355,000 Apex Legends Cheaters Banned On PC, And That's Just The Beginning

Respawn is putting cheaters in its sights.

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Respawn Entertainment is not taking the matter of Apex Legends cheaters lightly. For a game that is played exclusively online and brings together 60 players for each match, the potential for cheating ruining the experience is a real problem. Respawn has its banhammer out and ready to go however, as the developer confirmed in a Reddit post that as of March 8, it had banned more than 355,000 players on PC alone. The company has also addressed some other pressing matters, such as players disconnecting and the possibility of being able to reconnect to a match you've dropped from (don't get your hopes up).

In terms of dealing with cheaters, Respawn uses the Easy-Anti-Cheat tools for the PC version of the battle royale game. It's working to some extent, but Respawn acknowledged that fighting against cheaters is an "ongoing war."

"We'll need to continue to adapt to and be very vigilant about fighting [cheaters]," Respawn said. "We take cheating very seriously and care deeply about the health of Apex Legends for all players."

Respawn added that it is working on new anti-cheat measures, but the developer doesn't plan to openly communicate its plans--and that's intentional.

"We're going to have to be pretty secretive about our plans," Respawn said. "Cheaters are crafty and we don't want them to see us coming."

At a high level, Respawn said it has already begun communicating with anti-cheat experts within EA and outside of it. Not only that, but Respawn has begun to scale up its own internal anti-cheat team, while the studio also plans to introduce new reporting functionality for bad behaviour. With more than 50 million players already and its popularity only continuing to rise, it's no surprise that Apex Legends cheats have become increasingly commonplace.

Another significant complaint among players that isn't tied directly to cheaters is the matter of quitters. Specifically, one situation that isn't uncommon is that players will attempt to communicate which of the game's characters they want to play as, and if someone picks that legend first, they'll disconnect. With the game not replacing that member of the team, it puts you at a serious disadvantage before your feet even touch the ground.

In the Reddit post, Respawn said it's aware of this but, again, that it's hesitant to share specific plans so that players can't counteract them. "We are very aware of the cases of players spamming during character select and the drop and then disconnecting shortly after. We're keeping a lot of our strategy close to the chest so offenders don’t have time to build workarounds before we implement changes. Solutions won't happen right away but we're on it."

Additionally, Respawn said it's working on improving general stability and performance on PC, and to that end, it's releasing aapatch soon that will address some of the known crashes. AMD is visiting Respawn's offices soon to discuss best practices; Nvidia already came by to the studio.

Respawn also said it's aware that people are asking for Apex Legends to allow players to re-connect to a match if they drop out. However, there are no plans for this because it "opens up a lot of risk" for abuse, while Respawn said the efforts that would be required to release such a feature would take away from other, more pressing matters. Finally, Respawn said in the post that it's aware of issues related to slow performance at the start of matches. The studio is looking into the matter, but it might not be a simple, quick fix.

"If this could be fixed by spending money on faster/more servers we would do it, but unfortunately there is no silver bullet on this one," Respawn said. "We're just rolling up our sleeves and digging in. We'll keep you updated on any progress we make."

It appears this latest update from Respawn is related only to PC; given the closed nature of consoles, cheating by way of third-party software is generally less common on console than PC, though cheating does still happen on PS4 and Xbox One.

In other Apex Legends news, the latest weapon balance patch is out out, dealing primarily with Peacekeeper and Wingman. Additionally, a future update will address hitbox concerns and make additional balance changes to certain characters. The game's first battle pass is due out sometime this month and may include a new character, although Respawn hasn't gone into great deal about what it'll consist of, exactly when it's releasing, or what it'll cost.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for rxvitaminr
RxVitaminR

Unless they are banning the system’s MAC Address, it’s not going to be enough.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

They should try leaving cheaters in the game, but isolate them to their own matches and servers. Just outright banning them will have them come back with a different account to continue all over again. Letting cheaters fight against other cheaters keeps them occupied and should quickly either bore them or fustrate them into quitting on their own. They'll soon realize that no one can score any points or win any games because they all have infinite health or some other way that lets the cheaters avoid losing a match.

This also gives unintentional cheaters a second chance to get back into the game. Unintentional, in the sense of bugs/glitches caused by the game gives a player strikes. Being fairly new guarantees bugs/glitches (even more so with todays games.)

