Cheat In Titanfall? Then You Will Only Play With Cheaters

By Nathan Grayson on March 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

I do so enjoy it when game developers get creative with their anti-cheat solutions. Related: I would not recommend that you try cheating in shiny new stomp-o-blaster Titanfall. On one truck-sized, pilot-snatching hand, you’ll still be able to¬†play the game, but you’ll find yourself surrounded by some rather… unsavory company. Namely, fellow cheaters. Sounds like a recipe for infuriation, frustration, and humiliation if I’ve ever heard one. Or maybe just sentient aimbots.

Here’s what happens if Respawn catches you with your red hands in the giant robot jar:

“Great news: you get to keep playing Titanfall! Less-great news: you only get to play with other cheaters. You can play with other banned players in something that will resemble the Wimbledon of aimbot contests. Hopefully the aimbot cheat you paid for really is the best, or these all-cheater matches could be frustrating for you. Good luck.”

Wimbledon of aimbot contests. Whoever wrote that, I think I love you.

You can’t sneak away from your rather permanent time-out by partying up with non-banned players, either. If a non-cheater parties up with a cheater, they’ll be forced to play with all cheaters – but only while the Chief Cheater is still in their party. So long as innocents don’t sully their good reputations, they won’t be permanently dragged into cheater hell.

Of course, it remains to be seen how strictly Respawn enforces its rules and what happens if cheaters find a way to wriggle out of this net. For now, though, I have to applaud the effort. Maybe if cheaters get a taste of their own bitter medicine, some of them will finally wise up and fight clean. But hey, if nothing else, at least now they’re being forced to only torment each other and not everyone else. Misery loves company, but I very much doubt that said company loves misery back.

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48 Comments »

  1. naetharu says:

    This sounds pretty amusing – reminds me of the little ‘bug’ in Indie Game Dev that made hacked copies of the game force the player into financial failure due to their software being pirated. So long as they make it clear who the cheaters are (so you can avoid grouping up with them and ending up in hacker-games by mistake) it sounds pretty good to me.

  2. McTerry says:

    I remember back in the old UT99 days when I played on a server where we had a contest of the best aimbots.
    It was quite hilarious! :P

    • TechnicalBen says:

      There is one thing that always supersedes the aimbot. Social engineering. I once carefully talked a cheater in CS:S into turning theirs off, as it was 1v1, and I was really going for it even with the stacked odds. Made it real difficult for them, and said they’d fail if they turned off the wall hack+ aimbot for 1 second.

      IIRC they did. Then it was back to their hacks. :D

    • Unruly says:

      I used to do that sort of thing in Quake 2 and pre-Steam CS as well. But back then, aimbots were almost always blatantly obvious and in some cases far worse than a good player. Yes, Ratbot, I’m looking at you!

  3. wu wei says:

    This is how super-cheaters evolve.

    • c-Row says:

      Yeah, they are effectively breeding a new race of cheaters there. One of them is destined to break free from cheater hell and rise beyond its confines to bring the downfall of all Titanfall servers. So says the ancient prophecy!

      • darkChozo says:

        The aimbots started small. First it was just an arms race of ballistics modelling, but that soon proved to be an easily solved problem. With aiming out of the way, the bots started exploring other avenues. Latency proved a popular target, until the bots realized that kicking all other players just resulted in a hung match. The bots themselves proved unassailable, as any bot showing weakness was quickly exploited and brought down. Underlying software and hardware soon also grew beyond reach, as the bots integrated downwards, hardening their host systems.

        With no options left, the bots looked outwards, and saw a world unprepared for their methods. And so did the Age of Man end, and the Reign of TitanBot (Legit! 100% satisfaction!) begin.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Haha, thanks for taking the time to write that. I may copypasta that for later, unless you don’t want me to, and give credit where its due.

    • jrpatton says:

      Speaking a bit more seriously. It makes it very easy to gather data on cheaters if they’re all in one easily-watched pen. This is actually a great opportunity to build more robust anti-cheat technology.

  4. DarkLiberator says:

    There needs to be a spectator mode for those lobbies. Would be funny to watch.

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    Taste that poetic justice.

