Tag Archives: cheating

Let Me Explain This Hilarious Cycling Scandal To You

Photo: Cameron Jeffers (YouTube)

Let us now chronicle the rise and sort-of fall of British YouTuber and now-former national e-cycling champion Cameron Jeffers. Unfortunately, the nouns in this story do not become that much easier to understand as we proceed, but please bear with me.

The story begins in March, when Jeffers won the first-ever British virtual racing national championship. The race was broadcast on BT Sport, and the live finals took place in front of a studio audience on the virtual cycling platform Zwift (Barry Bonds is a user). Zwift is a way to gamify the riding of a stationary bike, and the video below shows what Jeffers’s win looked like. Exciting, sure, but also, uh, different from outside road cycling. Please pay attention to the light-up tires on Jeffers’s bike, since they are at the crux of this saga.

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Six months later, British Cycling informed Jeffers that he had been stripped of the title after the governing body discovered “manipulation of pre-race data to gain an unfair advantage.” It turns out that the result of said manipulation was the very bike that Jeffers rode to the title. Jeffers’s in-game character won the race on a Concept Z1, which is better known as the Tron bike, for obvious reasons.

A website called Zwift Insider tells us it is the fastest and also “definitely the coolest” bike in Zwift (Jeffers claimed later that there are faster bikes). It seems peculiar to me that an official cycling national championship race would allow competitors to ride different virtual bikes and start on a less-than-level playing field, but that’s probably why I am neither a cycling bureaucrat nor an esports champion.

Anyway, the Concept Z1 can only be unlocked by riders who have climbed 50,000 meters in the game, a process which my friends at Zwift Insider also tell me takes “months.” Jeffers did not go through the entire process of obtaining the virtual bike through legitimate means, as several of his competitors did, instead using a simulator to trick Zwift into thinking his character had climbed all 50,000 meters. The ANT+ simulator allows users to manipulate their power, weight, and other stats in the game, and Jeffers had his character ride at 2,000 watts up long climbs, which is a lot. This gave him access to the Concept Z1, a bike whose sole drawback is that it prevents your in-game character from properly crouching in an aerodynamic position when descending. Shout out Zwift Motherfucking Insider for teaching me so much today.

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It’s worth noting here that Jeffers also races professionally on the road for Saint Piran, so he’s definitely got the talent to win an event like the 2019 British Cycling eRacing Championships on any bike. The impropriety that occurred was not significant enough that some yahoo waltzed in and won. I guess this is technically moto-doping, since a computer is a machine.

The decision came down in September, and British Cycling announced last Friday that Jeffers had been fined, suspended from all forms of racing for six months, and stripped of his title. Since Jeffers is a prolific YouTuber with 49.9k subscribers (as of publication) who tune in for cycling and travel videos with names like I’VE WAITED SO LONG TO TELL YOU THIS NEWS, I HAVE TO LEAVE AGAIN, WE MISSED THE BIKE RACE., WHAT IS THIS ON MY BIKE?!, WHEN WILL IT END, and RODE UP A HUGE HILL, to name a few, he released his version of the video that every YouTube creator will inevitably make someday: An apology video. It’s 15 minutes long, features a full length explanation of what went wrong, and it has radicalized me to Jeffers’s cause.

Shortly after he started racing on Zwift last December, an unnamed person approached Jeffers with an offer to help him get the Tron bike with the use of an ANT+ simulator. As he tells it, he wanted the Concept Z1 because “it looks cool.” British cycling actually performed a check-up on Jeffers’s gear before the finals, and he went into the championship race fully approved. He apologized for what he did, calling it “unethical and unsporting,” though he also noted that British Cycling also didn’t introduce its official e-racing regulations until March 2019, which was months after Jeffers obtained the Concept Z1 through allegedly nefarious means.

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“Kinda moving forward, I’m not really sure what this means,” Jeffers said. “I kinda hope you guys took something from that and you can find it within yourselves to forgive me.” I can only speak for myself but I have forgiven Cameron Jeffers for the grave offense of letting some random person on a virtual cycling game improperly help him obtain a bike that looks like the motorcycles from 1982’s Tron starring Jeff Bridges and Cindy Morgan, and then use that bike to win the first-ever British national championships of riding a fake bike on a computer. Hopefully you are a big enough person to do the same.

