PC Gamer - Hacks! An investigation into the $1M business of video game cheating

Q-BZ

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Fascinating read. Pretty much ices F2P games beyond any doubt.
 

skizzled

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Good stuff there.

It's interesting to note the difference between "rage" and "closet" cheaters and the fact that many have probably played with more cheaters than they actually know.
 
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Trying to justify using multiplayer hacks because you want to even the playing field because of visual impairment pisses me the fuck off.

As a colorblind gamer, I have NEVER considered using hacks as "evening the field". That is fucking bullshit.
 

delita

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pretty sure the site in question is ilikecheats.com

had a friend who purchased from them, i looked at their website and its the one from the screenshot the writer posted.

he got hacks for warZ back when it was newer, there was a period of time where rampant hacking was going on and it was impossible to play without dying to hackers and at the time he decided to even the playing field.

there seem to be much LESS hackers nowadays in that game, but just from looking at the website its apparent that they make similar wallhack/aimbots for pretty much EVERY single FPS game under the sun, which is so BLAH to think about. so many "closet cheaters" as the article states are out there using wallhacks but not turning on other features like aimbot so they don't get insta-banned from headshotting every player they come across.
 

ServerKing

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Even though i really cannot stand cheaters you got to admit they make some good money selling them and for being almost as much as the game itself I might add.
 

Thuleman

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It's actually not a $1 million business, it's a multi-million and probably a hundreds of millions of dollars business.

Google for artificially aiming which will show you that unless you play single player games there are those with aimbots in your match.

No one gets insta-banned for anything. VAC is a running joke, and FF with all their "look at us, we do statistics!"-magic is just hype. Sophisticated aimbots introduce "random error" into what they do, and then they randomize the random error inputs so that it's even more random. Anti-cheat programs will never, ever, be able to root out sophisticated aimbots.

The only thing that prevents such cheating is server side computation (what you see in MMOs such as EQ, EQ2, WoW, World of Tanks). So far that doesn't work well for FPSes due to latency. So yeah, when you fork out $60 for that Day One purchase, someone else paid $60 + $150 and dominates you effortlessly.
 

piratepress

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I remember playing UT99 and having some invisible douchebag keep killing me. I sure would have liked to get my hands on them! :mad:
 

EviL-aLphA

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Heres a little background on CS hacking for anyone interested.

Cheating has always been around even since the early CS beta builds (3rd person models etc). Cheating always used to be free (in most gaming communities) go to one of the popular sites and download the latest hack and you are good to go. Paying for hacks was a new thing which started in the mid 2000s.

I used to hack (and also play legit) in CS 1.3-1.6 but would only hack against other hackers. We actually had our own hacking servers, own clans and really our own micro community. Probably 10+ legit hacking servers that were always active for years. Cheats really evolved a ton right after VAC really became prominent. Before VAC and the maturity of 1.5 into 1.6, hacks were pretty basic, just wallhacks, speedhack, bright models and aimbot.

Fast forward early 1.6 days to a developer that invented autowall. This was a huge breakthrough in hacks. Essentially every wall that bullets can penetrate through autowall would detect and automatically autoaim for you. This was a HUGE controversy (in the hacking community) when it first came out because it completely unbalanced everything and only a few individuals had it. It was so bad that autowall was banned from servers until it finally became the norm and everyone had it. After autowall came out it was all about managing your rates & hitboxes (each gun had a certain vector that it would aim at, people would tweak these vectors for each specific gun to maximize shot impacts), better rates = better hit detection and less chance of people hitting you.

No one ever tried selling hacks during this time, its only towards 2006 where some sites popped up attempting to sell hacks to everyone, boasting new versions and improved aimbot and a whole bunch of empty promises. The hacking community called these bluffs and used to do everything they could to destroy anyone trying to profit off of hacks. Before you know it more and more sites started selling hacks and now its kind of a normal thing. If you want the "latest and greatest" hack you gotta pay. Kind of a shady way to make money but hey clearly there is a market there. I honestly never understood why people would actually pay to cheat, I actually think its pretty pathetic, but its not my business what people do with their money.
 

