‘I wish they had good anti-cheat,’ says Dark Souls hacker

ds-hacker-int-2

Pain and purgatory simulator Dark Souls: Remastered was released a couple of weeks ago, and within hours it was already the playground of a well-known hacker. Malcolm Reynolds, who is known to players from his exploits in other Dark Souls games, was invading players and throwing an accursed, hacked fireball at them, which inflicts diseases and a curse that makes the game even more difficult. He also has a history of getting people “softbanned”, which means their save file is flagged and they can only play with a small pool of other players (others who’ve been softbanned). I spoke to Malcolm Reynolds about why he does all this.

“I always say this to people that ask,” he tells me, “but every time they release a game I honestly wish they would have good anti-cheat.”

This would seem a disingenuous answer from somebody who broadcasts himself hurling magical flameballs that fly through walls and transform players’ heads into giant, grotesque eggs. But as he admits, “it’s more complicated than that.”

“People don’t find cheating in CS:GO fun for instance,” he says over Discord. “I tried it out, didn’t like it after a while… I don’t find it fun and I find it confusing, what’s so great about killing someone in a game like that?

“Dark Souls is a different story. As far as I can tell you can do anything with it. It’s interesting to look into, and to figure out new things with it, finding out how a function works, or like in Dark Souls 3’s case, finding out how to fire spells without pressing a button.”

So perhaps he just relishes the technical challenge of modifying code, getting enjoyment from surgically fiddling with a game’s innards. But that’s “too simple of an answer” for Reynolds. Like any troll, much of the appeal, he admits, comes from seeing how a player reacts to his powerful magicks. That’s why he will often specifically target players who are streaming. He gets to see their faces drop in real time, or in some cases, their laughter.

“It’s fun to see how people will react. You stir up a shitstorm and you don’t have to do anything else… It’s the same reason I stream snipe really. You see the reaction… There’s people that are indifferent, joking, angry, et cetera. But the best ones aren’t when they get mad, even though that’s funny to see as well. It’s best when I can see that this person doesn’t take it seriously, or becomes curious. It’s interesting to see how people react to certain things, because it really goes both ways.”

Mal insists he doesn’t softban people as often as you might think. The accursed fireball, for instance, doesn’t get people softbanned and “never did”, according to him (I’m not volunteering to check). It simply applies all the worst negative status effects that already exist in the game.

“If you’re that early into the game and I invade you just downloaded the hard mode DLC,” he says.

Despite this, his reputation means that people assume they’ll be softbanned should the dreaded Reynolds do one of his nasty tricks. If they’re unlucky enough to be ensconced in flame, for example, or stabbed with one of his magical weapons, or perhaps faced with an endless cloud of ghostly archers.

He says this isn’t the case.

“I do it [softbanning], just not the way people say I can. There’s only a few small ways you can actually get a person’s save flagged, and it isn’t just by hitting them or entering their world.

“But yeah softbanning is definitely a real thing. It’s just not as simple as people make it out to be… People that play Dark Souls know so little about they game they play, but it’s so easy to spread a rumor. I never once claimed to softban anybody. People did that for me.”

The legend of Malcolm is quite hard to separate from the truth. When I ask why he calls himself after the spaceship captain in Firefly, he tells me: “I don’t. This is my real name.” He also says the original PC release of Dark Souls had a bug that meant the exact amount of characters in the name “Malcolm Reynolds” caused a bit of a problem.

“If you put your sign down and people read it, the game would crash,” he says. “My name is perfectly designed to crash you.”

Whether one or both of these assertions are true, it’s hard for me to verify (although he does offer some footage of a crash happening to a player reading a 16-character summon sign). And whether or not he softbans players, he’s still making the game a lot harder for many of his victims (as an aside, the best protection against softbanning is regularly backing up your save files). He sometimes invades people multiple times over, especially streamers. All this said: a hacker is still a human. Doesn’t he ever feel bad about ruining peoples’ games?

“Not randoms really. Sometimes if I invade somebody that’s streaming and they don’t react poorly I’ll do something nice. It shows they don’t really take it too seriously, or they find it interesting. Instead of thinking: ‘Wow what a fucking asshole’, they think: ‘Holy shit, how did he do that?’

“They get interested immediately and want to know. Those people usually end up learning more about it. It’s fun to see them become interested in something, especially if afterwards I cure their ailments and show them something cool.

“I make it sound like I never invade and do something cool. Dark Souls 1 just has very limited tools and very limited resources. DS3 and DS2 are by far more interesting for that kind of stuff.”

Like many hackers, he also says part of the blame must rest with the people who made the program in the first place. In other words, it’s not his fault From Software are so “incompetent when it comes to making a multiplayer game.” Although he does say they’re making some progress with the Remastered version. A recent patch made his job a little harder, he says. What’s more, there are modders out there working on their own anti-cheat systems.

