As with any massively multiplayer online game, Planetside 2 features two distinct groups of players: those who simply want to enjoy the entertainment value of Sony Online Entertainment’s latest massively multiplayer online first-person shooter, and those who want to win, no matter what the cost. While we respect the dedication of that latter group, occasionally this single-minded determination drives a player to explore various ways to cheat the game, whether they be software hacks or unlawful exploitation of the in-game world. Whatever method they prefer, cheaters are a big problem in online games, and Sony Online Entertainment wants absolutely everyone to know that it will not tolerate such behavior in Planetside 2.
Taking to Twitter, SOE president John Smedley offered a stern warning to cheaters. “I want to make some very clear statements about hacking in PlanetSide 2. We are aggressively banning people,” Smedley said. “We play the game — we see the people using aim bots. We are banning them. We see people attempting other stuff. We are banning them. As they develop hacks, we will break the hacks. We have time and great people. Trust that this is a top priority. Hackers will not win,” he adds moments later.
Oh, but John Smedley wasn’t done with his candid Twittering. Instead of leaving the above, succinct yet firm warning to stand on its own, Smedley later returns for what appears to be a modern reenactment of The Scarlet Letter. Instead of simply banning cheaters, he’s opted to publicly shame them, before dispensing straight-up insults. “Haruhi at http://artificialaiming.com was just banned. all 3 of his accounts. Goodbye you scumbag. Find a new hobby or get good at the game,” Smedley wrote.
Perhaps realizing what a shock it is for the world to witness a normally diplomatic executive verbally attack some random Internet stranger for cheating at a video game, Smedley later reconsiders his statement, and while he doesn’t outright withdraw the remarks, he does attempt to offer an explanation for his strong tone. “People are asking why I publicly named Haruhi. Ordinarily our policy is not to do that. Since he’s pushing the Aimbot site I thought an exception has to be made for the guy pimping the tools hackers are using. It’s not to shame him. It’s to make an example and say ‘the stuff this guy is selling or giving you will get you banned… just like him.”
Whether you find Smedley’s words to be overly aggressive and appalling or think Sony Online Entertainment should flay any suspected cheaters to death, it does seem as if the company is taking no prisoners in its anti-cheating efforts. Whether they will have any notable effect on the Planetside 2 playerbase remains to be seen — cheaters, like cockroaches, are intensely hard to wipe out completely — but at least SOE was able to properly bare its fangs (which was likely the point all along).