Source: Kotaku.com

Hundreds Of Players Trying To Cheat At Apex Legends And Counter-Strike Get Their Private Data Stolen

Since February, a number of ne’er-do-well Apex Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players hoping to download cheats have in fact been infecting their computers with credential-stealing malware, security firm Sophos discovered.

First-person shooter fans hoping to get an edge over their opponents had their personal and financial information siphoned off and sold for months, according to a Sophos report published last week. The malware, named Baldr by its creator, efficiently extracted sensitive data from infected users: credit card information; login credentials for shopping services like Amazon and Paypal; credentials for Battle.net, Steam and Epic Game; or identity information. Its job, Sophos says, was “scrape and steal any credentials, cookies, or cached data of resellable value in a matter of seconds.” Baldr was buried inside of a bunch of cheats with names like “CSGO Aimbot+Wallhack” and “Apex Legends New Cheat 0.2.1,” the security firm researcher said.

Once they had acquired the data, Baldr operators could sell it on darkweb marketplaces. “What caught our eye was Baldr’s ability to quickly steal identities and seamlessly exfiltrate victims’ credentials. Baldr was incredibly effective at bursting in, grabbing everything and rushing out again,” said Sophos threat researcher Albert Zsigovits over e-mail.

Zsigovits says he’s been tracking 500 to 600 instances of the malware internationally, with the majority of cases located in Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and the United States. Advertisements for the malware-infected cheating software appeared primarily on YouTube in video descriptions advertising the cheats. Its proponents also advertised it in Twitch chats and on Discord servers.

The malware’s popularity peaked around May. But although it’s not getting sold as much on dark web forums, Zsigovits said, it “continues to wreak havoc. The cybercriminals who bought Baldr before it disappeared can still use the malware, and they are.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Ubisoft Will Ban Players Who Crashed Rainbow Six Siege Matches By Spamming Chat Symbols

Ubisoft just fixed an exploit that was allowing Rainbow Six Siege players to force their opponents to lag by filling up the game’s chat window with random symbols. Players who abused it to get an advantage in the competitive shooter will be temporarily banned.

Exploits in Rainbow Six Siege are like Whac-A-Mole. When one gets fixed—like the Clash glitch that allowed the character to shoot through her shield—another pops up—like the shield making her invulnerable even to melee attacks. The latest issues players have been contending with revolves around the game’s chat window. When one team wanted to crash the game or cause their opponent’s lag to spike, they would fill the window with a string of as many symbols as it could take, usually dollar signs, greater than symbols, or ampersands.

By forcing the game to lag, the offending players were sometimes able to disrupt the matches at key times or force their opponents to disconnect entirely, something that was especially frustrating for those competing in the game’s ranked mode.

“We have now deployed the fix for the chat symbol exploit,” Ubisoft announced in a Reddit post last night. In addition, the company said that players who used it were guilty of breaking the part of the game’s Code of Conduct that forbids people from interrupting “the general flow of Gameplay in the Game Client.”

“These bans are targeting players that abused the chat symbol exploit to crash matches,” a studio rep noted. “They will have varying lengths, depending on the frequency and severity of the exploit’s usage. This is our next step towards sanctioning players that knowingly and deliberately take advantage of exploits to the detriment of the overall match.”

This immediately led some players to fear that they might be banned simply for triggering the exploit accidentally or trying to recreate it to confirm that it existed and was an issue. “We accounted for that,” senior community developer Craig Robinson said on Twitter. “If you did it less than 10 times you’re safe.”

Other players have already called on Ubisoft to crack down harder on people believed to be cheating. “On a side note, this should expand to people who use glitches (such as Clash shield) in Ranked,” wrote user LiberDBell on Reddit. Traditionally, the only players at risk of being banned in multiplayer games are those engaged in harassment or cheating enabled by third-party software. With this latest wave of bans, Ubisoft has made it clear it intends to also sanction players who try to cheat by exploiting problems in the game itself.

