Concern, as asked for by CM Mithril + solution.

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Blaargh2K3, May 23, 2021.

  1. Blaargh2K3

    Hello Mithril and all who read this.
    Since you specificly asked for suggestions / concerns i would like to put in my two cents. Before i do this i would like to add that i have been playing PS since the release of the original and combined with PS2 i put in close if not over 2000 hours.

    With the i am sure many reports of hacking the PS2 team gets im guessing people are kept quite busy. Being contacted by folks and being told you're hacking because "planetside folks don't stop hackers" is pretty much a daily occurrance for me.

    Also there are plenty of ways to blatently cheat without using hacks most of which come down to the ability to instantly switch accounts / factions on the same server which to me is no good reason for. An example of this is when an attack on a base is going well more often then not people get into hidden sunderers with an low lvl alt and fire the guns straight up so that the location of the deployed sundy shows on the minimap. This then happens to all deployed sunderers which is followed by the low lvl char logging out again.

    Another example is the tasteless switching factions as soon as it becomes clear said faction is going to win the alert.

    There is a way to stop most of this bull**** and this is allready in use by several country's and company's albeit for other reasons. Admittedly the list of country's who use this aren't ones that hold much value to human rights like Russia, China and Turkey but also by respected global companies. Examples of these are Netflix, Hulu and BBC iplayer.
    They do this by not allowing the use of VPN's. If this were to be implemented for the game combined with a 60 to 90 minute delay when swithing factions / accounts i am convinced it wil significantly cut down on the cheating and use of hacks / scripts. This will in turn enhance the gaming experience of anyone not using these methods and grow the loyal player base. Ofcourse this should also lead to less reports on such actions and others like trolling, harrassment, open racism and other unsavory behaviour. This will not solve all these issues directly but with no VPN's the option arrises to temp or perma-ban IP-adresses.
    Maybe this even leads directly to an influx of new or returning players before it will be picked up by other gaming companies for any or all the reasons mentioned above which to me is a no-brainer. If only to seriously cut down on the time spended reacting to reports as soon as it becomes clear to the community that the PS2 team is putting in serious effort to change things for the better.

    Because this system is already in use and globally accepted it will not be hard or expensive to implement and will lead to lowering running costs in the long run and as mentioned above also to a more loyal, money spending player-base leading to increase profits.

    I hope this makes sense, not only for the folks running the game but also other players which imo shouldn't care if a VPN blocker is attached to this game. Do feel free to add to the discussion.
    • Up x 1
  2. RabidIBM

    Going to the trouble of re-logging to fire weapons on an enemy sundy sounds like a lot more effort than I think most people would put in. This becomes more the case if there is a queue. I think you're probably getting frustrated by noobs being noobs "Hur hur fure der gurn!" If I have a sundy which actually matters if it stays hidden I page down lock it. I don't think I've ever seen sunderers fire into the air until killed. They sometimes attempt impossible shots on troops they'll never hit, but I'm back the bit about noobs.

    As for finding sundys at all, that's not hard. I'll run around with a proxy radar AP Lightning. I check the usual spots, including shooting them in case of cloak sundys not rendering the bubble. While I'm driving around checking common spots, I'm watching my minimap for where the dots are coming from. The reality is that if I've ever killed your sundy, it's because I know how to find it, not because I had any covert, relog based scouting going on.

    I see why you would want the delay, but honestly, most of the time this is just going to annoy people trying to collect daily certs for their various accounts. I have 6 characters I'm certing out slowly. I don't flip factions for any sinister reasons, but I do pick one server&faction for one night and another for another night. Should I have to wait 90 minutes to collect the 48 certs on each of my accounts? I think that's a worse solution than the supposed problem.
  3. CptLegshot

    It's impossible to block all VPNs. There are endless IP addresses.
    Netflix VPN block for example is very weak and many VPNs can still be used.
  4. Blaargh2K3

    Thanks for the replies.

    To respond on Rabid first

    I have seen it happen to many times to count. The same low lvl jumps in a sundy starts shooting straight up / at nothing and repeats this with every sundy there.

    I know finding sundy's is not hard but there are always folks who take the easy route. This can in fact stop a mayor assault and be used this way to win alerts.

    On the swithing i have to say that i have multiple characters too but on 3 servers, if i want to play another faction i go there. I do understand that folks would like to be able to change factions on one server and the delay seems like an easy fix.

    On CptLegshot's weigh in,
    There are a few ways to handle this.
    One being code all accounts with their original ISP so when a different ISP is detected the game shuts down.
    Different versions can be added but basicly come down to the same thing.

