GDC 2021: Navigating player behaviors and cheating in online video games

GDC 2021 has now provided some tables on player behavior and cheats aimed at developers but still provides some good information for regular players. Specifically, Riot Games went into effect and Head of Player Dynamics, Weszt Hart, helped curb expectations, while Andrew Hogan, CMO and Co-Founder of Intorqa, fueled rampant cheating like like and current trends practically ignore the fact that their design caters to cheaters.

One thing most developers agree on, though, is that game companies actually enforce their rules and don’t just ask players to police themselves as if they’re charting a direction. the best. You can also ask the player to be a policeman himself if The company provides tools, like Twitch struggles to do, but most people who have been involved in a PvP game know that the MMO community rarely has such tools.


Policeman himself

As Director of Policy, Trust and Safety at Twitch Connie Chung explained it, allowing players to make their own rules and tools to implement them can really help the player community. The company is also under some pressure. But Intorqa’s Andrew Hogan reminded the crowd that some platforms attract a lot of kids, and that asking kids to be their own police officers can lead to a lot of trouble – and that’s before you even consider doing so. cross-platform play.

I think we can all agree that having our own rules in our MMO community would be great, but most games that take that idea out generally restrict it to kills. digital players. The survival game has its own server that allows banning. These feel embarrassingly inadequate, and I suppose even non-MMO companies like Nintendo often overlook the ability to tweak server rules. While guild officers and even lay members can help create a positive environment, even modern PvP games like Crowd see players struggle to enforce the rules simply because no one can play the game 24/7.

Our MMO is not work. Automating things like limiting bank access, preventing hate speech in chat, and fighting in guild towns are features I’ve seen in some games, but rarely all. the same. And heaven forbid the developers get creative, like allowing clan leaders to turn off their clan’s ability to attack first in PvP with the flagging system or cause property damage without permission in games. play siege. I’m all for realism, but the best game is simulation, and unless the team simulates life, I think we’ve reached a point where our logical approach to game control you completely iterate lazy design.

You didn't like the last answer or you didn't care then or now.

Define behavior

Admittedly, there may be times when you don’t want to be too heavy-handed. Even with just text chat, developers need to be prepared for harassment, reports of abuse, potential megagame schemes, and staff need to create and enforce rules around that issue. In bringing up the TCG, Rob Lewington, Head of Global Safety Operations at Twitch, noted that it’s better to skip chat. While it can certainly add a lot in terms of socialization, most digital TCGs can mostly be played with a few emojis. Chatting is too much to control and can detract from the overall game, not to mention the budget.

But in an MMO, not having chat seems like a bad idea. MMORole-playing game specifically caters to role-playing players who really need in-game chat and raiders who might use voice chat a lot, but large raids especially need people to communicate using voice chat. text as well as to avoid clogging the voice channel. These are just two situations Hart says he’ll need to evaluate if he’s working on an MMO, though we’ll stick with it. League of Legends Analyze the role of the jungler.


Hart tried to simplify things with a “conflict framework” by trying to approach Laugh out loud like a child’s game. Looking at the jungler role, he immediately noticed that there was a contradiction in the role expectations. For those less familiar with MOBAs, just know that most players fight in “lanes” or well-defined paths that lead to main objectives, but junglers farm for XP. to share with the group. and also helps with ganks, as the jungle and its contents are shrouded in the fog of war. Some players may insist that the jungler have to farm more XP, while others may push the jungler to help more in ganks. Everyone has different views on the role of the jungler, and we’re only talking about teammates, Not the jungler himself.

This role also requires the player to make more use of the minimap, as the enemies making their way into the jungle are most likely ready to start some trouble. A jungler who ignores the map cannot warn his players and can also fall victim to enemies.

Note, however, that conflicts of interest, competing goals, attitudes and compatible values ​​are not examined. This is not Not which means they’re not the problem, just perhaps less visible. Two players who want to go jungle at the start of the game can obviously select those tiles. Heck, Hart himself also notes that the inclusion of chat and getting people on the team is really optimistic for the developers because it assumes players can work and communicate with others in a genuine way. corpse.

Developers need to identify not only the potential for negative behaviors, but also positive ones. One reason Hart suggests the jungler role should be maintained is because the “wildcard” style will boost player creativity. Admittedly I didn’t win this argument as much as I thought it was “the core part of the game’s original design” and that speaks to the design and its inability or decision Not to overhaul/remove it feels problematic, but this also reinforces a mantra that the designers have mentioned over and over again: feature reviews before they have been completed.

Similarly, Hart notes that changing players is extremely difficult. Even trying to change one player at a time is too much. Instead, he suggests developers simply “change the game.” This is quite important, as GGWP Chief Technology Officer George Ng notes that many companies are trying to put in place systems to track the reliability of player reporting history. One of the big benefits of this can be tracking when a player misreports, especially as a team, as it can help teams avoid situations where problem teams attack. innocent players.

That being said, some have noted that the same person’s “bad” reporting history should not be ignored just because they were the only one reporting it, so creating a proper system is very important. chaotic. Hart mentioned that teams using deep learning AI to help sift through reports need to take into account players who report real problems but perhaps misused the option for reporting. There are also players who can report to vent their feelings, and just having a note on it can help players release their emotions. Admittedly, I might as well be “that guy” reporting problem people, such as self-admitted cheaters. When the screenshot of this is ignored even after As other community members get involved, the feeling of “developers don’t care” can really sink in and create a negative feeling towards the game company.


Fraudsters are everywhere

Andrew Hogan’s company Inorqa is currently tracking 150 fraudulent distributors but still know that it’s not even most of them. Intorqa uses multi-pronged approaches to help crack down on cheaters, such as helping developers reverse engineer hacks to close them or tell developers the names of fraudulent websites. fraudulent use of payment services so that they can pressure those companies to stop doing business. fraudsters and terminate their ability to collect money. On paper at least, it sounds great – and is also a great alternative to “doing the law”.

However, one of the problems is clear that cheating is very match specific games and sometimes unintentionally help. For example, unlimited money hacks directly affect developer profits, but on the other hand, bots that help players cut through hot content can give developers time to work on updates game. And the bots target… well, ruin the player’s day. But what’s really interesting is how the company says cheaters can be among the first to promote a game in their circles. Hogan used the chart above to argue that cheaters (in blue) might be bored with the game, but the damage they cause still negatively impacts the gaming community (red) in a pretty good way. clear.

While a survey between all game platforms revealed that toxic environments are the number one reason why players leave the game with 34.5%, cheating is in second place, accounting for 32%. One of the problems, however, is that fraud often doesn’t get enough coverage until it’s too late. The mainstream media may report when Pepsi is endorsing an e-sport or a certain team, but if cheating is rampant, Pepsi can pull out of said game and that’s only when the developers can keep the game cheat free enough to hit that level in the first place.

Players may not necessarily get all the tools we need to self-police, and developers may ignore our calls when a feature feels problematic, but Hogan’s suggestion that we stick to what we know is right. Just like in real life sports, if people turn to cheating because cheating becomes the norm, the game will be ruined. Without serious intervention from the developers, the problem will come from some bad actors from companies that they can shut down to a large portion of the player base. Players who cheat are still players, and punishing them is a short-term solution. It is much more effective to target players who create and sell cheats, and it would be even easier if the cheat providers weren’t making money in the first place.

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