About the author

Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

Source: Kotaku.com

Popular Streamer Shroud ‘Interviews’ An Apex Legends Cheater

Yesterday evening, while playing Apex Legends, Twitch star Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek got killed by a player who was using an aimbot to cheat. When you spend the majority of your waking hours playing video games, it’s not abnormal to encounter cheaters and stream snipers. This one, though, agreed to stick around and chat with Shroud.

Shroud, who has nearly 6.5 million followers on Twitch, is known for aim, reflexes, and split-second decision-making that surpass even most other streamers known for their aim, reflexes, and split-second decision-making. So when an Apex Legends foe handled him like he was a newborn infant and delivered him straight to death’s door, he was surprised.

“He just destroyed me,” said Shroud. “Jesus Christ. Is this guy cheating?”

He proceeded to spectate the player who killed him and discovered that, yep, they were definitely cheating. Shroud went on to lament that this player was actually, on the merits of their own skills, too good to really need hacks.

“The sad part isn’t that he’s cheating,” said Shroud. “The sad part is that he’s actually not bad at the game, and he’s cheating. This guy could actually have a good time playing the game normally, but instead he’s just aimbotting. He has good movement. His movement’s pretty fucking good. If he just played normally, he could do pretty well.”

Shroud kept watching this player, and it didn’t take long for them to reveal that—in a magnificent demonstration of the nightmare panopticon that is modern society—they were watching Shroud too, via his stream.

So Shroud decided it was time for a (gun) fireside chat.

“Why do you cheat?” he asked.

The cheater proceeded to blast the letters “IDK” into a stone wall. In response, Shroud reiterated what he’d said earlier: He thought the cheater was actually a pretty decent player, and they could probably “feel better” about themselves if they just played without leaning on their ill-gotten crutch. Upon hearing this, the cheater started blasting dollar signs into nearby walls.

Shroud then asked the cheater how old they were. They replied, again with their gun, that they were 25. At that point, Shroud quit spectating and joined another match.

“He’s a 25-year-old child,” said Shroud. “That’s all I needed to know. There’s no way he’s 25. That’s a lie. No 25-year-old would act like that.”

Shroud, it bears mentioning, is 24. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 30 full years of playing video games (and, I guess, living), it’s that cheating has no age limit.

Source: Kotaku.com

Video Of Odd Behavior In Fortnite Match Leads To Accusations That Pro Was Cheating

Earlier this week, Fortnite pro Damion “XXiF” Cook was accused of colluding with other players during a World Cup open qualifier match in which he took second place, earning $4,000 in prize money and a spot in the eventual finals this summer in New York. In a statement, XXiF denied any wrongdoing, but that hasn’t stopped calls for him to be banned amid a climate in which fears about cheating are running rampant.

On April 29, another pro player by the name of HighSky shared a clip on Twitter of the beginning of a match in which XXiF drops into the same area as two other players, “Bad and Wuji” and “gestyy.” The footage shows Bad and Wuji hitting the ground near XXiF and beginning to pickaxe a chest rather than immediately pick up a nearby gun on the ground and find cover.

After XXiF makes short work of him, gestyy, who has seen the two fighting, decides to drop into the same area. Gestyy reaches for a low quality gun, then appears to fire at a wall before XXiF finishes him off as well. In the video, HighSky suggests the two players purposefully made themselves easy targets for XXiF because they lacked enough points in the rankings to have a shot at qualification themselves.

“Some really good [plays] from XXiF though on two insanely talented players that were not in the running anymore,” he said. He went on to share clips from two previous matches which appear to show Bad and Wuji and gestyy being similarly eliminated all too easily.

The clips went viral, blowing up on social media as well as the Competitive Fortnite subreddit, where many called on Epic Games to investigate and ban XXiF for appearing to team up with other players in a game that’s integrity relies on everyone fighting equally hard to be the winner.

