Greedy Goblin

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cheating in non-endgame games

Tobold considers cheating normal and prefers if some trainer program would allow getting power in Diablo III instead of real money transactions. However cheating isn't that normal behavior.

There are games where the end-game is different from the previous stages. For example you must level up doing quests in WoW if you want to raid or do rated BGs. You must also do dungeons or random BGs to get get gear. I understand (does not mean support or even tolerate) that someone want to skip these activities to get to the endgame.

However most games doesn't have such internal differences. Your first Starcraft match will be similar to the the tournament final. The first zone of Act1 in Diablo II isn't that different from Act 5. You do the same in the first Halo map as on the last. Of course the scenery is slightly different and the opponent is harder, but you play the same game for the same goal.

If you consider hack 'n slash fun, you will have fun playing Diablo III. You can always play that, regardless of gear and skill. These only determine which act and which difficulty you do the same fun activity.

So actually cheat doesn't allow you to experience anything "fun" that you can't get without. What does exactly cheat give you? Not the harder content as you just cheated it into easy.

Cheat allows the player to gain "score" that he can't get legitimately. He couldn't tell his friends that he completed the campaign without cheat. He couldn't show off "l33t" gear without buying gold. He couldn't have a "pro" place in the top charts.

Cheating has nothing to do with playing or enjoying a game. It's about disguising himself into a "good gamer" to impress peers. Of course this is what motivates the socials, so this is what game companies must produce. Nerfing did not really worked because it diminished the value of the "achievement". I mean no one can show off that he managed to level to 85 in WoW. Hard content do not work since the socials just leave the game.

Allowing them to cheat while paying extra works. This also explains why the RMAH is the only way it can be done properly. The social status of "good gamer" is not produced by game companies, it's produced by good players, so only they can sell it. If the game company would sell the good items, it would simply become "noob item shop stuff". It's just pixels after all and no one buys pixels. They buy the glow of "pro-ness" from the guy who acquired the item the proper way.


Azuriel said...

I dunno, I had a lot of fun in GTA3 running around blowing stuff up with weapons that would have required a time investment out of proportion to the fun it required to get (and inevitably losing from death by police). There were also low-gravity cheats that added hours of additional fun (made crashes extra hilarious), cheats that armed the civilians and another to make them go crazy shooting each other, cheats that just dropped a tank in front of you to drive around, and so on.

It is definitely true that cheating diminishes the effective play-time of a game (e.g. generally ruins it for you), but it is also true that, if used towards the end of your fun experience with a game, can extend said fun. And if it is single-player, who should care what an individual does?

That said, Tobold is crazy-wrong with his opposition to RMT and its effects on D3. The RMAH does nothing that a normal AH wasn't already going to do (i.e. attract farmers), and the AH is a lot better than the prior system which simply had you vendor 99% of the loot you found. And considering he is so big into F2P games and defending microtransactions, his opposition is simply weird.

JackTheManiac said...

Except cheating makes the game boring.

Painkiller (the original one, the x-pac and other standalone sequels are underwhelming) is a fun game.

Cheats make it boring as hell. Infinite HP? It makes the game into chloroform. It removes the whole point of the game. No cheat, and you're forced to develop strategies.

The only way cheating is decent is where it can allow practicing skills while going through the game. But there are also practice mode for that. Altough they are that, practice, and not "on the field" training.

In Diablo II, trainers are boring to death. All the spells at level 1, enemies die in one hit? Like in Painkiller, it becomes a tedious walk. No strategy, nothing... I could fall asleep.

Nowadays, I don't use trainers anymore. I used some when I was a younger player, who played for himself, by himself, on his computer with absolutely no online, just for the story.

Perhaps I found fun in using the trainers. Now, I don't find any fun in using cheats. I scold my friend who uses them.

I say that in single player games, cheating is a privilege, not a right.

If you can cheat, then by all means do so. If the game is made in a way you can't then too bad. Cheating is not something "working as intended".

In PvP games, you are just a loser if you cheat. They are made to be a challenge of skill. Suck it up if you suck, and get better.