Zorlag

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Closet cheaters are often people who want to be really good, but can`t quite hack it. So they will get some hacks to help them, try to keep it a secret best they can and then get into teamplay. For example, many people like that were eventually caught in various Clanbase tournaments. Sometimes even people who everyone though were just really good and had a good rep... :|
 

Stiler

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Fascinating read. Pretty much ices F2P games beyond any doubt.

I have encountered so many people in CS/Red orchestra doing this then I EVER have in league of legends, where I've played even more then CS.
 
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I always look at it this way: 800 ticket server on Lockers with 64 players...standard bell curve deviation with a few top guys get 40-50 kills and 10-15 deaths...then you have the one elephant in the room that ends with 80 kills-10 deaths. Yeah, that's highly unlikely.
 

Aix.

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This is why any FPS that doesn't include dedicated servers and/or admin tools is automatically a fail in my books. With live admins you basically just spectate -> confirm the hack -> ban the douche and get back to the match without everyone's night being ruined. Without live admins the game is ruined and/or the server empties in minutes.

I couldn't believe when "AAA" Battlefield 3 didn't have a spectator mode or recorder of any kind. Valve did it right with Source having spectator mode as well as the ability to save demo files (.dem) to replay content using the client; hopefully Source2 will retain those functions.
 

XBarbarian

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folks are claiming no hacks on mmo's.. but there are client side things, have been forever. eq1, I cant recall the name now, but there was packet modeling software, devices between the client and the wan, etc

Im seeing some sort of speed hacks or something today in SWTOR... especially in pvp war zones.. some sort of packets exploit or something..
 

Inu

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Closet hacked for a while in TFC. It was hilarious using remote pipe bombs on my demoman, and detonate them before saw them run around the corner, it gets boring really quick tho. However i stopped once i decided to try league play. And this is something i'll never understand...

How can you be happier hacking than knowing you just accomplished something of your efforts and ability. There is so little feeling of reward from hacking, makes no sense.
 

MavericK

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How can you be happier hacking than knowing you just accomplished something of your efforts and ability. There is so little feeling of reward from hacking, makes no sense.

It's just like the excuses that hacker guy made in the article, about trying to "even the playing field" or whatnot. People make themselves believe this so really, they're not doing anything wrong... :rolleyes:

I can see not wanting to be dominated by kids who have unlimited free time, but there are so many games out there there is no reason to play one you are going to hate because of the community.
 

yourgrandma

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Closet hacked for a while in TFC. It was hilarious using remote pipe bombs on my demoman, and detonate them before saw them run around the corner, it gets boring really quick tho. However i stopped once i decided to try league play. And this is something i'll never understand...

How can you be happier hacking than knowing you just accomplished something of your efforts and ability. There is so little feeling of reward from hacking, makes no sense.

That's something i don't get neither. I can completely understand griefing to induce hilarity/rage... but stealth hacking to win is utterly lame and boring.
 

MrAgmoore

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"If matchmaking worked perfectly and everyone always felt like a capable player up against equally skilled opponents, maybe there would be fewer of the closet cheaters that make Ultra Cheats a profitable business. When matchmaking works, you won't win every game, but you'll never feel dominated. It’s like a friendly neighborhood basketball game. When it doesn't work, it feels like being mercilessly dunked on by LeBron James. That's not fun."

This ^^^
 

JHefile

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They should have a "hacked" game in COD where a wallhack was given to everyone. I'm not sure what exactly it would accomplish but when you played there at least everything could be more fair.
 

requiem99

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Stuff I knew years ago and why I stopped playing online games, pretty much. It's actually much worse than the article makes it out to be. Much, much worse.
 

JHefile

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Stuff I knew years ago and why I stopped playing online games, pretty much. It's actually much worse than the article makes it out to be. Much, much worse.

I've been online gaming since 2002 playing FPS and for the first 5 years I tried to be really good and buy a nice mouse pad and all this hardware to make me better. I then found out cheating was so widespread I could never expect a fair game.

So it's important to know that there are other things to invest your time in, other hobbies that have more of a payback for your time put in.

