing on nurturing the community, not antagonising it and creating rifts and arguments.
DragunovHUN 3rd September 2009, 13:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
I almost feel like throwing in the proverbial hat and returning the game and asking for a refund if this is how the community is being treated.

That's exactly the dishonest kind of thing a cheater would do. Taking a Steam game back to the store after you've already used it? That's practically scamming the store, as that copy of the game is now tied to your Steam account.
Abhorsen 3rd September 2009, 13:29 Quote
Punishing those who did it prior to the warning is wrong, punishing those who do it since the announcement is fine.

More hats please!
ElZog 3rd September 2009, 13:34 Quote
I think the halos are great, they make very nice headshot targets for snipers. Also, since I didn't use the idle program and only play infrequently, until today I had received zero hats so getting one that goes on all classes is a pleasant surprise.

Getting to read people all over the internet up in arms and wailing about purely cosmetic items is just icing on the cake.
AshT 3rd September 2009, 13:35 Quote
TomD22 - I'm pretty sure the idea that 3rd party hat grinding tools were cheats came directly from Valve, so to say Bit Tech were jumping on the bandwagon sounds slightly ... unfair? They are merely telling the story.

I think its also fair to say we all agree in a multiplayer environment the playing field should be equal amongst all that take part?
NickCPC 3rd September 2009, 13:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
That's exactly the dishonest kind of thing a cheater would do. Taking a Steam game back to the store after you've already used it? That's practically scamming the store, as that copy of the game is now tied to your Steam account.

I said "I almost feel like" - I didn't say I will do it. The point was that I am deeply unhappy with how I've been labelled a "cheater" for an action which is far from using an aimbot or speed or wallhack. If you are implying that idling is equivalent to those actions you shouldn't be gaming. Besides, I've bought a product and basically I'm unhappy with it, you go to any other service industry and you'll get a refund, why shouldn't you be allowed to complain with games!?
CardJoe 3rd September 2009, 13:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElZog
I think the halos are great, they make very nice headshot targets for snipers. Also, since I didn't use the idle program and only play infrequently, until today I had received zero hats so getting one that goes on all classes is a pleasant surprise.

Getting to read people all over the internet up in arms and wailing about purely cosmetic items is just icing on the cake.

Win.
AshT 3rd September 2009, 13:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
That's exactly the dishonest kind of thing a cheater would do. Taking a Steam game back to the store after you've already used it? That's practically scamming the store, as that copy of the game is now tied to your Steam account.

I said "I almost feel like" - I didn't say I will do it. The point was that I am deeply unhappy with how I've been labelled a "cheater" for an action which is far from using an aimbot or speed or wallhack. If you are implying that idling is equivalent to those actions you shouldn't be gaming. Besides, I've bought a product and basically I'm unhappy with it, you go to any other service industry and you'll get a refund, why shouldn't you be allowed to complain with games!?

Is it OK for me to sign up to a marathon (which are usually performed for self-gratification by the general populace), and then get someone else to run it for me because I need to sleep?
damienVC 3rd September 2009, 13:44 Quote
Where did the pic of Buddy Christ, armed to the teeth, come from?? That's brilliant - I've got a pic of him as my avatar on FB, but he looks so much better tooled up! Are there any more?

That would be some reward on TF2 - being able to play as the Son of God. Ezekiel 25:17 springs to mind.....
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 13:46 Quote
AshT - that's obviously giving you a performance advantage though. Valve never said not to do this. That's why everyone is annoyed, they've been punished for something, labelled a cheater, had a strike against their account, all for something that they thought was fine - not hacking but powergaming, just like if you play WoW you might install UI mods to see where ores and herbs are (which actually does give you a performance advantage in a way).

There isn't logic to their action, that's what has people riled up.
CardJoe 3rd September 2009, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by damienVC
Where did the pic of Buddy Christ, armed to the teeth, come from?? That's brilliant - I've got a pic of him as my avatar on FB, but he looks so much better tooled up! Are there any more?

That would be some reward on TF2 - being able to play as the Son of God. Ezekiel 25:17 springs to mind.....

http://dogsounds.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/halo.jpg
TomD22 3rd September 2009, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
TomD22 - I'm pretty sure the idea that 3rd party hat grinding tools were cheats came directly from Valve, so to say Bit Tech were jumping on the bandwagon sounds slightly ... unfair? They are merely telling the story.

I think its also fair to say we all agree in a multiplayer environment the playing field should be equal amongst all that take part?

Well yeah, that's just what I mean about jumping on the bandwaggon. One hopes that rather than just copy+pasting press releases bittech actually puts their own interpretation on news, makes their own informed comments, etc. So exactly, sure the idea comes from Valve - and I was just saying, rather than repeating it blindly bittech could consider some alternative interpretations (not that they're necessarily "right" by the way, but just that they exist.)


And yes, of course a level playing field is important. Though (if you don't play TF2) the hats are just cosmetic items; they don't give any in-game advantages or anything. And anyone was welcome to idle for them or not, play lots or play little, so everyone's chances of getting one was still 'fair' in that sense.
AshT 3rd September 2009, 13:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
AshT - that's obviously giving you a performance advantage though. Valve never said not to do this. That's why everyone is annoyed, they've been punished for something, labelled a cheater, had a strike against their account, all for something that they thought was fine - not hacking but powergaming, just like if you play WoW you might install UI mods to see where ores and herbs are (which actually does give you a performance advantage in a way).

There isn't logic to their action, that's what has people riled up.

WoW Glider was destroyed because it gave people an unfair advantage over those who spent their own time grinding and because the WoW economy was getting ridiculously unbalanced.

Whats different about this and that?

I don't think people are getting strikes against their account ... did you make that bit up or did I miss it in the story?

It's always been the case that 3rd party programs are not to be used alongside Valves games. I'm pretty sure that is in the EULA ... unless someone can quote the bit in the EULA where they say its fine ... ?
bbshammo 3rd September 2009, 13:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomD22
"Cheaters" is pushing it a bit far.

Valve introduced some new items (hats) which drop randomly while you are playing and are incredibly rare (like, so incredibly rare you need to play the game on average for about 200-300 hours per hat drop).

So what a lot of players who rather wanted some hats figured was, if you get hats randomly then you can increase your chances to a slightly more reasonable level (i.e. you're likely to get a hat after a couple of weeks, rather than months) if you just hop on a server, minimise TF2, and 'idle' there while you get on with other stuff (when you don't actually want to play, obviously).

Then one guy took the obviuos next step and wrote a small program that would connect you to servers where you could idle without actually having to have the full game running and sucking up power/resources on your PC.

Tens of thousands of people used it, for several months, and Valve didn't say a word so everyone pretty much assumed they were OK with it. After all, a lot of players were annoyed at the way you get items (hats), since the random drop rate is so low and doesn't really reward skill or playtime as the class you want the hat for or anything like that, and this was one simple solution for them.

