Make My MMO: Elite Dangerous players expose ‘wanker function’ hacker (March 24, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Elite Dangerous players scoped out the dirty doings of the paid HCS voice pack plugin, which was apparently intentionally and maliciously sabotaging other programs and packs – whose makers happen to be embroiled in a legal dispute – to stop them from working together. The best part is the name of the function that has everyone up in arms: “wanker.” One of the coders ‘fessed up on Reddit and fell on his sword as patches undoing the mischief were rolled out, but the community is pretty miffed and talking chargebacks. Either way, maybe triple check the third-party mods you install on your system, yeah? (Thanks, Risen Aegis!)

Meanwhile, Star Citizen brought back a round of ship sales and opened alpha 3.2 features up to a vote, we reported on our trip to Shroud of the Avatar’s launch party, Pantheon teased its character modeling, City of Titans released more Scorpion lore, Albion Online tweaked its Lancelot update, and we chatted up Ship of Heroes’ devs at GDC 2018.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

Project Gorgon early access

Recent MMO crowdfunding news

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Ship of Heroes’ map

Campaigns and crowdfunded MMOs we’re watching

3001SQ (Société des Mondes Virtuels) – Kickstarter unsuccessful. Work continues.
AdventureQuest 3D (Artix Entertainment) – Raised 368k; beta began Oct 2016.
Albion Online (Sandbox) – Launched July 2017.
Antraxx (Team Antraxx) – Kickstarter canceled.
Ascent: The Space Game (Fluffy Kitten Studios) – Successful KS. Fully launched 2016.
Ashes of Creation (Intrepid Studios) – Successful KS. Alpha zero.
Broke Protocol (Cylinder) – Unsuccessful KS. In free early access.
Camelot Unchained
(City State) – Kickstarter successful; open donations/packages.
Caribbean Conquest (Invenio) – First KS canceled, second ended unsuccessfully.
Contested Space (Zon)
Crowfall (ArtCraft) – Kickstarter win, open packages, Indiegogo crowdfunding ongoing.
Chronicles of Elyria (Soulbound) – Kickstarter successful, open packages.
Citadel of Sorcery (MMO Magic, Inc.) – Open donations.
City of Titans (Missing Worlds Media) – Successful KS; launching fall 2018.
Descent Underground (Descendent Studios) – Successful KS.
Divergence Online (Stained Glass Llama) – Three campaigns; now in KS early access.
Dogma: Eternal Night
(Prelude Games Factory): Kickstarter overdonor preorder packs.
Dragon of Legends (Thrive Games) – Successful Kickstarter.
Dual Universe (Novaquark) – Kickstarter funded, donor platform. Pre-alpha.
Eco (Strange Loop Games) – Funded, now in alpha.
Edengrad (Huckleberry Games) – Kickstarter funded; in early access.
Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments) – Funded and launched.
Empyrion Online (Eleon) – Kickstarter canceled; launched on Steam early access.
Epic Space (
Ever, Jane (3 Turn Productions) – Now in open beta.
Global Adventures (SubaGames) – Kickstarter funded.
Gloria Victis (Black Eye Games) – Open donations, no end date; in early access.
Greed Monger (Greed Monger) – Abandoned, now in refund process.
Grim Dawn (Crate Entertainment) – Funded and launched.
Guardians of Ember (Runewaker) – Funded and launched.
Guns of Icarus (Muse) – Funded and launched.
Hero’s Song (Pixelmage) – KS canceled; Indiegogo. Canceled w/ refunds.
Infinity: Battlescape (I-Novae Studios)
HEX (HEX Entertainment) – Funded and launched.
Legends of Aria (Citadel Studios) – Kickstarted as Shards Online. Alpha ended.
Life is Feudal (Bitbox): Indiegogo ended. Currently in beta.
LUX (Chimera) – Kickstarter canceled.
Maestros of the Anthymn (String Theory) – Kickstarter canceled.
Maguss (Maguss) – Indiegogo successful; open beta.
Mekria (Infinity Online Studios) – Kickstarter canceled.
Midair (Archetype Studios) – Kickstarter successful.
Nebula Online (Mizar Games) Kickstarter canceled; launched in November.
Neo’s Land (NeoJac Entertainment) – Open donations, no end date.
Novus AEterno (Taitale Studios)
OrbusVR (Ad Alternum) – KS funded March 2017. In early access.
Overpower (Hydrant Games) – Kickstarter unfunded; heading to early access.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen (Visionary Realms) – Open donations. Pre-alpha.
Pantropy (Brain Stone GmbH): Kickstarter canceled.
Pathfinder Online (GoblinWorks) – Doom, mostly.
Planet Nomads (Craneballs) – Kickstarted, early access launched sans multiplayer.
Pixel Starships (SavySoda)
Project Gorgon (Elder Game) – Kickstarted in three tries + Indiegogo. Early access.
Pumpkin Online (Monique) – Downgrading from MMORPG.
The Exiled (Fairytale Distillery) – fka Das Tal; 2015 KS unsuccessful. Early access.
The Realm: Reawakened (Stephen Nichols) – Ongoing GoFundMe.
The Repopulation (Idea Fabrik) – Kickstarted twice by A&B. Back in alpha.
ROKH (Darewise) – Kickstarter canceled; now in early access.
RUiN (Tarhead Studio) – Kickstarter successful.
The Stomping Land (Alex Fundora) – Abandoned.
Sacrament (Ferocity Unbound) – Kickstarter failed; Patreon ongoing.
Shadow’s Kiss (Clockwork Throne) – Ongoing Patreon, Kickstarter funded.
Shroud of the Avatar (Portalarium) – Successful KS. Soft launch July 2016.
Star Citizen (Cloud Imperium) – Ongoing donations/packages.
TUG (Nerd Kingdom) – In middle of year-long revamp after funding surge.
Vigor Roads (NeuronHaze) – Kickstarter unsuccessful; early access planned for 2017.
War of Rights (Campfire Games) – Successful Kickstarter; in alpha.