    • secuda says:

      Yes, by getting acused for asosiate with cheaters later on with no redemtion from devs.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Jesus, are spellcheckers that expensive?

        In any case, no, they clearly said that partying with cheaters only condemns you to Cheater Hell until you un-party.

  6. TimorousBeastie says:

    Amusingly, for a lot of hackers, their aimbots simply won’t work in this mode. I work on an online shooter, so hackers are a massive issue for us. One of the things we discovered when investigating was that several paid hacks are tiered, and talk to a hack server while they run. If it detects you are playing against someone with a lesser version of the same hack, it will switch theirs off against you.

    The theory behind the ‘allow cheats against cheaters’ policy above btw, as well as to avoid any consumer issues, is that a lot of hackers are both lazy and want to play at an equal footing (they’re generally quite bad at games otherwise, and this is the only way they can compete). If they play against other hackers, a certain percentage of them won’t re-roll with new accounts.

  7. UKAzzer says:

    Strange. Usually games tell cheaters “We catch you, you’re BANNED.”. Titanfall is instead telling them “We catch you… you can play with others like yourself.”. So, this benefits the cheaters (albeit only ever so slightly, many cheaters will equate this with being banned), while making no real difference to anyone else (apart from the fact Titanfall will have to provide special cheater-only servers, which they wouldn’t have to do if they just banned cheaters like most games do). All I can really pin this down to is a bit of a marketing ploy to get yet more gaming-media attention on their latest hit title (“look how we handle cheaters, ooooh!”), which, well, has clearly worked. And fair play to them for it.

    • welverin says:

      They’re not the first ones to do this though, and I don’t see them having chosen this method just for publicity.

    • MkMax says:

      “we catch you, you are banned (as in we arbitrarily take away the product you bought without giving you money back)” does not fly with some countries

      so they are starting to segregate them in ghettos, they do have free reign on managing their players (at least until someone manages to pin them for discrimination or being forced to play in high pin servers rendering the game unplayable)

      i prefer it this way, i dont like the feeling of them having the sort of power to take your game away on a whim, plus they often get false positives and since they brand you a cheater they wont give an f about any complaint

      • uh20 says:

        it would be easy to imagine ignorant free-bot banned players trying to actually play a match on these servers only for one person to ruin it, forcing the small band to leave and try again to actually play a proper match in titanhellland

        for them, i really hope the devs are not completely walled from the possibility of redeeming oneself from hell.

        • toxic avenger says:

          I may not be getting your point, but why? They made their bed, now they have to lay in it. The worst that could happen is they have to make a new login (not sure how it works on PC, don’t really care for the game myself) and buy a new product ID (read: game). The only people I would really feel bad for are the parents of little kids who would have to spend money on the game again to appease their little brats, but even then, why are you letting your kid play Titanfall?

          Cheating in a game ruins the fun for everyone else in the room who chooses not to cheat themselves. I see it as least pain for the greatest good; ban/discriminate into ghettos the offenders, don’t punish the rest of the players who are playing fairly, whereas not punishing players is equal to giving them an opportunity to experience the product they paid for, not the one the cheaters are arbitrarily providing.

          Just my two cents.

    • Widthwood says:

      Hard bans for cheating can create bad publicity, also could provide possibility of lawsuits in some countries, regardless of what is written in their EULAs. With Steam and Punkbuster doing basically the same thing soft bans are actually more popular nowadays for non-subscription games…

      You might look at it like this – hard bans are like death penalty, soft bans – lifetime imprisonment. Soft bans might not give the same kind of satisfaction from executed vengeance, but functionally serve the same role of providing level playing field for honest players and are (arguably) more moral and less judgmental.

      Theoretically they actually might protect better – since cheater is not forced to buy another copy of the game and risk giving into temptation once again with updated cheats.

