Escapist Article and Partial Rebuttal

The Escapist Posted an Article about the line between exploiting and not exploiting during online games. As a ‘Play to Win’ guy, I had some things to say that I posted on their forums. Here on out is all discussion from their forums, my individual posts seperated by a break.

Also let me point out that I don’t think the article is ‘wrong’. It tries to be unbias and is a decently good read. Anyways I’ll just post my initial response and a few rebuttals.


Hello, I’m Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, creator of I Wanna Be the Guy, and I am here to disagree!

Actually to be fair I think the article was actually okay and pretty non-bias. Some of the examples were pretty weak (Sequence breaking in L4D2 and boomers using the kill command are the only things that even really seemed possibly unfair). Still, I got a few things to say.

I was an idler for TF2. Grinding was too much work, and I don’t find fun in receiving ‘alternative options’ the more I play. I want my options right away. I’ll decide when I’m ready for them. Now, if I was playing MW2 or something I’d understand. The game packaged as a multiplayer games where you level up and get new unlocks. TF2 on the other hand started as one thing and became something else. Suddenly there were unlocks, and grinding and all sorts of BS. I liked the new content but could not understand why it was not available to everyone from the get go. So when idling became possible, I idled. Then I ran the idler program to save power and CPU cycles.

When my items were removed, I was pissed. Not so much because I was ‘caught’ for ‘cheating’. They definitely had a case that it was cheating. So when I wrote an angry letter to Robin Walker, I did not complain that I was unfairly treated for cheating, I complained that they, and their amateurish unlock system drove me to cheat. The system was bad and myself, and many others cheated to avoid that undesirable part of the game. This should have been seen as a failure on their parts as game designers (I love Valve, but they seem prone to REALLY REALLY DUMB design decisions sometimes, like this or dynamic weapon pricing.)

What made matters worse is you could still use idle servers. The only difference between ‘cheating’ and ‘not cheating’ was cpu and memory usage.

Now I just grind for achievements though, because now the achievements are designed to be easily doable. They actually devalued achievements (not that I care at all, I think achievements are retarded, but I know some people love them) to support the unlock system. It’s all bad and valve should feel bad. And they did, so they made the most useless crafting system ever which only encouraged people to idle more to make hats. GREAT.

Anyways, the other thing I wanted to say….. Developer Intent is bubkis.

As a developer, when you release a game, THATS IT. Thats what the player has to play. Unless you patch it, its over. Trying to figure out what the developer was intending is stupid for a number of reasons. There are probably a number of obviously fair tactics the developers didn’t intend or think about. Players won’t and shouldn’t play in some sterile ‘what would jesus-imeandeveloper do?’ way. They figure out and exploit the nuances.

Games that are interesting are not interesting because the designers perfectly plotted every little detail of the game. That is umpossiblz. Instead, they make games interesting by creating environments where interesting nuances and details will emerge. Whether or not something is a glitch doesn’t exactly matter. Glitches and exploits have often been legitimized in games by the developers, and obviously intended tactics have been removed because the developer went “My god, what was I thinking!”

Straz:
I feeled compelled to mention the care package glitch in MW2.
People who used it used to tell me that it was in the game, and thus a legitimate stragegy.
It got removed, and if the developers didn’t see it as such, it mustn’t have been as such.
Yet they still beleived in it, until it was removed.

Well yeah, but are you saying that just because the developers removed it, that it wasn’t legit? Legit stuff gets removed all the time from games by developers. Developers are not infallible. They jump at things that are harmless and miss things that are horrible and they do so because they are humans with bias perceptions like the right of us.

So while that glitch was in the game it was fair to people to say it was legit. But once the developer removes it, thats it. It doesn’t matter if it was legit or not, you aren’t able to do it so theres no more discussion. Developers may be fallible, but the game code is the final ruling on everything and if they change that, what can ya do?

Frederf:
95% of the time anything that even raises the question “Is this legitimate?” guarantees the answer “No.” Human beings have a persistent habit of desperately trying to justify their behavior.

Quite the opposite in my experience. Unless it involves an external program, 95% of the time if people ask if it’s legitimate, my answer is pretty much always ‘yes, yes it is.’ This isn’t hard, since people gripe about EVERYTHING, and rarely on anything that is a significant problem. Maybe I’m a little bias here because I tend to play polished games. People who play MW2 online might have a different perspective. But REALLY? 95% no? Are you like…. a gaming Nun?

Anyways (and this is a little bit lateral to the discussion since this is single player) I’d like to say as someone who released a buggy game, as a developer, I LOVED seeing what people did with IWBTG. They’d find super obscure bugs and exploits that would make me just drop my jaw in amazement. Very few of these ‘interesting’ glitches got patched. I tired to remove stuff that made you invulnerable or made you teleport (though if you check youtube, I’ve clearly failed at that :P), but tons of other little exploits that were beneficial to the player were legitimized by me often as features. Things like that are part of the ‘lore’ of a video game. Part of the texture of a game that people can talk about, find, and explore. Certain bugs, glitches and exploits very much add to the character of games, often beneficially.

Anyways, for me (lol sirlin.net again), the line is whats in the game. If the game is so broken with exploits that I can’t have fun while playing my best, I don’t blame the community, I blame the developers. Fuzzy rules just lead to people being mad and each other and fracturing communities.

I do think developers should be more willing to speak out. I would have appreciated it if Valve came by sooner to say “No, idling is dumb, knock it off”, and then set to fix the problem. Communications can act as a stopgap solution before a REAL solution is implemented, but at the same time, depending on the exploit, that doesn’t mean some people can’t continue to safely perform it.


katsabas:

Yeah, well, not everyone who plays MW wants to reach Championship level of skill. And while we are on it, if pro players are indeed playing as you reply they are, then the ones that promote fair play will just have to get better.

