… aren’t they? Generally, cheating is considered as dishonourable behaviour. This makes of course sense, as every game, may it be an ancient board game like chess or a modern online game only provides fun to all players, if everyone sticks to the rules - rules that have been predefined and agreed upon. Doesn’t that sound strange, providing fun by sticking to rules? No, it doesn’t. In my opinion, games to a very large extend imitate basic concepts of the real world and life. As in real life, you loose all your respect and honour by breaking the rules. Just think of the saying: “Gambling debts are debts of honour”. At times, where everybody has a bank loan of € 150.000 a gambling dept of € 25 is still considered a question of honour.
Cheating on your fellow players is considered as bad. A 5th ace, a short look in your opponents cards – men have been killed for less.
In an interview I gave to one of our fansites, I said: “I don’t understand cheaters, as I don’t see the benefits. Achieving my goal is only satisfying to me if I had to work hard for it.” Or as my father always used to say: “No pain, no gain.”
So, cheaters are evil, aren’t they? In our own game we do have a lot of people that don’t seem to share my opinion. Now I can ask myself, why is that? I am quite sure, they wouldn’t cheat in chess, but they do in Tibia. Why is that? Is it because they don’t have to look into their opponents eyes when they stab them from behind? I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong, right now they get punished in accordance with our rule enforcement policy. Hell yeah, good so. No mercy. We make the rules – don’t break the rules.
On the other hand, I am getting paid for trying to take the customers point of view and to understand them – and NOT to condemn them. So, once again: Why are they cheating?
Because they don’t like certain aspects of our game play! They think those aspects are only time consuming, useless or even boring. Boring, now that’s an association I don’t wanna have in one of my customers’ head. Well, if it’s boring, they’re adjusting it to their needs. That’s what they do.
Can we punish this kind of behaviour? Yes, we can. Can we ignore the reasons behind this kind of behaviour? We most definitely cannot.
We are making a game for our customers, not for ourselves. If a fair amount of our players think that some aspects of the game are boring, we should think about how to make it more interesting. That’s our bloody job. That’s what we get paid for. I could say: Cheating is a very blunt and risky way of our customers to tell us that our game needs improvement.
This doesn’t mean that we are willing to follow all customer requests. I hate to say that, but sometimes they just don’t know what’s good for them. Most players of our game hate the pretty harsh death penalty. If we asked them, they would tell us to get rid of it, and if there was a cheat to countermeasure the death penalty, it would be sold on the black market for the price of 10 Premium Accounts, believe me. So, should we lower our death penalty significantly as so many of our players seem to hate it? Nope, not at all. That’s part of the Tibia experience, which makes the game so unique. Abandon it and you killed the game.
So, too conclude: If you wanna improve your product, listen to everybody, even the cheaters. In the meantime: Prosecute them! They're cheaters after all - and men have been killed for less. ;-)