“I know people that are far better than me at coding, and do it for a living unlike me, that plan on making anti-cheat to release publicly. I won’t say who but it’s scary to think what they’ll come up with. It’s possible it’ll have functionality that auto-detects some form of cheating and then auto-blocks that person.

“In other words, something good that should have existed a long time ago.”

This is an odd position for a notorious hacker to take. He gets his kicks from seeing streamers reacting to his invincibility and other frightening abilities, but at the same time he insists that anti-cheat ought to be in the game. It’s like the fox petitioning for more chicken wire.

“Fromsoft is special,” he says. “Anybody that reverses the game can tell you how badly its been coded. It’s easy to exploit, easy to RE [reverse engineer], easy to learn how it works.”

“I honestly wish they would have good anti-cheat. It’d separate me from stuff I’m interested in, like I wouldn’t be able to mess with people as much, or investigate the code but I’d get to play safely and not have to have [a] cheat engine open at my side in case I run into some frozen HP chump, or god forbid, somebody that knows how to do what I do.”

It’s not clear how Malcolm would feel if From Software suddenly erected a foolproof anti-cheat system, something that would keep him from stream sniping and fire-balling. But his general feelings about the game suggest he might just get bored of it, since at this point he is less interested in squelching through the Depths or finding another route back to Firelink Shrine, and more interested in the game as a machine.

“Dark Souls 1 used to be one of my favorite games but when you know how easy it is to manipulate you stop thinking about it the way you did when you first bought it. You just start seeing how it operates instead.

“Oh, but Dark Souls in general isn’t that great,” he adds. “I don’t like the PVP that much.”

“lol”

93 Comments

  1. mitrovarr says:

    I wish they’d go all Blizzard on him and throw lawyers/police at this. He could use some real consequences.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      He should be findable even if that’s not his real name – I’d imagine Valve & From should be able to track down a user account. A few tens of thousands of dollars and a month in a low security jail seems about right.

      • Premium User Badge

        Drib says:

        Tens of thousands of dollars and a month in prison?

        For trolling on the internet?

        For being an ass online, you are suggesting probably bankrupting the guy and spending a month being physically and probably sexually assaulted in prison.

        For trolling.

        On the internet.

        Take a step back from your insane gamer rage and think about what you are saying. Yes, he’s being a dick. But really?

        • mitrovarr says:

          I don’t think I’d personally go for jail time, but 100-200 hours of community service, a few thousand dollars in fines, and maybe one year forbidden to have personal internet access seems about right.

          • stringerdell says:

            A criminal record for turning a few people into eggs on a video game?

            Some people chiming in here desperately need a sense of perspective.

          • Basiun says:

            Fromsoft and their ToS decides both the implication of trespass and the punishment for the tresspass.
            Legal action can only be taken in very specific scenarios where you have confirmed specific use of a product by agreeing to a ToS.

            In any case where an exmployee gets hindered, revenue directly stolen, servers destroyed etc. (Physical harm to the company), legal action may be taken since these transgressions are thoroughly noted in the laws of conduct within the company’s country.

            TL;DR: You can’t get punished by legal action if what you’re doing is only outside of ToS and not listed specifically as a legal trespass on your company. In this case it would concern use of 3rd party software to alter data.
            Now I don’t know what Fromsoft’s policies are, but you’re free to go look them up!
            Regardless, it’s childish to presume that legal action should be taken while only providing subjective proof.

        • Viral Frog says:

          If he’s in the USA, it’s would be a month in jail, not a month in prison. Jail is for short term sentencing, prison is long term.

          Anyway, I don’t support the notion that he should face any legal repercussions.

        • jonahcutter says:

          If you regularly run into baseball or soccer fields and disrupt the games being played and made a general nuisance of yourself for the people peacefully recreating together, you’d justifiably face getting collared by the cops and possibly getting a fine + community service as punishment.

        • Urthman says:

          Yes, people who get pleasure from making other people upset are sociopaths and should be locked up.

        • Shalashaska says:

          Go and check out the Steam ratings. He’s damaging the business of From Software. People give bad ratings and people refund the game because of cheaters. So yes, there should be real life consequences for cheaters.

          • mitrovarr says:

            I mean, I can get that people don’t think it’s a serious crime like murder, but I think it’s easily on the same level as fairly destructive vandalism.

        • robottocks says:

          “This man ruined my game; he deserves to have his life ruined.”

        • Mini Ghost says:

          he’d deserve it still

    • Eleriel says:

      why? if what he’s saying is true that he doesn’t cause others to be softbanned, then what he’s doing isn’t actually illegal. hell, even if he *did* cause others to be softbanned, it’s unclear if that’s illegal. it’s the game’s saving-mechanic that corrupts the save.

      it would be illegal for him to cost FromSoft money in some way, but the game doesn’t have a fee to play online. it would be illegal if he messed with their *server*, but it seems he’s only messing with the client.

      then again, what do I know…

      • airmikee99 says:

        He admits he softbans others, did you miss that part in the article? He literally says, “I do it” before trying to excuse his behavior with nonsensical justifications.

