Cheating: The Other Side

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(Ed. note: He didn’t request to be anonymous)

Hello, I’m almost 20 years of age and last semester my roommate got me hooked on playing CounterStrike. I’m talking seriously hooked, like 30 hours a week easily. Through so much effort and practice, I became quite good at the game.

I typically was the top player for the round and if not, never below 3rd. I played respectfully, helped people when they asked for something instead of telling them to “$&#* off” or “get out you newbie” which were frequent responses from other top players.

See, everyone seems to think that good players are good and bad players resort to cheating. But this is just not the case.

Here I am, playing in my dorm, kicking ass most of the time when the game starts to lose its overall appeal. Sure, it’s a great game and all, but I was losing interest.

I looked into scripting, like writing code to buy weapons in an instant at start so i wouldn’t have to fuddle with the menus or entering in strings of numbers to buy quickly. Well, I wrote some pretty good binds and that kinda extended the life of the game a bit. I could buy real fast; I could say certain useful phrases like “need backup” or “I’m planting the bomb” at the stroke of a key. I then decided it’d be cool if i could throw a lot of grenades quickly, so i wrote a keystroke that purchased and equipped a grenade ready to be tossed. Since you can only have one at a time, I’d need to stay in the buy zone to use it, but that’s not too tough considering hostages/bomb sites that need to be defended usually are at the buy sites.

I changed my name to “Grenade Crazy” (the name I still play under) and started throwing lots of grenades. It was very amusing and grenade kills are very satisfying. There’s no cheating involved, I follow all the rules of the game, I just manage to buy things faster than others.

I got a lot of flack from certain players, being called a “grenade spammer” and other such nonsense. I usually retaliated with a little “bullet spammer” comeback and continued trying to get grenade kills.

This usually left me with a pretty awful record at the end of the round (grenade kills aren’t easy) but it was still an extension of the life of the game.

Then came the invisible cheat, which was really sad cause it was practically built into the game, it was just one line of code that needed to be bound to a key. It was pretty dumb, and I didn’t really use it cause I could kill playing normally just fine.

I am a college student with a 3.9 average (Ed.note: Not if you had my college English teacher, you wouldn’t), so I’m not some teenager, I’m not stupid, I have plenty of self esteem, I have a great social life and quite frankly, I was pretty good at CS. I had been playing less and less because it was getting a little worn out. That was two weeks ago.

Then I found the infamous speed hack. Let me tell you that it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in an online game. I would be buying (in a second of course, then waiting for the ridiculous 10 second buy time to count down) and then in a few seconds there’d be an opposing player splattering my team on the walls of our base. Well, I would sometmes take him out, but more often I’d get splattered too.

Most speed cheaters came and went real quick cause they didn’t want to be banned, so I sucked it up for a round or two and then it was over and I continued with the game. Well, I was very amazed by it, so I wanted to see how it worked.

I found a link to a site that had it, downloaded it, read the instructions, set it up and ran a LAN game to try it out. WOW. It was incredible. I practiced movement and shooting and got down the basics of moving 10x faster than normal. Now I had to see what I was capable of in the public servers.

Here’s some of the things i’ve done with this cheat: I have made it a goal to empty a server before, curious if i could do it or not. I’ve named myself VOTE ME OUT to see if i could get enough votes to be kicked, cause quite frankly, i’ve never seen it done. I’ve never seen enough people work together to vote out someone. Then a few days ago it happened, and i was satisfied.

I’ve become a regulator of sorts on servers. If I’m playing for real and there’s a lot of AWPers (one-shot sniper rifles that really don’t belong with the other guns in CS, i’ve seen numerous servers ban these from play, no fun getting nailed in the arm with 100 health and dying, no skill in that) I declare a few times that there will be no AWPing or else. Well, most people don’t listen and 2 games later I’ll bust out the speed and nail only the AWPers and then play normally. I’ve regulated against AWPers, spawn campers and a few other annoying play types. Sure, it’s only my opinion, but I know there’s plenty of others out there wo play legit and hate spawn campers and AWPers just as much, so i chose to do something about it.

I’ve also regulated against team stacking. I’ll go on a public server and see 5 guys with kills in the 40s on one team and the other team has nobody in double digits.

Now is this fun? Is this moral? Should you feel good for wiping out a bunch of newbies over and over and over? You shouldn’t if you think cheating is unfair; you’re doing the same thing, taking advantage. Most people in this situation don’t switch it up to make it more balanced. They cry “the teams are even, 7 on 7 doesn’t get more even” but it truly is unbalanced in terms of skill.

So I’ll suggest evening up the teams for a few rounds and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll flip it on and regulate. I don’t want to try to make some BS excuse like i’m some hero cheating for the sake of the poor, but there’s plenty of stuff out there that people overlook or turn their heads away from that’s just as bad for the game as cheating. The speed hack also breathed new life into this game once again for me.

So what’s the point? The point is that cheaters aren’t all 13 year olds; they’re not all immature; they’re not all unintelligent. They’re not less behaved than good players (this is evident as most legit players have dirtier mouths than cheaters) and they aren’t necessarily less skilled than anyone. I’m a perfect example of this. I’ve been accused of cheating because i suck or whatever, then I tell them I’ll turn it off if they bring it, and I still take care of business.