I still game with a good friend and have fun doing it. But I never expect fairness from online gaming ever. Once you understand this then you can make a correct decision on your time spent practicing verses just having fun with a buddy.
 

Poordevil

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Cheats and lag were the two reasons I quit playing competitive FPS games. Back then my computer was never top of the line, so my video card wouldn't render the action as smooth as you would like. I remember upgrading my vidcard for UT99. I could actually see a rocket coming at me for the entire trajectory! Before I might see a player launch one, it would render once or twice mid flight, then explode on target. Even so I had some good times with UT99 online. I remember some great evenly matched fights, and those were a lot of fun!

On the other hand I remember this one player who was utterly dominating. Called himself JustLuckyIguess and he was jumping around the server killing everyone. It was actually pretty funny. I remember hiding from him in what I thought was a safe spot. When I got up to leave I turned around and there he was standing behind me, lol.
 

Droc

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im pretty sure atleast a quarter of the battlefield community cheats.
I have seen it once, few years back. i worked for a security company and one of the night staff played battlefield all the time. he used a full aimbot and esp hack, but did it discreetly. enough that he was always top 3. i watched over the shoulder, didnt care at the time, but it was easy to notice who else was cheating. the esp usually has an option for snap lines or a line from the other players weapon so you can see where they are aiming and when he would join a server, he would stand at a wall and watch to see what other players would look at him from across the map...it was easy to tell who the other cheaters were. he said he did it because playing clean was impossible when your in a match where 25% are hackers. i cant say he was wrong, this was years ago and you could tell easily who was cheating.

i dont play cs, cod or bf. i have tried and despite being 30 with most of my life being a gamer, i cant hold my own and its simply no fun. the only online games i play is arma coop or online wasteland, where cheating serves little purpose. i have spent the past few years being an admin on a group of arma2 servers and arma 3 servers and even being a low cheater game, we still would have to deal with half a dozen each night. arma goes on steam sale, we pump the servers with 3-5 admins each just to control the wave of hackers.

i think 99% of hacking these days is due to unlocks and achievements. people like to have stuff, and there is very few things some people will not do to get some elusive scope or perk.
take out the rank, perks and unlocks, the reasons to cheat drop
 

Drakenfeng

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i think 99% of hacking these days is due to unlocks and achievements. people like to have stuff, and there is very few things some people will not do to get some elusive scope or perk.
take out the rank, perks and unlocks, the reasons to cheat drop

Can't say I agree, Counter-strike has had hackers since early beta and that game didn't have achievements, unlocks or perks. I don't know about CS:GO but CS:S also didn't have unlocks, and the cheaters were there also. I'm sure UT 99 and Quake 3 had its share of cheaters as well (instagib/railgun servers)
 

socK

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im pretty sure atleast a quarter of the battlefield community cheats.

I think I've seen maybe 2 obvious cheats in like 140 hours in BF4.

The best was when the killcam was broken and would latch to someone else. Just the health counter being broken was enough to get people throwing out accusations, but it was in overdrive when they broke the fucking thing again, and it'd killcam the wrong guy.
 

Nvidia101

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this is why I play a console (ps4) for multiplayer. zero hackers in battlefield 4 or any other game! problem solved!
 

JHefile

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i think 99% of hacking these days is due to unlocks and achievements. people like to have stuff, and there is very few things some people will not do to get some elusive scope or perk.
take out the rank, perks and unlocks, the reasons to cheat drop

I played COD 1 on PC only and it had hacks all over the place.

Some cheaters cheat to be moved up the ranks socially in the community to feel some importance they might not otherwise have. If they can stay undetected and not look obvious they can gather a following of people who worship them as great players - which everyone wants to be a great player just like any sport.

They are here to stay forever most likely, and the only true way to know you are about to have a fair game is at a lan party or with friends you can trust online.
 

dgz

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Can't say I agree, Counter-strike has had hackers since early beta and that game didn't have achievements, unlocks or perks. I don't know about CS:GO but CS:S also didn't have unlocks, and the cheaters were there also. I'm sure UT 99 and Quake 3 had its share of cheaters as well (instagib/railgun servers)

Oh yeah? What about Excessive servers? Such places don't really matter as they're designed that way.

