When Asheron\’e2\’80\’99s Call was released, Turbine/Microsoft took the revolutionary step of not taking action against cheaters and exploiters. Their logic was that if exploits and cheats existed in the game, they were the fault of the designers and not the players.

I call the step revolutionary if only because it had to be the most idiotic policy any MMOG has ever thought of. T/MS trusted the players to turn in exploits. T/MS felt if players had nothing to fear, they would return that goodwill in kind.

The result? Massive exploitation, cheating, and the creation of third party programs with the ability to ruin the gaming experience for massive quantities of players. T/MS gave them an inch, and many players decided they wanted to take an astronomical mile.

This week, T/MS have announced that they will patch in a way to detect the use of the GEAR program. Any player detected using the program will be punished. It seems MS/T have realized they can no longer allow players to roam free through the game doing whatever they wish.

I have always disliked Turbine\’e2\’80\’99s policy. I felt their approach was like that of liberal parents who were more interested in being friends with their kids than being actual parents. With no guidance and a reluctance to punish, the kids took advantage of the situation and wreaked havoc wherever possible. With no real authority coming from those running the game, the players became foreign to the idea of self-discipline within in the world.

Finally, the parents are spanking the kids and telling them \’e2\’80\’9cNo.\’e2\’80\’9d

The policy of T/MS is good if for only one thing: it taught future MMOGs that they cannot be lenient with cheaters and exploiters. It taught game companies that they must be ever-vigilant in maintaining the integrity of their game. It taught them that some of the players are indeed the enemy, an enemy who has no intention of playing their game fairly and in good faith.

I suspect, if comments from Warden are any indication, that Shadbowbane will not be the Holy Grail for many of the players who have taken residence on Darktide until the release of that game. Especially in a game based around PvP, exploiters must be dealt with quickly and harshly.

Gaming companies need to ban. It is not a pleasant experience. Surely no company likes to do it. However, companies must take every measure possible to protect their products and create an enjoyable experience for the majority of their player-base. Players do not have a right to play a game when they are exploiting or cheating. They are there but for the grace of the company.

Hopefully other companies will not repeat the mistake that T/MS have made over the past one and a half years. The players are not your friends. Some will take advantage of any slack you cut them. Some will try to destroy the game if it results in a boost for their own ego. They\’e2\’80\’99re not there for the benefit of other players.

And so, you ban, if you expect the integrity of your game to survive.

Thanks to Squeak from the message board for posting the link which lead to this article.