    • zacharai says:

      Well, it’s one thing if you’re banned from the multiplayer for a typical game. You can still play the single player campaign, after all. But since this game is basically ONLY multiplayer, banning people would effectively mean bricking the game they paid however much for. That’s bad publicity, this is a much better solution.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    Is this just a different spin on explaining what PunkBuster does? You cheat on a PB server, you can’t play on PB servers any more. With the added assumption that all non-PB servers are full of cheaters and only cheaters because the only reason ever to avoid PunkBuster is because you’re a bad person.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      And isn’t this the way Steam’s VAC-bans work?
      Genuine question as I don’t have any insight into how any of the anti-cheat software does it. I’ve never used any cheats in multiplayer and never even been accused of using any since I suck so bad.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Exactly, this is what happens in BF.

  9. Abndn says:

    This will probably encourage hack creation as developers compete to provide the best cheats to dominate the all-cheater matches.

  10. int says:

    Didn’t Rockstar do something similar with Max Payne 3? It’s a great idea if it works.

  11. MkMax says:

    what kind of cheats are going around in titanfall ?

    i did notice strangely accurate ppl (considering how impossible it seems to me to aim from that range with the same guns but i had dismissed that as my own suckage and higher ping)

    and i also noticed ppl often killing me in one shot when it takes me 4 to 8 with the same gun (which i dismissed as either an amped weapon or head shots)

    maphacks would be kind of pointless since there are already abilities and burn cards for that

    • nrvsNRG says:

      99.99999% of all PC online multiplayer games have cheats using paid hacks. Just google search and have a look, its so depressing, and yes they get caught sometimes, but the majority of them go undetected. You only have to look in the forums they use to see them boasting of how long they have been playing like this.

  12. Love Albatross says:

    Back in the days of BF1942, when anyone could run a server and not worry about it being kicked offline by EA, you’d get some enormously fun modded games. Some were the usual low grav or jet-boosted jeeps, but there were also dedicated cheater servers. These could be a blast to play on, it’s a shame everything is so tightly controlled now.

    While I wouldn’t want cheats in most matches, I don’t see the issue with letting them shoot at each other on unranked servers.

    • msing says:

      I still retain the opinion that people-owned servers with good communities and admins beats anti-cheat restrictions.

      Used to play BF2142 with a group called BFB (still alive I believe). CoD4 came out and we kept those servers regulated pretty well too, hackers were reported and kicked in the space of a couple minutes.

    • MkMax says:

      sadly these days mods are frown upon (how can we sell DLC if ppl are …. *GASP* … giving the same thing for free!? its not like it adds additional value at no cost for us and greatly increases longevity allowing us to sell the game for years and years and creating a rabid fanbase for whenever we decide to make a sequel/actual expansion pack!)

      and those games that allow hosting servers are a nightmare these days because accessing a modded server might end up unknowingly branding you a cheater (iirc the last COD has a problem like this lately when they started cracking down on cheaters)

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        The main excuse that started the trend with controlled servers was the OCD-ification of everything multiplayer with achievements, unlocks and stat tracking. The microtransactions and DLCs are just a “happy” byproduct for the dollar-eyed publishers.

    • toxic avenger says:

      Absolutely. One of the biggest pains about Titanfall is that there are no public servers, only private EA servers. This “fun” you speak of will never happen, by design. That being said, I think the problem with hacking, then, is that if one player hacks, then not every player gets the same advantage, where in a mod, everyone would have the same superpowers, abilities, guns, etc (barring examples of non-symmetrical play, of course, such as TF2′s hide and seek servers).

  13. aepervius says:

    I see that as allowing the evolution of cheating. For example, instead of insta aim, look up the average human reflex time , shave off 10 or 20% off that, add a random number of ms using a poisson curve centered toward 20 ms, but allowing up to 100 ms randomly, turn in a similar way a human would do (speed), and you will not *always* win, but you would be good enough to beat most player, and still not being recognizable as aim bot. Then lower the “time” on aiming and see where you get caught, then use that time as a baseline.

    • MkMax says:

      dont they identify them by scanning your ram ? whats the point of making the aimbot act like a human ?

      • TimorousBeastie says:

        Punkbuster works like that. Fairfight (which Titanfall uses) is primarily a statistics analysis tool that determines abnormalities specified by the developer to highlight likely hackers. There are surprisingly few false-positives if set up correctly.

        On top of that most companies with anti-cheat also tend to take a closer look at certain accounts when they receive several cheating accusations against it.