I think Droc speaks the truth. Restricting content based on in-game purchases or grinding is the worst thing that happened to the FPS genre, and gaming in general. I simply don't play such games, but I imagine some people do and feel like they really need to equalize things. Can't say I blame them more than I blame developers/producers.
 

NickJames

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Closet hacking is the reason I stopped playing MP FPS games on the PC. There's just no point because I always feel the playing field is uneven especially since I used to be the same closet hacker when I was a kid. I either stick to strategy games or MOBAs where critical thinking and strategy are more useful than hacks.
 

rdqlus

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So you're telling me that 25% of the players in a BF4 match are cheating? There's no way. I'm generally pretty dominant on whatever server I join and often get the MVP ribbon if I've been there the entire round. If the next 3-6 players on the scoreboard are cheating that would mean the next legit player has only half or 2/3 my score.

Am I just getting propped up by the closet cheaters on my own team or something? What's going on here? I don't cheat - my soldier name is Haemato.
 

rudy

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The greatest enemy of gaming is not cheaters but false accusations. The way I approach things is simple. I have never hacked and never will. I play the best I can and have fun. Cheaters come and go. If someone is way out of my league because they are cheating or just way better than me I don't care. over time you learn some guys are good and they keep coming back game after game, they never disappear when anti cheat updates. No, they only become more dominant. Those are the guys you surround yourself with.

Closet hackers are the worst type of hackers because they have convinced themselves they can some how justify their actions.

To my first point. There is no way 25% of people are hacking. I have played plenty of games in my days where either no one was hacking, or if they were they used it so little it didn't matter. In fact in the games I play the vast majority of people do not hack.

There is a huge group of paranoid people who blow things out of proportion. Its the accusations of hacking and articles like these that make more people hack. Its when stupid people convince themselves that every one else is doing it that they go out and hack. And the worst part is a lot of these hackers even get beat by non hackers. And then they just think for sure the other guy is hacking.

The playing field in everything in life is uneven, maybe the other guy has a better computer, or maybe he was trained by an older brother from an early age. Doesn't matter you go out there and play fun, hard and fair.

To me one of the biggest problem isn't blatent or closet cheaters its the fact these stupid game companies code games in ways that allow cheating to take place when it should not be possible. Classic example is insta knife kills from across the map in BF3. Really DICE all your money and budget and you allow something like that to be in the game. If a a player insta knife kills a guy from across the map you have a clear catch on him and he should be insta banned right there. No need to wait you just caught yourself an easy cheater. yet this crap went on for months or maybe more I don't know I quit the game.

I also have to laugh at how stupid the ones guys comments are, cheating servers where they banned certain hacks because they were too good, lol cheaters got to be the most moronic people I have ever seen.

At some point I think gamers in the PC world though will get sick of it enough they will finally be motivated to solve the cheating problem. That time has not come though.
 

MavericK

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I don't think you guys understand the concept of "closet hackers"...if they are doing it right, you would never know they are cheating. But they are still going to have an advantage over you and kill you and others much more than they would without cheats.

Can you still have fun playing with that kind of cheater? Maybe. But I guess it just comes down to when you get killed and it seems like bullshit, it very well could be.
 

rudy

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I and most people understand closet hackers quite well. They have some sort of pride or emotional issue where they need to win etc.... And that will force them to keep upping how well they do it. 50 year old guys with vision problems are an exception not the hacking norm. So if you just play hard and fair you will force them to cheat harder. Yes and sooner or later they will screw up and make mistakes which reveal. There is no such thing as a flawless closet hacker, the very fact they hack in the first place tells you they lack the control to be that perfect. The only question is do you yourself have good enough skill to push them to that limit?

On the other hand if they don't push it hard enough to beat you then it wont affect the game that much anyway.

The irony of closet cheaters is they might even make their opponent better. Because they force or push him to perform. Sometimes when I know someone is cheating I still go in and play against them. Its like a good workout, forces me to play a very disciplined and tactical game rather than just running in guns blazing trying to out aim people.

