Gone are the days when Chinese companies could get away with ripping off games left and right: Blizzard is going after another one of these alleged copyright-violating piles of crap.
The game in question is mobile title Heroes of Warfare; Japanese publication PC Watch reports that Blizzard’s Chinese conglom and publisher NetEase are suing the the maker, demanding and apology, restitution, and removal from Apple’s appstore, on the grounds of IP violations in China.
Meanwhile, stop cheating, cheaters. Your day has come, as the studio has apparently begun another round of six-month bans to folks who use cheat tools. Stoppit.
And in happier Blizzard news… here’s the whole WoW dev team. The fluffy white dog on the left personally made the no-flying-in-Argus decision, we’ve been informed by the PR collie being hoisted over on the right.
Are you one of the 10M people who’ve dipped into Fortnite’s battle royal mode? Or perhaps one of the 500K who played concurrently this past weekend? Then you’ll want to point your eyeballs at the game’s latest patch. The 1.7.1 update brings battle royale stats, a monster power balance in the Save the World mode, and changes to the progression system for Challenge the Horde game mode. At least if the studio can get the kinks worked out, anyway. My favorite patch note? “Added a few structures near Tomato Town.”
Of note, Epic says it’s making good on its promise to upend cheaters, having now implemented the contentious but widespread third-party BattlEye program, even for PvE players. The program is used in multiple games but has been criticized heavily for privacy violations, most recently by the ARK Survival Evolved community. Epic, however, has stated on Reddit that BattlEye was not to blame for the recent spate of false positives in cheat detection.
That isn’t to say nobody’s to blame. Indeed, the company is apparently personally suing the creators of two sub-based cheat service, AddictedCheats, at least one of whom has been “banned from Fortnite at least nine times,” according to the filing. MOP readers will recall that Blizzard’s enjoyed a measure of litigation success over cheat-vendors preying on its own games, so we’ll see whether Epic does too.
Cheating is bad in online games; we can all agree on that. Having anti-cheat software usually raises some questions back and forth, but the core idea of making sure that cheating is stopped swiftly at the root at least makes a fair amount of sense. Really, the only problem with it in the long term is if it mistakenly flags innocent accounts for immediate banning when they weren’t doing anything wrong. You know, like what seems to be happening to Fortnite players recently.
The studio quickly identified the issue and is working to both fix the problem and correct the automated cheat bans for players unfairly barred from the game; the bug appears to be caused by shooting whilst on a swingset, and players hit by this false positive should no longer be getting fully banned. Still, it takes some time to reverse bans, and it’s hard to argue that this makes the anti-cheat software look good. Unless you think swingsets are inherently evil, we suppose. So that’s a mixed result when the game cracks down hard on cheating, perhaps.
Let this Black Desert
story be a lesson. Actually, no, let it be two lessons: Don’t cheat, and definitely don’t cheat if your job might be on the line. Maybe three lessons, in that we can’t always trust the people running the MMOs we play.
Black Desert, as MMO Culture reports, has suffered a black eye thanks to its Taiwanese studio. Apparently, a pair of Pearl Abyss Taiwan employees in the region used their personal, non-employee accounts to play the game during maintenance (while it was down for regular players), scooping up some sweet loot from the auction hall in the process.
“Both were stripped of their positions,” MMO Culture translates, “and 30% of their pay will be withheld for 3 months.” So apparently they keep their jobs?
OK, so four lessons: The penalties probably won’t be harsh enough.
Over in the west, there’s no patch today, but there are new bits and bobs in the cash shop this week.
Motherboard has a fun-slash-depressing piece out this week on an unnamed hacker who claims he’s been cheating at MMORPGs to make a living for almost two decades.
Prior to his recent Def Con hacking conference talk, the hacker dubbed “Manfred” seemingly demoed via video a hack performed in WildStar, one he used to help him accrue nearly 400 trillion gold, which he then allegedly sold to players through various black markets. He argues he wasn’t hacking — he was providing a service by “finding unintended features in the protocol.”
At least some of his claims don’t even seem particularly outlandish, especially if you’ve been around in MMORPGs for a long time and have an understanding of how rampant duping and RMT markets have been over the last 20 years. Manfred claims he got his start in Ultima Online illegally deleting other players’ houses and selling his own on Ebay, funding his days in college. Since then, Motherboard says, he cheated and duped his way through the “wild west” of Lineage 2, Shadowbane, Final Fantasy XI, Dark Age of Camelot, Lord of The Rings Online, RIFT, Age of Conan, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2.
The World War II MMO Heroes and Generals is fighting more than just the Nazis this week. The team announced that it was performing another ban wave to rid the community of cheaters using third-party software to gain advantages.
“Our policy is zero tolerance, zero leniency, and zero exceptions,” the team said. “Anyone who is found to have, at any point in time, used any kind of third-party software designed to cheat while playing Heroes and Generals will lose their accounts once the cheat has been confirmed. Do not ‘try out’ a cheat, not even once: You will be permanently banned on all accounts.”