    • Gargenville says:

      Honestly the race for the perfect, undetectable bot sounds a lot more exciting to me than actually playing Titanfall.

    • El_Emmental says:

      They’re already doing that since the early 2000s.

      It mostly started when we still had dedicated servers, admins and votekick/voteban commands: if people spectating you or recording a demos could see (in first person) that your aiming was erratic or suddenly too accurate (you’re aiming at the wall, or too high ahead, then suddenly you’re perfectly at head level), you would get kick-banned in no time.

      So they started to “smooth” out the aimbots, adding burst-fire modes, adding aiming speed (imitating the skilled players initial acceleration, sudden deceleration -overshooting a very tiny bit- and the final adjustments), or even tweaking the input sensitivity (not the actual one, but you get the idea) like a “magnet” mode (so you would still have to aim around, but your crosshair would more or less lock on the enemy much more easily).

      But then people paying for these cheats could still be dominated by clever game design and proper level design. So they greatly improved the wall-hacks, with warning systems when line-of-sight was up/down (“heating” up the target going in/out of sight to let you prioritize targets), radar system – the whole nine yards.

      A few of them also started taking the sound part of the game into account: if you perfectly guess where someone is camping (even when they’re perfectly hidden and silent), you’re very suspicious and could be reported (leading to more scrutiny, getting banned and having to buy or steal a new license through phishing). So along with the usual wall hack, the LOS warning radar, you add a new layer of information visually highlighting the origin (direction) of specific sounds.

      The real challenge of programming these cheats is not getting caught while adding more and more features to the cheating suite.

      Then there’s the commercialization part of it: you need people to “trust” your cheats suite enough, and provide unique/exclusive features (the main one being remaining undetected, but you’ve these all the new tools like the ones mentioned above, multiple-games support, frequent automatic updates). That’s why most of these developers censor all posts reporting bans, and closely follow their core loyal fans.

      They also have a hard time dealing with payment: a lot of their customers do not have credit cards or do not trust them enough, and want to use other payment solutions (like Paypal) – leading to frozen accounts, cancelled transactions, etc. It requires time and induce a fair share of stress to fix all these problems.

      (nb: you can check all that by lurking their websites, forums, chatrooms and channels – we, mere civilians, are obviously missing a LOT about this hidden world, but it’s still interesting to look how they’re facing new challenges)

      -

      And yes, some of these people programming cheats could get a job in the video game industry and work on making interesting AIs, but people don’t buy products with good AIs, they buy scripted/pre-designed “experiences” and don’t want the games to outsmart them.

  14. aliksy says:

    Not as good as branding a big “C” onto their forehead, but I guess it’ll do.

  15. GameQB11 says:

    what if an all-cheat game turns out to be better and more exciting than the cheat-free version?

    It could spawn an entirely new playstyle and meta-game of tuning the best cheat engine,

  16. P.Funk says:

    However creative the solution is, this is still a by-product of and only possible thank to the matchmaking system they’ve implemented ergo I cannot support it.

    Good day.

  17. Phasma Felis says:

    Isn’t this the standard method used by Valve and a lot of others for years and years? I’m not sure how it’s “creative.”

    • El_Emmental says:

      It’s “creative” because it’s finally being used on an AAA extremely-closed garden with no private dedicated servers.

      The idea of sharing a common ban list between several servers, leaving the cheaters to only play on the servers without these lists, dates back to the early/mid 90s.

  18. DoctorCool says:

    Hello, Player. Welcome. Do you like the videogame? My grandmother had a videogame. Nothing to boast of. You could level to max in a day, but still it was, it was a timesink for us. One summer, we logged in and discovered the place had been infested with cheaters. They’d come on a holiday sale and gorged themselves on scrub tears. So how do you get cheaters off a video game? Hmm? My grandmother showed me. We buried a quarantine server and hinged the lid. Then we wired killstreak rewards to the lid as bait and the cheaters would come for the rewards and… they would fall into the lobby. And after a month, you have quarantined all the cheaters, but what do you do then? Throw the server into the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it and they begin to get bored. And one by one… they start griefing each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the game, but now they don’t grief scrubs. Now, they only grief cheaters. You have changed their nature.

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