Friday, February 29, 2008

Cheaters are evil, …

… 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. ;-)

15 comments:

caroline said...

I think that the death penalty is what keeps me playing all of my characters. I need to strive to get back what I lost, and without he penalty, I don't think I would be past level 50. If there was no death penalty, people might as well not even die.

I have lots more to say, but little amount of time.

Lord Mijeman said...

Seems that the problem with cheaters is that they are equally innovative in coming up with solutions to cheat as we are to elimiate the cheats they create. I have theory about how to help the situation, but ultimately, this is a battle that will wage on for eons, as a good versus evil. Which side will you chose? Time will tell...

Travy said...

Well, I suppose you have to look at why a lot of people play the game. For some of them I am sure, it is the high end aspect of the game. They want to be that person that walks into town and has everyone swoon over their level. While some people are content with earning that level, others want immediate gratification. And so, botting and account trading runs rampant. When it comes to online games, many look at them as a release from real life where they matter little to nothing. And so, when you are that feared/respected high level, it gives people a sense of importance. For that reason, I doubt that we will ever see cheating completely removed from Tibia.

John said...

Well personally i think that people cheat because like that they can easily achieve a gold and can be better than somebody else with the least effort. That's humans will to be better than others. However i desagree with you Mercutio about: "Because they don’t like certain aspects of our game play! They think those aspects are only time consuming, useless or even boring."
Personally i think that the content team already destroyed the game way far enough. Example: The aimbot which was known in the past, currently disappeared because of the introduction of that feature into the game. Now there is no point to be skilled in aiming simply because if you're skilled you won't make a difference compared to a non skilled aimer. And that's a real shame in my opinion. In my opinion CipSoft is trying to provide a game where it is easy to become level 300 in just few months... It has nothing to do with that "fun" and kind of game that people are searching for. Cheaters are there simply because they see that they can barely be cough, none of them is scary of the blue cape anymore...
Well that's my point of view.

tim said...

I dont think the reason people are cheating is that the game is boring. And people are more likely to respect you at level 200 then at level 15. For example people will say "wow cool level" to you when they see you and so on. I already experience that and im only level 60 and i have to admit it makes me feel good when other people are impressed by my lvl, my house, my items or my cash. But i have worked hard for it. i played tibia for several years now. But other people dont have that patience. They see the game and maybe get even power abused themselves by highlvls and then they dont want to wait 4 years to be like that but they want it fast and the easiest way to do that is by cheating. Theres nothing wrong with the game, by giving them what they want (faster lvling, aimbot and so on) you only ruin the fun for the players who dont just want to be "the highlevel" but play the game for fun.

Anonymous said...

People cheat because it is easier than playing the game. Most games do not have this problem. Unlike other games, however, Tibia only has one way to advance: Mindless slaughter of the same monsters over and over and over again.

Your "death penalty" might strike fear into the honest players but means grapes when you are a cheater. "Who cares if I just died and lost two levels, all my gold and other loot? I'll just get another backpack and go back to my hunting spot and continue to bot for a day and have all of that back" - whereas an honest player would say "F$!#@ I just died and lost 10 days of playing time and everything in my backpack!" Unlike honest players - most of which might only be able to play your game a few hours a day, people who use bots can be in the game for days and weeks at a time. They achieve "goals" faster, cheaper, better than any honest player.

Do you want to know how to stop cheaters? I can't tell you. Every game has cheaters. Even World of Warcraft, the most popular online game in the world, with its extremely intricate anti-cheat software has people who do the same thing - automate their way around endlessly slaughtering monsters. The difference? World of Warcraft has less cheaters (in percentage) than Tibia.

Perhaps one way to lessen the amount of cheaters is to even the playing field. Why do people cheat? It is easier than actually playing the game. How can you make it so people do not have to waste their lives slaughtering monsters in a way that does not give cheaters a benefit too? How about interactive quests that give experience points? Something that doesn't require such a boring activity like right-clicking a monster when you get close to him, waiting until he is dead, looting his body, moving and repeating for hours on end.