Anonymous said...

Cheating has nothing to do with playing or enjoying a game. It's about disguising himself into a "good gamer" to impress peers.

Depends on the game, and why you play it.

I really like games like Dragonage, or Neverwinter Nights, or Skyrim. However, I play them because I like the *story*, not because I find it fun to figure out how to beat a fight if it's not immediately apparent (and yes, in games where it's available, I play on the lowest difficulty - but not all games have that).

So in those cases, I have no problem with cheating (or, for example, in Skyrim, with using a mod that lets me carry more than I should be able to).

I don't brag how I'm leet playing these games, I tell friends how much fun the story is, or how much fun I had trying the various romances in DA:O (including modding the game so it was possible to have additional m/m romances).

I know someone in my WoW guild who played DA:O on the hardest difficulty with only one or no party members, because for him, that was the challenge he wanted to beat.

I wanted to see how the story goes, and how many different endings there are, and wanted to create different stories and romances.

We both had fun.

Mine was no less valid that his, we just had different goals and different ideas what we find fun.

Riptor said...

@ Azuriel: Aside from the Weapons cheat, i would consider the others Mods put in by the Devs for entertainment.

Camo said...

Hmm, I use cheats in RPGs but not in FPS.
God mode and max skills in Gothic, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, ...
I want to explore the world without worries.In Fallout I want to have the dialog options that are only available with certain skill levels and can't be seen without. I don't want to be locked out of options I don't even know they exist but which I prefer in solving a quest.
Although if I know the option is there but I can't choose it yet because I lack a certain skill level or if it's a locked chest I'm unable to open yet I don't mind and I'll return once I have it.
In FPS I don't cheat and I choose the hardest mode and bang my head against it until I beat it.

I think it might be the story or perma death.

In RPGs you have hours of story to explore even with cheats the "story" of most FPS is "kill the bad guys", barely any choice.
The other point is perma death.
Why is it that I don't care about dying in FPS but look up god mode in RPGs?
Honestly I don't know. Quick save and load is faster in RPGs than respawning in FPS (or Diablo) and fighting back to the point where you died.

Sihrtogg said...

My group of gaming friends has mostly stopped playing WoW, but Dungeon Defenders has recently given us a nice casual PvE co-op challenge. It has no real end-game. You just do dungeons with a group of 4 and then more difficult dungeons thereafter. There's gear and talents, sure, but no persistent city environment and if you don't play with randoms, it is like a LAN-game.

We're obviously powergaming it hard and upgrading weapons gives a huge improvement, but is ridiculously expensive, so we cheated money. We could have grinded it, but that wouldn't make it any more difficult, just more boring. However at some point during our play-through on insane, we had to start skipping levels to keep the difficulty up. So we nerfed our own content by upgrading our gear. The only thing we could have done about that is arbitrarily state that we cannot use upgrades or something, because there is no skill in gaining money, just time.

Now we've beaten all levels (including DLC). Our latest challenge is to roll alts and start playing from lvl1 insane up. The most difficult part was beating the first wave of lvl1, after that, loot dropped, and we got rolling too fast again. Now loot is a curse for us, because the game assumes you won't have the money to upgrade

Anonymous said...

Cheating can be about overcoming frustration. Not everything is about impressing other people.

Bristal said...

Funny, I consider many gold making tactics to be "cheats".

In particular listing trade goods then spamming /trade to buy all COD, selling vender items on AH that do not require any travel, the old arrow/ bullet scam, even buying a clearly mismarked item is taking advantage of an unintended action.

I can hear the goblin groans.

But Mr. GG himself gained much his notoriety back in the day by gold making any way he could and reaching the gold cap when that was very rare. The whole point of Goblinism is to take every advantage you can.

'Cheating has nothing to do with playing or enjoying a game. It's about disguising himself into a "good gamer" to impress peers.'

Anonymous said...

Guild Wars did it best.
You can select at character creation if engame character or story character

Endgame character starts at max level with best gear but can't play story

Story character starts lvl1 no gear but you can collect vanity stuff and new skills etc.

Personally it was perfect