        Most developed nations have already accepted that hacking violates copyright law making the hacker subject to civil and criminal penalties. His actions have a negative effect on the computer systems of other people, if it was unintentional he may have a legal excuse, but he admits he intentionally does it.

        • Cederic says:

          Hmm, no. Hacking doesn’t inherently infringe copyright, although the propagation of hacked software may.

          Luckily there are specific laws like the UK’s Computer Misuse Act that make it very clearly illegal to tamper with a computer without permission. Causing someone to be soft banned by exploiting game vulnerabilities sounds like it would likely contravene that law.

          Instead of blocking him perhaps someone should invite the full force of the law to step in and provide some needed education.

          • Eleriel says:

            the guy clearly knows his stuff… so wouldn’t it be more productive for everyone to ask/hire him to help them develop an actual functional anti-cheat system?

    • dreamcat says:

      Here come the Justice Psychopaths, at it again with eternal punishment against your own race.
      Freaking out over a dude who halves your HP in a game where you can die as many times as you want.
      Not only is your humanity starving, but your logic is almost half-cooked.
      If you’re gonna double-fail like that, don’t even dare try to influence other people’s lives negatively.
      Or perhaps you think the holy crusades were okay?

  2. dsch says:

    Great, he hacks to get reactions out of people. We call those people trolls. Maybe don’t give this one the attention he so desperately wants.

  3. Amake says:

    You know what’s a nice way to get reactions out of people? Creating something that was not in the world before. This might sound like a foreign idea, Mal, but think about it: Even the games that you enjoy have been made by people just like you. The streamers who you watch have worked to build their streams; their skills, their audiences. It’s a lot harder than piggybacking on their work, making things yourself, but I promise it’s worth it.

    • Badgercommander says:

      I think this is the best response, the fleeting thrill of trolling people is nothing compared to the sense of achievement in actually creating something. It’s quite sad that someone who seems to have some drive and ability is clearly squandering it.

    • T1ppy says:

      so, spending hours of your life just to manipulate 1 spell to make it into something different and interesting or to make minigames and to give people something they have not seen before is not creative and is piggybacking?

  4. Nelyeth says:

    Eh. I, for one, found the article interesting, mainly because I did quite a bit of PvP in Dark Souls 3, and encountering a hacker was usually pretty fun. Like the guy says, hackers can do pull some hilarious shenanigans in Dark Souls, so I’ve had people flying, spells that make your stamina regenerate instantly, and a guy that somehow roleplayed as a “support invader”, and buffed enemies instead of fighting himself.

    Of course you have the invincible guys with the one-hit-killing weapons that play PvP in the arena, but more often than not, hackers were all good fun.

    • QSpec says:

      Sure, but shouldn’t it be more of an opt-in thing?

      • Nelyeth says:

        I don’t see From Software supporting the hackers and admitting that their game basically supports online mods (because that’s how easy breaking Dark Souls seems to be). The way I see it, there are three possibilities:

        -They just don’t change anything, and their games continue to be plagued with hacking invaders (this is what’ll most likely happen)

        -They change how the game is coded to make hacking harder/impossible, which’d be a shame, since the best/most prolific Dark Souls streamer uses Cheat Engine a lot to create interesting singleplayer runs, but that’d also treat the issue at its root

        -They manage to put together a decent anti-cheat system that’d softban multiplayer hackers

  5. Plok says:

    His hacks in DS2 and 3 were often quite entertaining and rather imaginative at times – the nuclear bomb spell thing was just ridiculously mad. They mostly took place in dedicated PvP areas and often the streamers he was sniping were finding the whole thing quite entertaining and unexpected.

    Unfortunately, his most recent activity in DS1 was just malicious and therefore not interesting to watch. It’s the same with the softbanning stuff he did. It makes him just another by the numbers troll instead of someone who’s interacting with the game in a novel and interesting way.

  6. indigochill says:

    Friendly tip for the article, Cheat Engine is the name of a specific piece of software commonly used for game hacking (link to cheatengine.org). It’s a proper noun, not just a generic term.

  7. scatterbrainless says:

    Lol, what a dick

  8. jj2112 says:

    Just another attention-seeking douchebag in Internetland.

    • BaaBaa says:

      And RPS just gave him more of it.

      • FunkyB says:

        RPS talked to someone with an interesting perspective on what is unfortunately a huge part of one of the biggest PC games. They linked it back to From’s incompetence which has dogged their PC games, and they remained neutral rather than arguing with him or justifying him.

        The comments here, on the other hand, are exactly the QQ tears he craves.

  9. Galahad Threepwood says:

    I mean, he gets his kicks from doing negative things to other people and seeing their reactions. He’s no different from somebody on 4chan causing chaos for the lulz. He tries to make it sound like he’s interested in teaching people more about the game’s inner workings, but there are ways to do that without ruining someone’s game.

