In the process of human development, we are trying to move from the cruel and irreversible punishments of the past to a more just and kind social order. But as gamers, we all enjoy situations where cheaters are rewarded according to their merit. It can be cold-blooded bans, or social experiments – the specific punishment depends on the developers themselves and their attitude towards the violators.
Over the years, game studios have invented many brutal and unusual methods of dealing with cheaters and pirates. Some revived ancient punishments, others invented new and even more horrific ones, and still others resorted to cold and merciless technologies. I wonder what some of these ways say about the developers themselves in terms of psychology? But this is a completely different topic.
Crucifixes in Roma Victor
Roma Victor was once an ambitious MMO RPG set on the shores of Britain during the fall of the Roman Empire. Here the players controlled the Romans or the barbarians, and the battles took place over a part of the land with an area of 30 square kilometers. By all accounts, the game turned out to be rather boring, but the developers still managed to implement several neat ideas. Especially in terms of dealing with cheaters and other players breaking the rules.
Instead of being banned, the characters of the cheaters were crucified. Moreover, the crucifixes themselves were placed in public places so that other players could mock them by throwing all sorts of things. The first player to be crucified was Cynewulf, a 27-year-old electrical engineer from Flint, Michigan, USA, who was accused of attacking newcomers. For his crimes, he hung on the crucifix for 7 days.
Roma Victor lasted only 5 years and finally closed in 2010, but thanks to its unique method of fighting cheaters and violators, it has cemented its place in the history of computer games.
Cheater Island in Fall Guys
There was a time when the legendary island of cheaters existed in the game – a place as merciless as any prison. It was a separate server for all dishonest gamers who are forced to fight each other, without the ability (to fly or move quickly) gained through cheats. At least that’s what the legend says, spread by the official Fall Guys Twitter account in response to a video that appeared on Reddit.
Servers for cheaters appeared back in the days when developers dealt with scammers on their own. Often the number of cheaters was so low that they were simply marinated waiting for the start of the match (they fell endlessly in the sky). Everything is simple: since there are not enough fraudsters, it was pointless to fill the island with them. However, with the growing popularity of the game, the studio abandoned the “wedge-by-wedge knock out” tactics and used a more traditional solution – the Epic anti-cheat, which completely blocks the login for cheaters. But other developers have said that Infinity Ward used a similar method in Call of Duty: Warzone, creating arenas for cheaters in the game.
Botanical Bay at Runescape
In 2012, Botanical Bay became known as the place in Runescape, where fraudsters were convicted of their crimes.
Accounts caught in the use of bots were teleported to this gloomy rock, where they were awaited by the fiery speech of General Botfinder (the bot finder), who immediately pronounces a guilty verdict. Since then, sentencing has become a real spectacle: other players could throw fruit from the stands and vote for the appropriate punishment. Botters could be crushed by the Talon of Justice, swallowed by a bottomless serpent, or reduced to dust by the powerful beam of light of a vengeful deity.
Cap with the word “Fool” in GTA Online
Oddly enough for a series dedicated to the adventures of criminals, the developers in GTA Online do not support unsporting behavior. If a player blows up the cars of other gamers, repeatedly leaves missions before they are completed, or they complain about annoyance, there is a chance that such a character will be declared an asshole.
This means that the gamer will only be able to get into the lobby where there are other players who are seen in unsportsmanlike behavior. Each of the violators will be forcibly equipped with a cap with the inscription DUNCE (translated from English – fool / dumb) so that everyone knows that there is no need to deal with him. Of course, even GTA’s multiplayer mode needs some semblance of law and order to maintain playability, even if the whole game is about crime.
In any case, even if a player is given a crown for being an asshole, other gamers should be able to steal it to become even cooler. Except for those who have received complaints about strange breathing sounds or music in the microphone. These people can be given lifelong bans or a poop hat they can never take off.
Scorpio in Serious Sam 3
Many of you think DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, but in Serious Sam 3 this acronym stands for Definite aRachnid Murder. Anyone who used the pirated version of the 2011 shooter Croteam was destined to fight endlessly with the constantly appearing, super-fast and almost immortal scorpion. Officially named Adult Arachnoid, this eight-legged opponent will constantly interfere with the player using a pair of powerful machine guns.
At least that was the idea. But never underestimate the ability of the gaming community to respond to a specific challenge. Not only were some gamers able to complete the game with the scorpion DRM feature enabled, many of them even staged a scorpion speedrun competition.
If you want to (legally) fight the Adult Arachnoid in Serious Sam 3, check out the Steam Workshop for a mod that adds it to the game. You can download this mod here .
Harsh Business Lesson in Game Dev Tycoon
Piracy is a serious problem, especially for indie developers, who often lack the proper copy protection tools available to major publishers. That’s why Game Dev Tycoon developer Greenheart Games has come up with a unique solution to discourage and inform gamers of piracy. The studio distributed fake “hacked” versions of Game Dev Tycoon, which were instantly picked up by torrents and trackers.
The hacked version ran like any other pirate game. However, after a few hours of the game, a message appeared indicating that piracy harmed the game developers and led to their bankruptcy. After that, the profits of the virtual game company began to automatically decrease until the studio went bankrupt. Thus, the pirates could feel everything that their actions in relation to the real studios lead to. This method certainly looks thoughtful and effective, but there are doubts that the method awakened conscience in someone or pirates suddenly started buying licensed games.
Pirate Eye Patch in Alan Wake
Remedy also did the original job: people playing the pirated version of Alan Wake got Alan with an eye patch. The punishment seems insignificant, but the hero sees the world completely differently, as if he woke up after a Halloween party. He loses depth perception, but the basic experience remains the same. Some people think that this makes the game even better.
Remedy may have programmed the blindfold to affect the player’s target, but put it on the wrong eye. Or maybe the developers thought that it would encourage gamers to think about the bad fate of real, real pirates, because Blackbeard died at the hands of the British at 38, and Calico Jack was hanged for piracy at 37. On the other hand, Henry Morgan lived to be 53 and died a natural death. However, most likely, this is not at all about this.
Remedy used the same system in Quantum Break. Maybe the approach was more effective than it seemed at first glance. Or the team just liked this approach.
Violent Rockstar Account Cleanup
If the cheaters have learned a thing or two from their shenanigans, it is not worth dealing with Rockstar. Especially after the garage glitch. This trick allowed GTA Online players to buy real estate and then use the magic of the menu to cheat the game and receive millions of in-game dollars. Since this is clearly against the rules of the game, Rockstar stepped in and ordered a quick, harsh and shocking punishment
Instead of removing illegal money from the game, Rockstar went all-in and unleashed a wave of zeroing all glitch players’ accounts, instantly destroying characters that players had cherished for years. It’s a terrible punishment, but Rockstar clearly wanted to set an example. No matter how controversial this decision may be.
Neverwinter Nights Player-Initiated Justice
In the good old world of Neverwinter Nights, created with the Aurora Toolset, we took a more civilized approach to dealing with bad behavior. We were not concerned with the problem of cheaters, but sometimes gamers appeared who violated the in-game laws of the country. And at that moment, the judicial system worked.
One player was arrested for bringing a giant into town (for a quest) and had to pay a fine to avoid jail time. The other was unlucky, and after a lengthy trial (involving lawyers, prosecutors, a judge and a significant audience of gamers and NPCs), he was found guilty of assaulting a store owner (NPC). And the punishment was the loss of one hand. In doing so, the player has just picked up the dual weapon perk Justice that day was a little more bloodthirsty.