Games should be fun, not work. That is not to say that you should just have "the best stuff" just handed to you, but it shouldn't require you to invest years of your live to achieve. It all comes down to time. People don't have the time, or do not want to waste the time to achieve "Level 100" so they cheat.

Find a way to encourage people to cheat less. Give honest players a benefit over cheaters.

Anonymous said...

Right now, there is no reason why anybody should not be cheating. There is not one thing in Tibia that benefits an honest player.

"Feeling of success" is a load of baloney in this game.

Ted said...

There are several reasons why people cheat on Tibia.

1) From the perspective of one of your customers, I can tell you that Tibia is a very skill/level orientated game, in that, the game gives you many more incentives with respect to game content, for spending massive amounts of hours gaining skills and levels.
Thereby, people cheat in to gain access to game content which is obtainable more readily by cheating.

2) People cheat in Tibia because the large percentage of them can get away with it. Only the fools leave their cavebot on while they sleep. The real cheaters, you dont know about.

3) People cheat because CIP provides a very poor and lacking customer service with regards to report processing, (e.g. by hiring kids to work for free as GM's). People have no respect for people who were essentially their peers, who are now banning them/telling them not to cheat. An analogy would be a sibling when you were a young kid, telling you not to do something. Would you have listened?

4) People cheat because it is extremely repetitive and boring to hunt. For me it feels almost like work to hunt, which is why I barely do it anymore, I have a level 117.

Another attitude is, "I could sit here and kill these rotworms for hours, which i have done thousands of times aleady, and am extremely efficient at doing, or I could sit here and do some work and be productive, while this nice cavebot does it for me".

Personally I dont think cheaters are evil and I dont think a lot of people do. The general attitude in the game is, cheating is fine unless you get caught, then everyone makes out you are a cheating bastard. I don't mind cheaters, but cheaters who are stupid enough to get caught, get what they deserve.

caroline said...

"There is not one thing in Tibia that benefits an honest player."

One thing that benefits me as an honest player is patience and tolerance, if not more.

Anonymous said...

"One thing that benefits me as an honest player is patience and tolerance, if not more."

That means absolutely nothing in an online game. What I meant is, what benefit does an honest player have in TIBIA. There isn't one.

Anonymous said...

I agree there is no real feeling of success, in terms of levelling a character. The felt no success when I powergamed my knight, afterall what did I achieve? 10 million experience points gained in 3 weeks by spending hours on a computer game, repetitively hunting and not having fun doing so, to get 30 levels in Tibia.

The only real fun I had was solving quests on my own, such as Mad Mage quest. But now the quests either require you to repetitively hunt to gain a high level, or repetitively hunt to loot monster products. Neither of which is fun.

There is no reward in Tibia for being skilled/good at the game/good at solving puzzles, the only people who are rewarded are those who spend hours and hours each day online, hunting things.
It would be ok if that was challenging, but Tibia is one of the easiest games I have played. It does not require much skill anymore, just the ability to hammer a hotkey button and the skill to either cavebot without being caught, or the patience to repetitively hunt boring monsters.

ja nie said...

THe rewards in tibia come slowly, veeery slowly. So thats why some people resort to cheating. Not everybody has the time to sit 10 hours at a comp.

caroline said...

the cheaters are probably only doing it to either show off to their friends, or join a war and lose it.

a real gain from tibia would be the people to talk to, and the ability to go OoC and not worry about RL.

Ambalrith said...