On April 30, XXiF posted a statement on Twitter denying the charges, saying that while he was friends with Bad and Wuji, gestyy was just a random fan and none of what happened in the video was in any way planned. “I had no idea he was going to land there and have no control over where he chooses to land, but in 1 out of the 10 games I played he chose to land in the same spot as me,” XXiF wrote. “I can’t speak for the second guy, as I would never land on two people fighting – it’s something I can’t comprehend or put reason/meaning to.”

Bad and Wuji also released a statement on Twitter trying to explain the bizarre encounter, chalking it up to poor decision making and a bug that prevented him from immediately picking up the gun when he first tried to. “Please stop slandering my name,” he wrote. “I’m tired of these threats and messages going around when I’ve done nothing wrong. Don’t waste my time anymore with this bs.”

Lots of Fortnite players remain unconvinced, though. A post last night on the Competitive Fortnite subreddit linked to a video showing XXiF playing a random match while on a team with gestyy, seeming to contradict XXiF’s claims that he and gestyy weren’t friends in any way.

In the end, this is all a determination for Epic Games to make, and this isn’t the first time the community has gotten ahead of itself in calling for bans. Earlier in April, allegations of cheating were leveled at another player called Dubs fn when a screenshot surfaced of him appearing to be discussing cheats in a Discord channel. Video footage was later shared that showed him making some incredible shots during a qualifier match in which he went on to earn second place. After confirming that it was looking into the accusations, however, Epic eventually dismissed them.

Unlike banning people for using aimbots to gain a competitive advantage, teaming up requires a more subjective analysis. The World Cup rules define collusion as players working together to deciever or otherwise cheat other players, including by agreeing to land in specific locations, communicating in some way, or intentionally dropping items for opposing players to pick up. Given how much the existing allegations against XXiF rely on assumptions about what kinds of decisions talented players should and would make in various circumstances, it’s both easy for conspiracy theories to multiply and hard to arrive at any sort of definitive answer.

That’s part of the difficulty in running an over $30 million, multi-month tournament for a relatively young esport without much infrastructure in place. In addition to how many open qualifier matches take place each weekend in the lead up to the finals event in July, the battle royale genre in general, and Fortnite in particular, is especially messy to regulate. Every match contains 100 players making moment-to-moment decisions about where to find better equipment, when to fight, and when to run. Unlike other battle royales, Fortnite also includes building, exponentially increasing the number of ways a player can react to any given situation. Any sort of cheating related to match fixing can be difficult to root out, but Fortnite provides many more layers to sort through.

On April 19, Epic announced that it had caught 1,163 cheaters in just the first week of open qualifier matches. We’re now headed into only week four of ten. Every week consists of three hours of play across two separate days, with the top competitors from the first sticking around to compete on the second. The top scoring players on the second day not only earn spots in the World Cup, they also take home thousands in cash prizes. Even once a player has qualified, they can continue competing, and why wouldn’t they with the chance to win more money on the line. With so many matches, so many players, and so many different motivations going into matches, there are all sorts of opportunities for untoward behavior. Perhaps it’s not entirely shocking that one of the community’s pastimes during the lead up to the World Cup now revolves around trying to find and call out instances of cheating.

Epic has not yet publicly weighed in on whether it’s currently reviewing the case involving XXiF and did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: Kotaku.com

Cheating Too Much Could Break GTA San Andreas

When I was younger, I played a lot of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. I would also use a lot of cheat codes while playing the game. If a mission was too hard, I would cheat. But I would additionally use some of the silly cheat codes to cause mayhem and have fun. This ended up breaking my playthrough of GTA San Andreas and I didn’t even realize it until it was too late.

As I learned later on, if you activate certain cheat codes at certain points in the game or before specific missions, you can accidentally screw yourself. My specific screw up happened when I activated a cheat code called “Pedestrians Riot.” The code, as the name implies, forces all pedestrians in the game to start fighting each other and the player. Players, including myself, would sometimes activate this code and pretend they were in a zombie apocalypse.

If you activate this or other potentially buggy cheats and play for a bit then turn the PS2 off, you won’t have any problems. But if you activate one of these codes at the wrong time and then save your game, you might just permanently ruin you save. This is what happened to me.

