“Notification hackers have really become a detriment to the game”
“There is no such thing as a cheating neutral discord”
“Cheating as a whole is a detriment to the game and can really affect the game’s health.”
Cheaters have always been a major issue in terms of a game’s competitive landscape. It littered the fresh lands of gargantuan esports titles such as Counter Strike, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, as well as new up and comers, like Valorant.
And yet when it comes to the indie game Realm Of The Mad God, there’s often this mentality of being cheating neutral, being okay with cheaters, because it doesn’t directly affect anybody being a team-based, PVE(player versus entity/computer) bullet hell game.
The topic at hand is a very controversial one; one that sparks countless angry reddit posts and youtubers ranting at the parent company of Deca Games, and one that also gets me to reply angrily in a YouTube comments section about how inflammatory and ultimately useless their rants were.
I feel like more often than not, people don’t realize that there are real human beings who are cheating. Real human beings who feel real emotion, who feel happiness and angst and sadness. And what ends up happening is that we alienate these human beings looking to simply have the same release of happiness molecules in their brain, and we never truly answer the burning question, “why?”
Why cheat in Realm Of The Mad God, and to a further extent, why cheat in video games at all?
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Before we start, I want to point out my nonstance on the role of cheating in the community. While I don’t believe that cheating should be something that should be actively promoted, I also don’t believe that cheating in games is an inherently bad thing, especially in a game where people have no direct competition against each other.
A lot of people have pointed out to me that not having a stance on cheating was supporting it, that there is no such thing as being cheating neutral and always have tried to convince me that the game’s health was going to die if I didn’t stop and care about the cheating problem within the community.
Let’s put that statement into perspective. Say, I’m a 12 year old who just wants to have some fun playing a stupidly repetitive and chill game they just found on Steam(a game platform) called Realm Of The Mad God. It’s fun, a cool game, but it’s not something to obsess about, just a fun game to chill and grind to. Should this person care about the overall health of the game? Should they care about low tier or high tier items within the game and the self proclaimed good players?
I don’t want to be that guy, but the reality is that Realm is just a game. Whereas professional esports genres have real stakes as well as real emotional implications, Realm has, um,
“Flav has vanquished the Mad God with (number)(percent) of his hp!”
Realm has always been, at its core, a team based game. No, it’s not like a 5v5 ranked game in League, but instead relies more on a numbers based game, with skill but also relying on the people in your run to heal and buff you.
When did we pour so much emphasis and toxicity into an 8 bit game? Seriously, I’m confused. People constantly laugh at toxic Counter-Strike players and then somehow when it comes to Realm players can literally tell a person that his IQ is less than the average tadpole with a brain disability for the oh so terrible crime of crashing their Oryx Sanctuary run.
But what does this have to do with my main question, why cheat in Realm Of The Mad God? I mean, surely, cheaters have to care enough about the game to try and obtain high level gear without much risk involved.
There’s a 2018 video made by popular Counter-Strike YouTuber 3kliksphilip interviewing a cheater. While it’s not particularly made by a person who has any idea of the landscape of Realm Of The Mad God, it gives a very interesting insight into why the cheating community is so popular. It’s not because people want to gain the upper hand over people. It’s not to flex their rank to their friends, instead, it’s simply to have fun. That’s why the majority of hackers in counter-strike enjoy playing in hack versus hack servers, to test out their hack against other people’s hacks. Instead of depending on the game for being something it’s not, it can be argued that the cheaters are the people who are enjoying the game for what it truly should be, not some perverted twist of passion and toxicity that we see so often nowadays.
People cheat to have fun. When people cheat in minecraft to find diamonds, it’s because it’s fun. People cheat in Realm, because it’s fun. If you asked a hacker, 9/10 times they won’t be doing it because they genuinely wanted to feel good about themselves, no, that already died when they first installed the cheat.
Cheating isn’t a priority in ROTMG, not only because it’s such a huge issue to face, but because there just isn’t anything bad associated with it. At its core, it’s people who want to enjoy the game in their own specific way, and in the end, it doesn’t really affect the major concept of the game.
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Of course, this perspective has its flaws. Of course there are genuinely people who somehow find things competitive with a game like Realm Of The Mad God. I don’t know everything, nor do I pretend to know everything. I don’t know what it’s like to be a top tier player, but as a person, as a human being, it genuinely hurts me to see people be toxic to other people, other humans over something as simple as an MMORPG. Cheating isn’t a problem because of cheaters, it’s a problem because we as a community consistently give it attention, because we treat people who commit these “heinous” acts as subhuman.
Maybe, instead of toxicity, let’s try acceptance. Let’s take a long hard look at the situation we’re in, laugh, and understand that (bear with me here) It’s just a game.