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General: Editorial: Player Created Mods

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com is pleased to present a new editorial from Hasani Davis, Give a read as Hasani talks about the ethics and issues surrounding the idea of player created modifications, or mods:

 




The encyclopedia defines cheating in online computer games as; a broad category of activities, all of which are generally regarded as modifying the game experience in a way that gives a player an unfair advantage over the other players.

This sounds like a Mod to me. So if Moding online has the same definition as cheating online, why is it that we have taken them to such an extent as we do in our PvP games?

I think back to when I first started gaming and Mods were simply viewed as wrong. By changing or adding files you make the game play easier to fit your own style. But as time passed and more games came out the lines began to blur as to what was considered an acceptable UI or Mod. It did not take long before Moding got out of control in second generation games either, with Diablo 2 and Anarchy Online respectively. In AO, player tampering of pre-set controls was called cheating and became so rampant it led to the game’s demise. In Diablo 2 the program was kept on the client side so players were able to adjust their own characters to what ever advantage they could desired.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • LvciferLvcifer Los Angeles, CAPosts: 127Member

    very interesting article!

    thanks for writing this..

    i completely agree with the Hasani Davis!

    mods in pvp games are just not right! love it when he make a similarity the mods with Ryu's and madden game~

     i like fair game!

    MyBrute = addicting mini online game!

  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Newport News, VAPosts: 5,615Member

    Wow, I didn’t know it was that bad in WOW.


    I thought they allowed for UI changes and simple macros...


    I* had no idea they allow you to automate your entire game play.


    That’s nuts.


    I don’t mind UI changes, or even simple macros...but I have always felt that
    things like responsive scripts and what not should never be in gamming.


    I had no idea that blizzard allowed cheating.



    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • ZergorZergor Fort Collins, COPosts: 15Member
    I am a mod user. I love mods to the UI. Why?

    For one my CTS has not had a flare up since I started using them.  The game has simply to many buttons and the default UI is horrid.

    I would like to point out a couple of items in the editorial that I believe are not accurately portrayed.

    Decursive:  It is used in PVP and PVE. First the PVP aspect: Blizzard increased the mana cost of spells that remove these bad spells. That is on servers now. In the future they are making at least one spell and maybe more that when dispelled cause damage to the character they were on or the player dispelling them. If your fighting a team using decursive, you can also just choose to make them waist their mana by casting a lower rank of the spell, they can't tell the difference and it will cause them to waist time and mana dispelling it.

    Now the PVE side. Decursive came about because of insane end game content that would cause the entire raid (20 to 40 characters) to be afflicted by various poor affects that if it wasn't dispelled quickly would wipe the raid. Prior to decursive the players who were supposed to remove these affects would not get to see much other than a list of health bars and click them as fast as possible. Now they can actually watch the combat and enjoy the game. There are also encounters in PVE where if you dispell the affect you will cause a wipe. One particular affect causes the character who is infected to be able to see a normal invisible foe, so if its dispelled this foe will kill your raid. So it brings back the "skill" for that encounter.

    So to counter your arguement, WOW in particular has made the game require these mods in order to successfully defeat the encounter. They have also made it so you have to decide when its appropriate to use a particular mod and when its going to get you killed. There are a significant number of mods that are incredibly useful that are no breaking pvp or pve encounters but rather just allowing you to move things around on your interface or have a guild calendar in game, or what not. None of these mods cost money. They are all very simple to install.

    So for people complaining because they do not use these mods and are mad because other players do. Is it also cheating to buy the strategy guide that is authorized by blizzard? It has walkthroughs of many quests and lists strategies for doing certain raids? If your playing WOW you have online access and can in fact open google and find a mod for just about anything you don't like about the UI in under 5 minutes. Blizzard has in almost every patch modified or removed anything they felt was "cheating" in their scripting language.

    Should other games follow this? I know I would not continue to play WOW if I had to go back to the default UI. I personally think the default UI is nothing but a great way to get CTS if you don't already have it.


  • JorevJorev Fenwick Island, DEPosts: 1,500Member
    /agree 100% mods are cheating.

    image
    "We feel gold selling and websites that promote it damage games like Vanguard and will do everything possible to combat it."
    Brad McQuaid
    Chairman & CEO, Sigil Games Online, Inc.
    Executive Producer, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
    www.vanguardsoh

  • TechleoTechleo Grants Pass, ORPosts: 1,984Member
     Currently the only game I dont use mods in is CoH. Its simply flexible enough as is. In Wow tho I disagree that mods are cheating. Some mods are just functional upgrades such a Map notes or travel beacons. The mods which allow for automation arent exceptable to me. The question is can you justify freedom at the cost of another persons player experience. I just dont know the answer. I personally am a soloist so nothing that happens has any effect on my game. I soloed WoW all the way to level 60 and still mostly solo even though I raid. Mind you I have a cohesive group of friends with no intentions to dupe me. 

