A Fine Line Between Cheating and Taking Advantage

Posted by on January 4, 2012 - 7 Comments »

One of the biggest driving forces for players in MMO games is to do better than everyone else or at least most people. Whether this means being the best PvP player, getting the best gear, crafting or just making more money than others, there’s always a constant pressure to do better. This tends to lead to players taking advantage of the game through “cheap” or unfair tactics and can eventually lead to cheating through the use of exploits, bots or other means. However there is a huge difference between cheating and taking advantage, although it often blurs the line.

I recently came across an area in SWTOR that provides a player with thousands of credits for little to no effort, so I decided to take advantage of this and farm the location manually for a few hundred thousand credits. (I want to make it clear that no bot or macro was used) Is this cheating or just taking advantage? I’ll give you a hint, I don’t think it’s cheating.

Another example came out today, again in SWTOR, showing a method where by using the /getdown dance move, players can make themselves un-targetable in combat. This of course is an exploit as the developers never intended for a social dance move to become an invincible skill in combat.

So why do I state that my credit farming in the first example is only taking advantage while the combat dance move is an exploit? I don’t think anyone would argue that a social dance move was never meant to have any impact on combat, so of course it’s an exploit. However the credits I received were meant to be a reward for the activity that was accomplished, so they do not fall in the same category. The problem is that reward is either too large or the cooldown timer needs to be much longer.

While there is no mention of “farming” in the EULA or Rules of Conduct, BioWare does meantion something vague about this in their Rules of Conduct.

You may not engage in any conduct or practice that results in an Account containing items, objects, currency, character attributes, rank, or status that are inappropriate for the level or rank of the character contained in the Account, i.e., “item loading,”

So yes, the area in question is meant for level 40 characters, so if your level 10, I guess that could be considered cheating by BioWare’s definition, although it still wouldn’t in my book. Where do you draw the line then? Is a level 30 or 39 player cheating?

Farming, as long as it is not done with bots or marcos since they are both against the EULA, in my eyes cannot be considered cheating. The rewards system is run and controlled by BioWare, so if they create a reward that they themselves consider unfair if farmed, they can simply change it. Yes, I’m taking advantage of BioWare’s mistake of creating too good of a reward, but that’s not the same a cheating.

Think of it this way. If you were running a raid to get some epic item and one day you find a shortcut that takes you straight to the end boss and it’s not an exploit, wouldn’t you use it?  Of course, who wouldn’t. So if you find a mob or box that has 100k credits in it and respawns every min, aren’t you going to sit there and farm it? I like the meet the person who wouldn’t.