    And really that’s the rub. These are folks just trying to get some enjoyment out of their lives for a while, and this guy comes along and disrupts shit because he finds it funny. Really the worst thing about the Internet, and online interactions in general, is that they give people like this a platform. We shouldn’t give him one, though. I really don’t care about the motives of an asshat like this. He breaks shit because it’s funny to him. So do other trolls, and it makes the world a worse place.

  10. ironman Tetsuo says:

    Interesting read, I enjoyed it. Just a little perturbed by his justifications though, I mean, I wouldn’t justify ruining a fellow cinema goers experience just because there’s nothing in place to stop me throwing a drink at someone in the dark…

    Continuing this analogy, he seems to think its OK because he rewards those that laugh at being suddenly sodden by dry cleaning their clothes and telling them an interesting fact about projectors

  11. teije says:

    Wow, that was quite a set of lame justifications for just being a colossal ass. Hard to get mad at the guy when he’s so obviously pathetic.

  12. Metalfish says:

    I always find this kind of thing a bit difficult to understand: so many of the excuses these kinds of person give for their actions are “people shouldn’t take games seriously” which is basically all this article is (aside from a very disturbing thread of “my antisocial behaviour is somehow someone else’s fault”).

    Yet obviously this person has devoted a huge amount of time and serious effort to this. They don’t seem very fulfilled by it and it probably isn’t earning them any money with which to pursue a more excellent life, so why waste such a large portion of one’s finite lifespan upsetting other people?

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      I mean, that sounds like the good old “Why are you spending so much time playing computer games, you don’t make money/get fit/gain anything tangible?”-question and the answer is probably the same, there is as many reasons as there are people doing it, but also a large part of it is entertainment.

      • Metalfish says:

        Fair, but most play a game to enjoy it, or at least experience new things (of course there are myriad other reasons, not all of them healthy). But you can see the difference between not actively causing any harm, as any normal player generally plays, and going out of your way to damage other people’s chances at those enjoyment?

        Tangentially related: hacking is fairly low on the list of shitty things a shitty person can do, but there’s a lack of empathy in this person’s actions that one hopes isn’t true of the rest of their lives (hence my comment above), although one hopes that is also true of the more frothing commenters in this thread.

        • Premium User Badge

          Qazinsky says:

          Oh, I absolutely agree that hacking is a terrible thing to do, especially when you irrevocably destroy peoples saves (unless you got a backup). I do not think this is acceptable in any way, I just didn’t agree that it was so weird why they do it.

  13. DeepSleeper says:

    Well, it doesn’t sound like it’s illegal or straight-up trolling, since he’s attached a positive teaching message to it.

    • Sian says:

      Well, it doesn’t sound like it’s illegal or straight-up trolling, since he’s attached a positive teaching message to it.

      I can’t comment on the legality of it (apparently some countries treat hacking as copyright infringement), but it’s definitely trolling. The ends do not justify the means. A “positive teaching message” can be achieved without griefing other people. Oh, and if it is illegal, a “positive teaching message” won’t change that either.

      He might also just be lying about the teaching thing. Besides, when I come back from a hard day at work and just want to relax, I don’t want to learn about the inner workings of the game I’m playing. I’m wholly uninterested in coding. Griefing me won’t change that. All it does is create sadistic enjoyment for the griefer.

  14. Terrapin says:

    That’s a whole lot of words to say “he’s a sociopathic piece of shit.”

    • stringerdell says:

      Sociopathic, really? for annoying a few people in a video game?

      • Martel says:

        Sure sounds like he is

        so·ci·o·path – noun
        a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

      • sosolidshoe says:

        For taking pleasure in ruining other people’s fun? Yeah, sociopathic sounds about right. Bullying s***bag, bottom-feeding attention “adult entertainment worker”, and various other unflattering descriptive terms would also be applicable.

        I seriously don’t understand how folk can think this kind of behaviour is OK and harmless. It’s like they can grasp simple basic ethics when you’re talking about children, but somehow being an adult negates all that?

        And you know these sadcases wouldn’t have the stones to try ruining people’s hobbies if they had to do it face to face.

        • po says:

          <link to en.wikipedia.org

          Lists various diagnostic criteria for different region’s official names for sociopathy/psychopathy, ICD 10 perhaps being the most simplified:

          The WHO’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth edition (ICD-10), has a diagnosis called dissocial personality disorder.

          It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:

          1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
          2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
          3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
          4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
          5. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
          6. Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

          The ICD states that this diagnosis includes “amoral, antisocial, asocial, psychopathic, and sociopathic personality”.

          And before anyone goes and says you can’t use that to make an armchair diagnosis of someone on the internet, actually you can. Do a google search for the prevalence of sociopaths or people with ASPD, and you’ll find it common enough that if someone is showing all those traits, there is actually a good chance you’re right. More people would get diagnosed, but as the condition is only a problem for other people, those who have it don’t have any reason to seek out a diagnosis themselves, and only those who commit crimes and get caught are likely to be diagnosed within the prison system.