  • GFullsGFulls Hillsborough, NJPosts: 475Member

    /agree

    great read

    Hasani hit the nail on the head with this article. I only hope Devs get a sense of how players can exploit their games by reading this.


  • alienpriestalienpriest Sacramento, CAPosts: 39Member


    Making the mods legal is the best way to level the playing field.

    Myths of macros and addons:

    1. Writing a mod does NOT preclude knowing how to play your class. Everything that is coded must first be known to you so well that you could manualy pull it off in your sleep. Only then can it be described in script, tested, bugs worked out, tested again. Its a tedious process. Once the code is scripted, it can be made widely available-- everyone can get it and everyone can benefit from it.

    2. Using a mod does NOT eliminate the challenge. My rogue combos in WoW are all scripted to a handfull of buttons. I am constantly having to tweak them as unseen combat situations constantly arise-- especialy in PvP. I am still frequently beaten in the battlegrounds. The data that is relayed to me helps me make those decisions and make my alterations to equipment, maneuvers, and character build. I know more about playing my class than before I ever used them.

    3. NOT every mod is designed to give you an edge. There are fun ones out there that let me see my buddies on the world map, play a rewarding wav file whenever I get the killing blow, there's even one out there that lets you design and distribute your own custom made quests to your friends in game.

    4. Mods do NOT automate gameplay. Not even close. I must still remain at my keyboard and make decisions, press buttons and relay information between me and my associates in the game. Nothing is automatic. Nothing can be scripted to make anything completely automatic. This belief is flat out wrong.

    In the previous generations of games, designers have tried to fight the modders-- the outlawing of mods only resulted in the outlaws having them. Baned accounts dont work. Patches dont work. A vigilant community doesnt work. I violated EQ1's EULA for years using 3rd party macros-- only the careless get caught. Outlawed mods makes an unfair playing fiels. Supporting a modding community that shares its addons levels the battleground. Blizard seems to be the only team that GETS IT.

    Finaly, writing code is fun. I've heard arguments in the past over what will end up being the dominating world language in the future that every country would know; some have said english, some have said chineese, some have said other languages. I say it will be some form of scripting code. Learn the basics, its simple to pick up, easier than chineese.







  • franksalbefranksalbe jersey city, NJPosts: 228Member

    I am sorry Zerg but your argument has been weighed and found wanting.

    A mod that enchances the visual look of your UI is not being questioned.

    But when you can honestly say that. That the mod is good because it let's you watch the fight because you dont have keep track of in game haps. That in itself is a sad statement.

    Complex situation as end game raids are designed to be challenging. I applaud the person who had the ingenuity to build the mods that help them surpass these challenges, but at the same time scold them for depriving other users of being able to think through such challenges and instead easy their way through it with the mods created by someone else.

    The changes you note that is happening to PVP in WOW does not stop the use of mods. All it is doing is making people switch out their current mod version 1.0 with version 1.2 which takes into consideration the new changes made in PVP.

    Any mod that enhances your in game response but that is produced with no direct action from the player in a competitive enviroment is cheating.  PERIOD.

    Dont be suprised when the inevitable occurs and you enter PVP and the majority of the avatars running around are running on a 70% modded interface and advanced scripted macros.

    Faranthil Tanathalos
    EverQuest 1 - Ranger
    Star Wars Galaxies - Master Ranger
    Everquest2 - Ranger WarhammerOnline - Shadow Warrior
    WOW - Hunter

    That's right I like bows and arrows.

  • mindspatmindspat seattle, WAPosts: 1,367Member

    "MODs are cheating" is NOT an accurate blanket repsonce to those who use some modifications. 

    While it's quite obvious that if there's a modification to code that allows an advadtage which would not normally be availble it is an EXPLOIT, it's very possible another mod that changes skins or textures does not alter game play in any way.  The later form of a "MOD" does not provide any means of "cheating" thus is not an exploit.

    There are many players who find great amounts of joy through modding the grpahics engine of games.  If there's a voice over of a character saying "Groovy!" would it be cheating if a player altered the audio file to be that of Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead 2 saying "Grooovy!"  ?  Of course not.  It does not impact the intended mehanics of game play.

