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Additionally, some games allow the replays of matches to be uploaded and viewed by others. If the boosting player accidentally allows this, their boosting match can be seen by others. Even without matches being seen, players who boost can usually be easily identified, since they will have an unnaturally high number of points in relation to the number of matches played. In games where wins and losses are recorded on a player's account, a player may disconnect when he or she is about to lose in order to prevent that loss from being recorded. This is usually done by activating known in-game glitches and through third-party sources via "IP booting" a feature of firewall software.
Some players do this if they feel their opponent is being unfair.
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Some games implement a disconnection penalty, usually by recording the disconnect as a loss or a deduction of experience points. Certain games also have a 'disconnect delay' period before the player can disconnect that can last 10—30 seconds. This prevents a player from instantly disconnecting if they are about to die or lose.
In some games if a player disconnects they can receive a warning or even get locked out of online play for a short period. In many games the weapons featured can be fired in burst fire or single shot fire modes.
These modifications can create an imbalance within the game. In addition to modifying a console or its controller, it is possible to achieve a similar effect on the PC by binding the firing button to the scroll wheel of a mouse or using a macro setting that will simulate rapid key presses automatically. However, most games limit the rate at which weapons can be fired regardless of how fast a player presses the button, in order to limit this form of cheating. Exploiting is the application of an unintended feature or bug that gives the player an advantage.
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Exploiting is not seen as cheating universally, some view it as a form of skill because certain exploits take a significant amount of time to find, or dexterity and timing to use. In games where achievements and rewards are unlocked by defeating human enemies, especially in unorthodox ways, players may arrange to win or lose against one another in order to obtain the achievements without having to play the game linearly. This is also known as stat-padding, swapping, or boosting. The term farming also refers to the practice of garnering achievements or virtual property for the purpose of real-money-trading.
Sharing is when multiple people take turns playing as a single character — mainly in MMORPGs — to gain an advantage by spending more time per day on leveling or farming than an average player would, and consequently having higher stats or better equipment. Twinking is the act of transferring gear intended for higher level characters to lower level characters that would be incapable of obtaining the gear on their own.
Twinked characters have a huge advantage over untwinked characters, as well as the rest of the game world. This is usually used by players who wish to create a new character, either to help them level more rapidly or to gain an unfair advantage in PVP. Most MMORPGs tolerate it, provided that the twinked character is not used in player versus player combat against non-twinked characters. Often limits on twinking are placed into the game, usually through strict level or stat requirements to equip the item. Circumventing these level requirements would then be further cheating.
Most games allow other participants to observe the game as it is played from a variety of perspectives; depending on the game, perspectives allow an observer a map overview or attach a "camera" to the movement of a specific player.
In doing so, the observer can communicate with an accomplice using a secondary communication methodology in-game private message , third party communication, or even off-line to inform friendly players of traps or the position of opponents. An observer can be an active player, using a separate computer, connection and account. Some systems prevent inactive players from observing the game if they are on the same IP address as an active player, on the grounds that they are probably in close physical proximity; when all players from a single IP address are no longer active participants, they are all allowed to observe.
However, this restriction can be easily evaded if there are multiple IP addresses available at one location a common feature of broadband subscriptions , or if the observer installs remote desktop software on their computer, thus enabling their computer screen to be viewed by select other players in real time.
Additionally this may be used against players livestreaming to platforms like Twitch. This is often referred to as stream sniping. Also known as "Teaming", is when two or more players conspire to engage a secret, unofficial alliance of co-operative play to give themselves an unfair advantage over other players. It is considered cheating in many games that have a free for all deathmatch or Last man standing mode. This type of cheating is very problematic in some games because it is often very difficult to prove as there is no hacking, exploits or game modifications involved, usually requiring the intervention of game server admins to monitor multiplayer sessions in order to catch players engaging in acts of teaming.
Stacking involves altering game settings or team lineups to give one or more teams an unfair advantage over others. One example includes arranging a team composed of skilled or professional players against a team with members of lesser skill. Although this may be a valid and accepted practice in real-life sports, in online games stacking upsets less-skilled players who feel that they aren't being given a fair chance.
Less ethical rigging involves weighting the game by providing a player or team with an advantage by outfitting them with better or more familiar weapons or equipment, or creating a play field that caters to a certain player, team or playing style. This also may involve creating team-size inequalities, for example a 5 vs 10 match.