At some point before the mission Mad Dogg, I activated the riot code and saved my game. I then reached the mission, which is well into the second half of the game. In this mission, a rapper named Mad Dogg is trying to jump to his death from a building. The player needs to steal a nearby pickup truck and catch the rapper to save their life.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Problem is every time I tried this mission I would fail, as Mad Dogg would jump off the roof instantly and I didn’t have enough time to save him. It was frustrating. I spent way too much time trying to catch him or anything else I could think of. Nothing worked. Where I lived I didn’t have easy access to the internet. So I had no idea what was going on.

Months later, after I had already given up and loaded a different save from earlier in the game and got past that point, I found out why my game had broken. It turns out that mission becomes bugged and impossible to beat if you activate the riot code and save your game at any point before starting it. The reason is that Mad Dogg spawns in the mission as a pedestrian and activating the riot code, even before the mission, screws him up and causes him to jump.

Other San Andreas missions that would break if players used the riot code include 555 We Tip, Burning Desire, and Tanker Commander.

These aren’t the only missions or events in GTA San Andreas that can be broken by a cheat code. In fact, many can become much harder, impossible or instantly fail if you cheat.

The website GTA Boom posted a list of some of the other potential side effects that can occur if you cheat in San Andreas. For example, if you use a cheat code to recruit anyone as a gang member and then start a gang war, those members will attack the player and make the event much harder to complete. A more explosive effect can occur if a player enters in the popular “$250,000, Full Health, and Full Armor” cheat code during the mission Just Business. Doing this will blow up the motorcycle you are riding, causing you to fail the mission.

Other codes can leave cars hanging in the air or trap C.J. in vehicles. You can even crash the game if you spawn a jetpack in just the right spot using the jetpack code.

If you Google the issue with Mad Dogg or similar cheat related problems, you will find old forum posts from back in 2004 and 2005 of players complaining about this problem. You’ll also see folks suggesting that the reason the glitch occurred was that someone activated too many cheats, which was a common belief for a long time. In fact, even today many folks still think this is what caused the mission to break. The theory some had was that Rockstar had implemented an anti-cheating punishment into the game. Of course, this wasn’t the case but the myth lives on. Even that GTA Boom website incorrectly shares this myth.

So, if you remember getting stuck during a certain mission in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas you might have accidentally cheated your way into an impossible or broken mission.

Source: Kotaku.com

Seemingly Unbreakable Getting Over It World Record Turns Out To Be A Fake

In Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, a man in a pot tries to climb a mountain with a sledgehammer. A Chinese speedrunner named Ccfst recently seemed to help that man climb the mountain faster than anyone before him, setting a new world record that struck some as impossible. The skeptics were right. Over the weekend, Ccfst admitted he had cheated.

On March 17, Ccfst said “I will not send a false record of goi again,” according to a screenshot of a now-deleted comment on Chinese social media provided by Keronari, the chief moderator of the Getting Over It speedrunning records page. Ccfst has since deleted his Getting Over It videos hosted on the site and the moderators of the speedrunning page have removed his world record and banned him from submitting records for six months. According to a Google translation of post currently at the top of Ccfst’s Bilbili page, he plans to continue speedrunning the game and eventually earn a legit record.

Ccfst did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the beginning of the year, the fastest anyone had completed Getting Over It was in one minute, 19 seconds. That record was set by Norwegian speedrunner Rengj. Then on January 31, Ccfst upended everything with a video purporting to show him completing the game in 1:13. Most of the game’s records are separated by fractions of a second. Coming in several seconds ahead of the previous mark is practically unheard of.

“When he posted his 1:13 time it was pretty hard for us all to believe, because it was honestly an insane run but the run itself looked completely legit,” Keronari told Kotaku in a Facebook message. He’s not just a Getting Over It mod but a speedrunner. “It wasn’t spliced so there were no frame cuts to spot.

Getting good at Getting Over It requires no end of patience and hardwork, as any little mistake can sned the player tumbling back down the mountain. Getting good enough to speedrun it requires grinding through those challenges until playing the game becomes like muscle memory, and even then it’s an uphill battle. Ccfst’s run looked too easy to many, and indeed it was.