    Star Wars Galaxies is a great game to mod.  SOE has narrow vision when it comes to facilitating engaging environments and thankfully SWG has many tools already present, and hidden, which provide for the true Star Wars Experiance.  Has anyone seen a field full of AT-AT's walking through downed shuttles and fighters?  Of course not.  SOE does not employ a creative staff nor do they encourage that type of interaction within a gaming environment; what they do support is extremely minimal at best.

    The type of "MOD" I am referencing is NOT cheating and does not affect anyone other then my own machine.  It's code that's already present and the only alterations are in effect to display improved models and/or textures to advance and facilitate an immersive gaming session that would generally be unavilable.

    I *am* agasint cheaters and exploiters.  They should be banned with little to no warning have their accounts locked and potentially their ISP's blocked if they are habitual offenders. 

    You want to see what it looks like to have fields of AT-AT's engaging in WAR at Jabba's Palace with numerous bombing runs of Speeders and Fighters flying overhead with lots and lots of huge explosions?  Be nice, I just might share some custom videos...

  • redavniredavni asheville, NCPosts: 72Member

    Dear god...stop with the whining. If you want any semblance of fairness in MMORPG PVP, you need to be looking at primarily PVP MMO's like Guild Wars. WoW/AO/D2 are not PvP-centric games. They are not ever going to be "fair" in the sense you want them to be.

    Client-side "modding" in MMO's has been on since someone decided they weren't happy with straight telnet to connect to their favorite MUD. Today "modding" is expected when you play MUD's, and if anyone see's anything wrong with that, they are definitely a small minority. Part of what makes MMO's special is the freedom to do whatever you want in the gameworld. Modding the UI is a logical extension of that sandbox.

    Why don’t we change Ryu’s Shoryuken to automatically execute whenever
    you press the jab button? It’s the programmer’s fault that they made it
    too similar to his fireball and thus hard to use right? Why stop there?
    Perhaps in Madden we should have Mods that black out covered receivers
    so you can’t throw to them and only make complete passes. It's
    “tedious” to look at the receivers and coverages. Or how about one
    button that will pick the perfect juke moves to avoid tacklers instead
    of having to pick one of the eight to press? You would never in a
    million years see Mods added to these competitive games, so why should
    we accept this in our PvP genre?


    Apparently you haven't seen all the console controllers that allowed the player to program in macro's that allow exactly that. They exist for every console since the NES.

    Into the future, "modding" is going to become integral to the future of all virtual worlds, including MMO's, as more games follow games like Ryzom's lead in featuring more and more player generated content.

    If you want fair PvP, you don't have to play CS, but you do have to play PvP games.



  • repubrepub TUCSON, AZPosts: 8Member Uncommon

    First, your use of extended metaphors and similies are not good for proving your point. It does nothing of the sort - it only shows your bias and is not universally applicable.

    Secondly, SW:G had multi-line macros with recursive calls more than a year before WoW appeared. You should pay attention to other MMO's functionality (instead of fighting games) because your point is obscured completely by your example being absolutely false.

    Your conclusion is also weak in that it is an absolute that is not reached through analysis but through your own playstyle preferences - no new information is discussed except for that which you have already decided "proves" your point.

    Sorry, but if you want to discuss UI mods versus function-calling mods, you have to be able to differentiate and offer distinctions across the whole spectrum instead of only extreme examples. "All mods are cheating" is not a conclusion - it's just an unexamined bias.

    Very disappointing, substandard work.

  • spankybusspankybus Orlando, FLPosts: 1,154Member Uncommon

    This is a thin line here. Some mods, like the original Cosmos, mostly simplified the user interface for WoW, andwas almost absorbed into the game by blizzard due to its popularity. The message to Blizzard was, your game is fun, your interface sucks. They listened and tried to adapt. Now here's the rub, the desire for most people initially was to reduce the clunkyness of the UI and make it more friendly. However this has the side effect of giving that player a more streamlines UI compared to another player without it, and in a game where PvP is allowed, that doescreat an advantage, regardless of intention.

    Now plenty of mods are out there, and lots of peopleget em firmly aware of the advantage they garnish from them, thats why they get em. The one thing that I find very loathsome about mmorpg's is this continuing need to be UBER. Thepoint of the game used to be the jouney, but now people seem to only care about the end game, getting there as fast as possible, and "pwning" everyone in site. This is why people pay to have their character powerleveled while they're at work, pay real money to get in-game currencyy, get mods and hacks that serve no other purpose then to give them an advantage in combat. While i admit this is certainly not everyones attitude, its one that seems to be growing and teh genre targets a wider and wider audience.

