Thursday, March 27, 2008

PvP cheating

Keen and Graev have an interesting post about WoW PvP cheating in arenas. Apparently a 2v2 in really bad gear was found to have won 20-0 on an extremely high 2627 team rating, the second highest 2v2 ranking in the world. Which is pretty much impossible unless they cheated. I don't even know how all these cheating methods in arena I hear about, like win swapping or smurfing, work, but apparently there is a lot of cheating going on. Which doesn't bode well for WoW as an "e-sport".

Keen doesn't normally post anything about WoW, and I had the impression he was gloating a bit. And then he was really crushed by the news that WAR was delayed again. I couldn't help but wonder if Keen is under the impression that there will be no cheating in WAR PvP. Because I'm pretty certain that there will be. After all, WAR looks more and more like DAoC2, and people cheat in the original DAoC. And if players don't outright cheat, they still often use underhand methods, like attacking an enemy keep in the middle of the night when the enemy isn't logged on, and you can avoid the actual "PvP" part of PvP and just deal with NPC guards. There would have to be a miraculous change in human nature for no cheating or complaints about other players underhand tactics to occur in WAR.

And in a way cheating in WAR PvP is worse than in WoW. That WoW arena team that got a high ranking without ever encountering a real opponent thus never influenced the score of a real opponent. Besides possible jealousy of their rank and the PvP rewards they can buy with the points those guys acquired by cheating, their cheating doesn't harm any other player. But if you have a game where non-instanced PvP objectives really matter, and somebody cheats, it comes to the detriment of the players of the opposing faction. That increases the chance for detection, but it also increases the chance of somebody complaining about "cheating" in cases which could still be labeled as "clever tactics". I mean, I find attacking a keep at 3 am cheesy, but I wouldn't want anyone to be banned for that. So I'm pretty certain that there will be a lot of heated discussion in the future.

As for Blizzard, they should scan their own Armory for suspicious data like that, then verify that the players involved really cheated, and then ban them. If they don't go after PvP cheaters early and hard, their e-sports idea is dead in the water.

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