People steal money in Grand Theft Auto Online. That’s kind of the nature of the game, and players are given a large amount of content entirely focused upon stealing money. But while it’s a video game all about committing various crimes, “hack the game to steal the money from other players and then flag your victim as a hacker” is really not an approved version of content. So it’s a shame that it’s happening; you can see an example of this new hack in a video just below.
The new hack allows a hacker to leech a lot of money while massively inflating the target’s rating, flagging them as a hacker (hearkening back to the hack from the early days centered around “money bombs” of illegitimate funds). While there’s a certain amount of irony in the idea that people are griefing others by giving things out, it’s also making some players stay offline until the exploit is fixed. Let’s hope for soon, as this is supposed to be a game about having fun with pretend robberies, not actually being robbed.
It’s all fun and games… until you start selling software to help players cheat, then it’s all lawsuits and court dates.
Blizzard is asking the California district court to pronounce a judgment upon Bossland, the maker of cheat software for World of Warcraft and Overwatch. The game company filed a lawsuit last year against the cheat maker for copyright infringement and unfair competition. Bossland stopped responding to the court, and Blizzard is now asking the court to make a default judgment.
Blizzard claims that Bossland sold over 42,000 hacks in North America, which the studio considers to be worth $8.5 million in damages. “In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00,” the studio posted. “While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages. Blizzard does not seek such damages as a ‘punitive’ measure against Bossland or to obtain an unjustified windfall.”
The business model for Overwatch in Korea is very different than it is here in the USA, which means that there will be at least one person looking at it with longing. After all, there’s something seductive about the idea of not having to buy the game to play, just buying time on a PC in a gaming cafe and making a free account right there. Of course, the result is that the game’s Korean servers are like the wild west, as players can easily make disposable accounts for hacking antics that thoroughly demolish the game’s rules.
It’s like the wild west insofar as it’s a lawless wasteland, that is. The actual wild west featured very few teleporting robots, aimbotting purple French women, or invulnerable British lesbians who could teleport.
In response, Blizzard is changing how the account setups work starting on February 17th, requiring a permanent Battle.net account to log in and play even at a gaming cafe. The hope is that players who hack the game and get banned will then find themselves unable to create further free accounts to harass people who want prefer a version of the game not filled with hacks and nonsense. If you’re reading this while haunting the cafe and hacking your way through the game, know that your days are limited.
This past weekend, Black Desert devs disabled some unusual items in the game: shovels and empty bottles. It turned out that exploiters had been using the items to take advantage of an infinite gathering bug that allowed them to rack up an alleged 20 billion in coin apiece over the course of the last few months, potentially wrecking the economy.
Today, Kakao has announced that those who abused the bug have been banned:
Over the weekend, Daum disabled shovels and empty bottles in Black Desert. Why? The “team discovered a bug with the current implementation” — that’s the official statement.
Players on Reddit and the forums, however, have accused “top players” and guilds of a shovel-related “infinite gathering” exploit that’s been abusable since the release of Valencia months ago. Writes one accuser,
“They would go and auto shovel with a completely full inventory and have 2 of the slots be a hard and a sharp stack (the rest being junk that couldn’t be gathered from shoveling). The result being that it would only use an energy if a hard or sharp was dropped and added to the stack. Infinite gathering. Add the drop event and a tree buff with that and your talking billions of silver just for afking. Let me paint this picture for you….say they ONLY did it for 8hrs a day (while they slept or something) and each hour they only got 5 sharp/hards (probably more) and well say that on avg each sold for 5 mill (prices back then were 7mil alone for sharps) THATS 200 MILL A DAY WHILE BEING AFK. multiply that by 3 months worth and your talking almost 20 BILL.”
Bye, Pokemon Go cheaters.
Niantic confirmed in a blog post last night that it’s cracking down not just on the cheat apps but on the people using them.
“After reviewing many reports of in-game cheating, we have started taking action against players taking unfair advantage of and abusing Pokémon GO,” the company said. “Moving forward, we will continue to terminate accounts that show clear signs of cheating. Our main priority with Pokémon GO is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate game experience for all players. If our system has determined that you cheated, then you will receive an email stating that your account has been terminated.”
Previously, players who’d used GPS spoofing cheats and bots reported receiving soft bans, meaning they could log in but not catch ’em all, but these new bans shut down accounts permanently.
Niantic does say that anyone who believes he or she was wrongfully banned can lodge an appeal.
has quite happily gone after cheat-makers in court before, but now Riot Games
is getting in on the act by suing the biggest maker
of League of Legends
hacking software. The suit alleges that LeagueSharp’s software disadvantages millions of players, giving players fraudulent advice, and providing means for circumventing proper access to servers.
As with similar lawsuits, the crux of the issue is Riot’s assertion that the software violates copyright by reverse-engineering the copyrighted game code. While the company initially sought to settle the matter out of court, it is further alleged that LeagueSharp was unresponsive, this requiring further litigation. There are also allegations regarding a Riot employee whose personal information was leaked by LeagueSharp, which is a rather serious accusation. It remains to be seen how these accusations will play out when put up to the scrutiny of the legal system.