    If you are one of these people, ask yourself why? Do you feel better about yourself going to suck legnths to beat average joe gamer? Fact of the matter is, any git you says "I pwned you" in a game were combat consists of pressing the attack button and watching is a moron. The only thing that proves is that you've spend a lot more time sitting on your ass playing said game. I don't even think the work 'owned' should be allowed in any game were, if you press the attack button, no further imput is required from you for the battle to finish itself. sure you might have specials that can be pressed to add flare, but really, its just a math battle. If you wanna own someone if combat go pay Halo, or Unreal, or somewhere that rewards PLayer skills and isn't decided by character skills (which can only be earned over time).

    Point is, as long as this I must be as badass as possible as soon as possible persists, mods will be a problem. Gil farming will bea problem. We all like to point at the people writing the hacks or farming the gil, but if the demand wasn't tehre in the first place, they'd go find a real job.



    Frank 'Spankybus' Mignone
    www.spankybus.com
    -3d Artist & Compositor
    -Writer
    -Professional Amature

  • MrbloodworthMrbloodworth Newport News, VAPosts: 5,615Member


    Originally posted by alienpriest


    Making the mods legal is the best way to level the playing field.

    Myths of macros and addons:

    1. Writing a mod does NOT preclude knowing how to play your class. Everything that is coded must first be known to you so well that you could manualy pull it off in your sleep. Only then can it be described in script, tested, bugs worked out, tested again. Its a tedious process. Once the code is scripted, it can be made widely available-- everyone can get it and everyone can benefit from it.

    You dont have to make it. You download it. Or Copy/paste.

    2. Using a mod does NOT eliminate the challenge. My rogue combos in WoW are all scripted to a handfull of buttons. I am constantly having to tweak them as unseen combat situations constantly arise-- especialy in PvP. I am still frequently beaten in the battlegrounds. The data that is relayed to me helps me make those decisions and make my alterations to equipment, maneuvers, and character build. I know more about playing my class than before I ever used them.

    Umm.... yes it does... that one cited heals everyone in a 40man raid of any illness with out you having to do a dam thing...even knoing what skill cures what...it does it.

    3. NOT every mod is designed to give you an edge. There are fun ones out there that let me see my buddies on the world map, play a rewarding wav file whenever I get the killing blow, there's even one out there that lets you design and distribute your own custom made quests to your friends in game.

    No one has issues with mods of that nature.

    4. Mods do NOT automate gameplay. Not even close. I must still remain at my keyboard and make decisions, press buttons and relay information between me and my associates in the game. Nothing is automatic. Nothing can be scripted to make anything completely automatic. This belief is flat out wrong.

    Yes, they can. You just nitpicking "Oh yeah, well a script dosnt move my toon".. oh come the F*** on man.

    In the previous generations of games, designers have tried to fight the modders-- the outlawing of mods only resulted in the outlaws having them. Baned accounts dont work. Patches dont work. A vigilant community doesnt work. I violated EQ1's EULA for years using 3rd party macros-- only the careless get caught. Outlawed mods makes an unfair playing fiels. Supporting a modding community that shares its addons levels the battleground. Blizard seems to be the only team that GETS IT.

    They get that they support cheeting in a game that suports PvP.

    Finaly, writing code is fun. I've heard arguments in the past over what will end up being the dominating world language in the future that every country would know; some have said english, some have said chineese, some have said other languages. I say it will be some form of scripting code. Learn the basics, its simple to pick up, easier than chineese.

    Sure man...sure.. I guess its all excused then. Your script was fun to make..so why should iget mad it auto casts spells to hel you when i hit?









    ----------
    "Anyone posting on this forum is not an average user, and there for any opinions about the game are going to be overly critical compared to an average users opinions." - Me

    "No, your wrong.." - Random user #123

    "Hello person posting on a site specifically for MMO's in a thread on a sub forum specifically for a particular game talking about meta features and making comparisons to other titles in the genre, and their meta features.

    How are you?" -Me

  • DremvekDremvek Fargo, NDPosts: 160Member


    Originally posted by Mrbloodworth
    3. NOT every mod is designed to give you an edge. There are fun ones out there that let me see my buddies on the world map, play a rewarding wav file whenever I get the killing blow, there's even one out there that lets you design and distribute your own custom made quests to your friends in game.

    No one has issues with mods of that nature.



