Sun. Feb 5th, 2023
A negative sum game: Policing Counter-Strike: GO cheaters with Overwatch

In Counter-Strike: global offensive, the absolute lowest strata of the community are occupied by cheaters. Regardless of the game, we all know the pain of going up against an obvious cheater: that person who makes other players’ lives a misery and only grieves them for kicks. This isn’t like you’re at the mercy of a hacker who shows off by messing with the game – you’re at the mercy of the weasels who bought or subscribed to their script to “win.”

It’s that shared hatred of cheaters that Valve taps into with Overwatch, its new crowdsourced anti-cheat tool. Overwatch, which allows veteran players like me to ban other players, works so well because we know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a wall-hacking charlatan. We know that a competitive game of CS:GO averages 45 minutes, and we know that giving it up will result in penalties from both teammates and the game. We know if we can keep it CS:GO free of cheaters, the game – and the community – will be all the better for it.

The Overwatch

As the competitive first-person-shooter (it had over nine million unique players last month) CS:GO naturally attracts cheaters. Valve’s solution is simple: let the players control themselves. The Overwatch gives “qualified” players – those who meet certain criteria, such as a minimum rank and a minimum number of games – to take on the ultimate anti-terrorist role and hammer down the ban hammer on those who see through walls. or automatically aim for a series of incredible headshots. Placing the power to rid the game of cheaters in the hands of those who are generally competitive and thus prone to hate those who break the rules has proven to be a smart move, even if it wasn’t always the case. resemble it.

The CS:GO community has had the unfortunate, and not entirely undeserved, reputation of being absurdly elitist and toxic. And yet cheaters are always spoken of as the lowest of the low on Gabe’s green earth. Because they are. This is not an incidental part of the Overwatch’s appeal, but the basis for it.

However, the Overwatch has the undeniable bite of justice, thanks to a quasi-legal process that asks “investigators” to “download the evidence” and delve into a computer-edited scroll that highlights about eight rounds from the point of view of a player. accused of cheating or grief by others. For the purposes of this replay, teammates’ names will be changed, with anonymity being an essential part of the process, but what’s special is that the player under investigation is known only as “The Suspect”. Revenge against those who may have accidentally annoyed an investigator is kept to a minimum.

The Overwatch’s first major draw for me, as a Counterattack player of many years, helped catch some cheaters. It presented an opportunity for retaliatory scaling of the greatest kind in the only language cheaters understand: the sacred hand grenade of VAC prohibition. For decent gamers, those who work hard for every frag and play fair, the VAC Ban is our angel of justice, the laser-focused nuclear option aimed at the heart of Scum City.

Each <em>CS:GO</em>player has run into hackers, the kind of scenario where fame begs contempt.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/12/1-980×551 .png” width=”980″ height=”551″/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / Each CS:GO player has run into hackers at one point, the sort of scenario where fame begets contempt.
The
Enlarge / The “beyond a reasonable doubt” part is a good principle for Overwatch, but also fits nicely with the CS:GO theme.

Named after Valve Anti-Cheat, the company’s own proprietary cheat-detection software, VAC bans can be anything from a temporary suspension to a lifetime ban, which locks the accounts of proven cheaters and everything in it: your achievements, your tradable make up items, your library of purchased games – everything. VAC bans are almost never reversed. Cheats might be able to set up other accounts, but they start from scratch and buy everything again – which kind of takes the shine off cheating in the first place.

My fun here may seem a bit Old Testament, but let’s not forget that video games are entertainment and cheating is not only a constant hindrance for the vast majority of players, but a waste of time. In Counterattack one player who cheats ruins the game for ten people, and no one gets that time back.

A good trickster is a good actor

The minimum rank for an Overwatch Investigator is Gold Nova, which ensures a basic understanding of the fundamentals, but the players you watch can be of any rank – and some of the most entertaining videos are from raging Silver rankers. Sometimes I watch a game where absolutely everyone is terrible, and a better player has been reported out of sheer jealousy. In others, I find myself simply learning new techniques and approaches, as some of the reports involve very good players who have legitimately busted their opponents.

There is also a healthy group of cheaters out there, and some of them just don’t care to show it off. I’ve seen replays where a player followed opponents through the walls at the start of each round and then ran around chasing them down with perfect shots to the head of a Desert Eagle. I’ve seen others where players follow an invisible opponent with their sights and pre-fire as they round the corner for an instant kill. A favorite is the jumping headshot with an SSG-08; they are perfectly viable in the game, but start to look rather suspicious when a player collects aces with them. These cheaters are great, because they’re idiots, which is why sweet justice is easy to serve.

Smoke can be difficult to judge.  Good players just know the angles and even at lower ranks it is common to spam in search of a lucky shot.
Enlarge / Smoke can be difficult to judge. Good players just know the angles and even at lower ranks it is common to spam in search of a lucky shot.

You soon learn about the little things to watch out for: the frequent pauses in movement where a player might check the parameters of their cheat or turn them on and off; the players with suspiciously quick combinations of crosshair-jerk, shooting, and weapon cycling to shave a few milliseconds off the next shot that they never screw up, even in crazy situations; the silly mistakes like sprinting through a defense zone when they know the terrorists aren’t coming, and crouching down when they are.

However, these people are nothing but the real monsters: the clever cheaters. All CS:GO cheats can be disabled, meaning smarter cheaters use their software to gain an advantage when needed, but play normally most of the time. This, coupled with the certainty demanded by the Overwatch system, creates a small number of cases where you’re convinced the player is hacking, but you can’t say for sure – and if there’s any doubt, you should you let it slide.

These are the defining decisions of a great researcher, because he is the best CS:GO players can achieve feats far beyond myself and most others. They respond to team communication (which you can’t hear) and are much sharper with in-game audio cues like footsteps and clever use of the game’s tools. If you see someone throw a smoke grenade into a crowded room and then run over and take out the blinded enemy team by firing through the gas, is that a wallhack or did they hear something and make a big game?

One CS:GO cheater who logged more than 250 hours without getting caught PC gamer some advice: “Play like you’re not hacking. Play like you normally would, only you can see through walls. Act.”

That last word is a barb to the heart of an Overwatch Investigator, as some cheaters can act well. You see what looks like a wallhack, but no hint in the rest of the attack. In a clutch situation, someone hits an amazing triple with insane reflexes, but otherwise there’s nothing strange in those eight rounds. Even if something looks bad on its own, anyone can get lucky during a match, and if nothing else is suspicious…

Sometimes bad people get away with things. A hatred of cheaters goes hand in hand with sympathy for players who are falsely accused, what in CS:GO happens a lot. Often players start calling it “hacks” for no other reason than that they think it’s funny. Never being wrong is more important than always being right.

By akfire1

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