After reading the recent news that the PS3 has been officially hacked, and that Aimbots, and other cheat’s may soon be invading my beloved online gaming experience (Black Ops on PS3 specifically.), I felt it was a good time to go over another hurdle game designer’s face in the modern industry. That hurdle is of course, punishment and rewards.
As an amateur designer, I am very wary of this balance, and many designer’s opt to avoid punishing players all together. Sometimes they avoid punishment, because they believe the will lose players. Sometimes cheater’s go on for a long period uncontested in games…
I for one believe a viable punishment is only fair. No player should be allowed to cheat in an online Multi-Player game without some form of punishment, and I stand strongly by that belief. For my example, I will use an MMORPG that I played for years, and recently retired from called Tibia. It was created by a German company called Cipsoft, and I was addicted, yes, Addicted for about 6 years.
Yes, it looks simple… It was for a time. I loved this game, and played it for years. That is, until cheater’s literally flooded every aspect of it. For a long time, it was little stuff. People using “Auto-Heal” programs, or a program to make them perform simple task like fishing, or making magic runes. Back in those days, a fair player could go around, and kill the cheater’s themselves, and often reap some rewards, and that was good…
However, CIPsoft made a very fatal error. They publicly announced that they were hesitant to delete cheater’s accounts, because they did not want to lose business. They would only do a temporary ban. Within 2 years, over 80% of the game’s population was using some form of bot program. It was not uncommon to go to an area to train or level your character, only to find it taken by a high leveled player, who wasn’t even playing. They had programs that made their characters hunt, cast spells, heal, and loot enemy’s automatically!
Within 4 year’s time, bots completely ruined the community of this game, with many people using cheat’s simply because they believed it the only way to keep up with their enemies. People who played fairly began to give up hope, and many of us made the decision to leave Tibia forever. I actually recall writing a ‘breakup letter’ to customer service before I deleted the program from my PC. I have been clean for 6 months now, and I admit, I was addicted.
My addiction only goes to serve the point I am making however. Player’s need to be punished if they knowingly break the rules. Rules are what make a game, and without them, all you have is a toy. There is a responsibility for the developer’s to ensure that anyone who pay’s for their game, and play’s it fairly, has the right to an even and fair match. No matter how much a player loves your game, no matter how many memory’s, good times, or how hard the addiction, a failure to serve your honest customer will only result in them leaving you. That is why I applaud Sony’s decision to brick the console’s of cheaters. That is why I applaud Microsoft’s decision to Ban Cheaters. That is why I support fair punishments, and creating an incentive to play by the rules of the game.
– Travis W. Thompkins
Thoughts, opinions and discussion, welcome in the Comments.
P.S. On a side note, I would like to express that I am only talking about people who use mods/hacks with the intent of giving themselves an unfair advantage over other players. I do however believe that supported mods and mods designed to give everyone a good time, are a good thing and should be embraced by developers. (Here’s looking at you Valve!)The Game Designer's Watch: Punishment for Cheaters. -Opinionated Piece-,