    The opening of the editorial says that all mods are cheating. Apparently the author has issues with mods of that nature.
  • kohistkohist Las Vegas, NVPosts: 1Member

    Personally, I find little enjoyment in a game when I feel that I am just emulating a computer. Computers exist to do repetitive tasks for us, so that we can concentrate more on the types of decisions humans are good at. Additionally, I find great enjoyment in getting my gaming environment just the way I like it. You might as well argue that customizing your car or building additions to your house should be outlawed.

    Besides that, many of the things you have said about warcraft mods are at best exagerated, and at worst just plain untrue. Decursive won't automatically cure your whole raid. It does, however, make it a whole lot easier.

    And WoW is a whole lot better than SWG as far as "cheating" mods... In wow, there is no pause, and it's a 1:1 ratio for spell casts and hardware events. SWG has built-in support for afk macros, where you could set up a bot easily. And both games were awesome. I loved coding new bots... they didn't play nearly as well as a real player, but comming up with more effective programs was in itself a game.

  • ZergorZergor Fort Collins, COPosts: 15Member


    Originally posted by franksalbe

    I am sorry Zerg but your argument has been weighed and found wanting.
    A mod that enchances the visual look of your UI is not being questioned.
    But when you can honestly say that. That the mod is good because it let's you watch the fight because you dont have keep track of in game haps. That in itself is a sad statement.
    Complex situation as end game raids are designed to be challenging. I applaud the person who had the ingenuity to build the mods that help them surpass these challenges, but at the same time scold them for depriving other users of being able to think through such challenges and instead easy their way through it with the mods created by someone else.
    The changes you note that is happening to PVP in WOW does not stop the use of mods. All it is doing is making people switch out their current mod version 1.0 with version 1.2 which takes into consideration the new changes made in PVP.
    Any mod that enhances your in game response but that is produced with no direct action from the player in a competitive enviroment is cheating.  PERIOD.
    Dont be suprised when the inevitable occurs and you enter PVP and the majority of the avatars running around are running on a 70% modded interface and advanced scripted macros.


    Weighing in and judging where you haven't been:
    So your saying I should have to watch 40 bars go up and down and click back and forth from a bar to the other bar every 1 second for a 5 hour raid is what I should be doing and that it should be fun. I'm saying I can assign a few keys to a command and click that key and actually watch and see the battle occur is fun. Why don't I just go get a typewriter and bang my head on it too?

    Have you ever been in any end game raid in any game? There is a significant amount of stuff going on. If a mod can assist in parsing that information down to what I need to know as my class so I only focus on what my job, I'm all for it. If you call it cheating, then I'm guessing you probably haven't been to the end game.

    Mods vs Bots, player being there and doing something vs not having to do anything:
    Mods and Bots are two different things. A bot I could stand up and go to work and come back and have had my character do something on its own without me being there. There are no blizzard support mods that allow that. They all require mouse or key clicks to accomplish things.

    PVP People with advanced scripts mods etc...:
    I'm not suprised when I enter PVP and I find players with a lot of mods. I have a level 60 shaman who was rank 8 and a level 60 warlock who was rank 6. I'm currently working to get my shaman to rank 10. I do PVP a bit. The guys who win PVP matches are more often the 10-15 people on voice chat who have a better plan, not the the guys who have mods.

    versions of mods and anti mod spells:
    Decursive requires a key press. It looks over available targets for debuffs of various types. If found it tries to cast a spell to remove that debuff. There are poisons, diseases and other magical affects. Spells to remove these are things like remove curse, poison, disease, dispell. In the changes I descriped the ability to remove those will either be remove curse, which will remove a curse, so it will be either useless or cause alot of damage to the guy hitting it blindly. Dispell removes multiple affects, so you wont be able to NOT target the one thats going to hurt you. Knowing when to use the spell and not is still required, mod or not.

    Other comments:
    Knowing how to play your class is still required, mods or not. You aren't going to go to ebay, buy a 60 priest in tier 2 armor, throw some mods on, and show up for an end game raid and do well. Unless you've played a priest before and in a raid.

    There is cheating then there is using the tools your given to improve your play. If you choose not to use the tools, you can't call the people using them cheaters. They are there for everyone.

    The steroids example is a horrid example. Steriods are a banned substance. If your using them your cheating. If however you decide I'm going to get in better shape and train harder, review the data from last year and become a better player, then your using the tools to improve your play. Why do you think sports teams with more money typically do better? They can afford video analysis, better personal trainers, food and nutrition advice, and to pay the salaries of better players.