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Many games prevent this by preventing players from joining a team with more players than the opposing side, forcing newcomers to balance the teams. Scripting is the use of a program or game feature to automate certain actions or behaviors. The use of scripts may or may not be considered cheating, depending on the behavior involved, and whether said behavior is replicable without the use of such script. A script may give the user unusually fast firing rate, unobtainable otherwise, or may perform seemingly trivial tasks such as reloading. Some scripts can also tamper with other players systems by spoofing commands.
In the client—server model , the server is responsible for information security and enforcing game rules. See " Anti-cheating methods and limitations " below for drawbacks. In the peer-to-peer gaming model, clients run equal code but are still subject to most of the same type of cheats found in the client—server multiplayer model; however, the peer-to-peer multiplayer model has deprecated in favor of the client—server model with the wider adoption of high-speed networks.
It means that no information sent from a client should be accepted by a server if it breaks the game rules or the basic mechanics of the game, and that no information should be sent to a client unless it is "need-to-know. The server will be very fast, but any wallhack program will reveal where all the players in the game are, what team they are on, and what state they're in — health, weapon, ammo etc.
At the same time, altered and erroneous data from a client will allow a player to break the game rules, manipulate the server, and even manipulate other clients. Many cheats are implemented by modifying game software, despite EULAs which forbid modification. While game software distributed in binary-only versions makes it harder to modify code, reverse engineering is possible.
Also game data files can be edited separately from the main program and thereby circumvent protections implemented in software. Rather than modifying the game code which the game itself or a 3rd-party protection system may detect , some cheats modify underlying system components. An example of this is graphics driver modifications that ignore depth checking and draw all objects on the screen—a primitive wallhack. System or driver modification is harder to detect, as there are a large number of system drivers that differ from user to user. Interception can be passive or result in active manipulation; either methodology [ vague ] [ ambiguous ] can be performed on the client machine itself or via an external communication proxy; some aimbots incorporate this methodology.
There are many facets of cheating in online games which make the creation of a system to stop cheating very difficult; however, game developers and third party software developers have created or are developing   technologies that attempt to prevent cheating. Such countermeasures are commonly used in video games, with notable anti-cheat software being GameGuard , PunkBuster , Valve Anti-Cheat specifically used on games on the Steam platform , [ citation needed ] and EasyAntiCheat. Generally, the better the server is at enforcing the rules, the less of a problem cheating will be in the game.
In many mobile games, it is a common practice to run the client game sessions synchronously on the server, using exactly the same user input. The client session is reset when the game sessions become unsynced, thereby preventing cheating. Server-side game code makes a trade-off between calculating and sending results for display on a just-in-time basis or trusting the client to calculate and display the results in appropriate sequence as a player progresses.
It can do this by sending the parts of the world state needed for immediate display, which can result in client lag under bandwidth constraints, or sending the player the entire world state, which results in faster display for the player under the same bandwidth constraints, but exposes that data to interception or manipulation—a trade-off between security and efficiency. When game servers were restricted by limited available resources such as storage, memory, internal bandwidth, and computational capacity due to the technologies available and the cost of the hardware, coupled with internet connections that were slow, it was believed to be necessary to compromise on security for optimization to minimize the impact on the end-user.
Today however, with the increased speed and power of multi-core computers, lower priced hardware, and the increased availability of broadband internet, this has become less of an issue. Additionally to storing data in non-standard formats, some games also utilize runtime protection through software protectors. The key target is to keep attackers from directly inspecting or modifying compiled software. Protectors utilize either of three methods to protect software. Encryption solutions will encrypt the code instructions and typically use a multi—layered defense mechanism against any reversing or tampering attempts that target the decryption code directly.
This is the moment at which an attacker will breakpoint, reverse, and inject custom code. Runtime decryption may also add significant processing overhead and lower the game's framerate. Alternatively, some solutions focus on obfuscating the code by inserting jump statements and seemingly random instruction paths. The final and strongest alternative is virtualization. The shared weakness of protectors and virtualizers is that they impact performance, either by requiring decryption or by introducing unnecessary CPU instructions. To reduce the overhead code virtualizers are often only used to secure the critical parts of the code base, such as those interfacing with the gamestate and rendering.
Spectator functionality can allow server administrators to monitor individual players and thereby determine whether or not a cheat is in place. One risk of the spectator mode is that in competitive matches the spectator could abuse the mode for spying on specific players and communicating player positions and tactics to the opposing team.
Some games get around this limitation by not allowing spectator mode at all, or by delaying the video feed. Some games have systemized player supervision by allowing the community to review reports of disruptive behavior, determine whether those reports are valid, and apply temporary bans if appropriate. Reports can include data such as screenshots, videos, and chatlogs. Anomalies in player behavior can be detected by statistically analyzing game events sent by the client to the server.