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Editorial: Targets Set on Steam and Infinity Ward

Company: Infinity Ward
Product: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Infinity Ward and Steam, quite possibly two of the biggest names in the gaming industry these days, are caught in the crosshairs of gamers worldwide. Infinity Ward's recent military gem, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is coming under fire as more and more gamers hack the battlefield of online gameplay. While I can't speak for the console versions of the game (I have a feeling they are less likely to experience game hacks), the PC Version of the game has certainly taken a serious turn south in terms of an enjoyable online experience.

I should mention that on its own, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is absolutely one of the (if not the) best war games of all time. While developer Infinity Ward chose to make its multiplayer game only playable through the game portal and match-making service known as Steam, in part because of the service's anti-cheat system, it apparently isn't preventing hackers from ruining the gaming experience for others.

In the two short months since its release, hackers have managed to take a lot of the fun out of the online gaming experience. In a perfect world, players would choose not to hack or intentionally cheat the system. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world where spoon-fed brats don't care about others and are out for un-earned gratification and instant access to rank, weapons, and other unlockables, or are simply out to disrupt the fun for others to fulfill their pathetic, lazy lives. As a result, the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 is now riddled with Aimbots and other blatant and unethical use of cheats to sway what was once a pretty decent risk versus reward gaming balance, at least in raw, unaltered form.

Personal negative experiences include, but are certainly not limited to, being the recipient of variations of these Aimbots and other cheats. For example, there have been numerous times when I was shot dead within one or two steps of re-spawning, if granted that long of a life, only to have the feeling that cheaters were among us. After a quick search, it's obvious that my instincts are correct, seeing as how there are apparently ways for hackers to know where you will start your new life through respawning. I've also been a victim of helicopters from hell, immediately shooting me upon gaining new life... through walls, while not near windows or doors (i.e. no way of knowing I was there). While these are obviously some of the more serious cheats, even seemingly simple hacks like removing the crosshair or having a super zoom break the balance that the developers have provided through weapon upgrades and level layouts.

To drive home the point that hacking has completely ruined the pure gaming experience for owners who want a true test of their skills, and who also want to be rewarded for successful completion of that test, let's take a quick glance below. Judging by this list, the hacking obviously needs to be swiftly and seriously addressed by the guys over at developer Infinity Ward and partner Steam, who should not sit in the shadows after making millions of dollars off the blood, sweat, and tears (now mostly just tears) of fans with what has become a very successful franchise. Here is just one list of hacks available online:

  • Aimbot
    • Point/Health/Distance/FOV
    • Aim on key/full autoaim
    • Triggerbot
    • Aimthruwalls (kill enemies thru walls)
    • Location prediction (much better than other bots)
    • Bullet correction
    • No recoil
    • Priority system for target selection
    • Auto shooter
    • Grenade aimbot
    • Aim lock
    • Vector/Tag support
    • Humanised aiming
    • Random aiming
    • Ignore/Enemy lists
  • ESP
    • Player names
    • Player distance
    • Player weapon
    • Player health
    • Class icon ESP
    • Grenade/trapmines icon ESP incl. timer
    • Bounding boxes
    • Laserpointer
    • Playerstate indicator (Zoomed, moving)
  • Visuals
    • Crosshair
    • Crosshairnames
    • Threat warning
    • Kill stats
    • Superzoom
    • Grenade trace & prediction
    • Sniper scope removal
    • No Shellshock/no flashbang/no fog
    • 3D radar/direction indicator
    • Multikill/headshot messages (with icons!!)
  • Automatism
    • Auto vote/kick
    • Auto name change
    • Auto grenade throwback
  • Chams
    • Colored models
    • Chams, colors customizable
  • Aequitas/CAL/ANY anticheat
    • Cvar unlocker
    • Autovote
    • Winamp spammer
    • Instant level up to 55
    • Config autosave/load (also by Menu)
  • GUI/Menu
    • Multi-Mod support (works on any COD4 version, e.g. PAM)
    • Easy Setup
  • Sounds
    • Multikill sounds
    • Spree sounds
    • Spam
    • Console spammer (frags, winamp)
    • Custom killspam
  • PB
    • Undetected
    • Stealth hooking
    • Cvar hide
    • Clean screenshots
    • Enhanced PB protection
    • Dynamic polymorphism (beat PB signature scans)
    • Wallhack
    • See players thru walls
    • X-RAY
    • X-Ray Proof

On a side note unrelated to the hacks that forever keep appearing, the game has not undergone the improvements that fans of the series have expected. One of the biggest examples is the lack of Hardcore Game Modes, which helps even the playing field (aside from the hackers) between highly ranked players and newcomers that may not have the same weaponry unlocked yet. Strangely unavailable are the highly entertaining Hardcore Capture The Flag, Sabotage, and Free-For-All game modes, as well as Demolition, Ground War, Domination, Mercenary Team Deathmatch (no parties allowed), and the outstanding Mosh Pit (randomly changes game modes). One would think that an update is in order based not only on my personal preference, but also those questions raised in the gaming community as a whole regarding the missing Hardcore options.

Now... on to the reason this article exists in the first place: The final knife in the back for my personal experience playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 online came when my buddy and I were unknowingly entered into a hacked server. It was immediately obvious that something was wrong when we heard the nuclear warning audio in the background, which normally only comes after a player, a very, very good player might I add, has gotten 25 kills in a row without dying himself, not when you first enter a match. Upon closer inspection, the countdown was actually set for more than 1600 minutes and the players currently in this non-standard match had racked up hundreds of kills, yet no points were scored. It was only upon exiting this match that we realized the harm that had truly been done as both of our profiles now were maxed out at rank 70 and had all weapons unlocked. For some, this may be a welcome benefit (remember those lazy, spoon-fed players that I mentioned earlier?), but for others, this means one of two things: continue to play and become a hacker yourself, or delete your profile and start from scratch, hoping to not run across another hacked server again. Unfortunately, like a plague of zombies wanting to infest you with a virus, it's only a matter of time.

Personally, I've opted for a third option: never playing again and losing my trust in two great companies. This experience has sealed the deal for me, and my playing days in terms of online Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are over. When you are at the top, there are always people gunning to take you down and you need to protect your IP with more firepower than ever. In gaming terms, that means ultimately sacrificing (i.e. banning) some of your paid members for the greater good of the whole before losing the support of the masses. Until Infinity Ward and Steam find a solution to this ongoing and ultimately debilitating problem, more and more gamers are certain to be turned off by the frustration of having to deal with hackers and a game that started its run on the top of the world, but is on its way to being 6 feet under.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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