    If your sad because you don't have epic gear, its not because the other guy is using mods, its because you aren't putting in your time and doing what it takes to earn it. The mod isn't going to create the weekly raiding time commitments, or build relationships with other players in game to make guilds that get things done.
  • YeeboYeebo Laputa, CAPosts: 1,359Member
    As long as a game is designed with mods in mind, and everyone has equal access to them, I don't see a problem.  If you don't like mods play something that doesn't allow them.  In the case of WoW, I think on the balance mods have been good for the game.  Very early on the game designers incorporated the most popular features of user UIs (for example, extra hotkeys) into the default UI.  Allowing for modding means that the UI can evolve faster than it could if the devolopers were the only ones working on it, and it means that the game is far more customizable.

    For the record, my favorite mod in WoW:  it's a mod that makes hunter pet skills appear in a sane order.  The default UI has them appearing in what seems to be nearly random order when you scroll through them to try and figure out what you can teach your pet, and what it knows..   This irked the hell out of me until I found that mod.


    I don't want to write this, and you don't want to read it. But now it's too late for both of us.

  • BluntforceBluntforce Peterborough, ONPosts: 1Member

    Excellent article, well done.

    I had fun for several years on WoW, until the forced implementation of mods for the new 40-man raid content.  A game should never go beyond the point where the average person can easily modify the UI, and control his character's actions completely.  The fact is that in WoW, it would be impossible to defeat some 40-man encounters without some form of UI that you did not write yourself, making your character debuff, or cast a shield, etc.  That is an absolute joke, Blizzard got it completely wrong.  When you're not in control of your Character, and you do not control your UI (i.e. you download something someone else scripted), it's not any fun at all.  Up until that point, WoW was relativily simple and fun.

    Having played MMOs since the very early days of EQ, I've been through the whole PvE and PvP life of MMOs (more or less, I even played MUDs before that) I can say for sure, scripting and mods DO take away from the fun of the game.  In the future, I'd like to see all MMOs keep tight controls on mods.  I especially want control over everything my character does, under all conditions.  If the game has to be easier and simpler, then I guess that's the way I want it.

    -B

  • psyconiuspsyconius Florence, KYPosts: 272Member
    I know exactly what Hasani is talking about. There was a strategy involved when you had 8(originally 8, not even 10) in DAoC. Guild Wars kind of glorifies this tactic on an extreme level, but it did used to exist in MMO's. Think back to Evequest. Memorizing spells! It wasn't drag a spell or ability from your character window to your hot bar, it was taking up a memory slot!

    Anyway.. I think developers should try to walk the middle path on a game by game basis. Some games benefit from mods and others do not. The developers will make the decisions that affect gameplay mechanics. Blizzard (mostly) knew what they were doing. And any time someone comes up with a flagrant exploit they are very quick to deem it a no-no and code it out in the next patch.


    --
    psyconius Cthulhu
    Gothika Studios

  • dadowndadown Tulsa, OKPosts: 205Member

    Saying that all mods are bad is just flat wrong.  I believe that many mods are good, some mods that automate parts of combat are in a grey area and ones that create bots that play the game while you're AFK are going too far.  I will state up front that as a program developer, I enjoy writing scripts for games.

    Asheron's Call is a classic example of how unlimited scripting can ruin a game.  While there was no built in scripting support, some innovative programmers created a program interface that would receive all network packets that the AC client was sent from the server, and could send any packet to the server that the client could send.  As all user data was stored on the server, this didn't all players to hack their characters attributes, etc. like is done of some FPS, it did allow scripts to completely automate all aspects of game play.

    Blizzard approved of these game enhancements with only one restriction; players were not to run scripts that generated xp while AFK.  I started off writing a script that automated looting, choosing which loot items to keep, etc.  I later added automated movement that allowed creating quest walkthroughs and eventually added automated fighting so that I could just sit back and watch it grinf through mobs, collecting loot as it went.  Blizzard would spot-check reported bots and if the player didn't respond to questions, they could be banned temporarily for initial offenders and permanently for repeat offenders.

    Over time, bots appeared all over the game, with sales bots being the most popular (AC had no auction house or player stores).  Needless to say, combat bots were rampant as players used them to grind xp.  While some would blatant ignore the rules and run them while they slept, others (like myself) would run them while at the keyboard, but watching TV, etc.  While this was unfair for players that didn't use scripts, I believe it was a key factor in many palyers staying with AC for as long as they did (ot certainly was for me).

    Below I list the various stages of scripting:

    1) Some mods just change the way things appear on the screen.  Some game have more builtin UI options and others have less.  Letting the users customize their UI appearance is something every game should do.