I remember playing online in GTAV when the online was still new and got the dunce cap a few times because the game kept freezing when joining a game. I had to force reset my PS3 a few times just to get out of it. I couldn't even even get back to the PS3 home screen. I would also get host could not connect, which would send me back to freeroam with another strike to my account. If they were as aggressive (Rockstar is much more aggressive now,) I would most likely have been banned.

Not saying all are innocent in the Apex banning, but the number seems really high.

Avatar image for csward
csward

@lion2447: 355,000/50,000,00=.0071. That's less than 1% of the player base. Not out of the realm of normal numbers to me.

Avatar image for BoxOfPocky
BoxOfPocky

@lion2447: If the end result is an expectation of them leaving anyways, then why not expedite the process and drop them out of the game. Why waste more time, energy, and resources to them? Now if you are saying that they'll somehow change their ways and become legit players then sure. But if they chose to cheat to begin it I doubt they'll change their ways.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

@BoxOfPocky: It's more about letting cheaters come to their own conclusions to leave the game. Forcing a cheater out of something they like to do is just going to reinforce them into doing it again. They will just open another account and continue with what they were doing. They won't have any attachments to previous accounts because they don't need to worry about leveling up or items.

Allowing cheaters to become bored and leave on their own will reduce the chances of coming back. It also has a side effect of reducing the cheating in other games. If the person is occupied in one game they won't be in another game.

"Why waste more time, energy, and resources to them?"

Unfortunately, that's true. But more in the sense of how much has been invested in the anti-cheat banning technology already. I doubt companies are going to abandon what they have put so much money into up to this point.

What I wouldn't mind seeing is the more creative ways of dealing with cheaters. More akin to how some games deal with piracy.

https://www.gamesradar.com/9-clever-ways-game-developers-thwarted-piracy/

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@lion2447: Developers have done just this. Take League of Legends, that started to assigned a tag to toxic players so that they would only be matched with each other. It didnt work as they would just quit the game and the developer saw a drop in numbers. They found short time outs, increasing in length of time to fix much of it.

A toxic player (cheaters, trolls, rage quitters, glitchers, abusive language, etc etc) is just like a toxic person - they only exist in a room of non toxic people. If you put them together they just leave the game, which is NOT what a dev/pub wants. If you let them stay, others will leave, which is NOT what dev/pub wants. But if you set a game where their actions cannot effect others, then most all settle in to the game peacefully.

I personally would love to see all of these kind of gamers cordoned off alone, sterilized, and also have their parents and grand parents punched in their noses .... a few times. But that is not the best business model.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

@jenovaschilld: "But if you set a game where their actions cannot effect others, then most all settle in to the game peacefully."

That's kind of what I'm saying. They are still free to play the game, so there won't be drops in numbers. Keeping them in isolated servers avoids bothering other fair playing players, which should help keep the peace.

"It didnt work as they would just quit the game..."

That is the result I'm implying it should be. The player should be the one quitting the game. This means they are less likely to just reenter the game with a different account and continue to harass other players. It shouldn't be seen as a bad thing for the developers as these players are very unlikely to be supporting the game in any meaningful way. Also, by now, many developers are very good at PR'ing their stories. Instead of them stating that 100k players have left the game, they would spin it into a story of 100k cheaters left the game and the game is now better than ever.

Now in reality, my thought is it is never going to happen. Too much money has been spent on anti-cheat technology to just abandon it now (and subsequently cheat technology on account of the cheaters.) Even Windows 10 incorporates anti-cheat technologies (It can be turned off at the moment, but I'm sure Microsoft will eventually integrated it into the system.) The easiest way to use the technology with the most impact is to show other players that the cheaters have been banned. This in turn give the other players a feeling that something is being done and the cheaters got their comeuppance. Telling other players that the cheaters are now on a private server of their own doesn't have the same impact.

At the end of the day though it's just another cat and mouse game.

Avatar image for attirex
attirex

@lion2447: Agreed! Sort of like the All Drug Olympics.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@attirex: Oh you mean like the NFL.

Avatar image for nsa_protocol44
NSA_Protocol44

They banned the whole PC part of their community LOL. None is left.

Avatar image for Torvar72
Torvar72

good ban them all

Avatar image for nintendians
nintendians

still hate those cheaters, they have no skill and make the game less fun then it is.

Avatar image for esqueejy
esqueejy

"Respawn said it has already begun communicating with anti-cheat experts within EA"

Makes sense. EA is all about cheating consumers, so they must have experts on both sides of that fence.