In a recent Reddit post on the subject, some in the Getting Over It speedrunning community said they’d suspected Ccfst of cheating from the start, but Keronari told Kotaku that it’s still not 100 percent clear what his method was. “With all of his videos deleted it’s hard to say when exactly it was that he started to cheat, and it was even hard to spot that he was cheating,” he said.

Still, there are theories. “We believe he had used cheat engine to slow the game down (this also slows down the in-game timer) which would help make his movements easier, [give him] more time to react to everything,” he said. The theory is that a cheater using this method could then speed up the video to make it look like a normal run.

There is still a copy of the 1:13 speedrun up on YouTube, which even now as an admitted fake is breathtaking to watch. Keronari said that prior to Ccfst’s confession, the Getting Over It speedrunning community was in a weird place. “Some of the community members are probably relieved more than anything else,” he said. “Ccfst had killed some of the competitiveness in the grind for world record because of how far ahead he was.”

In the days shortly after the record’s removal, a speedrunner called Stillow managed to set a new world record at 1:17. “There’s a bit of motivation now for some of the top runners to try grind that top spot again,” said Keronari.

He said he’s content to let Ccfst learn from his mistake and doesn’t want to ban him from the community forever. But when he does return, Keronari plans to review his footage more closely.

“We don’t want to go into all the details about these methods but one is that we would require a submission from the same player that has the in-game sound turned on—slowing the game down then speeding the video up would require the speed of the sound to also increase,” he said.

Source: Kotaku.com

Cheat-Makers Say They’re Cleaning Up In Apex Legends

Apex Legends

According to five creators and sellers of aimbots and hacks who spoke with Kotaku, Apex Legends has become big business for cheat-makers.

Just a week after Apex Legends’ explosive release, a cascade of cheating allegations flooded player forums and every corner of the internet where the survival shooter’s players lurk. On esports newswires, articles over the past few weeks have accused Twitch streamers and pros like ElmZero, Mobados and Mengiez of using illicit hacks like removing recoil or aimlocking to gain an advantage over opponents. Cheats for Apex Legends are being sold blatantly through YouTube, Discord, and a slew of hacking forums across the web. Earlier this week, developer Respawn revealed that it has banned 355,000 of the game’s 50 million players for cheating.

One cheat-maker, who would only go by the name “Dev,” was working on what he called “Fortnite stuff” before Apex Legends hit the market. “Suspicious Fortnite stuff,” he clarified over a Discord voice call. Over time, he explained, advances in Fortnite’s security software made cheating very difficult and easily detectable. Fortnite’s developer also began sueing cheat-makers, which scared a lot of them off. He says that’s why he, and several other cheat-makers, moved onto Apex Legends, which he says is much easier and more lucrative to develop cheats for.

Dev’s cheat-making operation opened just four days ago and, over the course of those four days, he has made about $5,000, screenshots provided to Kotaku corroborate. In one video advertising his software, Dev’s business partner Tom gets 30 kills in just one game. Tom’s account, Dev says, is still up.

“In terms of cheats, what’s really in demand right now is Apex Legends,” another cheat-seller, whom we’ll call Adam, said. In just one week, Adam says he’s made $400 in profit selling Apex Legends cheats. (Since many cheats are paid for on a subscription basis, that number is likely to grow.) In a video advertising his hack, Adam’s Apex Legends character’s gun easily follows and kills an opponent obscured completely by smoke.

Apex Legends

As a free game, Apex Legends doesn’t need to be repurchased if a player is banned for cheating. There aren’t huge repercussions for getting found out. “If you get banned you can just create a new account and change your hardware IDs,” said Dev, which he added is possible with a piece of free software.

Cheat-makers and sellers even have their favorite characters to cheat with. Tom said that Bangalore is exceptionally fun to cheat with because, after giving herself a smoke cover, his hack lets her see through walls and shoot opponents who don’t know where she is. Another cheat-seller, Timothy, explained that, for him, it’s Bloodhound, “due to the fact that, if I was trying to hide my advantages, I could just say I saw footsteps and we are going to follow them,” he said. “As for who is the easiest [to cheat with], I would say Wraith, because if you get too confident you can also use an ability to get out of the situation quickly.”