    2) The next step up is macros that let you click a button or press a key instead of typing in chat commands.  Again, this is just a convenience that saves typing time.  Some games have a complete list of commands that you can bind keys to and others hardly have any.  All games should have a basic macro capabiliy.

    3) A significant advance is the ability to store information such as where things are located on maps, what you have in storage, notes about friends, etc.  One mod I wrote for WoW manages mailbox info.  It lets you remotely view the contents of your inbox, tracks items sent to other characters and warns you when items in your inbox will expire soon.  These types of scripts take some of the tedium out of the game and provide features that some game have built in anyways.  I see no harm in this and believe that they are good for the game.

    4) The next information step is a database.  I've written a WoW recipe database that contains most of the in-game recipies for all professions.  It tracks each of your character's crafting skills so when you get loot, it can tell you which of your characters can use it in what recipes and what the difficulty level will be.  You can search for recipes and components, check for recipes that you known know but have the skill to learn.  This is better than a game reference book.  Mods like this can save hours keeping track of information for you.  Another popular mod of this type tracks where harvestable resources are found.  I'm not aware of any games that provide things like this built in, but it would be nice if it did.  I see nothing wrong with this type of mod.

    5) Next we get to scripts that automate interactions with the game.  I wrote a simple one that allows you to automatically select a response to dialog windows, so that when you go to the bank, you can immediately view your bank inventory without firt having to talk to the banker.  Another one automatically dismounts you when you get an error that the action you attempted can't be done while mounted.  These types of scripts remove annoying game interactions that could have been better designed.  Again, I see nothing wrong with this type of mod.

    6) Finally we start to get into a grey area.  The are mods that automate applying bufs to your character and fellow players.  There was one called AutoBuf that would automatically keep you buffed as you moved around and fought.  Blizzard decided that this was a little to automated and the next patch no longer allow spell casting to be tied to movement keys or to allow one user action to generate multiple responses.  While this was a bit disappointing, I could see the point of limiting the automation.  I wrote a mod that will keep all your bufs up, but it requires pressing an 'action' key for each buf that is cast.  I see this as recuding the tedium of repeating a standard set of bufs before each fight.  It doesn't really give you an advantage over other players, so I don't think it is wrong.

    7) Next it get even greyer.  I have a character of all 11 WoW classes so keeping track of all of the combat actions of each class was getting to be a real pain as they advanced and learned more actions.  So I extented my buf script to also choose the next combat action with each action keypress.  This has been a lot more challenging to code as many factors have to be taken into account.  It isn't as good as an experienced player for PvP, but it really helps when grinding for xp or quest quotas.  Now I can understand how some players would be opposed to this kind of mod, but it will only help a poor player in PvP and even for grinding, it requires interaction and effective timing of when to start the next action.

    8) Then we get to where it becomes questionable automation.  There used to be a WoW mod that would automatically move you to a target location.  This I found acceptable.  However, there was another mod for rogues that would automatically move them behind a target to backstab them.  This gave them a big PvP advantage and I didn't think this was fair.  Blizzard didn't either, so it removed the ability of scripts to cause player movement.

    9) The last category crosses the line.  These are scripts that automate fighting and require no player action at all, i.e., playing the game for them while AFK.  Blizzard has never allowed this in scripting in the released version of the game and explicitly bans any external programs that would attempt to do this in thier EULA.  I agree that this spoils the game for competing players, even though it would be a fun script to develop.

    In conclusion, saying that all mods are bad is being very shortsighted and limits game growth as player mods add many useful features that are often incorporated as standard game features.  The real question is where to draw the line on what mods are permitted to do.  I think Blizzard has done a great job of limiiting mod abuse and if anything, tends to error on the conservative side.

    I've trying out a variety of game as potential replacements for WoW, but if they don't support scripting, they will have to have a lot of super features to make up for it.  About the only game that came close to WoW for me was SWG before they ruined the character classes.  There are several features of SWG that I really miss in WoW, like player run towns.

  • acmtalkacmtalk Boston, MAPosts: 405Member
    great readding,   WOW,  Any advantage, even a simple change in the UI should not happen in a PVP game.. again, Not many hardcore PVP fans play mmorpg anymore,  Too many infected by the WOW/EQ carebear disease.

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  • calranthecalranthe stoke on trentPosts: 356Member

    Being a game developer, I see this from the other side, what chance does fair play have.

    We love gamers who like fair play, a player who plays our game as intended, as per  the ideals, faces the challenges the risk V reward.

    Ask yourself why the end game in WOW has become so hard?
    its the modders fault, the uber guilds and raiders.