And then suddenly, out of the blue, they turn round all call all of those players 'cheaters' and delete every item they've gotten. Bit extreme really ^^

And it seems a sort of backwards response. I mean, so Valve created an item system that a large proportion of customers dislike so much that they're willing to go to some effort to circumvent it. But rather than taking that as a sign that the item system needs to change, they arbitarily and without warning punish all those players and tell them they've been cheating. It's just not a great way to relate to your players/customers.

Oh well, /essay. I just thought bittech jumping on the 'omfg CHEATERS' idea was a bit of a shame :p

No offense, but your response is a good one to highlight as it represents the mindset of the typical Cheat/Griefer.

There are those who just apply a basic degree of principle and sportsmanship to their gaming, and there are those that mindlessly seek to gain any possible advantage to up their score.

Which camp do you fall into, I wonder?

The latter "gamer", I use that term VERY loosely, also tends to also be the one who bitches and cries the loudest when anything changes.

There's only one logical reason why Cheats cheat; they have no oter option to be competitive in-game; simple.

Cheaters, campers, vehicle/weapon hoggers, griefers are all the same as far as I'm concerned. Bourne of the same ilk.

I sometimes just hawk said jokers in-game until they disconnect; nothing worse for them than to have someone in their face like a mirror image no matter where they go...

... Almost a game in itself ;)
AshT 3rd September 2009, 13:58 Quote
Anyways, bored now, I better depart the thread before I go off on one as usual. It's another interesting story to split the readers and give good debate.

I will always be against 3rd party apps because it always offers the user an advantage over those who choose to work towards a goal. And this will be the case whether its a 3rd party app to gain headshots, WoW gold or loot, pretty hats that offer no real advantage other than notoriety and fame for the time you may have put in ... it's all the same to me.

It's all an unfair advantage. Enjoy the rest of your debating ;) lol
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 14:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbshammo
There's only one logical reason why Cheats cheat; they have no oter option to be competitive in-game; simple.

Just an FYI, this doesn't give you a competitive advantage. You can still do the same thing by joining an achievement_idle server.
Floyd 3rd September 2009, 14:02 Quote
I still have yet to get a hat and I play a bit every night just about lol.
Bauul 3rd September 2009, 14:03 Quote
Wait, so this is all about a cosmetic item that adds nothing to the actual gameplay?

So, people get overly competetive about said cosmetic item and find a way other than just playing the game to get one? Valve get fed up with what was supposed to be just a bit of fun, and put a stop to it?

And people are up in arms? Jesus, it's a sad world when someone can rant for half a page about a bleeding hat.
Darth_yoda 3rd September 2009, 14:05 Quote
@Bauul My thoughts exactly
sesterfield 3rd September 2009, 14:06 Quote
I'm getting pretty fed up of receiving items anyway, 10 bonks and no hat?! What's that all about?
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 14:07 Quote
Bauul - one of the things is a lot of players who enjoy the game have been labelled cheaters, and have a strike against their account now, when they didn't realise that they were doing anything wrong because as you say it's just a cosmetic item. Add to this giving a unique item to the other part of the community who didn't use the idle server, and you divide the community and have servers banning people outright for having a halo or not having a halo and loads of moaning on the voice chat. It's really (for the time being) ruined the in game atmosphere.
DraigUK 3rd September 2009, 14:09 Quote
Reminds me of all the WOW players idling in battlegrounds to get free stuff, then wondering why normal players complained about them and wanted them banned.

Wish Blizzard took a stronger stance same as Valve.

Ok, so, the drop rate system might not be good. "Circumventing" it - i.e. cheating your way past it, just to get a hat, is pretty pathetic anyway.

To then complain when Valve stamp their feet on you for doing it is even more pathetic.

Correct action? Don't cheat, complain to Valve to improve the system on forums etc.

And don't make out those "idling" are not gaining over those who play normally. Of course you are...your increasing your chance to get one of these hats by what...let's think...8 hours sleep? +10 hours working day? = 18 hours extra every day?

Now then..replace "does nothing but looks cool hat" with "extra damage weapon" or something.

Not so harmless then is it?

Valve are right to come down hard on cheaters, in my opinion. The harder the better. Wish more companies acted in this way, and more gamers would grow the f*** up and play games in the spirit they were meant to be played and not constantly look for ways to get one over on others by cheating or "circumventing" what the devs feel is right for the game they designed.
clx 3rd September 2009, 14:11 Quote
TomD22 and NickCPC make good points
At no point was the action of idling ever condoned as cheating. The days after the hats were first released there were THOUSANDS of "idle" tagged servers people joined just to stand there and do nothing. The idle program took horrible system Valved drove players to in order to "earn" the elusive hats, and refined it, so that literally 10's of thousands of players could idle away without having to use the underspec'ed home pc's that were flooding the server lists.

Valve drove the user community to idle in some form in order to get the hats they flaunt in updates, the creator of the Idle program worked out that the actual drop rate is something like... every 4 hours 35 mins you get to roll a 84 sided dice, if you get a 1 you get a hat, if not you have to wait another 4 hours 35... (im not sure if this is correct, as some one else did the maths and said it was 0.5% chance every 25 mins)
Valve turned a fun jump in and play game where you were rewarded by skill into a grind fest. Then they punished players who were economical.



Additonal points -

The changes to the EULA where made just after the blog post - there for players who idled were not doing anything against the rules, stop labeling them as cheaters.

robyholmes - the drop rate is increased for everyone, not just halo wearers. re-read the blog post.

Joe Martin - i haven't seen an article this one sided in a LONG time from bit-tech, its quite a shame. maybe a little less negative terms such as "cheaters" "dishonest" "exploit" and more facts might help.
steveo_mcg 3rd September 2009, 14:12 Quote
You were doing stuff you damn well knew you shouldn't have, you've been caught. Do the decent thing take it on the chin put your tail between your legs and accept you've been pwned.

The fact that valve were slow in the smack down shouldn't surprise any one, valve are slow in all things. Its not like this smacking is not with out president, they did the same thing to folk who fiddled the weapons a couple of updates ago.
frontline 3rd September 2009, 14:14 Quote
People talking about returning the game need to read the EULA on all Valve games, You don't 'own' the game, you paid a fee up front for a subscription to access Steam and any additional software, which Valve have the right to withdraw or change at any time.
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 14:17 Quote
The problem is DraigUK is they didn't say it was cheating. The reason people idled was because it was the only way to maximise their chance to get horrendously rare hats especially because there is no trading system.

There have been threads for months petitioning valve to fix the system. Also plenty of threads asking whether idling is ok, never once did someone official say no, until today when they enact a retrospective rule.

