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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Defining Cheating in A Game - Part 2

In my previous post I attempted to look at cheating in online gaming and focused mainly on the PVP aspect. In this post I want to address whether or not cheating can be classified when dealing with PVE content.

Most MMORPG’s maintain a large portion of game play referred to as PVE content (Player-vs.-Environment).  This can include solo or group play and focuses on players interacting with game controlled opponents. Raids, Dungeons, Rifts, and solo quests are all good examples of PVE content in gaming and for the most part ones own activities while performing these functions are of no concern to others. So why is it then that the use of add-ons and other aids while performing these gaming events can create controversy and discord among a games player base? Does anyone truly care if a player cheats when playing against game controlled opponents?

 Surprisingly many players do care if another player cheats while playing PVE content in a MMORPG game and the simple reason is the social labels created in the game. Words like “server first” and “achievement” are valued labels to many players and its when another player uses add-ons (cheats) that they don’t find appropriate for use, that  tension starts. However with a game like World of Warcraft add-ons are often considered necessary to beat the highest level of a game. So much so that no one completes the game without additions, but these are not included in the core game, instead Blizzard is content to allow other developers to make and distribute these additional tools.

However Blizzard from time to time will ban an add-on they believe aids players too much. So in the context of WoW is Blizzard the ultimate judge of what is to be considered cheating and not? In one aspect yes as it is their intellectual property, but we are discussing cheating in general in relation to gaming and they are not the authority on the overall definition. So the question remains is using aids in a PVE environment cheating?

Per the definitions used in the previous article, I would say PVE changing add-ons are Acceptable Cheating where as the general gaming community has accepted this level of cheating as ok, but one thing I have learned is that all things are subject to change when applied to the world of gaming and what’s is acceptable today may not be tomorrow. The only way to insure that you are not actually cheating is to not augment the original game in any way.

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