When news broke that Blizzard was cracking down on hundreds of thousands of Starcraft 2 players employing map hacks and other cheats, it was a cause for celebration. Nothing taints a game more than suspecting your opponent cheated after all. But now it’s being revealed that even those playing single player exclusively received bans or suspensions for violating Blizzard’s Terms of Service, even though by playing by themselves, their actions “weren’t hurting anyone.”
This news is all over the internet at the moment, with people arguing for or against the fairness of the decision, so I thought I’d bring it up for today’s debate. Here’s my take:
Blizzard doesn’t care if you want to cheat in single player. That’s why they have a whole host of their own codes for the game that make things quite a bit easier for players to win. I don’t know exactly what these outside hacks do above and beyond these codes, but presumably it’s something to make the game easier or more enjoyable.
TWO Motherships? Cheatery!
But I think the problem is Blizzard’s new achievement system. While Blizzard’s codes automatically deactivate your ability to work toward achievements, thus increasing your uh, Starcraft gamerscore (not sure what else to call it), I’m pretty sure these hacks have no such mechanism in place, and with them, achievements like beating the game on Brutal, or winning 1000 games against insane AI opponents, are unlockable in a much easier fashion for those who have hacks.
And on top of this, the fact remains that Blizzard wrote their own Terms of Service, you agreed to it. It might not be fair, but it says ANY hacking will get you a ban, so it’s not like you weren’t warned. Legally, they have the right to do this, and though it may be kind of a dick move for players who really were just trying to enjoy the game alone, being a dick is not a crime.
So even though on first glance this seems like a clear cut issue of Blizzard being sloppy with their banhammer, I think on closer inspection you can actually see the company has a point. With their own codes in place to make the game easier, there’s no real reason to hack the game any further, unless you just want to make snagging achievements easier, which DOES affect other players who are working hard to earn the same prizes.
But that’s just my opinion, what’s yours?