I think a better system would be similar in feel to eve's skill system. Every day at midnight it rolls 3 random items (hats would be rarer), and if you log in the next day you get to pick one. This would reward players for playing frequently i.e. once per day, but wouldn't necessitate farming or idling, because you can only get one item per day.

Today, you can still legitimately load up the game and join an achievement_idle server and sit there all day while at work. It was merely people using this particular program that emulated TF2 so you didn't have to have a full screen app open who got targeted (this time ....)
clx 3rd September 2009, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraigUK
Reminds me of all the WOW players idling in battlegrounds to get free stuff, then wondering why normal players complained about them and wanted them banned.

they WERE gaining an advantage, they were gaining items that could be spent on bettering their character, TF2 hats have no value attached
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraigUK

Ok, so, the drop rate system might not be good. "Circumventing" it - i.e. cheating your way past it, just to get a hat, is pretty pathetic anyway.

Correct, the drop rate is "bad" to put it lightly. However, the drop system was never circumvented, and it was never gainst the EULA and there for not cheating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DraigUK

And don't make out those "idling" are not gaining over those who play normally. Of course you are...your increasing your chance to get one of these hats by what...let's think...8 hours sleep? +10 hours working day? = 18 hours extra every day?

Now then..replace "does nothing but looks cool hat" with "extra damage weapon" or something.

Not so harmless then is it?

See my comment above, the hats have no value, and you cant make your argument work just by pretending to add value.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraigUK

Valve are right to come down hard on cheaters, in my opinion. The harder the better. Wish more companies acted in this way, and more gamers would grow the f*** up and play games in the spirit they were meant to be played and not constantly look for ways to get one over on others by cheating or "circumventing" what the devs feel is right for the game they designed

Angry much ? Im guessing you have played a few hours every other night and not got a hat? well same here, i played for many hours every night every weekend until i realised i shouldn't be stooping to the grind Valve wants me to do in order to get a hat.
Then i went and played another game and left TF2 for casual game play.
general22 3rd September 2009, 14:32 Quote
I didn't lose any hats but you know this isn't something that popped up overnight. They could have just said that we frown upon the idle server and we will be taking action in the future against it. But no they decide to let it go for several months as a honeypot style trap so they could get as many people as possible. That's the only explanation for letting it slide for this long.

But that's not really what bugged me, us idlers WERE increasing the number of chances for hats so I think the action that valve took was fair. It's these halo hats that have ruined the game, its basically pitting people without halos against halo wearers. Hopefully this shitstorm dies down soon so I can play some TF2.
CardJoe 3rd September 2009, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Wait, so this is all about a cosmetic item that adds nothing to the actual gameplay?

So, people get overly competetive about said cosmetic item and find a way other than just playing the game to get one? Valve get fed up with what was supposed to be just a bit of fun, and put a stop to it?

And people are up in arms? Jesus, it's a sad world when someone can rant for half a page about a bleeding hat.
DraigUK 3rd September 2009, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by clx


Angry much ? Im guessing you have played a few hours every other night and not got a hat? well same here, i played for many hours every night every weekend until i realised i shouldn't be stooping to the grind Valve wants me to do in order to get a hat.
Then i went and played another game and left TF2 for casual game play.


Actually I play TF2 maybe once a month, if that. I have no interest overly in the game, don't think it is particularly good, it is "ok" now and again for a blast.

I certainly have zero interest in a stupid cosmetic hat, however if I am reading this right, next time I log in I will get some sort of halo?

Maybe I will log in tonight to see.

My interest simply lies with people like you trying to defend actions that are immoral, gaining advantage of normal players, then whining like the cheating tards you are when smacked on.

OVER A COSMETIC, USELESS HAT YOU WOULD ACTUALLY IDLE FOR HOURS AND HOURS TO TRY AND GET ONE INSTEAD OF JUST PLAYING AS NORMAL.

Your attitude towards these issues, and mine, applies to all types of games, I am sure.

You should not be doing it, you know it, now stop crying about it.
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 15:13 Quote
DraigUK - "You should not be doing it, you know it, now stop crying about it."

If people knew it was against the rules they wouldn't have done it. This is the problem. Now they've been labelled hackers when valve let it happen for 4 months, never clarified whether it was ok or not despite 1/3 of their regular players using it etc. and it's annoyed people.

Also, no need to call people cheating tards, that's just being confrontational and argumentative. As clx said, angry much?
pizan 3rd September 2009, 15:14 Quote
Who cares? TF2 was never a good game to begin with. I can't stand it.
Shepps 3rd September 2009, 15:19 Quote
It sounds like the people who have lost the hats didn't do much other than idle on a server, it's not like you've played the game for hours as valve intended now is it?

If you didn't actually earn the hats, why cry when they're taken away? I really don't get it, are the hats like a status thing or something? "i've got a blue hat, na na na na" ?
DraigUK 3rd September 2009, 15:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
The problem is DraigUK is they didn't say it was cheating. The reason people idled was because it was the only way to maximise their chance to get horrendously rare hats especially because there is no trading system.

There have been threads for months petitioning valve to fix the system. Also plenty of threads asking whether idling is ok, never once did someone official say no, until today when they enact a retrospective rule.

I think a better system would be similar in feel to eve's skill system. Every day at midnight it rolls 3 random items (hats would be rarer), and if you log in the next day you get to pick one. This would reward players for playing frequently i.e. once per day, but wouldn't necessitate farming or idling, because you can only get one item per day.

Today, you can still legitimately load up the game and join an achievement_idle server and sit there all day while at work. It was merely people using this particular program that emulated TF2 so you didn't have to have a full screen app open who got targeted (this time ....)


I agree with you Dreaming, mostly. Valve have not been as quick or upcoming with info, and the hat system distribution could be better - maybe - but it is up to valve.

The fact these hats are so hard to get, though, is what makes people want them?

Making it easier to get one just devalues the item.

It is Valves call how they want to do it, and how hard they want to make it to get one. All we can do as customers is give them our views and abide by the current rules until change is made.

At end of day though, people were doing this before Valve said "it's ok to do this" in order, as you put it, "To maximise their chances".
Why?
Over a hat?
That is cosmetic?

Common sense would say this is not how Valve want them earned.

Maybe next time they do something it will not be cosmetic, it will be of use in game. So they let all know now over this cosmetic item, not to cheat to get them.

Simples!


And no I am not angry, just don't like cheating in games of any form, and all the pathetic excuses for it just make me cringe.
DraigUK 3rd September 2009, 15:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
DraigUK - "You should not be doing it, you know it, now stop crying about it."

If people knew it was against the rules they wouldn't have done it. This is the problem. Now they've been labelled hackers when valve let it happen for 4 months, never clarified whether it was ok or not despite 1/3 of their regular players using it etc. and it's annoyed people.

Also, no need to call people cheating tards, that's just being confrontational and argumentative. As clx said, angry much?