The cheating is pretty insane though. I watched a video on Force's Youtube channel and they had all kinds of crazy things like different ways of highlighting every character in the match, even through walls, highilghted hit boxes even for toons really far away, auto-aim (of course), etc., AND people are charging monthly fees for access to them...it's nuts....one was even $290 for "lifetime membership". Sucks that the gaming community is so freekin immature they do crap like this to ruin good games.

Avatar image for letsgame82
letsgame82

This is one of the main reasons why I prefer to only play games on consoles. There's no level playing field on.

Avatar image for grom_lom
Grom_Lom

@letsgame82: FPS Dominator lets you cheat on consoles with ease. Some features like auto aim require subscription but things like rapid fire, jitter mode can be used by pressing a button.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@grom_lom: That's a controller mod. And the cheat functions are still regulated, so it's not easy at all. Still quite risky.

Still nowhere near prevalent as cheaters on PC. I encounter them roughly every third game on PC. It's very rare on consoles.

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

@fildosaggins: Apex, pubg, bf5, fortnite....heck, any PC online game.

Avatar image for zyxahn
zyxahn

@sealionact: Walked right into that one.

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

@fildosaggins: 335000 people.Thats not a lot of cheaters?

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

@fildosaggins: What world do you live in? I see hacks every single day playing pubg on PC. Bf5 is a mess of cheaters, dice have given up. Anti cheat systems are punishing good players, who get reported by salty players, and you can openly and easily buy hacks online.

You're in denial, or you dont play a lot online.

Avatar image for realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

@sealionact:

Not a whole lot compared to 50 million total players.

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

@realguitarhero5: Even if theres only 500,000 in 50,000,000 that's still one percent which is one in every game on average.

Avatar image for zyxahn
zyxahn

@sealionact: A PC troll. They know about cheaters. Like cheaters, let trolls entertain themselves.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@tom-pepper: You're a fool if you believe paying for online gets rid of cheaters. In fact, there's another form of cheating that consoles don't do anything to stop: people buying upgrades and loot boxes with real cash. It's like using steroids, which is considered cheating in professional sports. As for the other stuff, if I want that, I'd actually go out and buy those games instead.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@Jinzo_111887: That's not really how lootboxes work anymore.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@tom-pepper: So what do you think's going to happen to the console experience as cross platform online multiplayer becomes more common? You'll be playing against PC gamers among people using other systems...

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Unless they put a ban (even a small one) on the unique players IP addresses, then the cheaters/griefers will just make a new account in seconds. There are tons of videos doing this.

Back in the days of Spec Ops, Unreal - when they used third parties to reduce/control the minority abusers that made games so toxic, did we see how important these measures are to a games overall health. These measures may have been more expensive then automated background code used today, but it was alot more effective. And produces a game people will want to play longer.

Avatar image for nikon133
nikon133

@jenovaschilld: Well, they can also ban specific license keys. First cheating caught, 7 days ban. Second cheating, a month ban. Etc. As long as they provide unique license key for each copy, it is easier than IP address, I think. Many people are still on dynamic IP.

Mind you, I do play most of my competitive on console. With all the controller mods and whatnot, still way less cheating. I can't say I have noticed obvious cheating on PS4, so far. Of course it might have been my observational skills, but I am under impression that, if there is cheating on consoles, it is much more subtle. I wish I could say the same on PC, but I cannot.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@nikon133: Yeah license keys would be cool. So dynamic is from consumer to their devices - say a router. And from provider to consumer, (that IP), would be the one banned. No possibility of a wrong IP ban. See here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address, This would identify the correct computer or console offending even if at a internet cafe, mc donalds, etc.

Any game, there will always be cheaters on any platform. PC is easier due to third party software.

Avatar image for nikon133
nikon133

@jenovaschilld: I know what you are saying - but many parts of the world, ISPs still give dynamic IP to ADSL and VDSL residential users... like with my ISP here in New Zealand. If I turn off and back on my ADSL modem/router, my WAN IP will change. My internal (LAN) IP is set to DHCP so it will change as well, though I can easily give my gaming PC static IP outside of DHCP range... but that would be just address between my PC and my router.

I think that some local ISPs give static IP to residential customers, and some allow customers to request static IP... not sure about my ISP. I am not finding this too important while on ADSL. Once I get fibre (or move to address with available fibre), I think WAN address will be static by default.

