The Steady Discintegration of Online Play

I don't know about you, but for me and alot of other people, I am sure, there are few things more depressing, video game wise, than logging into an old favorite game of yours only to discover that alot of what you love and remember about the games online play is now gone and has been replaced by hacking, glitching, cheating, backstabbing, team killing, what have you.There are two times that this has happened to me recently. I decided not that long ago to pick Killzone back up and play a few online matches. Killzone used to be a decent online game. It isn't anymore. What I found was that it was overrun with hackers and glitchers. How do I know this? Well, I headshotted a guy four times with a shot gun. He, then, turned arround and shot me once with a pistol and killed me. Ontop of that, half the time there aren't even guns going off or anyone arround me, and I would just drop dead for no apparent reason. The second game that sticks out to me is Starcraft. I am not sure about hacking, because I didn't stick arround long enough to find out, but I know that it is overrun with backstabbers. Every single game I played was designed for backstabbing. Ontop of that, I ran across numerous maps that were designed specifically to make it impossible for one team to win. The map creator would do things such as hide the vespene gas behind the crystals that serve as the games money or rig the map so that your starting point is a long, thin tunnel away from your money. Not only were people cheating, but they were finding very creative ways to do it.

It is things like this that completely ruin the online experience for those that play fair and by the games rules. I don't want to have to cheat to be able to do as well as you, and it pisses me off that it is so. I know that the companies, quite often, take various measures to stop this sort of thing, but it never seems to do any good. I like online play. I love deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag. I love sending armies off to kill my opponent in a friendly match of Warcraft 3. It is fun to me. It is also fun to alot of other people, so much so that it has spread rather quickly, to consoles, which used to be mostly about single player gaming. Some of the games that I play the most online are on consoles. Warhawk and Resistance: Fall of Man spring instantly to mind, but I have to wonder, when are they going to go the way of Starcraft? When are they going to be overrun with hackers and cheaters? The companies can only do so much, which leaves the duty up to us. We have to work as well to ensure that online gaming stays fun and friendly, instead of overrun with jerks that will shoot you in the back or assholes that will use programs that give them a distinct advantage over the fair player.

By now, you are probably asking yourself, "Well, what can I do to help?" One thing you can do is never give them the time of day. IF you find out that someone in your game is using hacks, leave., If enough people do this kind of thing, they may eventually run out of people to play with or against. Where does that leave them? Maybe they will get bored and go play something else? Who knows? We certainly won't unless we play. I urge you. Do not give cheaters the satisfaction or the time of day. Ignore them. Lave games they are in. It is as simple as that. Put them on your block list if the game or service supports it. Sitting there and telling them to fuck off and die won't do a damn thing. With some of them, it might even make them laugh at you or it may give them satisfaction or inflate their ego. They may be looking for that type of reaction out of players like you and me. I know you have heard it a million times, but in situations like that, it is best to just walk away.

Online games now days often come with a report button or something to that effect. The developers put these methods of reporting players in the games for a reason. Do not be afraid to use them. I know that, for some people, it just seems rude to report others because of the possibility of them getting banned from playing their favorite games online, but ask yourself this: who is the real jerk? You, for looking out for yourself and your fellow players that play by the rules or them, for having unfair advantages over those who play by the rules? Think about this next time you are unsure as to whether or not you should report someone that you feel that they are hacking. If you are fairly confident, but there is a level of uncertainty, remember that reporting someone does not automatically mean that they will get banned. It generally means that the mods or whoever is in charge of the servers will have someone to watch for a while, incase you are right. It's not like you will get penalized because your hunch was wrong, right? Besides that, there is no way to be 100% right at all times, but that does not mean that we can sit idly by.

One more thing you can do to ensure that you play online with people that play fair is to make friends with people or play with friends that you already have. Find people that you know and can trust and play online with them. IF that means that you wind up playing online less on that particular game, eh. Worse things have happened. I eventually did this with Diablo II. I used to run a clan called the Forsaken Souls (guess what the FS stands for in my name) that spanned Diablo, Diablo II and Starcraft. Running that clan got me a small group of friends that I could rely on to never do things such as backstab me or kill me unless we were dueling, and they never took my money or items if they bested me. It was certainly alot more fun than just playing in a random game where no one knows each other. You have alot of things in common that way, so you have things to talk about. It is also the only way to be 100% sure that you will never play with someone that hacks or utilizes glitches or something similar.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, I do like to play games online. I have been playing Resistance online quite a bit lately, and I will get back to playing Warhawk after I finish the shooters I am currently working on (The Suffering: Ties that Bind and Killzone: Liberation). I would love to play online with you, be it Starcraft, Diablo, Quake Wars, Resistance: Fall of Man or whatever, if you do not cheat. I will gladly play online with you if you do not hack. I will gladly play online with you if you do not backstab, teamkill, utilize glitches or camp spawn points. I encourage all of you to take this same stance. It is ruining our favorite online games, and it has got to stop. As a player, it is up to you to do what you can to help. Please take a stand against those that cheat.