No, if people knew it was against the rules, they would still do it to get one.

I can imagine it has annoyed a lot of people, in fact probably a 3rd according to you, of people playing the game, who have been doing this. And Valve should have been quicker and clearer to say not to do it. However that leaves 2/3 of people who play it straight, pretty happy I would have thought.

BUT

Until they said "this is ok to idle, go ahead" this is the problem. People should not do it until they say it is ok to do it, not do it and then wait for the ok.

As far as calling people cheating tards, well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
clx 3rd September 2009, 15:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Who cares? TF2 was never a good game to begin with. I can't stand it.

Then dont post. Troll.


Back on topic, from what i can see, most people where that seem to be calling idlers "cheats" and "exploiters" either a) dont play much at all and hate to think that some one might have gotten something they didnt, even if it has now been removed. or B) dont understand that it was NOT against any rules to idle

this is taken from the Healers against Halos page

PLEASE, read this and UNDERSTAND it before randomly posting like Pizan and others

Some background

1. Dev makes a system where the only way to get items is to be in a server, system is hated by all involved
2. Players join servers specifically made for being afk in, server lists clog up, no one is happy.
3. Program made that lets you idle without the full game being on.
4. Months pass, dev says they wont take action, posts and emails sent to them for stance on the program.
5. dev takes everyone who used the program, calls them cheaters, and marks others permanently with halos.
Dreaming 3rd September 2009, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shepps
It sounds like the people who have lost the hats didn't do much other than idle on a server, it's not like you've played the game for hours as valve intended now is it?

If you didn't actually earn the hats, why cry when they're taken away? I really don't get it, are the hats like a status thing or something? "i've got a blue hat, na na na na" ?

The original premise was that hats would drop randomly, and you could trade them with other people, so you could get accessories and the like for the class you most liked to play to customise them. A bit like battlefield heroes in that regard. Custom hats and weapons and stuff ^^.

The problem was, Valve didn't and still haven't implemented a trade system, the drop rate for hats was atrocious (you have to play 200 hours to get one single hat on average), and so basically Valve dropped the ball in releasing new cool content, but not really making it accessible to the vast majority of players.

Some players then decided that to increase their chances, they would leave TF2 open in the background, just sitting in a server doing nothing, hoping for a random chance drop. Valve were pretty much fine with this, and even today you can do it happily. But someone created an external program - well its not even much a program to be fair, its more like how you run a dedicated server without loading a GUI - same thing. It runs TF2 from a dos prompt, connects to an idle server and you're "playing" the game, without having to load up the game.

Again, Valve let this slide for 4 months. Afterall, it was just for cosmetic items, it didn't really matter that much, did it? Then last night, announcement that despite having no prior policy on it, it's no longer allowed. That's really fair enough. Then, they are retrospectively removing all items gained through it. Ah, that's annoying, especially for the people who have been false-flagged, but again understandable if they don't want the economy for the trading system ruined. But the icing on the cake really, was giving a unique item to everyone who didn't use the program, and labelling everyone who did a 'cheater'.

The community is divided, arguing, servers are banning people for having halos or not having halos, it's all a bit rubbish - and there were so many things Valve could have done to stop it getting to this. They could have a) told people not to idle in the first place b) told people not to use the program 4 months ago (and it wasn't like a minority used it - about 10,000 people) c) told people today, but not made the rules retrospective as nobody knew before now, and try to avoid making too big a distinction between players who idled and didn't d) fixed the drop system and implemented a trading system to remove the need for people to 'farm'.

Some more legitimate complaints though, is where the hell is the soldier and demoman updates? Are we getting an engineer update? They're spending time fixing non-issues like this and causing friction in the community, rather than developing content and finishing the game.
Shepps 3rd September 2009, 15:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
The original premise was that hats would drop randomly, and you could trade them with other people, so you could get accessories and the like for the class you most liked to play to customise them. A bit like battlefield heroes in that regard. Custom hats and weapons and stuff ^^.

The problem was, Valve didn't and still haven't implemented a trade system, the drop rate for hats was atrocious (you have to play 200 hours to get one single hat on average), and so basically Valve dropped the ball in releasing new cool content, but not really making it accessible to the vast majority of players.

Some players then decided that to increase their chances, they would leave TF2 open in the background, just sitting in a server doing nothing, hoping for a random chance drop. Valve were pretty much fine with this, and even today you can do it happily. But someone created an external program - well its not even much a program to be fair, its more like how you run a dedicated server without loading a GUI - same thing. It runs TF2 from a dos prompt, connects to an idle server and you're "playing" the game, without having to load up the game.

Again, Valve let this slide for 4 months. Afterall, it was just for cosmetic items, it didn't really matter that much, did it? Then last night, announcement that despite having no prior policy on it, it's no longer allowed. That's really fair enough. Then, they are retrospectively removing all items gained through it. Ah, that's annoying, especially for the people who have been false-flagged, but again understandable if they don't want the economy for the trading system ruined. But the icing on the cake really, was giving a unique item to everyone who didn't use the program, and labelling everyone who did a 'cheater'.

The community is divided, arguing, servers are banning people for having halos or not having halos, it's all a bit rubbish - and there were so many things Valve could have done to stop it getting to this. They could have a) told people not to idle in the first place b) told people not to use the program 4 months ago (and it wasn't like a minority used it - about 10,000 people) c) told people today, but not made the rules retrospective as nobody knew before now, and try to avoid making too big a distinction between players who idled and didn't d) fixed the drop system and implemented a trading system to remove the need for people to 'farm'.

Some more legitimate complaints though, is where the hell is the soldier and demoman updates? Are we getting an engineer update? They're spending time fixing non-issues like this and causing friction in the community, rather than developing content and finishing the game.

Cheers, i see the problem now!
pizan 3rd September 2009, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by clx
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Who cares? TF2 was never a good game to begin with. I can't stand it.

Then dont post. Troll.


Back on topic, from what i can see, most people where that seem to be calling idlers "cheats" and "exploiters" either a) dont play much at all and hate to think that some one might have gotten something they didnt, even if it has now been removed. or B) dont understand that it was NOT against any rules to idle

this is taken from the Healers against Halos page

PLEASE, read this and UNDERSTAND it before randomly posting like Pizan and others

Some background

1. Dev makes a system where the only way to get items is to be in a server, system is hated by all involved
2. Players join servers specifically made for being afk in, server lists clog up, no one is happy.
3. Program made that lets you idle without the full game being on.
4. Months pass, dev says they wont take action, posts and emails sent to them for stance on the program.
5. dev takes everyone who used the program, calls them cheaters, and marks others permanently with halos.

I UNDERSTAND. Valve is just better off letting 3rd parties develop mods and such for there games. See what happens when they try to add more crap themselves. Especially all the level-upcrap. If i wanted to play an RPG with level-ups, I would have bought one.

