Cheaters Ruin RPGs
It never fails. A fun RPG is created and within two weeks, the game universe is filled with farm accounts, bots, cheat macros, and hacks. The normal player wanting to play the game as designed has no chance of achieving a high ranking unless he chooses to join the ranks of the lowlife cheaters. Eventually, he loses interest in the game and quits. Eventually, the game becomes so clogged with cheaters, new players don’t even join and the game folds when the developers aren’t making enough money.
Mobage has probably been the most active developer I have seen in combating cheating. Patches and game moderators do what they can to keep abuses out. Cheaters continue to find ways around the security measures. In fact, until very recently, there was a very brisk trade in valuable cars and items via the player messaging and trading system. In-game giveaways were converted into a monetary system. The patches released in the end of August harkened stricter regulation of gifts and trades between accounts, which could lead to a large dropoff of the cheater element from the game universe. Time will tell of course.
So people are using their smarts, more likely the smarts of others, to find an edge to get ahead in the game. What’s the big deal?
First, it’s not fair. In order to compete in the game, you need to be able to grind and level your player, learning to cooperate with other active players in player groups (orders) to defeat more powerful enemies and to compete against one another in pvp combat (holy wars). What chance does the average order have against a “team” of manipulated accounts with seemingly unlimited supplies, funds, and powerful cards? Not much. It can be discouraging for new players.
Second, it’s not fun. When you can have everything without earning it, what is the use of even playing? What fun is that? Ever play Metal Gear with the code to have all items and unlimited weapons/ammo? The game turns into a lengthy maze with very little excitement. Part of the fun of an RPG is resource management and cooperation. Having a team of 20 slave accounts delivering resources to you every day and never having to strategize is boring. Look at it from the other side as well. If you are trying to play the game as it was designed and are daily attacked by cheater accounts, stealing your resources or bullying you into trading cards (yes, that happens too), where is the fun? How will you ever get ahead? As an aside, I saw a player getting thumped like that because he wouldn’t trade a card to a particular player. The aggressor got his entire team to attack him for the rest of the day. Would you want to login and play knowing that you would not get to keep any of the items you collected that day?
Again, hats off to Mobage and other developers who are trying to stop the bleeding and weed out cheater accounts. I’d be glad to see all cheaters gone from the games and for the rest of us to enjoy playing in peace. I know it dates me to say this, but I miss sitting down and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends around a table. It was harder to cheat and a heck of a lot of fun.
One last thing. Want some proof of what I’ve been talking about? Watch the comment boxes and see what happens after this article is published.