This is true, but those players aren’t going to be playing clan matches. If you’re getting into clan matches, it’s to create a comparison of skill.

Also, I bet a good percentage of MW players would SUCK at games like Braid and Wipeout HD.

This seems like such an unnecessary and silly jab that doesn’t seem to have a purpose in this discussion and probably isn’t even true if you’re talking about competitive players. Damn dirty cheating exploiters are the people most apt to figure out puzzles and the likes. I don’t even know what the hell you’re getting at.

About the line? Yeah, there is one. Proof? MW2 is full of overpowered equipment which I am not gonna get into at this point. I have seen players using glitches, left and right in this game. First it was the pillar in Underpass. Now, it is one of the exits to the underground tunnels in Wasteland. And even if that is fixed, we have the grenade launchers.

Thats not proof at all! In fact, thats like the OPPOSITE of truth. All that shit is going on — where is the line? No one knows! Where do you draw it? Even if you draw it at glitches the game is STILL broken. Is the line before LEGITIMATE AND INTENDED TACTICS? My god, that’d be terrible! There is no line. The only thing to learn here is MW2 is really really stupid.


katsabas:

I am getting to the fact that due to the sheer number of shooters out there today, it is natural for someone to be adept to them. Try beating Zico in Wipeout HD or getting past Zone 75. Or even finish Braid. Those are games that require an amount of clairvoyance, detail and skill. Shooters teach you 3 things: shoot, kill, teabag.

How, exactly, is not proof? Have you seen any youtube videos about what I am actually referring to? There are quite a few of em. There is a difference between someone with a Care Package, Chopper Gunner, Nuke and someone with a UAV, Predator, Harrier Strike. If you cannot see the line, then hey, that’s who you are. No matter.

What a load of nonsense. Competitive FPS gameplay requires a vast amount of skills. Incredible amounts of situational awareness is required, as well. Subtle details compound the advantages and disadvantages of a situation… and lets forget how open ended aiming is as a skill. Comparing this to Braid? What? Reaaally? Braid was easy. It was a smart, clever, good game, but to say it, like it’s some big, serious challenge is hilarious. Even if it was, thats not important, just as I won’t deny the depth of Wipeout. What is more important is you clearly have not managed to grasp the depth that is possible in FPSs. Instead you just boil it down to three silly concepts.

And yes, that is still not proof. It’s proof because some things are better than other things? So what! So you might say “Lets get rid of all this stuff that is too good”, but you know what a lot of people say? The stuff that is too good IS the game. That is the fun bits, especially since these are part of the game.

The only proof I see is that MW2 is a terrible multiplayer game on any sort of serious level. Maybe you should apply some of that clairvoyance to understanding real game design matters, rather than being comfortable in ignorance. YOU see a ‘line’ and stop there. That is your limitation not mine. I see the line, but then I see the truth BEYOND the line in games I play. Watching people hit this wall is almost cute to me at this point.

4 thoughts on “Escapist Article and Partial Rebuttal

  1. Kind’ve an awkward question…what are those abbreviations?

    Is MW2 = Modern Warfare 2?
    and is TF2 = Team Fortress 2?

    Have you tried metroid prime hunters? That game is EXACTLY what you’re complaining about with this MW2 game, whatever that is. X_X; (Its glitchy and people exploit it to a point where it isn’t fun, or even possible to beat them)

    I bet Metroid is even worse, the way the developers ROYALLY screwed it up is almost disturbing considering how little effort could’ve been put in to make the game work noticeably better.

  2. Yes, you got that right. I never played hunters though, except in quick passing. I heard the game was horridly broken, which is unfortunate. :(

  3. It was VERY unfortunate. -_-;

    1. The hp items respawned WAY too fast.
    2. Alternate forms, like morph ball were fast strong, and immune to headshots, not much reason to stay on foot and shoot.
    3. Glitches / cheating (This wasn’t always bad, but its unplayable now)
    4. Sniping weapon was WAY too good. *1 hit kill if a headshot*
    5. Sylux’s alternate form’s attack is A FRIGGIN INSTANT KILL if aimed right, and you could SPAM it to aim it right!
    6. This might be a DS limitation, but…Weavel’s deployable turret would NEVER miss when 4 players were present in the match. (It would automatically hit you, UNLESS you went behind a wall, strangely almost no one seemed to notice this)

    Actually, if number 1 was fixed, and number 3 could be at least REDUCED, the game would’ve been VERY stable. X_X;

    Well if you what you say about Modern Warfare 2 is true, then I have an actual excuse not to play it, one of my cousin’s wanted me to play that instead of Halo 3. ^_^;

  4. Some interesting points you’re making.

    In TF2, valve has to contend with the fact that not-so-good players won’t be able to accomplish enough of the achievements to acquire unlocks – so they made it you get them anyway if you play long enough. Then idling servers/programs came along.
    Granted, if they’d made it by some equation involving something like a * number of kills + b * number of deaths, then someone would have made an idling map that kills you by dropping you into a pit or something on respawn.. but it’s still not that much of a difficult problem to deal with.. the solution I’d go with would have something to do with your amount of points and deaths and achievements as well as some sort of input recorder, nothing will count if you haven’t provided keyboard input for some time, but there are even still ways around that, it’d just be harder to do than the current system.

    I think the achievement/unlock system isn’t actually that bad (if you play it properly, you get a lot more satisfaction out of obtaining new weapons that way), however the random drops annoy me for obvious reasons and the new “crafting” system sucks a lot of shit

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