1. I obviously dislike more then just the system
2. Server filters have been around since at least 2004.
3.
4. Doesn't Valve take months to do anything.
5. I guess you have never been VAC banned for using different skins.

Can anyone tell me if creating your own local server would also get you a hat drop? Then what would you need a special program for.
mjm25 3rd September 2009, 16:35 Quote
you wait til Richard Dawkins hears about this
AshT 3rd September 2009, 16:54 Quote
The halo is one hat that cheaters can't collect to complete the set. Sweet.
NickCPC 3rd September 2009, 17:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
Again, Valve let this slide for 4 months. Afterall, it was just for cosmetic items, it didn't really matter that much, did it? Then last night, announcement that despite having no prior policy on it, it's no longer allowed. That's really fair enough. Then, they are retrospectively removing all items gained through it. Ah, that's annoying, especially for the people who have been false-flagged, but again understandable if they don't want the economy for the trading system ruined. But the icing on the cake really, was giving a unique item to everyone who didn't use the program, and labelling everyone who did a 'cheater'.

Dreaming has got it spot on. Sorry been AFK (probably a good thing) for a few hours but time to put in a final opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
Is it time for facts?

Those that are quoting 1/3 or 2/3 of players cheating to get hats ... it's actually 5% who cheat. Try reading the news item maybe?

Can someone quote the bit about players profiles being labelled as cheaters? No? Maybe? BS Maybe?
Yes it is time for facts. Not wanting to start a flame war but you clearly don't play the game, at least on a regular basis. The "news" is actually incorrect, as Dreaming as already has pointed out, as Joe has sourced the 5% from Valve. The 5% is from ALL PLAYERS who have bought the game. Obviously people like yourself don't play the game regularly; if you include only people who have used the game at least once a week for the last 6 months, then it mounts up to be about 1/3 REGULAR players having idled. Since this now turns out to be a much larger majority of the regular playing community, the issue becomes more serious, and we can consider the facts again. Here is a list;

0. Valve have a poor drop system.
1. Valve never had an official view against the idler program.
2. Valve had not, prior to last night, even taken action against people using the external idler application in question.
3. The idler program was developed to counter fact 0. It was not developed to malisciously earn unearnt weapons, or circumvent the drop system, it just allowed players to idle in the hope of getting hats. Personal fact - I idled for about 300 hours and got one hat. I have a play time of over 400 hours excluding the 300hrs idling time.
4. The idler application was running for just over 4 months. (Opinion - isn't that time to air an opinion against it Valve?!)
5. Valve decide that using external idling applications is unfair.
6. Valve remove hats (and in some instances unlockable items) which were earnt through the idling program. (Opinion - again, fair enough, the community doesn't mind. Remember that unlockable items can be earnt through achievements, and said items do not give a player an advantage in gameplay - if you have an unlockable, they have negative effects as well as positive, take the Ubersaw. Although it builds up ubercharge, you can't score crit hits with it. => earning unearnt items theoretically doesn't give you an edge in conventional gameplay, arguably it just affects your style)
7. Valve give players who didn't use the idler program a halo.

Opinions.
Now, as Dreaming has said, this has split the community. It seems as though Occasional players who have come back to the game after hearing this announcement, have obviously earnt the halo and are smirking against the people who used the idler. Remember the facts - Valve never took an official stance against it. Now, regular players who have used the idler are now understandably incredibly peeved off with people saying "ooh look i don't cheat lololol!" as it was never said to be cheating. You then have got a split between regs who know the story and occasional players who frankly don't seem to.

Furthermore, to answer a previous commenter, us idlers have been labelled "cheaters" as when we load up the backpack, on first run we get a message warning us that we have been stripped of our items and if we are caught idling again we lose *ALL* items (weapons/hats), or if caught again have our accounts possible banned. This appears to be an official warning to me for cheating when, as again if you look at the facts, it clearly isn't cheating.

The point is that people idled BECAUSE there clearly was no official line against it, and Valve clearly had time to say something about it but didn't. The community used an idea to basically save energy to spend more time connected in the hope of earning a hat or 2. Hats have no value other than aesthetics. Now Valve has turned on those regular players who were idling and without warning labelled us cheats, and reminding us by allowing all the "occasional" players to wear halos to show how good they are for doing something they never had officially any trouble with. This is what is annoying people like me, it's allowing loads of arses to connect to servers and be smug and generally ripping the game apart.

Better finish off by replying to this;
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
You were doing stuff you damn well knew you shouldn't have, you've been caught. Do the decent thing take it on the chin put your tail between your legs and accept you've been pwned.

The fact that valve were slow in the smack down shouldn't surprise any one, valve are slow in all things. Its not like this smacking is not with out president, they did the same thing to folk who fiddled the weapons a couple of updates ago.
Sorry but STFU. Again, Valve took no line against it. This issue is completely separate to the weapon fiddling from the Scout updates, and of a level of greatly reduced severity. Valve is ripping apart its core community by taking this action. You're the exact type of person who is coming onto servers and wrecking the experience of a regular player.

Unless I see anything else which infuriates me, it's over and out and time to gag myself.
CardJoe 3rd September 2009, 18:19 Quote
It does seem, and has ever since they added in ludicrously hard unlocks for specific classes that were doled out at an impossibly slow rate, that Valve has kind of lost the plot for TF2. I want a team game with set classes, everyone has the same layout, for the hardcore AND mass market, that puts everyone on a level playing field and lets me jump in for a few rounds, swapping class as I want. It was that at launch, but it isn't anymore. It's all about grind, which is why I stopped playing ages ago.
psouza4 3rd September 2009, 18:29 Quote
I'd like to invite anyone interested to send an e-mail to Mr. Doug Valente at dougv@valvesoftware.com. He is Valve's head of support and the person responsible for handling claims filed with the Better Business Bureau.

I can only imagine what would happen if Mr. Valente's inbox was suddenly full of angry customers on the cusp of discontinuing to use Valve's products and services.
general22 3rd September 2009, 18:33 Quote
Thing is though that most of the unlocks are terrible. Only unlocks I consistently use are medic unlocks and jarate. You are still on a level playing field and it's not really about grinding the unlocks at all. TF2 gameplay is very similar to back in the beta, its just covered by layers of useless unlocks and hats.
eek 3rd September 2009, 18:36 Quote
Personally I think this is pretty funny... all those people who went out of their way to seek a method of unfairly attaining all items are now unable to do exactly what they set out to do since there is now an item they will never be able to get!

Valve no longer wanting people to use this 'hack' to idle - fair
Valve removing hats gained in this way - fair
Labelling people as cheaters - Possibly a bit unfair, but then they were doing things outside the spirit of the game
Giving everyone who didn't 'cheat' a halo - priceless

Why people care so much about a hat is beyond me...
Sir Digby 3rd September 2009, 18:56 Quote
It's a hat people, A HAT!

