Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dante's Guide To Spotting Cheaters

What is a cheater? What does the term "cheater" entail? These are but a couple of questions that will be answered as we take an educational journey into the realm of the cheater. Brace yourselves for a truly unapologetic, and eye opening experience the likes of which no gamer has ever dared to engage in within the history of competitive online gaming ...

Cheaters, whether you believe in them or not, are usually hive minded little children (sometimes adult children) with nothing else to do but to break rules, and wreak havoc on the unsuspecting online populous. They congregate like locusts moving from crop to crop (game to game) destroying it's integrity. They are also like a colonized infectious disease that spreads against a usually resistant drug ultimately killing the host. No matter where they strike online it is ALWAYS in an environment that lacks proper immunity, moderation, or defenses against the cheaters' continued abuse. While cheaters can be categorized on such a basic level they can also be further identified by their false perceptions, and ideologies. Cheaters, in their hive-minded state, more often than not follow a popular movement or trend. Kind of like real life lemmings. The sort of critter that annually jumps off a steep cliff committing mass suicide. On top of their trendy behavior they also cannot think for themselves, and depend on the hive leaders to pass along their ways so that they can share them, engage in them, and ensnare other hive drones to continue the legacy.

What do I mean by this? Well, take cheaters who identify with certain diabolical, and deviant characters as an example. Whenever you see a gamer using the "Uchiha" namesake in online gaming it is guaranteed that they will be pulling some shit. Absolutely guaranteed. Said individuals identify with Naruto the anime, and the Sasuke/Itachi Uchiha characters because that's what was popular when they were growing up. Sasuke, and Itachi Uchiha as fictional anime characters both embody defiance, and a powerful evil that fights on equal grounds against the good of the world they each exist in. A sort of fictitious ongoing battle that reflects the ideology of real life trouble making children who often times adopt such thinking as their own. It's a "You, and me against the world" type of thinking where authority figures are labeled as the problem child's source of adversity. They want to rebel against any authority figure so bad that when they watch these popular characters show similarities with their own real life battles against the oppressing authoritarians they feed off of their provided inspiration, and relate to them on a personal level. They adopt them as their mascots, and idols in every form of secretive social activities. Even in online gaming.

While I'm not particularly fond of rebellious little children who take their unwarranted woes out on others I have to admit that the fault is usually not entirely theirs. Parents these days are more often than not poor excuses for parents. They let little thug Johnny, and little thugette Jane grow up alone in the presence of peers, and other influences that ooze with rebellion, and defiance. The boobtube, the idiot box, the internet, and the online gaming environment become Johnny, and Jane's parents, and in doing so gives them the idea that they can do anything without repercussion. If Mommy, and Daddy don't care what I'm doing in private why should I restrict myself from the more taboo forms of entertainment, and social fun/mischief? That's what they think, and for the most part that mentality never gets challenged by any authority figure until it's too late. Until things like criminal charges are pressed, or the now grown kid gets his/her fifteen minutes of shame on the evening news for a crime that could have been prevented if the parent had only given a shit about them. What am I getting at? Well, the cheaters of today are more often than not these undisciplined kids, and teenagers with a rebellious mindset. It's a sad fact that just is.

With that having been said you'll find that within the gaming environments of today these same children's gamertags or profiles that are named after characters, or people of negative alliances are but a drop in the bucket of ideas, and influences said children use to identify with and echo. Ideas, and influences which could in turn be used to identify a problem child. In my time as "Sherlock Holmes the Gamer" (It's MF'ing elementary!!!) I have devised a scientific method that can identify any cheater in online gaming. Particularly in the PSN/PS4 environment. There are a few telltale factors similar to the 'Uchiha Identity Crisis Phenomenon' as well as some chained knowledge regarding the availability, and inner workings of devices and tools used by the cheating community. Their own social demeanor is also a dead giveaway as more often than not their hive-minded defense mechanism kicks in true idiot fashion for the world to see.

Among the scientific methods I've adopted as my tools of identification (mainly composed of criminal psychology/profiling, and online infrastructure 101) you'll find that profiling (if it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, and walks like a duck it must be a MF'ing duck!) is my main way of deciphering who is cheating the system, and who is not. In the PSN environment, for example you'll find that trolls usually use free avatars that depict troll-like characters (The Joker, Crash Bandicoot, An Actual Troll/Goblin Head, etc., ...). In each case where I suspected cheating took place (hundreds if not thousands of times), whether it be lag induced or obvious to the point that it was without a doubt a DDOS attack which was inflicted upon my router the players I was playing against 99.9% of the time used a select selection of these free PSN avatars as tools to identify them as the trolls, or cheaters they are. They do not hide the fact that they are cheating, because they know no one cares. Not Sony, not the game developer, and not some of you. Why hide what you are when you can brag about your misdeeds in the public eye, and get away with them?

