Cheating in eSports

Sat 1st Jul 2017 - 3:41am Gaming

Cheating in eSports

Today we’re going to be delving into the darker side of online eSports and exploring the huge world of online cheating, hacking and match fixing. What makes a cheater cheat and what are the driving factors that make a player cross the line? Is there any hope for cheaters or does the age old saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” apply in all cases? Let’s take a trip back in time and evaluate some examples of cheating to get a better idea of what we’re up against. With a better understanding of cheating we might learn about the new ways of beating it for good.

Nobody Likes a Cheat

Is it any real surprise that players who don’t cheat despise and condemn those that do? The reasons for this are that good law abiding folk don’t like the wool being pulled over their eyes. Everybody deserves to be on the same playing field with the same opportunities and cheating undermines these core ideals of fair play and good sportsmanship. When someone is hacking in an eSports tournament they are effectively robbing the other contestants of their chance of winning by manipulating game mechanics to their advantage. Remember it’s OK to have an unfair advantage if you are simply a better player. It’s only when that advantage is counterfeit that it becomes a problem. In this way it’s OK to be unbeatable but not unbelievably so. There are literally thousands of videos accusing pro players of hacking and most of these people are wasting their time.

Caught in the Act 

Recently the eSports community was shaken when several pro Counter-Strike players were VAC banned because of hacking. The three players who were caught cheating are named as Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian of e-sports team Titan, Simon "smn" Beck of Team Alternate, and Gordon "Sf" Giry of Epsilon. The news came just before the start of DreamHack Winter 2014 due to take place from November 27 -30 in Jönköping, Sweden, with a prize pool of $250,000 up for grabs. Robin “GMX” Stahmer of Epsilon had this to say concerning the cheating;

"Sf is obviously no longer part of the team, but this is something that we must not forget. We’re not going to DreamHack, and this is maybe one of the worst feelings I’ve had to endure. I wish it never happened, but it did, so now we must go on and forget this nightmare."

The fact is that cheating is everywhere and even in the professional circuit. Who is to say that there aren’t more professional cheaters out there which haven’t been caught yet? If professional players feel the need to cheat, it’s easy to understand why it’s so rampant in the amateur leagues. I myself played in a team which had a cheater. I will never forget the feelings of disappointment and betrayal. When our team found out we had been removed from the league, it caused the whole team to disband. Cheating has very bad effects on everyone involved with the team, ruining the careers of players that weren’t even cheating but who were just playing with a cheater.

Match fixing

On May 16th, 2010 a match fixing scandal was confirmed by Korean news sites. Players like sAviOr of CJ Entus, DarkElf of Airforce ACE and many more were approached by online betting sites. They agreed to throw games for financial gain, either from the money the websites paid them, or by betting against themselves. Players were made to pay fines of up to $12.5 million won, take 120 hours of community service and partake in gambling rehabilitation programs depending on the severity of their involvement. Are harsh punishments the answer? Does it really make a difference? The short answer is no as there have been many match fixing scandals since then.

Whilst match fixing is mainly about money, straight up cheating is a lot more about winning. Money can be involved and always makes it sweeter, but the main reason players cheat is so they can win and have recognition for doing so. The drive to be seen as being a successful professional gamer drives people to do crazy things, even if deep down they know they will be caught in the end. But is there any hope for cheaters?

Back from the grave

An eSports team previously known as Arrow Gaming is returning to competition after a match fixing scandal undid them in October 2014. They seem to have left Arrow Gaming behind and are forming with a whole new roster whilst the 5 busted competitors are starting their own team and will be officially known as “We are sorry”. Cute, but will they really be able to play in serious competition? Most have removed them or banned them for life and there is only one tournament that will let them play. The organiser of this tournament says;

"I believe in them. People make mistakes daily. If no one will forgive them, they might have to stop playing."

Whilst the name change may help them with more companionate fans, we at believe that players are “once a cheater, always a cheater”. Sure people make mistakes, but choosing to become a cheater is more than just a decision. It’s wilful action that causes pain for others. So all players found cheating on will be banned for life. There is no excuse and should be no recourse for cheaters and match fixers. They should be excluded and held up as an example of what happens when a player crosses the line and chooses to betray the trust that is placed in them by others.

Hope for the future

So cheating is everywhere, but what is currently being done to combat these hacking hell spawn? RIOT GAMES have recently introduced a new system called the “Bug Bounty Program”. Researchers and hackers are encouraged to locate security risks and report them in exchange for credit and even hard cash. Hackers can even develop their own exploits in exchange for bounties. So there is hope for the future. Anti-cheat programs like VAC and Spybot are always being updated and are never that far behind the latest exploit. It’s important to keep faith in these kind of systems and never think about joining the dark side! No matter how tempting it may be, eventually you will be caught and will have to face the consequences.

Unfortunately, it is clear that cheating is here to stay. Players will go to any lengths to win and get recognition and for most people it isn’t even about the money. Whether you just want to rank up or if you want to win the next major online tourney, cheating will always be the easiest way to make that happen, but it’s not the right way. There is a big difference between punching codes into your Xbox and downloading the latest exploit. Cheating is OK as long as you’re only cheating yourself. When other people are involved, their dreams and aspirations, that’s when it gets serious and becomes totally uncool. If you want to learn how to win every time, take the necessary steps and practice hard. The only way you can get to the top is by failing and learning from your mistakes, becoming consistent and being the best you can be. Enjoy the ride!



Joshua Forbes

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