I've got one and it's the only hat I've got. To be honest I suspect that the hats where partly Valves solution to people complaining about not getting any hats, seen as how idlers have had a much higher chance to be running round in a hat for the past few months than non-idlers.

If valve were handing out VAC bans for idling, then I'd be supporting the idlers. But to be honest anyone considering abandoning Valve due to a hat is both childish and stupid in my eyes. I'll be enjoying Portal 2 and HL:ep3 :D

Here's a handy form to send:

http://therustynail.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/butthurt-form.jpg
AshT 3rd September 2009, 19:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
1) Not wanting to start a flame war

2) but you clearly don't play the game,

3) at least on a regular basis

4) Obviously people like yourself don't play the game regularly

5) if you include only people who have used the game at least once a week for the last 6 months, then it mounts up to be about 1/3 REGULAR players having idled ...

1) Wrong.

2) Wrong.

3) Wrong.

4) Wrong.

5) Where are you pulling that data, thats very precise. Please share this with us!
AshT 3rd September 2009, 19:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickCPC
0. Valve have a poor drop system.

3. The idler program was developed to counter fact 0.

Correct!

Whats wrong with leaving it to luck and time like the game was developed to be?

Too much like hard work for some aint it sunshine.
WestHej 3rd September 2009, 19:14 Quote
Haha, Team Fortress 2 is really popular, I miss it, havn't been able to play it for 2 months, on holiday!

I think the fundamental problem here is that valve didn't bother to mention anything about the idling problem until now and just dropped a label on them and by doing so have created some sort of divide it seems.

To be honest I think everything has been blown out of proportion both by Valve and the community. Hats are nice to have sure, valve have made it rare hence desireable (still a little illogical why rarer are more valuble, but that's OT). They don't give you any advantage against the other players but it just says that you play a lot of TF2! Clearly they care a lot of about the people who play a lot to react like this but I think it's a over reaction. More people will have a hat... it's just a hat... will the people who genuinely play a lot care if people who don't also have hats? Common sense please, no need to brand people cheaters for idling for a hat.

As for the people who did use the idling system, are these things really that important? If they are to you I think you should ask yourelf why. Can you stil have fun (the reason why most people play games) on TF2 without hats? I hope that's a yes.
GravitySmacked 3rd September 2009, 21:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Digby
It's a hat people, A HAT!

I've got one and it's the only hat I've got. To be honest I suspect that the hats where partly Valves solution to people complaining about not getting any hats, seen as how idlers have had a much higher chance to be running round in a hat for the past few months than non-idlers.

If valve were handing out VAC bans for idling, then I'd be supporting the idlers. But to be honest anyone considering abandoning Valve due to a hat is both childish and stupid in my eyes. I'll be enjoying Portal 2 and HL:ep3 :D

I agree with this, as mentioned if it was a VAC ban then fair enough to be pissed.
Star*Dagger 3rd September 2009, 22:50 Quote
I love it when cheaters/evaders/or other scum get punished so severely by a company, it doesnt happen often, but the tears of Lamers are Ambrosia to Real Hard Core PC Gamers.

Yet another, of millions, reason to love Valve! I hope they shut down achievement servers next, that is a much worse offence!

Play the fracking game, it is so simple. Play it the way it is meant to be and STFU!!

Yours in Elite Hardcore PC Gaming Plasma,
Star*Dagger

P.S. Yes, idlers, I am laughing at you! Take that hat OFF you didn't earn it!!!
Kiytan 3rd September 2009, 22:52 Quote
to be honest, i really dislike the way TF2 is headed. i was liked the idea of the class updates added a little more customization to how you wanted to play. But the way of unlocking them was silly. I feel it got steadily worse from then on


and why the hell do i get multiple item drops? i do not need 3 kritzeigers. I need 1. After i have an item, just stop that item dropping for me?
cjmUK 4th September 2009, 00:30 Quote
There is a dozen things that Valve could have done better, and they are substantially guilty of allowing this situation to develop. They could been quicker to react, and offered an early amnesty perhaps.

However the reaction of the cheaters is amazing.

Let's be clear - they are cheaters because they circumvented the built-in mechanisms to gain something that they wouldn't otherwise have gained at that point. There may be no competitive advantage to a hat, but didn't the idlers also gain other unlocks? It's academic; they broke the original EULA by using 3rd Party software to gain something - Valve have the right to pull the plug on their accounts, according to the T&Cs - though it would be astronomically stupid and unfair to do so.

Yes, that's right - it was in the EULA all along! But nobody ever reads those things, do they? True, but they should. Perhaps you wouldn't have seen Valves earlier statements explaining that these idlers were breaking the rules? After all, you never got a personalised email from Gabe or Doug explaining it all. But admit it... you all knew you were pulling a fast one...

I don't really care about the Halo, and TBH I didn't really care about the idlers, but their reaction means I will wear my Halo with no pride but a little amusement.

But as I said, the reaction of the idlers is fascinating - the 'punishment' is the loss of gains earned by idling, which sounds fair to me. But the salt in the wound is that non-cheaters get a hat - inconsequential other than that it highlights other players who can never earn that hat. Big Deal.

But more worrying are groups like Healers Against Halos - 'we wont heal people who didn't cheat like us'. Why? Why spoil the fun of people who have never done you any harm? For goodness sake, grow some balls and swallow the (slightly) bitter pill.
BenK 4th September 2009, 01:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
TLet's be clear - they are cheaters because they circumvented the built-in mechanisms to gain something that they wouldn't otherwise have gained at that point.

Would you consider running your own server and idling on that to be cheating?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
There may be no competitive advantage to a hat, but didn't the idlers also gain other unlocks?

Most people who were idling (judging by my friends list) already had all the the unlocks available and left their computers running the fake idle when they weren't playing in the hope of getting a hat. Arguing that the fake idle was giving an unfair advantage is ridiculous.

I've idled in the hope of getting a hat as despite a lot of gameplay since the update I only have the one Pyro Beanie hat which I don't really want. I would have preferred to see Valve release the hats with a trading system already in place that would have meant a lot of people would not feel the need to idle.
Horizon 4th September 2009, 06:13 Quote
um why? why are hats such a big deal, bunch of idiots looking for a reason to whip out their e-peens if you ask me. I don't mind that the drops are extremely rare, and is there a reason a player needs to have all their has now?
Dreaming 4th September 2009, 08:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
But more worrying are groups like Healers Against Halos - 'we wont heal people who didn't cheat like us'. Why? Why spoil the fun of people who have never done you any harm? For goodness sake, grow some balls and swallow the (slightly) bitter pill.

