Cheating in Games – How Hacks and “Pay for Awesome” are Infecting Online Gaming

You know, it wasn’t so very long ago that the most complicated game we could muster involved moving a cheese wedge around the screen that gobbled up little white balls. But… games are evolving.

We’re about to experience a whole new generation of consoles, and with them new and exciting games on beautiful, high fidelity graphics engines. Seemingly everything is getting better. Everything is changing and improving, and I’m excited. But there’s one thing I promise you will never change: Cheating cheat faces who cheat at games.

Death, Taxes, and Cheating

As long as I’ve played games, there have always been people who cheated at them. Whether using macros in Ever Quest, or aim bots in Counter-Strike, there have always been – and probably always will be – cheaters. My only solace is that many of these game hacks are absolutely riddled with viruses and malware, but I digress…

No, instead of complaining generally, let me complain more specifically and delve deeply into the mind of a gaming cheater. Are they all the same? What makes them tick?

Here’s a wad of cash, make me awesome…

Recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in gaming: game companies are increasingly allowing players to buy weapons, items, and upgrades with real money to make their character more awesome. I don’t really know where to start with this one.

Game companies are doing it to make money, pure and simple. People are almost always looking for the shortest solution to a problem, and unfortunately when it comes to gaming, paying money to make yourself more awesome is often the quickest solution to the problem of, uh… not being more awesome. Given that people’s lives are so damn busy these days, well… I’m not surprised that this has become so popular. If we’re going to be completely truthful here, this isn’t even really a recent problem – game companies have simply decided they want a slice of the cheating pie. Private organizations have run leveling and gold farms since time immemorial for MMO’s like Asheron’s Call, EverQuest, and more recently World of Warcraft. Nothing new there.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, though I find this the least offensive type of cheating in games, it still annoys me. Why do we play games if not to challenge ourselves? Entertainment is important too, but is it really so very entertaining to have everything given to you?

I suck at games, so time to make someone else’s life miserable…

Wall hacks, aim bots, speed cheats, and exploits.

These are by far the most annoying type of cheaters, because they’re ruining the game for other people in a very real and tangible way. I’ve left many a server after a single person on the opposing team killed everyone on my team round after round the moment anyone popped into view. Sitting there in death, watching the player’s death cam, you see them snap this way and that as if guided by an invisible force. Why? Because they fucking are!

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It’s annoying, it frustrates me to no end, but in the end they’re really only cheating themselves of what could be an awesome experience. Does anyone really find cheating enjoyable, or are they simply doing it as a final “fuck you” to the gaming world because they’re no good at the game they’re playing? I’m guessing it’s the latter, because if they were actually even half good, why bother?

As I mentioned earlier, I can only hope that these people don’t have reasonable protection against malware, because these hacks are often posted and re-posted with all sorts of nasty little viruses. Clearly not enough to stop everyone, but it does make me feel slightly better.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

There isn’t a lot that you can do about the first type of cheater, the average lazy person who wants instant gratification. Their kin are being actively encouraged by game companies, and the only solution there is to voice your opinion on blogs, forums, and social media in the hopes that they finally listen. I wouldn’t hold my breath there…. but as for the second type of cheater? Let me give you a simple piece of advice that makes all the difference.

When you see someone cheating… when you’re absolutely certain they’re exploiting the game in some fashion, don’t complain. Don’t scream, don’t yell… don’t spam the chat with your impotent nerd rage. Instead, simply leave the server and find another sandbox to play in. Cheaters want to feel awesome, and if they’re got no one to compete against? Well, it’s pretty tough to feel awesome.




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Chad is the co-founder of Unfinished Man, a leading men's lifestyle site. He provides straightforward advice on fashion, tech, and relationships based on his own experiences and product tests. Chad's relaxed flair makes him the site's accessible expert for savvy young professionals seeking trustworthy recommendations on living well.

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