While people making money off cheating may be pleased with Apex Legends’ popularity, players who want to play a clean, fair game may feel differently. /r/ApexLegends moderator Emily remembers the first post she saw about a cheater. “It was February 12, 8 days after release,” she told Kotaku over Reddit. “The subreddit has been flooded with posts about hackers and cheaters since that first one. We have been removing cheating/hacking related posts because they are so frequent and it overwhelms the other content on the sub.”

As complaints of cheating reached critical mass, Emily says she reached out to Apex Legends’ developer to ask how to help the community report cheaters. Later on, in Apex Legends forums, Respawn’s community liaisons would link players to a “Report A Cheat” page on Easy Anti-Cheat, the program Apex Legends uses to detect cheating. Still, Apex Legends does not have an in-game reporting function.

Apex Legends developer Respawn Games posted on the game’s subreddit five days ago to say that it is working on improvements to identify and remove cheating in the future, but they they “have to be pretty secretive” about their plans. Respawn did say that they’re working on integrating a “Report” function into the game’s PC version.

When asked what the lifespan is for this explosion in Apex Legends cheat sales, Tom told Kotaku, “Right now I feel as though it’s booming and strongly increasing.” Then, citing the severe, and often short arcs for battle royale games’ popularity, he continued, “Eventually the game will die and other games will overtake it.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Bethesda Says It’s Cracking Down On Cheaters In Fallout 76

Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)

Fallout 76 is getting less broken every day. Bethesda said in today’s “Inside the Vault” post that in the last week alone it’s fixed 150 bugs, with more fixes coming in the future. Two problems Bethesda is still working on, it says, are unbalanced end-game weapons and cheating.

“We want Fallout 76 to be a happy and healthy world for all players, and we know that there are concerns with players finding and abusing exploits,” the company wrote. “We’re working hard to find, fix, and address these as they show up.” The concerns Bethesda is referring to have to do with glitches that for the greater part of December and January made it possible for players to duplicate their items. While the doors to these loopholes have now been closed, a window to a new one has opened. Specifically, players recently discovered a “developer’s room” in the game that houses copies of every item.

Bethesda said in a statement to Eurogamer earlier today that the room can only be reached on PC by using cheat programs, and that it’s currently banning players found to be carrying around test items from the hidden room that aren’t currently available in normal part of the game.

“We want you to know that we take these exploits and those abusing them VERY seriously,” the post reads. “Once identified, we work very closely with our Support team to remove problem players that are abusing these exploits – whether that’s the duping exploits or those using cheat apps or mods to access areas in-game that are otherwise inaccessible (and unintended) for players in the game world.”

While the company didn’t specify a particular fix for illicitly obtained items already out in the wild, a lot of them tend to be guns equipped with the Two-Shot Legendary Mod, which Bethesda announced will be getting nerfed in Patch 5, which is expected to release before the end of the month. In that update, the additional damage provided by the mod will be reduced from 100% to 25%. It’s a massive change for that particular mod, which is nice to see. At the same time, the patch will leave the Explosive damage mod, which players often combine with Two-Shot, untouched.

As a result, it’s unclear how much the next patch will actually end up affecting the overall balance of power in Fallout 76, something that’s been a concern among players for a while now. It’s become more pronounced recently as some high level players have turned away from the lackluster PVE end game to griefing in PVP. Some players have requested that Bethesda simply separate the game out into two sets of servers for PVE and PVP.

Instead, Bethesda announced that an upcoming new mode for the game will basically use the existing PVP system found in the main game but with all of the rules of engagement stripped away. It sounds basically like a mode devoted entirely to the hellscapes of Rust and other online survival games. In effect, players will have the choice between PVP-lite and hardcore PVP, but no 100% pacifist option. More information about the upcoming mode is supposed to be revealed next week. For now though, it seems like anyone looking for new end-game content free from griefing will have to wait a bit longer.

