Cheaters Beware! Part 1

Clip from For Richer Or Poorer (good movie btw!)

Jr IRS Agent : Sir, I may be new at this, but I don't think we shoot people for cheating on their taxes!
Sr. IRS Agent : Oh, you are right.... you are new at this.
commic relief  

Last week, I finally snapped, and personally updated one of our “cheater-finding” tools (at Realm of Empires, we do not believe in political correctness)

It was not an easy decision when you are just getting ready to launch ROE mobile, a product of many months of hard work. But our support team finally gave me the kick I needed, showing me how hard it is for them to investigate one particular issue.  

The problem

It was very slow and cumbersome to investigate attacks made by player, or set of players. We either had to 
  1. sift through reports, one at a time
  2. or look at way too much detail in a  database-level report

The solution - battle log!

We've created a persistent, detailed log of attacks, with all relevant information in one place - who attacked whom, with what strength, who supported at this time and with what troops, results etc etc

It was at this time that I again realized how much effort goes into making Realm of Empires a fair game. Unlike big studios, we don’t have a dedicated team for this; we have to pull developers from other tasks.

We expend a lot of effort to keep the game fair
This is a big topic, and I hope to give you an overview of what we do, and of bit of history in a multi-part blog.

Why players cheat?

Realm of Empires is an aggressive, highly competitive game. I play competitively as well, and I know full well the adrenalin rush, when you are about to make that risky move that could cost you your empire. I also experienced the anger and frustration when a player fights back in a way that suggest cheating (a strangely immediate counter attack from multiple, similarly named players, for example)

If it quacks and walks like a cheaters, well... it is sometimes not a cheater

Having been in this situation, I personally used our tools to analyze such players to get a better idea of the state of the game, better understand players, our perception of possible cheating etc.

Often, well, you just pissed off a very good player, with a very well organized clan. Perhaps a clan with a pre-determined plan of action for many scenarios - one for all, all for one.

Often, players reported to us as “cheaters” are not really cheating at all. They are just very, very good, with very good network of friends and clan mates. However, some players are cheating and we investigate all your reports, as well as proactively look for such players.

Some players play together for so long, that they actually choose similar names in new realms to show their solidarity.

From purse snatchers to battle hardened, cyber criminals!

Some players cheat in obvious ways, some got to extraordinary ways to cover their tracks. Over time, we’ve sent countless development hours and built an array of tools. 

However, more on this, in the next part!

Blog shall return in “part 2, of the blog”

[ this was a geeky bond reference if anyone missed it! :) ]

P.S. The movie clip included in this blog is a movie recommendation from the author of this blog. Players should not read into any hidden messages, and mostly likely the Realm of Empires team shall beat Greg a little bit on monday for even including it.