South African gaming service providers are reporting that numerous SA gamers are getting banned for hacking in Battlefield 3.
MWEB Gameszone reports 9 banned South African Battlefield 3 players. iGame Online reports 30 bans on their BF3 servers. Over the past month, WAGE reports 28 BF3 bans, of which 7 were South African players.
Sometimes it feels as if hackers are part of the scenery in Battlefield 3. The methods of hacking usually involve downloading a bit of software that will inject itself into the game code as it runs, and allow “hackers” to pull off inhuman feats of accuracy and target spotting. Be sure to check the videos at the bottom of this article for examples of this scourge.
We caught up with the local gaming service providers to find out the extent of the problem on South African Battlefield 3 servers, and how they have been tackling the issue.
Desmond Kurz, online gaming manager for MWEB GameZone, said of their in-house ban-list: “Accounts are not always just banned for hacking, sometimes its other kinds of misconduct.”
“At the moment, there are 21 bans in effect for Battlefield 3, 11 are for South Africans. Of the 11 banned in SA, 9 are banned for hacking,” said Kurz.
“We also subscribe to global ban lists, so if SA users conduct themselves poorly on other servers, they might also be banned on ours.”
iGame product manager Zahir Khan told us that hackers are identified in a few ways on their service. “Firstly, we run an up to date Punkbuster Service together with our Admin Group who are all experienced in iGame Procedures for identifying and catching hackers. Combined with this system we also monitor and analyze game logs on a daily basis and motivate the community to report suspected hackers directly to an admin for investigation.”
“We have been fortunate that we have had very few hacking incidents on iGame Battlefield 3 servers when compared to certain other titles we run/have run in the past. Every so often someone does attempt to hack on one of our servers but the situation is normally resolved quickly and the player is removed as soon as sufficient evidence is gathered to warrant removal,” said Khan.
“We have removed 30 Players in total for hacking on our servers. A few more are still under investigation.”
“We do not subscribe to any international ban lists as the effectiveness of this system, despite [being] supported by certain ISP’s in South Africa, has been erratic in my experience,” added Khan.
“We firmly believe that a combination of admins and the community themselves can more effectively maintain player experience on the iGame portal, and to date we have had great support from the community.”
Web Africa Gaming Experience (WAGE)
Robert Tait, WAGE Games Master, said that WAGE strives to protect all its players. “Often, hackers run amok and ruin the game for everyone, this is why it’s critical for us and other GSP’s to ensure that users of the game who purposefully exploit and hack the game are dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible.”
“As our policy stands, hackers need to be identified first and it’s required that proof of hacking/exploiting has occurred before taking action against the accused hacker. We check various player statistics for any obvious fluctuations, we check international anti-cheat services for any listing. If this is fruitless, we then request PunkBuster screenshots from the game server the player in question is currently on.”
“Administrators will then attempt to spectate the player whilst recording via video-recording software. This is used as evidence if required. It is no easy task accumulating evidence required to bust a hacker, Battle Recorder and spectator mode would certainly come in handy,” said Tait.
“Hacking is most certainly a recurring issue on our platform, and to be fair, it’s an issue on all gaming services across all GSP’s. Where possible, taking all necessary measures to prevent hackers, there will always be hackers around; it’s a sad reality of online gaming. While the local gaming scene continues to expand, we’ll definitely see more of those who use/test hacks.”
“Thankfully DICE continues to provide the gaming community with peace of mind by providing patched game server software preventing loopholes exploited by hackers. It’s up to the community and server administrators to do the rest. While Punkbuster and other streaming services do not guarantee a hacker-free environment, it’s important to have a structurally sound administrative team,” explained Tait.
Speaking to the number of hackers busted on WAGe, Tait said that “over the last month we have recorded 28 implemented bans by our administrators. 25% of these are South African.”
“This is due to the less restrictive ping limiter on our servers. Whereas our Call Of Duty 4 servers tallied 75% of 230 bans as South Africans. It is important that all GSP’s stream to some sort of anti-cheat service,” said Tait.
- WAGE enforces 12,786 third party Punkbuster bans.
- Actively kicked 199 players who were listed on third party ban sites.
- Enforce 2,589 bans from other GSP’s.
- Propagates all bans to other leading GSP’s, and vice-versa.
Internet Solutions Gaming
Gaming services manager for IS Gaming, Davin Hansen, explained that IS has only recently received a new licence to host Battlefield 3, and is therefore still experiencing low traffic volumes on their servers.
Hansen did provide information about hacking across IS gaming services in general.
MyGaming: How do you identify hackers/cheaters on your gaming service?
Hansen: They are spectated and their actions are recorded. This will then be reviewed by the admin team. Depending on the severity of the cheat used this could lead to multiple meetings for thorough review.
MyGaming: Is hacking/cheating a recurring problem in the IS platform?
Hansen: There are always people trying to get an unfair advantage no matter what title it is. Games that use very flexible game engines have more chance of hackers. We do keep the servers as clean as possible.
MyGaming: How many bans have originated from the IS gaming service?
Hansen: We have around 2,000 bans on record across all games. Some will be duplicates where players play multiple games and where we have re-bans.
MyGaming: Which other international ban lists do you utilise?
Hansen: We do not use external ban lists.
To get a better understanding of the extent to which hacking ruins games of BF3, you can read this post over on Reddit from a self-confessed BF3 hacker, describing just how extensive these cheats can be.
The video below also shows hacking in action, with enemies highlighted across the map, text message warnings of enemy locations, and 100% accuracy on shots, through walls.
SAIX Gaming was contacted for feedback on this topic, but did not respond by the time of publication.
Have you encountered any hackers in Battlefield 3? Share your tales of rage in the comments below and on the MyGaming forum.
Can’t get enough face-stabbing news? Be sure to read up on our latest coverage of Battlefield 3.