The worst thing you can possibly face in any online game is a cheater. Cheaters are worse than any challenge, boss, or force of nature you encounter in a video game, because they don't play by the rules.
Now, I'm not talking about people who use cheat codes to unlock harmless stuff in games, like the hilarious "Big Head Mode" in Batman: Arkham Knight. I'm talking about the players that blatantly manipulate the game to give themselves an unfair advantage.
One such game that has to deal with this issue constantly is The Division. The online open-world fps game, developed by Ubisoft (Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, etc.), has been plagued with issues from the get-go. It started with the bugs, most of which were fixed by the developer team. But despite their best efforts, Ubisoft hasn't been able to combat the large amount of cheaters found within The Division.
The Division's cheater issues began on February 18, 2016, when the open beta was released on the Xbox One. A day later, the beta was released on the PS4 and PC.
Players of the beta on all systems found themselves face-to-face with hackers, who figured out how to manipulate the game to their advantage.
Of course, it was the PC players that had the most trouble, as the PC is the easiest to modify and manipulate. The Division is a cheating hotspot for game manipulators. Hackers tamper with the game's client and make the game a living nightmare for anybody just trying to play the game.
An Example Of Hacking In The Division
The hack seen in the video above, where a player seems to have phased into a building he shouldn't have access to, is just one of the many exploits that can be found in the game. Players can do anything, from phasing into walls, to making themselves invulnerable, to making their guns fire at a faster rate.
These occurrences aren't rare either, they're very common. It is so easy to mess with the game's client, giving hackers access to all sorts of game modifying cheats and exploits. Hackers have made playing The Division near-impossible for regular players.
Since the game's release in March, players have had to deal with the waves of hackers they encountered in The Division, with hardly any punishment for the cheaters. Ubisoft issued a 14-day suspension to cheaters, but it didn't really work, as cheaters just went back to their unfair tactics when the suspension ended.
Seeing that the temporary ban didn't work, and realizing that The Division is very easily tampered with, Ubisoft and the game developers have issued a new method of cheater control; perma-bans.
Cheat Once, Get Banned For Life!
Starting immediately, any player found cheating in any way will be faced with a permanent ban from The Division. The technical director of The Division, Anders Holmquist explained why the Ubisoft game is going to start using perma-bans effective immediately
"Judging from your feedback, and based on what we witnessed when cheaters came back to the game, we have now decided to push our policy one step further. We will now start applying permanent bans on first offense when players are caught using cheat engines and we will communicate clearly when new ban waves are taking place."
Holmquist and his team have set up various ways to determine if there are an exploits in a game, and have so far issued more than 3,800 permanent bans as of today!
Will It Really Work?
With this new perma-ban rule, there are a lot of people wondering if it really stop cheaters, and if the game will really be able to detect when someone is manipulating the game.
If the numbers of permanent bans already issued out in such a short time isn't enough to convince you, just take a look at another successfully online fps, Overwatch. Overwatch, developed by WoW creators Blizzard, is a new "hero-shooter" that is being surrounded by ALL of the hype! However, that hype is more than deserved, as Overwatch just might be one of the best fps games of all time!
Part of Overwatch's phenomenal success is how healthy the online community for the game is. Blizzard is quick to fix any bugs or issues that the game has as soon as they're located, and characters that need serious nerfing or buffing get it asap. Most importantly, the gamers of Overwatch play fair. That's because Blizzard has made sure to not tolerate cheaters from the very beginning, issuing their own perma-ban rules.
One may argue that this perma-ban rule is a little harsh, but it's a necessary tool needed to battle the waves of unfair cheaters found in video games. In the case of Overwatch, the use of permanent bans absolutely works! Every match I've played so far has been clean and fun. It's nice to know that when I die in the game, it's not because of some player using cheats and exploits, it's simply because they're better than me!
I'm glad that The Division is taking cues from Blizzard's successful game. Hopefully with this new perma-ban rule, players will feel a lot more comfortable traversing the post-apocalyptic wasteland of The Division!