A topic that comes up in every game and every era of MMOGs is the neverending supply of Hackers and their onslaught against the game(s) that we hold so dear to us. These are the people who seem to make our gaming experiences that much more problematic and difficult to endure. But how do they seperate the community even more so than ourselves? If the "legit" players of the community weren't problematic enough, what about those who exploit the system that runs and maintains our most cherished games? Our adversities are actually our fellow players, and the types that jump up in levels or kill us in two attacks at level 1 make things much more complicated than they should be. Jealousy runs through our veins because we see these people out level us in the most immoral kind of ways.
Common Memory Editor
These hackers end up using memory and/or packet editors to manipulate the client that we, the normal players, have been using for ages in ways that are completely illogical. Everything from gravity modifications to damage modifiers are found in the most under-played games on the Internet. Even when you least expect it, that silly little Flash-based game you play when you're bored gets 'hacked' by someone who is too lazy to actually try to get the "Top Score" - instead, they manipulate it so that they have an unfathomable score that nobody can beat. There isn't anything that we can do to stop these people from disturbing our gameplay except to wait for the company to work out the client-side exploits ... if even possible at all.
Now the problem is, is that we've become so paranoid about potential hackers in our games that it's causing a stronger reason for us to distrust one another. The last community focus was about how we're our own worse enemies; and this one is about another strong enemy that is forcing us to be at war with each other. We get to the stage that when we haven't been able to thwart out all of the 'hackers' around us, that we reach out and try to find them ourselves. With a self-righteous ego thinking we can fight these 'invincible' hackers ourselves, the assumptions start flying around. Guilds sometimes disband out of mistrust between us, worry that we may get banned for another person's 'hacking' attempts in-game.
The first Community Focus only led to this one, inevitably. Why you ask? Because it follows the fact that we no longer trust each other as players. Not all of us are hackers, nor are all of us scammers. But it is that easy for us to stray away from any of the possiblities if there's some type of reason to believe otherwise? Of course not, that's how our nature is as humans. But where does it end? When will there be a time that we all can get together and play a game that we're all meant to enjoy? The questions are always the same, but the reasons get deeper the further we go into this discussion. Are we afraid that our closest warrior friend is capable of being a botter or a hacker? Are we worried that we'll end up getting banned for simply associating with these 'players'? This is most likely the case, as companies are getting more and more strict as to how botters, hackers, and their so-called 'associations' tie into the community itself.
With all of us looking around wondering who's the next hacker and who's the next scammer, we're blind-sighted by the fact that there are players in the same game, with the same intentions as we have. Each and every one of us is guilty of insulting a fellow player for some reason or another; but, regardless of the reasoning, it was wrong. Hackers are just that, those who try to benefit theirselves by exploiting the system. Why should we give them the satisfaction of actually infiltrating our community of gamers? They're just those who want to feel better about their character without putting forth all the effort that's normally required to go through in order to reach their 'status'. The people who deserve our attention are those who are willing to create a community within the community; those who are trying to salvage any and all hope to enjoy their game with a bunch of like-minded players.
That's what this article is about, finding those within our own communities that are unphased by the overhype of hackers, scammers, phishers, and all of the other horrible things we encounter as players. Hackers are just there to try to make sure they enjoy the game by theirselves. What do we have to do with them? Nothing, essentially. What should we do about them? You want the honest answer? Can you handle it? It's simple - ignore them completely. You can report them to the right "authorities"; but why allow them to phase your opinion of those who are within your community? This is where we always go wrong. We're losing trust in each other because we're so worried about things that are out of our control, as players at least. We aren't the GameMasters, nor are we the Administrators. We are just the little people trying to enjoy the game that they offer to us, either for a price or for free.
We have to be realistic about all of this, because as long as we don't it will never change. The power we have is only whatever those who manage the game actually give us, which is normally very little (if any at all). At the end of the day, we have to accept responsibility as to what we do have control over. We have the ability to handle every player just like we would like to be handled ourselves. Hackers aren't all that, they're not controlling anything. Sure, they make our lives miserable at times for their own benefit - but who cares? They're not enjoying the rich environment of a pure community like we're able to. Hackers will always be around; people are either lazy or curious, and sometimes both. I don't hold that against them most of the times. I'm a computer programmer, so I admit I've become curious about things in the past. Even so, it doesn't mean they should be allowed to disturb the balance of the entire gameplay, and it's up to us to give them that ability or not. Marketing in-game? Why are we so fixated on getting the higher price? Essentially, that money's going to come from those who botted or hacked - so lets go with a more reasonable price that fellow legit players can manage without much problem. What about our guilds and parties? Should be so hindered by our paranoia of being partied or guilded with a hacker that we can't even accept someone's seemingly random invitation to their guild? That's how it was once before all this nonsense started; we just partied and had fun - no discrimination.
Hackers aren't as evil as our imaginations lead us to believe; yet, since they do what they do for their own benefit, it's hard for us to see them as actual 'living beings' (in some cases we only see their bot form anyways, so it doesn't help!). Am I rambling on about how you should befriend a hacker? No, but I am saying that sometimes they will grow bored of their routine of 'hacking' and 'botting'. It happens, because we legit players know that without our closest friends in-game...we'd never have obtained most of the levels that we have in the majority of our favourite games. But the question is: Are we really aware of that? Some people take friends for granted in-game, unaware that without those people who are just as crazy as you are - talking to you for the endless hours you're grinding your levels, that you probably would've fallen asleep hours ago.
Next time you see a hacker, wonder to yourself if it's just some person who's too lazy or anti-social to try to get into the community without being an incredibly high level. You never know, you might just be right either way. On the other hand, there are so many other aspects of the game that actually support those who hack or bot - be weary of how you handle your own morality in-game. Going back to the first Community Focus we should remain absolutely aware as to how the communities around us in-game operate. There is no reason to assume that someone is hacking unless you have absolute proof. By this, I mean proof that is 200% certain and wasn't modified by a friend or enemy or someone who doesn't like them (your friend or another person being accused of hacking/botting). This is the next generation of gaming, but can we still teach people how to "kick it old-school"?