Along with the PSN avatar identifier there is also the "About Me" description which more often than not includes suspicious text that says in more words or less that the player knows you are looking at their PSN profile. These comments and the thuglife, or rebellious statements are usually a dead giveaway. Another profile identifier comes in the form of the language selection. Again, after hundreds of run-ins with suspected cheaters I have noticed an undeniable pattern. Players who show signs of cheating who have the Korean, Russian, German, French, Italian, Swedish, Arabic, Japanese, UK (English), or anything of the sort in a mixture along with English on the side are usually up to no good. These language settings are like the Uchiha Phenomenon to cheating gamers, and are used as identifying marks in their PSN profile. I have my theories as to why cheaters/hackers have begun falsely or legitimately identifying with these language settings, and it has to do with current worldly situations. I personally believe a cyber war initiative has begun, and that gaming environments such as the PSN are training grounds for online infiltration, and tampering. The rise in certain non-moderated PS4 gamer made communities being created also points to this theory being factual.

When it comes to the "Internet Infrastructure 101" deduction of my identifying analysis I know as well as you do that hacking is a thing. It exists in many forms. Whether it be mods, devices, or direct server engagement hackers do tamper with the online environment, in general. As far as devices go I've discovered a controller adapter that not only allows the gamer to use non-native controllers, but also allows the gamer to program cheats for online games. These $60 devices negate the need for modding consoles, or controllers, and are currently undetectable outside of the obvious in-game footage that is captured. Of course before that mappable controllers were also an issue. Mappable controllers in particular allowed gamers to program multiple control inputs into a single button, or paddle so that the player could pull off instant combos in fighting games, or make in-game functions in general easier to pull off than they should be. Cases I've experienced are mostly in fighting games, and can be pinpointed by the cheating player's instantaneous ability to spam the same combo string over, and over without failure. On top of all of this modded consoles are also a huge lingering issue in that they allow cheating players the ability to not only download pirated games, but to also apply mods to said games to trigger cheats like "God Mode". In all device instances you can tell if the player in question was cheating by the in your face abnormalities that go against what the game allows at a base level. Day one adopters can usually see the inductions of cheats easier, because they saw the game's offerings, and functions in their infancy.

Being able to see, and feel the obvious wrongs playing out before you onscreen is but one of the ways you can spot a cheater. When you play a game long enough, for example you get a feel for how the game should play through the controller's responsiveness to your applied inputs. This is where the heart of lag detection comes in. By playing the game offline, and by then going online you can usually gauge what a game's intended feel, and functionality was supposed to be, and is like. The best way to describe it is like experiencing the effects of a sixth sense. An extension of your physical senses into a virtual setting. Fighting game players more often than not can tell you when there's frame delay, or lag issues by simply playing the game, and feeling their inputs register through controller application. They don't need to access forums or social media to figure it out, because they've developed a "Muscle Memory". By that I mean a way to understand how your applied inputs should feel in the online, and offline environment through the used controller. This term (Muscle Memory) also coincides with the familiarity of a fighting game character's command list, and the players' knowledge of how to execute said commands after a long absence from the game. It's all about familiarity in the online environment, and even outside of it.

I've personally been able to feel SFV's sluggishness, and tell if online ranked players were abusing that input delay even further with lag. If it's slower than normal something usually is not right. How to tell if it's the player or not depends on a few factors though. The game's stable or unstable netcode at the start of the game's life cycle, and after said life cycle are two decisive factors that must be taken into account. Other things to consider such as in the case of my Youtube "KoF XIV" cheater call out is figuring out if said player is taking advantage of the lag through their in-game stats, and standings. In the KoF XIV case 'TaygetaVendetta" was a very early rank 21 player, the absolute top tier in KoF XIV's ranking system. His/Her applied gameplay however was in no way indicative of such a top tier ranking. They were basically using simple combos, and attacks along with the lag to exploit the system. This is cheating, and while I cannot definitively prove that they were lagswitching they obviously earned their rank unfairly through the lag, and exploitation. Thus is cheating, by the dictionary definition of the word. Again, if it walks like a duck, looks, like a duck, and quacks like a duck it is more than likely a duck. Understanding the game's ranking system can help you figure things out when they don't seem right. Even in the FPS genre. Call of Duty is a prime example of this with early earned mastery, and abby normal ("Young Frankenstein" kiddies) k/d's.

In all honesty none of my methods are so difficult that you couldn't figure it out yourselves. The problem lies with the willingness to accept fact, and notice what's right there in front of you. Sure, it takes digging a little deeper sometimes, but most of it is common sense. Something the public is in shortage of these days. Everybody wants to view the world in rose tinted glasses, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately this is not a viable option in this rebellious, and warring world of ours. Not everyone is a saint, and I'm willing to wager that there's more PS4 owners out of the 40+ million who bought the consoles that are cheating than anyone believes, or cares to deal with. Do your really think there are 40+ billion saintly gamers out there?

I'm gonna close in saying think for yourself. Figure out this world, and it's intricacies on your own time. Don't take what I say, or anyone else says at face value unless you too find it's true. Do your own digging, and find that ever elusive truth yourself. The truth is out there waiting for you. I hope you find it sooner rather than later as sometimes it means the difference between salvation, and damnation, not particularly in the religious sense either.

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