Opinion: Can people stop bothering with something as meaningless as cheating?
August 11, 2020

Opinion: Can people stop bothering with something as meaningless as cheating?

Cheating. An age old problem that has accompanied the gaming scene more or less since its creation. But why do people bother with something so meaningless?

If you have played any multiplayer title you have probably met a cheater or two. Be it a maphacker in strategy games, the classic aim or spin bot in shooters or scripters. Unfortunately cheaters come in many different forms and flavors

Even at the highest level there are sad examples of players trying to gain unfair advantages. Like CS:GO’s KQLY in the past or the recent example of Kona in Fortnite, who blatantly cheated his way to the Fortnite Champions Series Finals to show that the “anti cheat in this game is so terrible to the point where someone can get to finals.”

Not even a game like Fall Guys is safe from cheaters. It has been barely a week since launch and players are reporting an increasing number of cheaters in their games. Some cheaters “only” increase their speed to win, others prefer to just fly over all the obstacles to get to the next round.

While the developers have stated to try to combat the cheaters it likely will continue to occupy them for the rest of the game’s lifetime.

It is a struggle that many developers are familiar with. Be it Valve with their Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system or the newest variant VALORANT’s Vanguard.

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Cheating can be fun

Games are at the very basic level a form of entertainment. And honestly cheating can be very entertaining. I remember quite vividly my fascination as a kid when I first found out about the Cobra Car Cheat in Age of Empires II. Finally I could get sweet revenge on that stupid AI that had been slapping me around.

The legendary Age of Empires II Cobra Car Cheat
The legendary Age of Empires II Cobra Car Cheat made a return in the Definitive Edition of 2019.

Of course winning is fun and the cheat code allowed me to win easily, but that victory was always hollow. It felt a lot more rewarding once I actually improved and beat the computer on my own legitimately. There is honestly nothing wrong with cheating in a single player setting: After all it is time you invest on your own with no medals or prizes on the line. Who am I to tell you how to enjoy your game at home?

But why cheat in multiplayer?

However things are very different once you enter multiplayer. Winning is fun obviously also applies to contests against human players, maybe even more so. But winning via cheats is a meaningless endeavor.

Congratulations you won because you had an advantage that no other had. Do you really feel good about that? Don’t you think that this victory is just empty?

Competition regardless of digital via games or physical in the “real” world is built on the foundation of equal footing. Where is the fun in defeating opponents not based on your own abilities? You are not better than them, you just decided to take an unfair shortcut that does not help you grow. Instead of trying to improve yourself, you decided to take the lazy and easy way out. Unfortunately there are many cheaters in different games, even on the highest level as we are again and again forced to acknowledge.

But cheating runs counter to everything we stand for in our scene and. Gamers around the world need to stop producing a demand for multiplayer cheats to really make a difference in each and every title. Imagine all the freed up resources developers could spend on the game itself, if anti-cheat measures were not as necessary as they currently are.

If the moment of winning is that important to you, that you want to re-live it again and again, you will have to put in the hours and “git gud”. It is exactly that competitive drive that fuels esports and motivates players worldwide to improve themselves. Esports is and must remain a place where we measure skill and not whoever has the best cheats.

Image Credit: Florian Olivo via Unsplash/SergiuHellDragoonHQ via YouTube
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