    It is true Netflix is easily circumventable but you have to keep in mind that they are implementing different libraries in different parts of the world. With this being a 1 area / ruleset only there are way less weakspots for workarounds.

    Also i do understand that stuff like this can never be fully eliminated but if it was only a bit harder to do a lot of this would just stop.
  5. DarkStarAnubis

    I see you have clearly good intentions but if you have a game in which you can switch factions (for any reason) you can't block on the ground it could be to spy.
    • Up x 1
  6. Liewec123

    A fairly simple way to prevent cheaters from reloading back in on a different account would be this:
    When you install the game it creates a .ini file in the PS2 directory with an account log
    (each time you log in to the launcher it will log what account you are using in this .ini)

    When you start up ps2 the launcher it will check the "banned" state of all accounts that it has on log,
    If any are banned then you won't be able to log in
    You can make as many new accounts as you like, or use whatever VPNs, that file still won't let you in.

    "But they could delete the file!"
    Let's be honest, everyone cheating in this game has the IQ of a marshmallow,
    I doubt they'd manage to find and delete the banned Checker even if we named it "BANNED CHECKER" :D
    but we could even have it look super inconspicuous, could call it something utterly unrelated like "Credits.ini"
    and hide the log of accounts at the very bottom of a looooong list of fake names "special thanks to"
    Noone ever reads credits!

    So they'd likely end up reinstalling the whole game, and I'm not sure how many times the losers will be bothered doing that!
    • Up x 2
  7. Blaargh2K3

    Liewec Quote : "Let's be honest, everyone cheating in this game has the IQ of a marshmallow".

    This is pretty much my point and yes your solution would work against most people.

    Kudo's for thinking with instead of against.
    • Up x 1
  8. Mithril Community Relations

    Thanks for bringing awareness to what you've witnessed Blaargh2k3, I'll put it on my radar to look out for further reports of such activities. And thanks everyone else pitching in on this conversation, this was a good convo.
    • Up x 1
  9. Towie

    Cheats prosper only when they perceive there is no consequence.

    Even paid games suffer cheats - F2P is starting from a weak position.

    If people suffered real consequences to their actions, they may think twice. It will not stop it - the psyche of some is such that they will do anything to get an advantage - but if they genuinely experienced hardship in any form from cheating, that might just put some (most) off.

    BUT that's just all hypothetical diatribe that has to be fixed at an industry level and way beyond the influence of DBG so what should they do ?

    1. Ban the PC. Credit where credit is due - DBG have done a lot here, identify a 'known cheat' PC and ban them. It's not perfect, HWID can be spoofed (as can the serials for hardware components), but reading the pains of the hack forums suggest that DBG are far from weak in this respect.

    2. Ban the IP - well VPN pretty much destroys this argument. Banning VPN access is not at all easy - and what of those who get a new IP every time the logon ? What if a genuine player managed to inherit a 'known bad' IP when they log on ? Until IPv6 is the norm, it's just not realistic and may never be so.

    3. Ban virtual machines. Or rather - ban methods that people use to potentially inject cheat code. Certainly virtual machines is one (I believe Battleye has the ability to ban the non-hardened VMs - is this in use by PS2 ? Dunno). They certainly banned 'non-legitimate' Windows installations a while ago - I suspect due to the possibility of installing non-signed drivers, a vector for the 'cheat'.

    4. Ban 'suspicious' achievements. Well DBG certainly tried that and the backlash was intense. How can you tell the 'really good player' vs 'cheat' ? It's difficult. I feel they could do more here - the really ridiculous stuff still happens and although they will be banned, it takes a while.

    5. Entrapment. So this is where I feel the effort should be. Hack writers absolutely LOVE it when things don't change. Internal data structures ? Graphics ? How long ago did the target dorito change in any form ? If you have a suspicious person, don't rely on the virtual camera, switch off the dorito when mid-screen and see how many targets they hit (with their previously inevitable headshot achieved with their inevitable drag-shot). A totally external cheat can never be detected directly so you have to mix things up - constantly.

    At the end of the day we have to be realistic about what can be achieved - if the nigh-on limitless budgets of the big players such as Activision acknowledge a cheating problem, what can a minnow such as DBG do ? Here's hoping...and my best of luck.
    • Up x 1
  10. Blaargh2K3

    @ Mithril Cheers for the recognition.
    If you ever need more witnessed examples or names affiliated with this kind of behaviour let me know.

