Like guineapigs in a lab, The War Z developer Hammerpoint Interactive are more interested in correlating cheaters than banning them.

In a thread on the games forums, Hammerpoint were looking for a back and forth on what they called their “latest idea” regarding anti-cheat methods. One such idea was to dump them all in “jail” servers.

“If you’ve been banned from the game, you won’t be able anymore to create or join clans, participate in leaderboards, or play the game with the general population, but you’ll be able to play among other banned players on special set of jail servers. Since you’ve already been banned from the game, you can keep using all of your cheats there, but you may expect that all other players are using them too,” said Hammerpoint.

They claim to want to observe cheaters as a culture, in game, to learn exactly how, why, and where they cheat the most often. In doing so, they hope to better understand the methods and hot-spots in order to clamp down on cheaters.

“We’re talking about one or two physical servers. Cost of hosting those are much lower than having completely separate dedicated game setup and servers and paying thousands of dollars to testers to play against each other using cheats on dedicated servers to be able to perform anticheat development and testing. So doing this will free uo resources for an actual game development,” they added.

According to a poll, however, most people are against the idea that they should allow cheaters to get on with what they’re doing simply to improve their own anti-cheat technologies. It would effectively turn the entire game into an observation on hacking culture, detracting from what the game is supposed to be – as if The War Z needed any more distractions.

The problem is that there isn’t really any way Hammerpoint Interactive can effectively stop all cheating, and the game is rife with it. Whatever they choose to do, they will at least to some extent have to sit back and watch people manipulate their game.

Analysis

Most people don’t actually realise that the way cheaters often get caught is by being observed. Many, many cheaters are subtle and therefore don’t get caught. Speed hacks, instant kills, or infinite resources are ways by which hackers get reported, or observed as cheating. But there are very many more who simply use the bare minimum of hacks (wall hacking, for example) and compensate by emulating fallibility. There’s no ‘magic code’ that detects hackers farther than the capabilities of Punk Buster and BattlEye, in most cases, and the easiest way to see who’s hacking is to check their scorecard.