          What does this mean for game designers/community managers? Be aware of the true nature and distribution of all personality types, and be prepared to deal with them in the only way that is appropriate.

          When you are dealing with people who antagonise others for their own pleasure, have no remorse, and do not respond to punishment, your best course of action is to identify them and exclude them from participation as soon as possible, before they ruin enjoyment of your product for a great many people.

  15. dontnormally says:

    He should just play Second Life or Roblox or whatever else encourages fluxing with the undercode. Could even make money doing it.

  16. yarshman says:

    “I really wish these people were not made of yummy, mooshy, meat…”
    – Hannibal Lecter

  17. kalirion says:

    Dude needs to be fined and banned from all forms of electronic entertainment.

  18. Edgewise says:

    His knocks on FromSoftware code quality is really poor form. If he’s not a professional developer, he has no idea what goes into making a game like this. Whatever he is seeing is a tiny tip of the iceberg. Not that he’s wrong, but I have no faith or interest in his opinion.

  19. Freud says:

    People like him are the reason I always play Dark Souls in offline mode. I don’t want to invaded or helped by people like him or anyone really. I just want to play the game in peace.

    • Arglebargle says:

      People like him are just another reason I don’t play Dark Souls at all. The design allows asshats to screw others around. That’s lost revenue.

  20. Zaxwerks says:

    He should try manning up rather than hiding behind his computer and try trolling in the real word, go to a board game cafe and flip people’s tables, or go to the cinema a play music really loudly, then see how long he lasts before he gets his face kicked in for ruining people’s entertainment “for laughs because it’s fun”.

    He obviously has a self absorbed ego and a problem with empathy.

  21. shauneyboy68 says:

    “From Soft is the suxor @ coding,” said the leet haxor.

    Regarding From: sure, maybe their programming stinks (I wouldn’t know), but the end result (in the case of Dark Souls) is one of the greatest games of all time. It’s like chef who takes forever to cut vegetables but still manages to make one of the greatest meals you’ve ever eaten. Who cares? And I maybe showing my ignorance here or painting with too broad a brush, but From is a Japanese developer. It’s my understanding that the PC games market is a distant second to the console market in Japan, so these guys may not have a ton of experience fortifying their code from turds like Mr. Reynolds here. Also, again broad brush, but culturally trolling/hacking in video games just doesn’t seem to be… very Japanese.

  22. Shinard says:

    Yeah, no. Interesting read, but it is not the fault of the developer for not having good anti-cheat code, or an excuse how fun it is to mess with people. It’s the fault of you, the hacker, for hacking people and by and large giving them an unpleasant experience. Sure, every once in a while someone will react positively – that does not make what you’re doing to everyone else justified.

    If you’re such a good coder, go mod an option so that people can opt in to fighting you. Otherwise, sod off.

  23. po says:

    Funny how hacking was never much of a thing back when we could run a dedicated server executable on our own hardware, moderate it how we liked, and ban a hacker the instant it became obvious what they were doing.

    Relying on typical corporate customer service to deal with complaints of hacking ends up being the usual if/when they get around to it, which is usually too late for a bunch of players who had multiple missions/matches ruined, leaving the only options either being to quit playing, or enter an arms race of hacking yourself just to stay on the same level.

    And of course there’s usually some idiot who complains about how people would be kicked from servers just because someone took a dislike to them. Well, stop being so unlikable, or set up your own server with your own choice of players. No-one but an absolute tool would get banned from every server out there, and no-one but someone with clear signs of an antisocial disorder would blame everyone for that but themselves.

    A server for everyone and everyone in the right server is better than expecting everyone to get along when every server is the same homogenised mess of wildly differing attitudes.

    • airmikee99 says:

      My introduction to being affected by hackers in online games came way back with Trade Wars, Legend of the Red Dragon, and MUDs on bulletin board systems and the pre-WWW internet. Just because you didn’t notice it back in the ‘Golden Days’ doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

      • po says:

        I never said it didn’t happen, I said it got dealt with promptly, usually no longer than it took for someone to find one of the server’s clan members in whatever match/game they were in, PM them to log in, and then have them run spectate mode on the person hacking. The better run servers would also use scripts to share their ban-lists, to quicker deal with those inclined to use multiple accounts and server-hop.

        Between that and kill-cams we had much better tools to spot the really blatant stuff. These days the big publishers have removed things like that, more than likely because doing so gives them plausible deniability when they’re claiming they’re dealing with hackers, when there is less quality evidence to the contrary.

        About the only issue you’d have these days with a private server is getting DDoSed by people who didn’t like getting banned, but with cloud hosting it’s a lot easier to change your server’s IP than it used to be.

  24. DeadCanDance says:

    and not have to have [a] cheat engine open at my side in case I run into some frozen HP chump, or god forbid, somebody that knows how to do what I do.”
    He specifically says he doesn’t want to meet somebody like him on the game. Is it so hard for him to see what a dick he truly is?