It was set up as a troll group, they don't actually care about players in game with or without a halo. They're just trying to make a point at the same time.
gurboura 4th September 2009, 09:49 Quote
So, people are mad because they started using a 3rd Party program to gain an item in a game, and the developers didn't like it?

Sounds like some people need to take a look at Steams TOS, if I remember correctly, isn't any 3rd party program used to gain an advantage in a game considered a hack/cheat? Be glad you got a slap on the wrist instead of being banned by Valve for hacking/cheating.
iwog 4th September 2009, 10:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
hehe http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php

umm just to be a stick in the mud you realise the link isnt going to be relevant on monday.
Leitchy 4th September 2009, 11:02 Quote
In the end you went against game mechanics of NOT playing the game whilst being connected!

You were not cheats, but it's what is called 'Stat Padding' where it's fake stat's against your account!
gurboura 4th September 2009, 11:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leitchy
You were not cheats, but it's what is called 'Stat Padding' where it's fake stat's against your account!

Technically it is cheating. They were using a third party program to gain themselves an advantage over legit players. This is considered cheating.
Dreaming 4th September 2009, 11:07 Quote
gurboura - people are mainly mad that valve has come down on people and labelled them cheaters when they never said (even when people asked them) that there was anything wrong with it. People should remember despite it being a third party programme, it was as borderline as you could get - simply simulating you sitting on a server doing absolutely nothing. No aimhacks, wallhacks, etc. etc.. but perhaps that is too far none the less. Still, with 10,000 people using it, Valve could have said something before calling us all dirty cheats :p (it was going for 4 months without intervention, people thought it was a case where Valve weren't officially condoning it but didn't have a problem with it either).

Either way, it's just a game. I would just prefer the rules to be more transparent in future. It wasn't so 'obvious' to me that it was cheating, since it didn't really do anything you couldn't do legitimately anyway (sit on a server and just spectate all day while at work), and the other 9,999 people doing it hadn't been given so much as a warning let alone a punishment.
Dreaming 4th September 2009, 11:10 Quote
Also - I never once got a hat from it anyway :p I already had all the unlockable weapons, just wanted those damn hats.

They're like rare pokemon. Stupid, but you still really really want one.
gurboura 4th September 2009, 11:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
gurboura - people are mainly mad that valve has come down on people and labelled them cheaters when they never said (even when people asked them) that there was anything wrong with it. People should remember despite it being a third party programme, it was as borderline as you could get - simply simulating you sitting on a server doing absolutely nothing. No aimhacks, wallhacks, etc. etc.. but perhaps that is too far none the less. Still, with 10,000 people using it, Valve could have said something before calling us all dirty cheats :p (it was going for 4 months without intervention, people thought it was a case where Valve weren't officially condoning it but didn't have a problem with it either).

I don't think Valve had to say anything, I'm 99% sure it's against TOS, which players agree'd to when they installed Steam and the game.

They are cheaters. They used a third party program, how much more of a cheater can you get?

I'm sure using a third party program to put you in a server is also against the TOS.

It might have taken 4 months, but it was probably time they used to consult lawyers, discuss amongst themselves on what to do. As I've said before, they are lucky Valve decided to take their ingame items and not completely ban the users, which is standard practice for Valve on something that involves cheating/hacking.

Dreaming - Please do not take anything I say as disrespectful, I do not mean it that way, just voicing my opinion :D
Dreaming 4th September 2009, 11:36 Quote
No offence taken gouruba, as I said the main vice me and other 'cheaters' have had is that we don't want to hack or cheat, we thought what we doing was the equivilent of powergaming / grinding, and now we have been called cheaters and have this hanging over our heads really. Yea, it is in the TOS pretty obviously if you read through it, but I'm one of those people who doesn't tend to read it much and gloss over it, and just follows other people in what they're doing :p. It was discussed so openly on the steam user forums in particular that nobody guessed it was something Valve was so vehemently apposed to. Some people have even said it's a bit like a honey trap - they've spent the time devising a system to catch people, delete their items, and reward everyone else - when they could have just put a public notice up (they have done this before for more explicit cheats, programs that actually forcibly unlocked items by manipulating the servers or something).

For now though my idling days are over :p whose to say if Valve cracks down on just spectating in games excessively in the future? If there isn't going to be a very clear cut line, then the only sensible course of action is to err on the side of caution.
gurboura 4th September 2009, 12:01 Quote
I always thought Spectating was rather boring :)
TTmodder 4th September 2009, 12:48 Quote
I've already seen a huge amount of Nerd Rage on forums and in-Game because of this.
Good for me i wasn't cheating :)
[PUNK] crompers 4th September 2009, 12:55 Quote
got mine the other day, didnt know what it was for. at the end of the day ITS A HAT, and a virtual one at that - why worry about it?
AshT 4th September 2009, 13:59 Quote
Maybe they are angry because its a hat they will NEVER own for their collection?

;)
cjmUK 4th September 2009, 14:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenK
Would you consider running your own server and idling on that to be cheating?

Yes. The idling is the cheating. However, running a 3rd Party app is the thing that breaks the T&Cs. As someone has already said, it's similar to Stats Padding - and many games frown upon this - but I've no idea whether there is anything specifically mentioned in the T&Cs.
Quote:
Most people who were idling (judging by my friends list) already had all the the unlocks available and left their computers running the fake idle when they weren't playing in the hope of getting a hat. Arguing that the fake idle was giving an unfair advantage is ridiculous.

The fake idle gives you a greater chance of getting extra unlocks compared to people simply playing the game. It's not a big deal, I know, but it is against the rules, so you shouldn't really complain.
Quote:
I've idled in the hope of getting a hat as despite a lot of gameplay since the update I only have the one Pyro Beanie hat which I don't really want. I would have preferred to see Valve release the hats with a trading system already in place that would have meant a lot of people would not feel the need to idle.

There isn't a trading system in place, and I don't expect Valve will particularly want one. Nevertheless, as a customer you can a) make your case to Valve b) not buy/play the game or c) break the rules to try to achieve your objectives.

You, and others, chose C. You thought it was low risk, and you that thought if the mood changes you would get plenty of warning and be able to react accordingly. But Valve have abruptly flexed their muscles and have back-dated their punishment. A bit of a shock, but you can't complain. Low risk does not mean no risk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurboura
Technically it is cheating. They were using a third party program to gain themselves an advantage over legit players. This is considered cheating.

Indeed.



There is a lot that goes on in gaming that many of us would consider undesirable. But sometimes it's difficult for the devs to do much about it. However, in this case, Valve know who the infringers are and have been motivated to do something about it - not necessarily a bad thing IMHO. You can argue all you want about whether idling is technically breaking the rules all you want, but I think most people agree that it is outside the spirit of the rules, and to me that is what is important.
Dreaming 4th September 2009, 15:44 Quote
cjmUK -
Quote:

There isn't a trading system in place, and I don't expect Valve will particularly want one. Nevertheless, as a customer you can a) make your case to Valve b) not buy/play the game or c) break the rules to try to achieve your objectives.