Source: Kotaku.com

Fallout 76 Players Are Punishing People They Suspect Of Duplicating Rare Items

As a post-apocalyptic online survival sim, Fallout 76 allows players to team up, trade with one another, or try to kill each other. This freedom is part of the game’s appeal, but when it’s coupled with exploits that allow some players to become ultra powerful, the result can be a game world that feels inhospitable and unfair. Recently, some players have been using exploits to get high level weapons illicitly, while other players have tried to stop them.

Since mid-December, some Fallout 76 players have been using an exploit to duplicate legendary weapons. They have then sold those weapons to others for for in-game and real-life currency. Last week Bethesda released a patch for the game on PC that included over a hundred changes and fixes, including getting rid of at least one of the exploits that made the weapon duplication possible. This isn’t the first time Bethesda has tried to fix item duplication. On December 11, the company patched out a version of the exploit that involved storing items in a friend’s ammo stash, then having them leave the game and then return to get double of whatever they’d put there. Players found workarounds though, and continued on duping undeterred.

While the latest patch, which arrives on PS4 and Xbox One today, claims to have fixed at least one item duping exploit, players recently found another avenue to get extra copies of the game’s rarest items: a special “developer room” that appears to exist in the game solely for testing purposes. As Eurogamer reported, Bethesda has been trying to ban anyone who attempts to break into this special, off-limits location, which contains plans for building the best equipment in the game.

Weeks of item duping and now the discovery of the developer room have created secondary markets both in the game and in real life for all of the excess legendary items. Guns with the two shot and explosive mods, TSE for short, are the most powerful weapons in the game, but there’s no guaranteed way to get them. While some players have spent months waiting for them to drop while playing the game naturally, others have decided to pony up 1,000s of caps, the in-game currency, or real money in order to buy them. Search Ebay right now and you’ll have no trouble finding hundreds of listing for TSE guns, often in the $10 to $20 range depending on the particular type and stats.

Black markets like these aren’t unusual for MMO-style games, but they’re made easier in Fallout 76 thanks to in-game trading. Unlike in some other games where the best items become bound to whichever player first acquires them, everything in Fallout 76 can be re-traded or re-sold. This has led to an entire sub-category of player characters called “mules,” low level accounts that are used exclusively for trading duplicated items to minimize the risk of getting ambushed or banned.

While a small subset of the players has decided to partake in this duping economy, there are many others who are frustrated with how it undermines the integrity of Fallout 76’s end game. Some don’t want to have to cheat or pay money to get the best stuff in the game, but also feel foolish for relying on the game’s RNG when they see other lower level characters already running around with TSEs. The game’s subreddit is littered with examples of people complaining about being one-shotted by super high leveled opponents using duped items.

Players have tried various ways to address the problem. Some have formed posses to try to punish people they suspect of either selling or using duped weapons. Yesterday, Polygon reported on a dupper hunting guide that was circulating on Reddit but has since been removed by the mods because it encourages players to target and grief one another. The guide detailed suspicious behaviors that might suggest duping, such as seeing two players hanging out on a random part of the map together for a long period of time without moving or finding a low level player meeting with a much higher one. “You mileage can vary but if you follow this you will find a duper sooner than later,” the guide read, ominously hinting at just how imprecise duper catching methods can be.

For some, duper hunting has backfired. A few days ago one higher level player reported trying to play with his low level girlfriend only for four level 140 players to try to demolish her camp. “Upon messaging the guy to figure out why he leveled this base he said, ‘I’m not stupid, I know it was a stash’ and proceeded to treat me like I am one of those dupers who are ruining one of my favorite games,” they wrote.

So far, the most recent patch seems to have put an end to some forms of duping, but not the vast arsenals of duped items still out in the wild. There are ways to block high level players and jump to different servers to avoid them, but those options can be a pain when you’re in the middle of completing a quest or farming for loot. Players have suggested introducing new, higher level versions of the best guns, thereby making the existing duped ones obsolete. Until that or some other solution is implemented, duping’s legacy will still cast a shadow over Fallout 76’s end game.

Source: Kotaku.com