On November 8th 2011, Activision Blizzard launched its 8th Call of Duty game: Modern Warfare 3. According to them, it was the most lucrative entertainment launch of all time, with over 6,5 million copies sold in one day.
We can certainly assume that the majority of it was for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, but even if that would be over 90% of sales, 6,5 M copies in one day still means a lot of people playing MW3 on their PC.
PC gamers have the advantage of a generally smoother gameplay, a customizable experience and largely superior graphics, however there is a major downside to it: hackers.
Most of us, gamers, enjoy playing our games legitimately. We either don’t really care, and want to have a blast, or we fight our way to better skills. However, some people have no respect for themselves and other players. They can’t stand playing by the rules, and they don’t care if they spoil the fun for all of us, real gamers, who paid 60$ (or 60€) for the game. They are hackers.
From day one of a game with such high popularity, you have to expect hacks will be out already. MW3 was no exception. You can buy aimbots, wallhacks and others for around 20 US$ without breaking a sweat.
Some players say that the only thing to do is either stop playing the game or start hacking.
In this article, I will try to show you how to crush hackers, in game, without hacking.
What you will need:
- Balls: Required if you’re to go against all odds, and hope to be successful.
- Skills: Not anyone can do it; it requires some training.
- Discipline: Skills aren’t enough to beat “good” hackers. You will need discipline.
Step 1: Spot a Hacker
Most people who hack are easy to spot. If you watch the in-game KillCam, you will notice them snapping on you very quickly when they kill you. However, sometimes, it’s tricky. Some aimbots don’t snap on enemies; they move more smoothly, to avoid detection. Some other cheats, called wallhacks, will have the hacker see through walls, and they will shoot at you without any assistance. That makes it very difficult to spot in KillCam. One thing you can keep in mind to spot hackers is that the average human reflex speed is at best 200ms, but our eyes can easily notice a 5ms delay. Train your eyes to see the difference between someone who takes 200ms to notice you, then shoot you; and someone who already knows you’re there.
When you can determine that someone has “inhuman reflexes”, there are only two possibilities:
- The enemy knows the map well, and knows to expect people in this, or that spot.
- The enemy is a hacker.
The best way to differentiate the 2 is to use common sense. A player couldn’t possibly shoot corners each time; he wouldn’t have enough bullets. Also, it’s one thing to pull some crazy shots once, on one player, or group of players, but after 10 times… The odds are that the enemy is hacking.
Step 2: Report the Hacker
Remember the hacker’s name, or note it somewhere. After the game is over, find him in Steam, and report him as a hacker. If you’re lucky, he will get his account banned. The more people report him, the better. So take a few minutes and do it!
Step 3: Know your Enemy
To defeat hackers, it’s important to know how hacks work.
Here you can see two already popular hacks. The first one has multiple features and the second is a bit more simple. In the end, both work the same way:
A video game uses (notably) a game engine and a video engine to work.
-The video engine is what you see. Shapes, textures, animations, etc. It is mostly managed by your video card, and it takes a lot of computing power (generating millions of pixel, around 60 times per second). Some hacks will have modified textures or lighting, to help see in the dark for example, or to literally see through walls.
-The game engine is what makes things happen. When you press a button to shoot somebody, the game engine calculates your position, the bullet trajectory, and the position of all other objects is affected by the bullet’s action. If an enemy is calculated to be in the bullet trajectory, then damage is applied to the enemy appropriately. It is mainly managed by your CPU, and takes a relatively small amount of calculation power. The host’s computer does that computing for the most part. Players’ computers then exchange commands with the host’s computer (commands example: move player from XYZ to X’Y’Z’, or player shoots gun from XYZ pointing towards X’Y’Z’). That is the actual reason it doesn’t take too much bandwidth to play most video games.
Most hacks exploit weaknesses in the game engine. As commands are made, and received, they are stored in the RAM memory of the players’ computers. Hacks read, then edit those commands. Sophisticated hacks, like aimbots, will run a video engine mod at the same time you play, and give you visual indications, instead of just clicking blindly. That’s the squares and targets in the above videos.
Now, all that information tells us a few things about hacks in general.
-Most hacks require interception and edition of commands in the RAM memory, practically doubling hackers’ ping; at best. You can expect major lags most times (over 400ms ping).
- If the host hacks, the whole server will lag: in that case, you should probably just leave the server.
- If someone who isn’t hosting hacks, he will lag the most: you can use this to your advantage, because even if the hacker has tactical advantage over you, you can still surprise him.
-Hacks do allow 360° detection and shooting. But as you can see in the videos, most hackers don’t really use that feature. Their small brains are simply overwhelmed by the information thrown at them, so they focus on what they see (forward), most of the time.
- This means most hackers can be effectively attacked from behind, because they are too incompetent to look there.
-Most hacks (aimbots) aim for either the head, the neck or the chest; dead centre of it, and hackers are so bad at games that they won’t bother adjusting their fire if it doesn’t work.
- You can use cover to your advantage. If only your part of your body sticks out to the side of cover, and you have a favourable angle, the hacker will shoot at the cover, not at you. However, you will be able to shoot at him (since you don’t hack).
-Most hacks (especially wallhacks, but aimbots too, to an extent) require the player to interact at some point. Either lock on his enemy, or shoot the gun, or aim (wallhacks). That still implies the 200ms reflex delay.
- If your reflexes are good, you can compete with hackers if you know the map very well and their approximate location. Shoot before them, and be lethal, because they won’t miss.
-Most hackers don’t really look at the environment; they focus on enemy players.
- Claymores, Bouncing Betty, C4 and explosive barrels are your friends. Hackers often are too lazy to look for them. If you know the maps, you can deal a lot of causalities to cheaters with them.
Step 4: Defeat the Hacker
Now that we know how the game works and how hackers exploit it, we can beat them. If you play alone, it’s harder to be successful, so try to play with your team-mates. Here are a few very effective tips:
-Move in teams of 2. Alone, you don’t have backup, and it’s hard to focus on your target. More than 2 will attract too much of the hacker’s attention.
-NEVER go face to face with hackers. Unless they are really bad at it, they will beat you. Always flank them, and ultimately aim to be in their back. A hacker is easier to kill from behind than a normal player, because he is too lazy to look there.
-Use explosives. As explained above, hackers often don’t look for explosives. If you know a hacker is coming your way, pitch a grenade his way. Odds are he will get killed.
-Tactical grenades are worthless. Hackers don’t need to see you to shot you.
-Use cover to your advantage. If you are completely exposed, you are done, but if you get even a little bit of solid cover, it might give you a sufficient edge to beat the hacker.
-Don’t run, but don’t stall. Running diminishes your reflexes. Don’t do it, unless necessary. I know you’re in a hurry to beat that hacker, but if you run, you will fail. If you stop moving, HE will move in on you, so just keep moving.
Step 5: Enjoy your Victory
Keep in mind that hackers are not unbeatable. They have tons of weaknesses. Also, they are nothing more than below average intelligence humans without balls, nor common sense. If you spot a hacker, and beat him, just remind him of how pathetic he is with a friendly comment such as “That was easy, good game!”, or “I’m bored, let’s change servers”. If you are aggressive with him, he will only enjoy it. Most importantly, don’t forget to report him!