    It almost like a battle, we create a new area, raiders blow through it, we create a new challenge, modders find a work around, very soon the end of the game mechanics are altered beyond any chance of a non modded, non abuse players.

    The risk v reward curve in most games is pretty balanced,  sort of a gentle upwards movement, more risk more reward BUT the games like WoW where modding and hard core raiding has become the norm has forced the developers to ramp up the hp, the difficulty to take in account the mods, to basically throw out the riskvreward model and instead create a Game V Mod  or Game V uber guild curve.

    So please don't sight the "oh the end game is too hard" excuse, you yourselves are feeding it.

    When a game like WoW is created the end game is suposed to be hard, to be a challenge, effort, to be for the few. Something to boast about, to remember, you got there, you did it with effort. kudos to you.

    Too many take the easy way out, leaving your char on all night while you sleep, gaining xp and leveling via bots and mods is the norm ..

    Why ?
    What is the challenge?


    I remember in EQ 1 going on my first planes raid, we all died in there, none of us that we know of in the guild cheated or used work arounds, but that memory lives on in me, so what if we died, we took alot with us and it meant something.

    Beating a game as intended, with only the tools given to you as intended, with effort blood sweat and tears, that means something.

    Beating a game by modding it, cheating, work arounds....may aswell go on halflife 2 and type in /god


    For the record I have never worked on WoW but other ORPG's.


    Its your choice, a dev won't make a game unplayable, a dev won't make end game unwinable there is no point, but a dev will react and redefine the end game over and over, instead of putting in new content or focusing on new abilities it can be very draining to constantly having to rework skills/abilities/spells, areas to stop the abuses to challenge the Mods.

    "its not our fault, if the cheat/abuse/work around/mod is available i'll use it till they patch it out"

    Why ?

    Is there no gameplay ethics any more, is the only reason you don't kill, steal, rape in real life because its against the law ? i'd like to think not, i'd like to think there is something more than "oh i could go to jail" as a reason for not doing things in real life, and can't we bring that something inside us to games,, when we sit at a computer  do we automatically turn off that something..





  • sumo_kotensumo_koten SydneyPosts: 23Member
     I think the bottom line here is anything you add to the game that gives you an advantage over other people in the game is cheating.

     This doesn't only apply to PvP situations, this applies to any situation where a person uses mods to make his character overcome game content easier andor faster. This creates a situation where everyone has to use mods to keep up with the other people.

     I have nothing against mods which do not directly affect gameplay, such as skins or modified sound files. Such mods can help alleviate the drudgery of looking at the same game environment each day. Anything that makes content easier to overcome however is cheating as far as I'm concerned and just because the mod is freely available to everyone, does not make it any less so.

     It would be nice to be part of an online gaming community where everyone played by the rules and valued fairplay and co-operation. Just like the real world I suppose there will always be a segment of the population that is too lazy or wrong-headed to do the right thing.

     I will continue to play WoW and other games without mods and if that means I won't get invited to 20 or 40 man raids, well I'll live with that.

     Hypocrisy doesn't live here.


  • DullardDullard Wichita, KSPosts: 26Member

    Mr. Hasani I suspect that you yourself are in fact a modder. Have you changed the opacity or size of your chatbox? Isn't it true that you've adjusted your graphic or audio setting in-game? Haven't you in fact moved various attacks and spells to and around your hotbars for the most comfortable and ultimately optimized position? I thought so.

    I find you Guilty of modding Mr Hasani. Your sentence: You may NOT tell these damn kids to get off of your lawn for a period of no less than 6 months.


    Using game content in a manner intended by the developer should not be considered modding, yet your overly encompassing and vaguely worded editorial completely misses the mark of what your complaint actually is. Whether it is something as ubiquitous as changing the color of text, or an in-game macro system it is a part of the game, you have the personal choice to use it or not. In regards to your issue, I believe you should blame the game Sir, not the gamer.


  • quix0tequix0te Altamonte Springs, FLPosts: 119Member Common
    Hasani's argument would be valid, except it doesnt meet his own definition.  His definition says an "unfair" advantage.  Every player has access to these mods if they want them.  They dont break any of Blizzard's rules.  If you choose to run a marathon in combat boots, and I wear running shoes, am I cheating or smart?
    Most of these mods came about because the UI didnt have a lot of necessary functionalities.
    The extra bars are a perfect example.  For the first six months to a year the game was out, the game had two bars (IIRC).  There was a proliferation of mods that allowed you to add more bars, and at some point the devs said "Hey. Thats a great idea" and added it to the game.  There are a number of other features that have similar stories.




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