But there's another problem in there. What if flatmates/siblings share Internet connection and play the same game on two computers? Banning WAN IP would disable all of them sitting behind same router. Software license key is more... personal :)

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@jenovaschilld: The problem is IP addresses change, so that can't be done. In addition, I wouldn't be surprised if there's hateful balls of trash that actively report people for stuff just to try to get them in trouble, even if the person didn't do anything wrong.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@Jinzo_111887: I think your getting dynamic assigned IP addresses assigned by router to different device - while a provider who would recognize you - John Doe who pays for internet - would be banned and all of the IP given to any and all devices for that customer.

Yeah, there are groups of players that have tried to spam abuse reports at a single player who didnt do anything wrong to get them banned. Lets say a mmorpg where a guild reports a single player for profanity. But now the algorithm used for reporting is more complex and a few or groups of players cannot trigger a ban to a single person.

A publisher.developer have little fear or getting it wrong, as much as not getting paid. Even a free to play game, monetary value is based on player base numbers.

Avatar image for beizelby
Beizelby

Cheating has gotten so bad in online gaming these days. You can not play a online shooter without them using ESP (Markers showing player locations) hacks, and more often than not Aimbots as well.

It's pathetic and ruins what would normally be great games.

The other day I tried returning to Battlefield V in the hopes they might have gotten a handle on the cheaters in that game, but nope. I watched a few people using spectate mode, and 3 out of the five I chose to watch were clearly cheating.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@beizelby: Worst kind of cheaters are those that buy loot boxes. I don't want to play with people who buy the digital equivalent of steroids from slot machines.

Avatar image for caj1986
Caj1986

@beizelby: which is why i kinda stay away from d multiplayer. I prefer singleplayer games rather

Avatar image for oCAFFEINEo
oCAFFEINEo

Why do gamers use hacks in online games? Because they suck or wanna grieve non-cheaters or both? I just don't get it. And with Apex being free-to-play, hackers will just create another account via Email and get back into the game. I say ban their IP address.

Avatar image for caj1986
Caj1986

@oCAFFEINEo: 2 reasons i can think of. 1 the thrill they get, 2nd in countries like china people do it to earn skins, cosmetic, gems, etc. And sell it for money. Apparently its why if you go to 2 various sites u can find many selling team fortress 2, cs go, etc keys

Avatar image for beizelby
Beizelby

@oCAFFEINEo: Unfortunately banning their IP does not work as most of the people using the cheats/hacks are likely also using VPN Software to change/mask their true IP.

Sucks but true.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@beizelby: Not really, VPN usage adds alot of latency (well alot to FPS gamers) - which makes most FPS not very playable. IP banning is the best way, even for just 30min first time, 2hr next time, etc.

But publishers make money on sheer volume of players as well through selling to third parties. When you ban a IP it reduces total numbers also. And even though in the story above they banned 330k players, they are still registered as active users. See https://www.gamesindustry.biz/ developer section/ articles, for more info.

Avatar image for Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

@jenovaschilld: Isn't 5G supposed to be rolling out soon? I have to wonder how that would factor into the matters. Anyway, I had an ISP that changed my IP address regularly. As a result, it was possible to end up with an IP address someone else was using.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@Jinzo_111887: So 5G, or 5th gen wireless phone tech, is just a way of sending data code that uses multiple lanes and towers. Instead of one tower there will be many more little towers providing encoding at once to give you speeds both download/upload at close to something that feels wired. Faster speed, lower latency, and more device support. This will not factor into what we recognize as FPS shooters.

Your Internet service provider, will not change your unique id for access and payment. While a router may do things like dynamic IP to different devices and such. There still needs to be an attachment of customer to device in order for ISP to get the correct data back to who needs it. So when an IP gets banned from say a game, it will register at the corporation/business and not just locally at say a router or computer.

The identity ... given to each consumer and device is where you would never get someone else's. So while your devices may dynamically be getting a different IP protocol ipv4 ipv6 -- your internet service provider, say comcast/Spectrum (or the local McDonalds internet cafe) will be log as the one to let through to play a certain game. This allows a game to ban a single person's computer in a internet cafe or college dorm from having access in case of abuse.

No one will be 'accidentally' banned because of an issue with an IP. It will be over what its about, what group, what game etc etc. And again a VPN do add a small amount of latency, to a degree you will not see people playing a fps using one.

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