  25. drucifer says:

    From reading Jon Ronson’s book, this is psychopathic behaviour. At least he limits it to online lives. I hope.

  26. Xark says:

    “[…]I never once claimed to softban anybody. People did that for me.”
    He literally named his stream “softbanning people in Darksouls Remastered”
    He did two streams about this, the second one got cancled from youtube as he got too many reports om his stream.
    I was the first one to be invaded by him in the undead parish and what he did basicly was making me delete my character, because it was unplayable anymore.
    This was in the first hour the game was released…

    I found a quick solution to this.
    There is a steam group named after him where his steam account and his 6 alts are listed and you can just block all these steam accounts and he won’t be able to connect to your ID in-game anymore

    • Sian says:

      Well now, that is some useful information. Thank you kindly.

    • bigblack says:

      Thank you for that!

      OK, when you are griefing people and hoping each time that your victim becomes ‘interested’ in you and your methods, you are either (A) a demented 12-year old, or (B) totally fucked in the head.

  27. Scare Tactics says:

    Some people in the comments really should turn off their PC for some time and go outside – I’d rather have my game invaded and the savefile corrupted any day by some random griefer than to ever meet any of those butthurt gamers, be it online or IRL (though I’m sure the latter one won’t happen since, you know, you’d need to shut down your PC first and pull a Bennett Foddy).

    • Harkenz says:

      I actually made an account to specifically answer your nice comment, and i bet knowing that will make you feel warm inside. Probably cause you share a lot with the subject of this article, but this is not the topic of my answer. I just wanted to educate you a bit on the people you target so contemptuously, cause you obviously don’t know much about them. I, for my part, do go out an awful lot. Between 50+ hours of work a week, with kids to raise and whatnot, believe it or not, i don’t get much playtime. Do i want those rare moments of enjoyment to be ruined by some asshat on the internet who thinks he is some sort of educational white knight or whatever ? Hell no. Do i get pissed when it happens ? Hell yes. So, please, take your own advice, and instead of spewing a random rant about people with lives you can’t obviously begin to relate to, well, go out and start a family ? Now i will be back to my own business, thanks for your attention. And excuse my english, not my mother tongue.

      • kinyajuu says:

        Exactly this. Most of our problem is people like this wasting our already very small window of time to play games as full grown adults with real lives. Then they have the balls to say they are teaching us something… Give me a break. Must be between 15 and 30 or just missed the bus if older than 30.

      • Cuntballs says:

        imagine being so mad at a guy on the internet that you lie about your personal life instead of just getting on with your “busy schedule”.

        I’m not sure if this is even you but I’m gonna post it anyway:

        “Hello, I’m Harkenz. I am a Minecraft and ROBLOX player and I may make videos from time to time.”

        • Harkenz says:

          I am absolutely amazed and terrified that you went ahead and googled my nickname. You need therapy, man. Not kidding.

          Sorry to disappoint, but i never played Minecraft, nor Roblox. I’ll spare you the hassle to verify this one : link to steamcommunity.com

          • Rabbit says:

            It must be very terrifying for someone to left, and right click on your name, also steam doesn’t register Minecraft or Roblox, so that doesn’t verify it

  28. randalmcdaniels says:

    what a little shit. He says “If they dont get pissed and just call me an ahole then they end up learning a thing or two”

    like we are missing out on a FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY by getting mad at him for ruining our game

    Who does that little sh** think he is? telling us how we should respond to his hacking?

    How about this kid.. if you come and mess up my new $40 game i will find you and i beat your fucking head in? Hows that sound?

    Maybe he can then find ways to hack the hospital machine to give him a little extra morphine after i am done with him

  29. Jaykera says:

    “Sometimes if I invade somebody that’s streaming and they don’t react poorly I’ll do something nice.”

    Thank you, your highness. !

  30. sg1969 says:

    what an asshole. He enjoys seeing people’s reactions by annoying them. The definition of a troll.

  31. poliovaccine says:

    So he trolls people hoping they’ll “not take themselves seriously” enough, i.e. humble themselves enough to him, that they will become interested in what he’s doing and somehow learn more about it by him doing it to them? Does this fireball spell convey knowledge of coding?

    Not sure who thought this person was exceptional and worthy of attention. The people calling for jail time are almost equally demented and devoid of real world perspective as the hacker, but at least they’re not out there actively trying to bring it upon anyone.

    Just… considering the amount of time and knowledge that has to go into coding, the only reason I can see for doing this shit, instead of something creative, is a severe lack of self-worth. And that’s speaking from a place of empathy. I’ve been in pathetic enough circumstances before that I was tempted to lash out at the world. Still glad I didn’t, still wish other people wouldn’t. If FromSoft suck at coding he should be petitioning them for a job, not making them an enemy.