I’ve been respected for that, even thanked or apologized to by those who yelled at me for cheating. Imagine that, a guy who cheats, but whoops ass either way. Skill is learned, cheating is unnecessary and can ruin the experience for others.

In a game with 1000+ servers at any time, there’s 999 I’m not on. So if someone hates playing on the server I am when I’m speeding around, there’s plenty of options left.

I could see the problem if there were 10 servers available, then you’re just kind of stuck because chances are there’s cheating going on everywhere, but that’s not the case.

I don’t cheat cause I suck, or cause I have mental problems or anything like that. I cheat cause sometimes I want to regulate, sometimes I want to play god and sometimes I just get bored playing normally.

Anyone who complains about cheating has a valid argument, but anyone who claims cheaters have no skill or that cheating is not fun, hasn’t tried it. There’s a rush in doing it; I don’t really know why. I don’t do it most of the time, but the occasional unleashing is a lot of fun. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

I just felt that a lot of the people out there playing are doing a lot of complaining, a lot of jumping to conclusions and little to improve the situation (downloading punkbuster, voting out offending players [seriously, this is a big one, it never happens], changing servers when there’s plenty of options open, etc). There’s plenty of things you can do to help the situation, and there’s a lot about cheaters you don’t know.

Have fun and don’t worry, cheaters get bored with things too. Like everything, a cheat is a fad, and it’ll be over soon. Happy Fragging!

(Ed. note: Did you notice how often the author used the word “I”? Notice that if he wanted something, that automatically justified it, no further explanation needed? “I was bored with the game.” “I wanted to play God.” There’s very little sense of “other” here.

But it’s not entirely missing, though I question whether his motivation for “regulating” was done out of any sense of fairness or sportsmanship, rather than the desire to play god.

I think he does make a point, though, in suggesting that people tend to draw the line just beyond their own behavior.)

___________________

This is brought out a bit more in the next piece:

Cheaters… it seems you can’t have a conversation about on-line gaming,
especially first person gaming, without hearing of the injustices of “those
immature idiots”. Are cheaters really the evil incarnate so many people
believe them to be?

Well, that depends on what you consider cheating.
On-line Gaming Leagues usually have at least a reference to cheating, but
this may be anything from a listing of known cheats to a general statement
such as “anything that gives one person/team an advantage over another”.

Some cheats are pretty obvious, such as an aimbot. This is usually a
separate program that aims for the player in first-person games. At this
point the person is more of a spectator than a player… they just watch
their computer do all the work. Other cheats/bugs/hacks may allow someone
to run much faster, become invisible, or even render the player completely
invulnerable to damage. These all allow the user abilities that the
“standard gamer” couldn’t possibly hope to match.

What happens when the clear line of cheating gets a little
blurry?

A while back the on-line game Counter-Strike allowed the user to change
the value of a command called Lambert. This command controlled the
brightness of player models and other similar objects. When set to certain
values player models on the person’s screen would remain bright and almost
glowing even in the darkest of shadows.

After use of this “feature” became very apparant, the developers decided
to remove it and instead included it in the game as Night Vision Enhancement
which the player had to buy with money earned by killing others or winning
rounds. After its removal several programmers created “hacks” that allowed
someone to once again change the value without paying for it. The only
difference is that the person had to know where to find the program,
something that not everyone knew how to do. Now only a certain number of
people had the ablility to use Lambert.

Does this mean that Lambert became a cheat? Well, in a way it did. Now
the people who possessed it had an even greater advantage because some
others couldn’t counteract the situation by using it themselves.

The line gets even blurrier.=-

Well then what about people who could see better than others to begin
with? I, for example, have a professional-grade monitor that is brighter
and higher-contrast than most others, allowing me to see detail where others
see only darkness. Is that cheating? Well, in a way it, too, is cheating.
My monitor gives me an advantage that other people not only lack, but have
no way of aquiring. Does the fact that I payed a lot of money for this make
it any better? What if I paid $600 for an aimbot?

The problem with on-line gaming is that there is no such thing as
“fair”. You can’t punish a DSL subscriber for having a lower latency than
your 33.6 modem any more than you can blame someone for getting their Duron
100Mhz higher than you by paying for more expensive mods. What makes
someone who can see you through walls using a custom hack any worse than
someone who has a 3D-Positional Sound card? Either way, a person could tell
exactly where you are, even if you don’t know where they are.

It IS an “Arms Race”… he with the most toys wins. Some people stop at
hardware upgrades, some people change custom settings buried deep in the
coding of the game, and some people modify the game itself. Where is the
line crossed? At what point do you have TOO MUCH of an advantage?

In the end you’re just playing against public opinion. You might not
agree with it, but you either have to conform to it or go somewhere else.
Yes, I think there are many people out there who abuse their knowledge of
programming to come out ahead, but at the same time I think cheating is, for
the most part, just an excuse for people who care more about winning than
the challenge of fighting other, more skilled players. I have seen legit
players banned permanently from servers for “killing more people than anyone
could without cheating”. I have, on rare occasions, come up against players
that were admitedly cheating, but over 95% of the time either I or someone I
knew was the one being accused of the cheating.

Imagine what overclocking
would be like if we shunned anyone who got their TBird 600 to 1.5Ghz with
air cooling. It’s nice to be able to blame others for your own failings,
but that’s just taking the easy way out… and isn’t that what all these
people are complaining about in the first place?

(Ed. note: Uhh, no, but that could be the case sometimes.)

Email Ed


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