In a new blog post towards the start of the October 1 beta test, EA have announced that in order to tighten security, they “will also work side by side with Gameblocks, who will provide us with their anti-cheat engine FairFight.”
FairFight has received anecdotal criticisms from players who claim that banning on a high K/D ratio, among other statistics, is too large an umbrella, with many worried that a helicopter or tank rampage could then land them a ban.
The same anti-cheat method was used to keep Hammerpoint Interactive’s War Z “safe”, despite being hounded by hackers on a daily basis.
This particular anti-cheat technology doesn’t look for alterations in the game code, such as BattleEye and PunkBuster, so much as acting as a “non-invasive, customizable, engine agnostic technology that operates in real time. It does not reside on the player`s computer or the game server, and does not examine the players’ devices or perpetually look for the latest hacks. FairFight uses GameBlocks’ proprietary GameChanger™ (Patent Pending) rule engine and database structures to evaluate players’ gameplay actions and Make it a FairFight™ for everyone. Players’ actions are tested against multiple statistical markers to identify cheating as it occurs. GameBlocks believes that “cheaters” are customers too, and that banning players is detrimental to your game.”
Because the software searches for trends which correlate to cheating, and implements harsher punishments to users caught multiple times, most players innocently caught in the net will suffer much lesser consequences than those who, say, get mistakenly banned because of a PunkBuster mishap caused by a driver, or monitor software.
EA state that “We believe that the FairFight engine will be a great complement to the anti-cheat measures already in play. During the Beta we will try out both FairFight and PunkBuster to make the experience as good as possible for our players. You will notice information about the two anti-cheat measures on the server browser pages on Battlelog, and you will also potentially see messaging in the chat box in-game when a cheater is caught. We will get back to you later with more detail on how we are improving our anti-cheat measures in Battlefield 4.”
With Punkbuster searching for code-altering hacks, and the FairFight team manually analyzing any reported data, it’s likely that many more Battlefield 4 hackers will be banned – however, it probably won’t act as much of a deterrent, and the number of hackers will most probably not drop dramatically. Often using separate accounts, with multiple keys, hackers know how to stay safe, and when to quit.