    @ Towie, great piece & solid info.++
    On your remark about being realistic i have to say i agree.
    This is not just a DBG or even a gaming only issue this is an issue affiliated with the ability to hide your true identity which gets abused globally in any way possible.

    This also has it's advantages, one of which is that the party that develops this much needed system and runs it with real positive results can expect an influx of actual users.
    When the value of it will be recognised it will be picked up.

    The only things working against it imo are that some may have privacy issues while bigger company's downright avoid it so they can keep using the fake accounts in their user number padding.
    For instance a Facebook that loses 40% of their accounts due to being fake will significantly drop in value.

    Where i live you have to have your identification on you at all times, why not on the internet ?
    • Up x 1
  11. adamts01

    I honest haven't seen much nonsense on the US servers ever since Soltech was created. That being said, VPNs serve a legitimate purpose by fixing bad routing issues. They can literally halve someone's ping. I'd much rather deal with the occasional troll then ban VPNs and have people with bad connections warping around. My personal belief is they're used much more often for good than bad.
  12. Blaargh2K3

    To start my knowledge of programming etc is limited but VPN's are just services that rerout your connection. Logicly this can be done without changing someone's IP and offered as a service by your internetprovider.
    Changing someone's ip adress does not have a value for normal users as far as im am aware.

    If someone knows this to be different don't feel bashfull. ^^
  13. Towie

    At a high level a VPN is simple - it creates an encrypted connection between you and the VPN server which acts as the go-between, essentially the link between you and the internet.

    There are several reasons why someone would want to do this,

    1. Pretending to be somewhere else - for example, accessing Geo-fenced content. When you start the VPN, you choose the server you want to connect to. Want to appear to be in the USA ? No problem - pick a VPN server in the USA, no matter where you are in the World you will appear to the remote server to be in the US and can access anything that would otherwise be fenced off. Want to do home shopping while on holiday ? Buy a lottery ticket ? Stream content you otherwise wouldn't be able to ? Anything that is typically geo-fenced can be bypassed.

    2. Privacy. The VPN connection is encrypted - so a great way to keep things secret, whether the server you're ultimately accessing or the content you are accessing - all is private between you and the VPN server and the VPN providers rarely keep logs. Useful for anyone generally concerned with privacy but essential if you're accessing the likes of public hotspots. Can also be used to bypass traffic shaping measures (eg. limiting p2p or streaming content) - speaking of which, essential for anyone who downloads torrent content !

    3. Anonymity. A combination of the previous, your IP address as seen by remote servers will change every time you connect to a VPN server so you can't be tracked. For example - you might want to ban a known 'cheat' IP - BUT they don't own that IP address and can easily switch addresses so back to the earlier comment, banning IPs is not a realistic method for handling cheats.

    That said - there are some valid reasons for wanting to use a VPN (in my opinion of course !) and in these covid days when people are working from home, they are absolutely essential.
    • Up x 1
  14. JustGotSuspended

    There are limitations to this, as some services such as Netflix actively track if you are using a VPN. Also, do be careful that the service offers better privacy, not complete anonymity. It is perfectly possible for your IP to be tracked down despite using a VPN. Also be aware the your ISP is aware that you are accessing a VPN. They won't be able to see what you do with the VPN on though, which is why people who desire complete anonymity (whatever the reason may be) use a VPN to access an onion browser such as Tor for example.

    Of course for the average user, there is no need for onion routing as the overkill of being completely anonymous for doing something that's completely legal isn't really worth the tradeoff of having very slow connection. I certainly wouldn't attempt playing any games on that setup lol.

    Ofc I guess that's just me being picky lol. I completely agree though, the average user doesn't have to worry about their IP being tracked through VPN by authorities or some sort of malicious body, so the VPN offers what you mention above. It's a simple solution to solve certain problems, which as you mention have been amplified during current times with the pandemic. That said I just wanted to warn people it is not completely foolproof.
  15. Towie

    ...yes this is true - although the means that companies use to 'detect' VPN usage are often simple (like - detect IP address known to belong to a VPN service) and the major players in this space will refresh their ranges on a regular basis. There's always a 'what-if', i'll grant you that and nothing is infallible.

    Just wanted to point out that there are some valid (and maybe not so valid) reasons for wanting to use a VPN !
    • Up x 1
  16. Blaargh2K3

    "Just wanted to point out that there are some valid (and maybe not so valid) reasons for wanting to use a VPN".

    My thought on that is that if people are easily identifed / verified a large reason to run a VPN would be gone too.