    The thing is, intelligence and ability are like money, in that they’re really only worth what you can do with them. Unused, or wasted, they’re worthless at best. The guy clearly has intelligence and ability, just as obviously as he feels marginalized to some great extent, and is lashing out where he can’t just reach out instead. All human beings, even sociopaths, need connection. It’s just that sociopaths have lowered themselves to getting it by coercive means. And, if you look at the personal life of any sociopath, you will see a severely degraded self-worth coupled with a fundamental lack of guidance, and very often a head injury in early childhood (not a joke). It’s just a thing that happens to people, and regardless whether you feel it deserves any empathy or not, it definitely bears understanding.

    Unfortunately, the most primary thing you can understand is that devoting a fucking article to this behavior isn’t within the top forty best ideas. Both because the guy thrives on attention, and because he thrives on *negative* attention. So all the condemnations in the world are only titillation to his dissociated ego. Mine included, probably, if he reads it as condemnation (and I’m sure he’ll read it – this and every comment here), less for the content than for the time spent typing it out. You take what you can get, that is. Or what you think you can get. You do the best you think you can do.

    Anyway, outright bashing a person like this is just throwing gas on a fire. If they’re antisocial already, you’re just justifying their position. That’s the real wisdom in the whole Christianity thing, much as it’s against my ordinary impulses to say so – it’s just that, when it comes to truly perverse behavior (what people tend to call “evil”), compassion is the only viable *weapon.* Anything less is just reinforcement.

    Btw, I’m sure he’s seen an uptick in views since this article released.

  32. Titler says:

    This was a spectacularly ill advised, and genuinely harmful article for RockPaperShotgun to run; let’s make this quite clear, getting someone softbanned is deliberately breaking the functionality of a product they’ve purchased. It will prevent you playing co-op with your friends ever again.

    So what is the best response to that? The same website which is running an article about how outrageous it is that Steam won’t apply any quality controls decides to run an entire article allowing someone who has dedicated his life to harassing and attempting to harm people to publicly fellate himself whilst offering virtually unchallenged sick justifications for what he has done.

    And now he gets to say “Rockpapershotgun published me, so obviously you deserved it”.

    What makes this especially sad is that eventually I got to this despicable line here;

    ““I don’t. This is my real name.””

    And RPS doesn’t even ask for proof of that?

    Because no, no it isn’t his real name. I’ve commented here, and at any media covering online harassment recently, but it’s a particularly dirty trick that has taken off within the toxic communities online, to select a user name that looks like a real one, and then report anyone complaining about your behaviour for “doxxing” you, and thus add them getting moderated or even banned for trying to defend themselves from what you are doing to them, and then use that ban as an extra tool of harassment and gaslighting.

    I first came across this with the vile community around “Shroud of the Avatar”; The same trick has formed part of a year and a half of constant stalking and harassment (of which I’ve gone to the police about, and am currently in the process of beginning legal action on) and when an Reddit admin who didn’t know the history of that sociopath’s behaviour fell for one of these “he doxxed me by repeating my public user name!” claims, and suspended my account, it was followed by weeks of gloating posts about it, as well as PMs from sockpuppets (to get around being blocked) saying “You see, even Reddit hates you, maybe you should realise how awful you are” …

    Right now, somewhere out there, I would bet real money there’s a person who lost their account to “Mal Roberts”, then got banned from the Dark Souls forums for reporting him, who has just been further upset that RPS is openly helping this sociopathic idiot in exactly the same malicious tactic by giving credence to the idea it was ever really his “real” name.

    You really have shown horrendous editorial judgement on this RPS, and I hope you’ll very quickly work to find some way to make amends for it. Maybe run an article on genuine harassment and the real life consequences for it. I can provide you plenty of legal and police supported evidence … or just get the information that should have been in THIS article, and get the story of those who have genuinely been soft-banned because of narcissistic arseholes like “Mal”.

    Shame, shame.

  33. Jonab0b says:

    This guy pretending he’s some kind of gentle hearted hacker. I’ve been hacked by him, I waved to him when he invaded and he used a spell combo that crashes the game.

    So when I got the game back up he did it again. And again. And again. Without me ever getting angry, so he’s talking shit about people who react well (I was streaming). I laughed about it and then turned my game to offline mode.

    He’s just a sad bastard.

  34. Ham Solo says:

    Good on you for providing this scumbag a platform. Well fucking done RPS. What is wrong with you?

    • uhup says:

      This whole article is just hostile and stupid on so many levels that it boggles the mind. But hey, with enough clicks, someone, somewhere will probably make some mediocre amount of money off this gaming news site!

  35. Kittentheboss says:

    I get where he’s coming from. Fromsoft are the guys that ban you. He just pulls the trigger. I wish fromsoft got their shit together and stop banning people that receive gifts from modders.

  36. njursten says:

    Interesting read!

    I agree that From Software obviously haven’t put much thought into cheat protection. They haven’t even put in the most basic of checks.

    It’s douchy to modify other people’s games, but at least he doesn’t seem malicious, considering how he speaks about actually being nice if people don’t react in a negative way.

