Cheating, We’ve all done it at least once in our lives, in all types of situations. Its human nature to want to win, and some of us will go against the rules to do so. It can be harmless, but in many cases it is annoying, or even hurtful.
So, why was cheating and certain zone hacks become such a large problem in the Age games? Anonymity plays a big part in this. Behind the buffer zone of a computer screen and several hundred miles of telephone wire, people don’t have to worry about upsetting someone else by playing unfairly, cheating, or exploiting bugs.
Its also easy: it’s far easier to download a hack, and get an advantage in a game than to actually practice and become good. For example, way back when I was playing a lot of AoE over the Zone. I faced up against a player with a name such as CrackDevilz or something similar. Two minutes after the game started he had sent an attack with an obscene amounts of units, all the while taunting and even boasting about his ability to cheat.Order now
Another factor that adds to this problem is the lack of maturity or even common courtesy in many of the players in the Age community. They simply don’t care about wasting other people’s time, upsetting others, or unbalancing a ladder or league system that someone has put a lot of time into creating.
When these people do cheat, they often do not refrain from crude insults or taunts. This isn’t a problem for experienced players; most people I know would just simply laugh at the idiocy of their opponent, but for new players, it can be pretty disheartening. In many ways these cheaters can have a very bad effect on the Age games. Some new players can actually be scared off or even turned away from a game simply from a single bad experience. They may assume all players they will meet are immature and rude, and just not put any time into trying to play the game again.
This line of thought leads into another problem found in the zone.
The rating system! To be honest, I dont like it; players become too obsessed with there ratings. Have you ever lost a game and went DAMN IT! not necessarily because you lost, but because when you look at your nick again it will be down 8 points. It was designed with a nice idea in mind, everyone could play people there own rating, and we wouldnt have all these problems with new players joining expert games, and vice-versa. But some players are just so obsessed with there rating its not even funny. (Tonight, I even observed 2 of the top10 rated players trading points with each other)
Another problem with the rating system: Although not strictly cheating, it is quite common to see average or even seasoned players basically hustling new players. The more experienced player will enter a newbie game, or attract the attention of low rated players, pretend they also are new to the game, and practically con the new player into playing a rated game.
Once in game, they will proceed to annihilate their weaker opponent, and take the points. Although measures can be taken against this (like you have to play someone of equal/near rating to you to gain sufficent points) it is still a problem, even when ladder status isn’t involved. Some people simply find it fun to take advantage of and humiliate others.
You might ask why don’t the zone simply ban cheaters or implement measures against exploitation? Well, I looked into this, (as usual ) and after a few chats with sysops and looking at the Zone terms and conditions, I’m sad to say this is much easier said than done. The hardcore cheaters, those intent on being top of the ratings by any means, are resourceful without a doubt. This group consists of those people who program trainers and update them regularly to avoid them being rendered ineffective by patches to the game.
Remember when ES released the patch for AoE that claimed to make all trainers useless? A week later I found myself being cheated .