I am no way saying that I can pick out cheaters, I am just saying that over the long term most cheaters get weeded out. Its all about having fun and playing hard. Do cheaters suck? Yes, but apparently they don't suck enough for most PC gamers to care enough to really want them gone. Because solutions exist to reduce cheating to nearly nothing and people are not willing to do them.
 

leeleatherwood

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I used to hack in BF2142 to kill only the RDX cheaters.

When I saw someone RDX jumping I would pop on the aimbot and headshot them from across the map.

None of the legit players cared, because I wasn't using it against them. Also, I was never banned or kicked because of it.
 

Sycraft

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So you're telling me that 25% of the players in a BF4 match are cheating? There's no way. I'm generally pretty dominant on whatever server I join and often get the MVP ribbon if I've been there the entire round. If the next 3-6 players on the scoreboard are cheating that would mean the next legit player has only half or 2/3 my score.

Am I just getting propped up by the closet cheaters on my own team or something? What's going on here? I don't cheat - my soldier name is Haemato.

The guy is full of shit. Of course he wants people to think everyone is cheating, he wants to sell more cheats. "Oh you play closet cheaters all the time, really, trust me, so to be on their level you totally need to buy my software!" He's probably full of shit. If there really were so many, his business would be a hell of a lot more than $1 million.

So ya, not buying the bullshit here. I'm in a similar situation in that the FPSes I've played, I tended to be pretty good. 1.8-1.9ish KDR in Black Ops 2 and I played REALLY aggressive. I did come across people I suspected of cheating occasionally, but not often. If there really so many cheaters, why did I faceroll them so often? That either means the closet cheats are of such limited value as to make them not really impact skill, in which case why do I care? Or, more likely, this dude is lying and indeed most people were legit players, and only a few cheaters in the mix.
 

doox00

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The guy is full of shit. Of course he wants people to think everyone is cheating, he wants to sell more cheats. "Oh you play closet cheaters all the time, really, trust me, so to be on their level you totally need to buy my software!" He's probably full of shit. If there really were so many, his business would be a hell of a lot more than $1 million.

So ya, not buying the bullshit here. I'm in a similar situation in that the FPSes I've played, I tended to be pretty good. 1.8-1.9ish KDR in Black Ops 2 and I played REALLY aggressive. I did come across people I suspected of cheating occasionally, but not often. If there really so many cheaters, why did I faceroll them so often? That either means the closet cheats are of such limited value as to make them not really impact skill, in which case why do I care? Or, more likely, this dude is lying and indeed most people were legit players, and only a few cheaters in the mix.

That is 1 million for that one particular cheat software, and who knows if that number is accurate or not. I have cheated in bf3, I used 187ci.com for a few months (think they are gone now, dunno). There were a lot of active members on the forums at all times (only paid subscribers could access most of the forums). I was an average to below average in bf3, before using the cheat, when using the cheat (I would not make it completely obvious) I would end up in the top 3 every round and was only accused of cheating a couple times.. and I can guarantee you there are many more cheaters than you think, once you start using a cheat, its pretty easy to pick out the others cheating as well.

I think cheating sucks overall but I will admit, it was pretty fun using it haha.. cheating will never go away unfortunately and like someone mentioned earlier, until they stop the pay to dominate bs and start applying a method to keep servers balanced with like skilled players cheating for many is the only way to really enjoy the game, its no fun being dominated constantly.. some of us don't have the time or the skill to become that good on their own.
 

Porter_

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.. some of us don't have the time or the skill to become that good on their own.

then accept that you're a mediocre player. i'm a mediocre player. my psyche is not so fragile that i can't accept a few virtual deaths.
 

doox00

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then accept that you're a mediocre player. i'm a mediocre player. my psyche is not so fragile that i can't accept a few virtual deaths.

Has nothing to do with be not accepting a few deaths or being just a mediocre player, its just more enjoyable to be useful to your team and or not just getting waxed the second you respawn over and over. Like I said, have a system that puts similar skilled players on a server and problem solved. You do not have to insult people you do not know based on meaningless gaming preferences.
 
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