To cheat, or not to cheat. That is the question. It is a question that often galvanizes the gaming community. Is it okay to cheat and use exploits in video games?
First, before I give you my opinions on this topic let’s make a distinction. In my mind, there is a difference between cheating and using an exploit.
To me cheating involves gaining an advantage in competitive play. If you figured out a way to glitch Ms. Pac-Man so that the ghosts cannot kill you and are just playing by yourself, no harm, no foul. On the other hand, if you enter into a Ms. Pac-Man tournament and use that glitch to advance in the tournament, that would be cheating.
An exploit is something everyone can take advantage of, and it really has minimal impact on the player base. An example of an exploit would be the loot caves in the early release of the first Destiny game. There were several caves where you could kill unending streams of enemies and pick up loot they dropped after dying.
The loot caves were an exploit. One that many players took advantage of. Did it give anyone an unfair advantage? Not really. Sure some people might have progressed a little faster or built up a bigger stash of Legendary Shards than others. At the end of the day, if you did not use the loot cave exploit, was it negatively impacting your gaming experience? The answer to that would be no.
Now that we have defined them, cheating is just wrong. It is selfish and ruins the gaming experience for other players. Using exploits, on the other hand, is not big deal. If I sucked at Super Mario Brothers and could only beat it by using the infinite lives exploit, that’s on me and only impacts me.
Cheating can take many different forms. Some players hack into games to make themselves invulnerable or give themselves superior loadouts or stats. Other players use aim bots which will basically lock your shots onto players and remove the need to aim.
There are also places like this site where you can find game trainers. Game trainers are basically hacks for a game. They are installed on your PC and can do a number of things. They can give you more lives, freeze the game, give you infinite health, automatic reloads, etc. For single player games, there is nothing wrong with these game trainers, but if you start messing with other gamers in multiplayer games, you start crossing the line into cehating.
In a much more difficult to detect method of cheating, players have taped a dot into the exact middle of their TV screen or monitor. This allows them to quickly shoot players in first person shooters without the need to shoulder and aim their weapon first. Even at long ranges with snipers, they can use this method to quickly no-scope opponents.
All of these things are designed to help you win and your opponents lose in an unfair manner, which takes some of the enjoyment out of gaming for fellow gamers.
There are times where using exploits creep into the realm of cheating. If you invite a friend over for some friendly games of Tecmo Bowl, and then take the Raiders every game and just constantly give the ball to the unstoppable Bo Jackson, that is when using an exploit becomes cheating.
Oh, and you are a dick.
I have used my share of exploits in games over the years. I mentioned the Destiny loot caves. That was a great one. Similar to that was the Bullet King exploit in The Division as well as the exploit that let you glitch through a wall to defeat the first incursion, Falcon Lost.
Did any of these negatively impact people I played with or against in those games? No.
However, with all the exploits available in The Division, the gameplay was largely ruined in The Dark Zone. Players found ways to glitch into or shoot through walls at other players. It became very frustrating for many gamers with so many players cheating and dominating in these PvP activities.
The TL;DR version is that if you are doing something that directly impacts the game experience of other players in a negative way, it’s wrong and not good for the gaming community. If you are using an exploit to give yourself a leg up that doesn’t impact your fellow gamers, it’s entirely up to you.