Pantheon models

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Stkmks Returns
Stkmks Returns

The issue passed as quickly as it came, but it was definitely poor form by HCS to do this. They definitely deserve the creatoring of their goodwill because of this, but given they don’t seem to have enough resources to maintain their website even its unfortunate they even tried.

The larger issue was Frontier is obviously partnering with them as they’re selling voice customizations with the same voice actors from the official frontier store. The fact they didn’t publicly acknowledge or reprimand them for doing so i thought was worse. One guy in his house somewhere might make unfortunate decisions, but a large company should respond.

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I’m not entirely sure about how Elite Dangerous plugin works, other than it have produced very interesting drama. From what I understand is that HCS basically is a officially sanctioned, 3rd party paid mod, which employs unethical and malware-like behavior against another mod that has licensing dispute.

This is the perils of both officially sanctioned mod/plugin, a paid 3rd party mod/plugin.


I’ve been pretty steamed over the HCS thing. Fortunately, Voice Attack doesn’t need them to function so I can safely pass on HCS forever. That dev got thrown under the bus hard and the remains tossed to the vultures.

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Yeah thinking on this some more since I made my comment below I think I might check out EDDI and see if that fits my play style as an alternative. Its a real shame because the voice packs really did add a lot to my game play immersion :-(


You could also check out EDDiscovery for some more free voice options. I ended up not using that one though as I had no use for all the route planning features. It has some different options from EDDI. I do use EDDI these days mainly as an EDSM plugin. It has voice options but they’re pretty simple.

Dave (Dyfydd) Hammer

Okay, yes… Triple check those third party mods… Except the HCS voice packs are officially sanctioned by Frontier for use with their game. How much more vetting does one need than to be recommended by the company that makes the game in the first place? There’s gotta be more to this story. I just started using an HCS voice pack and now you’ve got me worried. Please follow up.

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Its not going to harm your computer or steal your id’s or anything.

Essentially it seems that HCS implemented code that stopped another program (game music packs) from running at the same time as their voice packs due as the party line goes to a licensing disagreement.

I am not sure of this in and outs of the disagreement but it is a rather underhand thing to do. While I am personally going to continue to use the ones I have purchased I don’t think I will be getting anymore, unless more details come to light the clear up the whys and where fores.


There really isn’t. Just because they ‘sanctioned’ the content BEFORE now, doesn’t mean that the creators couldn’t do something afterwards, unless you are claiming that Frontier personally vets and checks each and every update made by every sanctioned third party mod.

No? Of course not. If Steam can’t be bothered to vet their new releases, Frontier wouldn’t be able to afford that sort of work.

HCS had code implemented DEEP into itself with its Singularity plugin that would check to see if Game Music Packs was running as well. If not, no worries. If it did? HCS would then constantly alter and change values and fed the other systems garbage to force it to crash and fail. Once they were found out, HCS was updated so that if it does detect the other mod content it sabotages itself.

And if you want proof of this bad behavior:

HCS Voicepacks hacked my PC!! from EliteDangerous

HCS Voice Packs maliciously preventing GameMusicPacks from working (Proof) from EliteDangerous

as well as a video of it happening:

What they posted above wasn’t scaremongering. They told you exactly what was happening, along with the comment to check your mods if you notice any strange behavior cropping up with your games. Basic knowledge. It isn’t rare to hear about how Curse had its WoW client compromised with malware or the like, I’ve certainly heard and seen it happen.


What they are doing is certainly underhanded but it only affects a “competing” product, they’re not trying to keylog or access files etc.
It sounds like a licensing issue that has been dealt with in the worst way, especially from a PR perspective.

HCS have brought a bunch of cool, famous voices into Elite and that is good enough for me, hopefully they don’t make the same mistake twice.