It's fine to take drastic action against somebody cheating in multiplayer. Those people are scum. But what happens when people begin to be banned for bending the rules of a game's singleplayer component?
Gamer gm0ney is accusing Blizzard of suspending his Starcraft II account for the use of "unauthorized cheat programs". The thing is, gm0ney claims to have never played the game's online multiplayer component, where such a thing would matter, and has only been enjoying its singleplayer game modes.
The "unauthorized cheat program" in question is a trainer developed by CheatHappens.com, which allows users to alter the rules of a game to make things a little easier/more enjoyable. Some of these things include granting the player unlimited minerals, the removal of cooldowns for unit building and an invincibility mode for all units.
These programs have been a part of PC gaming for years now, allowing gamers to take on a challenge at a pace and with the tools they want, not those offered by a developer. I've used a few of them myself from time to time, sometimes to get past tricky stages in a shooter, other times to give a strategy game a more "sandbox" feel.
So why ban somebody for using these tools? Welcome to the 21st century, where digital game purchases challenge traditional notions of game "ownership". Defending the decision, Blizzard reportedly responded to gm0ney with "While single player games only appear to be you and a computer at first, your achievements and gamer score also carries weight and prestige for your online play".
In other words, by making online authentication and account registration such an integral part of their game, Blizzard has blurred the lines between what a user wants to do with "their" game in solo play and what the publisher allows as part of a larger, integrated network.
We contacted Blizzard yesterday for confirmation of this report, and did not hear back from the publisher. Seeing as that leaves us with one side of a story, it's best to take it with a grain of salt.
Blizzard Bans Single Player Cheaters [CheatHappens]