You, and others, chose C. You thought it was low risk, and you that thought if the mood changes you would get plenty of warning and be able to react accordingly. But Valve have abruptly flexed their muscles and have back-dated their punishment. A bit of a shock, but you can't complain. Low risk does not mean no risk.

I kind of agree, but just to look at this from another angle - the issues presented to us are:

a) Valve initially planned a trading system, it's just not been released yet. The hats are cool, but the systems (drop system, trading system) aren't in place, which is why almost nobody has one. They've acknowledged they're working on this, and said it's a work in progress - they're trying to see what does and doesn't work. Sure some people are happy to wait, but some of us are impatient and just want a single hat as it is unlikely you will get one in normal play (unless you are a lucky).

b) Valve never made a rule about it saying it was cheating. It was against the TOC, but then the sheer number of people doing it and also the fact it was never challenged made it almost de facto legitimate. That is until, the other day of course.

As of now, Valve have tripled the drop rate (so avg of 200 hours of play for 1 hat will become an average of 70 hours, still a lot really, but more manageable tbh). Hopefully soon, they may or may not implement the trading system to allow people who have a hat for a class they don't play, to get one for a class they do play.

But, as I said before the two things are it's mainly cosmetic and the main objection is being publicly branded a cheater by Valve, and also they should be spending more time on the soldier / demoman updates than almost non issues. I mean, the other week they released a 'medal' for the first few thousand people to visit a website. It's not really the best use of their resources, and it annoyed a lot of people because unless you were an insomnic or in the EST time zone, you didn't really have a chance to get one.

That's why people tried to get hats, because they didn't really have a chance to get one any other way, AND the fact that Valve didn't seem particularly bothered.
Dreaming 5th September 2009, 11:28 Quote
A very good critique of the situation, although written from an idler's perspective:
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11168441&postcount=1

It's probably a bit too much of a read for the average person, but if anyone is genuinely interested why so many people are annoyed about it, that's probably the best starting point.
impar 5th September 2009, 13:23 Quote
Greetings!

Its a moral/ethics issue.
Some could clearly see that "idling" was amoral/unethical, others just fail to see it.
specofdust 5th September 2009, 13:30 Quote
To be honest, as a casual TF2 player, it's hilarious to me the amount that the exploiters are complaining over totally superficial items. They didn't earn them, and now they're complaining when items that do absolutely nothing are removed from them. Pretty much everyone who didn't exploit that I've talked to seems to just find you non-halo'rs a big source of roffles.
Xec 5th September 2009, 21:57 Quote
it does look neat ^_^

http://i32.tinypic.com/iensr7.jpg
kingred 6th September 2009, 13:14 Quote
Well valves reaction was stupid. Items unlocked on the old system showed people completed achievements, whereas now they have are worth nothing. Hats are a status symbol because of their rarity. I did use the idler and and i gained nothing, and lost nothing. I still have my high level weapons and only one non-hat (rick ricks hair fixator isnt a damn hat ffs) so nothing of value was lost. Except my respect in valves descision making and branding people cheaters for thinking outside the box.
specofdust 6th September 2009, 13:29 Quote
Oh come on! Thinking outside the box? It's an exploit which goes against the spirit of the game.
Sparrowhawk 7th September 2009, 04:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
Oh come on! Thinking outside the box? It's an exploit which goes against the spirit of the game.

It wasn't so much of an exploit as a game simulator. But even so what pisses me off is I gave it up about a month ago, deciding the hats were pointless, the idler program was unethical, and my power bill was more important overall. So I forgot about TF2 until this announcement (and the classless update.) Lo and behold, I log on to TF2 and see that "my account (was) flagged for circumventing the unlock system..."

Even though I haven't used idle (much less played) in a month, WELL before the announcement, I'm still a cheater. Even though I came to my ****ing senses. WTG Valve, GG. :(
cjmUK 7th September 2009, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk
I gave it up about a month ago, deciding the idler program was unethical, and behold, I log on to TF2 and see that "my account (was) flagged for circumventing the unlock system..."

I'm still a cheater. Even though I came to my ****ing senses.
Quote:
I gave up murder/fraud/speeding/income tax evasion about a month ago, deciding it was unethical, and behold, the Police/Fraud Squad/Traffic Police/Inland Revenue knock on my door and arrest me.

Clearly, idling is not a crime and the moral positions are way, way different, but parallels are there. You did the crime, and you will proverbially do the time. It's good that you've see the error of your ways, and even better that you came to the conclusion on your own. However, why should you escape 'punishment' (especially given that the 'punishment' isn't even remotely punitive)?

Even if you were to be given dispensation for eventually doing The Right Thing (tm), how were valve to know this? Did you contact them and confess to your indiscretion?

For you this turn of events should be no biggy... Many other idlers genuinely don't understand that they were cheating; you did (and to your credit, you acted accordingly). So there shouldn't be any indignation given that you already accept you were in the wrong.
DbD 8th September 2009, 11:01 Quote
The only thing I don't like about the current drop system is the fact you pick up multiples of the same thing. Even if I could trade everyone has every item (other then hats) so I don't want to be informed I have another jarate or whatever, particularly as this happens in game when I am trying to shoot people.

As for the hats - you only lost the hats you hadn't earned fairly anyway - sure you now have none, but most of the people who didn't idle only have one at most. I didn't idle and have one hat (other then the halo) so you are now one hat behind me.
eek 8th September 2009, 17:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
It was against the TOC, but then the sheer number of people doing it and also the fact it was never challenged made it almost de facto legitimate.
Like downloading music illegally, so many people do it that it can't be wrong, right? :|
AshT 8th September 2009, 23:09 Quote
Well said eek.
shomann 8th September 2009, 23:30 Quote
I fall into the camp of gamer - I play to have fun and be competitive and pride myself in the abilities have learned au-natural. I tend to take a dim view of people that cheat, hack, or otherwise bend the rules of the game to gain any advantage.

The hats system in TF2 , while totally cosmetic, is a perk. Its a rare item for those that play alot. If EVERYONE has hats, its take a bit of meaning away from the perk - thereby decreasing their so-called "value". By idling, or using an artificial method to "fake" the drop system into giving you something you didn't earn, you are cheating.

It doesn't matter if there wasn't a glowing neon sign when the game loads up telling you the rules. You KNOW you are trying to do something that is wrong. Having your items stripped is a good method, as opposed to being banned, of slapping your wrist.

Another method would have been to temp-ban that section of players after a warning, but its clear that Valve was sending a message: "We are watching, and we will react". In my opinion, it was a justified response.

BTW, if I see any medics refusing to heal my holy-self, rest assured I won't be going out of my way to help you either ;)
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