    • bawls_in_mouth says:

      I had to make an account to tell you how wrong you are. His actions are the very definition of malice. He wants to do people harm for his own pleasure. If they react ‘properly’ maybe he won’t be a dick. But his main goal is to be a dick. He says it himself, in maybe slightly different terms. There’s nothing benevolent going on here, he is setting out to ruin your fun for kicks. If you find something to agree with in his actions, sorry to say, you’re a dick as well. No wiggle room here, it is a fact. When you get out of bed in the morning and want to ruin someone else’s day for fun, you’re a dick. Have I mentioned that this guy is a dick? And that you’re extremely wrong for agreeing with him?

  37. Bforceny says:

    Malcolm Reynolds wants you to admire his skills: they are not being recognized in real life at the level they should, and that hurts him deeply. He knows secret things you don’t and needs to let everyone know how much smarter he is – fear me or love me, but please think I’m special. Malcolm Reynolds, you’re pathologically mundane: what you do has been done before, it’s called pranking; sure you’re smart, but you’re also not the most pleasant guy to hang out with and it’s too easy for the people you respect to bait you into doing something, because you like the attention so much.
    You don’t matter Malcolm Reynolds.

  38. yatoshi says:

    as long as you dont pick up suspicious items dropped, you will not get softbanned. you get penalized because those items are entities that should not exist, triggering the “”””anti-cheat”””” dark souls has.

    remember to backup your saves, its as simple as copy and paste.

    let me tell you, this guy is just in it for the memes.

    also lmao its not his real name. thats a character from firefly. his real name is sam hyde.

  39. vahnn says:

    No matter what this guy said, he’s a fucking prick, straight up. Regardless if whatever kind of light is being cast in him him, whether it be the writing or the guy’s “it’s just about fun” claims.

    He’ll decide not to kill someone or fuck up their account or maybe reverse their negative status effects… if he sees the person is having fun or is laid back or curious about hacking?

    How about fuck you?

    You are twisting the game’s code and abusing it to ruin others’ experiences by bringing attacks to the table that a non-hacking player can’t possibly deal with. Everyone experiencing this has every right to be pissed off. Not everyone playing a game has tons of free time to play. Maybe that guy made an hour of tough progress and was just about to the next bonfire, then you fucked his shit up and he had to go back, and now his time’s up and he can’t play for another week. You weren’t another regular invader fighting him on fair terms. He literally can’t retaliate.

    For you, “oh well, just killed another random, just one of the hundreds I’ll encounter in the next 8 hours I’m playing,” but for that player, “well, I chose to spend my only free time for the week playing this game that I’m pretty good at, but a hacker just completely ruined my progress and it was all for nothing and now I’m not relaxed and I can’t play for 144 hours again. Fuck.”

    Learn some empathy and stop being fucking scum.

    • vahnn says:

      He implies that his goal is to get From to implement better protections against hacking. As if to say, “I can get away with, so it’s not my fault, why wouldn’t I hack?”

      That’s like saying it’s okay to murder someone because, yeah, it’s illegal, but I can do it before the cops get here, and I know I won’t get caught.

  40. Mini Ghost says:

    this hacker is garbage and I hope he gets dox’d RPS is garbage for giving interviews to hacking garbage

  41. stupac says:

    This guy is a piece of shit and you gave him a platform. Dark Souls is an incredible gaming experience. I work a 50 hour per week job, have a 3 year old son, and all I want to do when I get some time to myself is get online and play Dark Souls with a girl I’ve been dating long distance. Well, because of all the freaking hackers and griefers on DS, this is often tedious and unpleasant experience. We get invaded by them on a regular basis with almost no legitimate invasions on a regular basis even keeping as many people banned as possible using DCSM. I get it that FromSoftware seriously messed up by not giving the player more options to prevent invasions and still enjoy co-op, but seriously, the blame is ultimately on these hackers, trolls, and griefers who are actually going out of their way to ruin someone else’s experience just for some laughs.

    I will say this though, thanks for the article RPS, even though you gave this colossal douche a platform, at least it confirmed to me exactly what type of immature, unempathetic people do this to others. In the big scheme of things it isn’t a big deal. The guy is a loser scumbag, and none of his actions are remotely justified. He’s no different than a big adult thug who runs into the middle of a bunch of schoolkid’s basketball game and drives a knife into the ball and deflates it, then expects everyone to be nice to him, or else. That isn’t funny, that is just someone being a cock. He’s the reason I keep considering getting hacking tools just so I can stop people like him from messing with me, but I don’t want to fuel some foolish arms race or learn something new. So, if my girlfriend and I as just getting hacked over and over, we just have to stop for the night, and that sucks. I can’t imagine how much it would suck if one of us got softbanned.

  42. RF member says:

    Not Even 2_months and ppl talking Completely out-of-character. dark souls is meant to beh played offline, once complete Then go online. ds2sotfs a masterpiece in offline btw. stick to lore/story, not hackers pack xD

  43. asrapila says:

    RPS is only feeding the troll , he only wants attention.

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