I've been thinking, if CipSoft really wants to get rid of cheaters why don't you start to do something real to stop it? First off you could stop giving cheaters a second chance on boted accounts. I mean, if someone has used a bot to reach level 200 and than get banned for it, why should he be able to continue after 1 month? None of the cheaters is stupid enough to afk bot when they have a deletion warning. If the cheaters knew they would lose their character if they were banned the cheating would probably decrease. But ever since I started this game (Not to long after CipSoft introduced Premium accounts) I noticed that you give us the feeling you want to keep the cheaters. The last extreme banishment was the black weekend back in 2004(?) When several of the highest levels in the game got deleted for cheating. We had a player on Pandoria admitting sharing between 14 persons to start with, in the end just 3, use of all diffrent cheats you can possibly think of etc etc. His post got reported and all the punishment he got was 30 days. How can you justify something like that and still claim you're against cheating?

About the death penalty, In my opinion it's not needed, some other punishment would be better. I played WoW and I enjoyed that game a for a long time and all you lost when dying was 10% of all your durability on items. Could be a pain in the but when you reach higher levels but already at level 50 it sucks to die in Tibia.

Another way of solving the cheating problem would be to create a "RP" server which supports roleplaying and not pging. Alguzara said she doesn't think it's possible to enforce but why enforce when you can support it? I mean, you could remove all statistics and the only one who can see your level is you. People love to brag about their exp gained and level on erig, if those statistics didn't exist the problem would be gone. On a server like that the older generation who liked to play Tibia when it was still a hard task to level.

That where the whole "Old server" thing you talked about in your interview on tibianews gets in. You said you thought about it to prove Tibia is much better now. That depends on which customers. The masses, young kids who started playing Tibia after 2004 would mostly likely hate the old Tibia. I do not consider myself old in Tibia, I only started back in 2002 BUT I really enjoyed it back than. I played more than 1 year without a skull system which was great, luring Dragon Lords, Dragons, Giant Spiders to venore or Thais was great. You NEVER knew what would happend, tibia was exciting all the time. Now playing is only about hunting, gaining exp. No challenge anywhere. With the 4x mana system the mages became overpowered and could start using Exori vis etc for hunts which made it possible for them to reach level 300, WHICH was more or less impossible before. I rememeber Hydras getting implented and level 150 something Ingek went hunting them with SDs, I think he got 250k/ hour with a big waste but that was FREAKING HARD. Now a knight can go chill at Okolnir getting 400k/hour, a Sorcerer can UE and get 17 millions in one day. It has gotten to easy, so I don't think everyone will dislike a old server. People still wanting the challenge would love it and I'm sure it's atleast 850 players that would love it..

That's all from me

Kind regards,
Ambalrith

Tim Caverobber said...

I actually agree that people see certain aspects of the game as boring. Yet the ones around me that I see cheating are the ones that already achieved highlevels before. They always tell me the following: "Well.. I got level 120 last time before I quit.. so I will stop botting at 120.. and play on fairly" (or well.. at least something along the lines of that) People are not that willing to regain things they used to have.
I mean when I returned from being gone a few days back.. Yeh hell I thought it sucked that I nolonger had demon legs and loads of k's cash. Now I had to start with a p set and 500 gps.. (How happy I was that I didn't have to regain 63 mil exp)

So what to change? Well.. I don't know if there is an element to be changed. What I do know is that there needs to be more reason.

Even harder quests, even harder monsters. Toughness gives dreams and goals.. And the limit is were your dreams are. So as long as CipSoft provides people with even bigger dreams they will keep playing. At level 100 all monsters can be teamed. At level 220 all monsters can be soloed. So to keep those players from getting bored. Up the limits.. make even stronger monsters, yet don't always combine a hard area to a quest. Because that will keep people from seeing it as a hunting area. Also add the new items to shops.. because nowadays an SCA that used to be 1kk-2kk is suddenly worth 250k.. if you would have added it to a shop for 800k.. people would be forced to sell their new stronger items for 2kk-3kk.. so as to keep the economy running.. now the new items destroy existing quests and parts of the economy.. so while building the game.. DON'T DESTROY THE EXISTING ELEMENTS. That should always remain rule number 1.

(Oh and by the way.. after 4 days with P set I got 80k back.. by lootbagging friggen pirates.. and seeing that I only have 60 levels left to 220.. up those limits soon ^.- )