Last week I wrote about exploiting in Black Desert Online and how it’s seemingly rife throughout the game. With the latest expansion pack also delayed due to it, I feel there’s certainly a need for Daum to change the reputation of the game. Not only is it becoming well known for exploiting, but it being a grind is well documented. Both of these things combined with swathes of AFK players in capital cities - in the long run - are likely to do the game lasting harm. Whether or not Daum choose to deal with these issues sooner rather than later is up for debate and they certainly don’t seem in any rush. Despite that and since last week's column, plenty of players have chatted with me about similar concerns. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of things I’d like Daum to do to get Black Desert Online back on track when it comes to dealing with exploiters.
Make More Server Side Checks
As far as I can discern and when it comes to many of the exploits in Black Desert Online, most are possible because core mechanics such as cooldowns, mana or health are controlled by the client and not the server. Although I suspect there will be some players resistant to this change due to the weight it would place on the game, implementing server side checks is looking inevitable. Daum have already detailed how the Karma system impacts on performance due to server side checks so recording all mechanics is going to add further strain. But with The Division suffering similar issues due to client-side programs being capable of manipulating the game and its systems, it’s incredible to think a modern MMO hasn’t come armed with the tools necessary to ensure this can’t happen.
Take A Hardline Approach
Any exploitation of any kind should see an individual permanently banned. Any exception to this rule creates grey areas that players will seek to abuse. If there’s any leniency of any kind there will always be those that attempt to find further cracks in the ruleset. I think it’s fair to say we’ve reached the point in MMO’s where time is precious and a level playing field is incredibly important to ensure the value of time invested. Giving anyone a slap on the wrist for breaching the rules of the game should be dealt with severely.
Review Past Abuse
This might prove controversial but I think Daum should go back and review all those that were previously found to be exploiting and retrospectively add greater punishment, including the removal of items, currency and anything that was gained through the abuse. In addition, those individuals should be given a final warning that they will face a permanent ban should they breach the rules again and that their accounts will be monitored.
Name and Shame
For those who exploit, I’m all for naming and shaming. Chris Cleary from ArenaNet is famed for it but in all honesty, but most games don’t go far enough in highlighting the action that has been taken. Remember the Guild Wars 1 ban animation? I’m thinking something similar for Black Desert Online. A public showing of a ban, as opposed to everything behind behind closed doors, would allow players to see those who cheat being dealt with. I'd also make it so those who have cheated in the past would be flagged next to their name until their penalty was served.
Publicly Declare Ban Waves
Similarly to the approach Blizzard has taken with Overwatch, publicly declaring those who are banned and how many sends out a positive message about the actions you have taken. If you can release numbers relating to the total figure banned there’s a sense that there’s no room for those who choose to exploit and it will naturally encourage others to report offenders.
All the above might sound fairly standard and for the vast majority of modern games, it is. Unfortunately for Daum there’s a sense they aren’t fulfilling many of these and if they are, are fairly miserably at getting that message across. With the exception of adjusting client versus server side checks, I don’t believe any of the above would be overly difficult. For the long term health of the game, it’s also absolutely necessary.
If you were Daum, how would you tackle those who choose to exploit and what would you do to change the reputation of the game? Let me know.