Is Blizzard Banning Starcraft II Players For Cheating In Singleplayer?

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]


Comments

    I'm sure blizzard has a perfectly logical reason as to why these players are being banned. If it is possible for these banned players to recieve achievement points while these 3rd party cheats are activated then it would make perfect sense for blizzard to ban them. Besides, I'm not entirely sure myself, but doesnt blizzard usually encorporate these kinda cheats in their games anyways? e.g. unlimited resources or skipping a mission.. etc..

      once upon a time yes. but with blizzard's battle.net now being simmilar to PSN or XBL in terms of achievments such cheats have been removed.

      I disagree. This sort of stuff harms the legitimate modding community too. Yes, Starcraft has a modding tool built in (with a completely crappy method of delivery though), but you can bet your arse that Diablo 3 will have forced online integration too, it's Blizzard's method of avoiding piracy.

      Harmless singleplayer mods like D2's Ladder Runewords mod and MedianXL will no longer be possible, unless you want to get banned from a game you paid good money for.

      yes, starcraft 2 still has official cheats, you can't get achievements while using them.

      but achievements can go F**K them selves! I don't CARE about them! I'd much rather play the game the way I WANT TO.

      I was afraid this would happen. and it is completely WRONG for blizzard to do it. though I can understand how the mixup would have happened.

    Just put an asterisk next to his achievement point total.

    you're correct there Richard.

    There are cheat codes incorperated into the game that allow for the kinds of things that third party cheat program alos allows.

    The main difference though is that while the blizzard cheat codes will disable the ability to collect achievements for the various levels and modes of gameplay the third party trainer would still allow the user to collect those achievements.

    I am in favour of blizzard banning a player for using third party mods as it removes the challenge from completing those achievements. If i want to get the kerrigan portrait picture i have to complete every level of the game on brutal difficulty. this is incredibly hard. to have it completed by someone using a third party cheat because he's to shit to learn the necessary skills makes me mad. same for people cheating at online play.

      Does it really worry you what 'achievements' other people have and how they got them? Surely the value in the achievement is, well, the act of achieving it, or is it more of an e-peen thing?

      I enjoy achievements as they help suggest other challenges and other ways of playing a game and milking more fun from it, but I'd personally prefer them to only display on yr own machine and not be visible online.

      If they have to display them, then yeah, just asterisk it, banning is ridiculous, the whole world is becoming so obnoxiously straight laced lately.

    wow thats complete bulls... its so big brother it aint funny, what you do in solo player effects an arbitrary number other people can see? BAN HAMMER, and youre given no choice to have none of these features so you can actually do these things you want that dont effect anyone else except for some ARBITRARY number system?

    That's bullshit, just remove all his achievements if that's the reason. Don't ban the guy for cheating in single player.

    gm0ney talks about the legality of what happened but a court case runs like this:

    Blizzard: did you install our game?
    gm0ney: yes
    Blizzard: did you read our terms of service?
    gm0ney: No
    Blizzard: did you agree to our terms of service?
    gm0ney: Yes
    Blizzard: did you use software prohibited by our terms of service?
    gm0ney: Yes
    Blizzard: Then we were legally within our right to terminate your use of our software, case closed.

    a battle.net account is the same as an XBL or PSN account with acheivments and purchased DLC and Games bound to it, if you break policy on either XBL or PSN our account is banned and your purchases lost. .net accounts work the same blizzard just dont "own" the platform its played on like microsoft or sony do.

      I don't think anyone debating the legality. Just weather it's a douche move or not.

      Actually it doesn't go like that at all. I worked for a very large software company that was on the receiving end of a tos challenge, and it usually turns out that consumer rights can override a toe agreement, if the agreement breaches individual rights, which many do.

    They're not achievements unless you earn them, cheating to get them is bad mojo and good on'em for the bans. I like that the in-game cheats block achievements, that's only fair.

      Lots of people (such as myself) don't even give a flying crap about achievements. As far as I know there's no way to avoid getting them (unless you pirate the game) and they certainly shouldn't be used as a reason for not being allowed to cheat in single player.

        you can play the game offline... the only reason you need to sign into your bnet account is if you wanted to skirmisk

        really i think the ban is justified, if you wanted to cheat you can do so via in game cheats

      Yeah but the poor kid probably doesn't even want or care about achievements if he just wants to muck around single player.

      The loss of ownership of the games we buy, and the requirement to play them online whther we want to or not, is worrying to me.

      Ive been a member of CH for a quite a few years and i still support blizzard for doing this. No matter if you like achievements or hate them, they are here to stay and using a 3rd party trainer on an always connected game is asking for trouble. If you didnt care about achievements just use the ingame cheats that come with the game ( something every blizzard game has except the diablo series).

      Now i also know that the guys at CH also produce some pretty nifty stuff in their trainers that are not part of the ingame cheats. but if your going to use the trainers, unplug your connection.

      Otherwise blizz has every reason to ban you because you are using the trainer just so you can the portraits/unit decals. you are illegally cheating the system

        Lock the kid up then for having some fun - when did games become so serious?

    If true, I think it's a bit harsh to be honest. Stripping them of their achievements would be more suitable. I guess they were trying to get a hardline message across but if that was the case, at least 1 warning beforehand would've been fair (along with a stripping of the achievements). If it happened again then by all means, drop the hammer.

    Horribly handled. What someone does in SP shouldn't get them banned. Just remove his achievements if it means so much to blizz, i'm sure he doesn't care about them

    Blizzard are jerks, and ever since they teamed up with Activision they've gotten worse. What gamers do in single player is nobody's business but theirs.

    a person should be allowed to do as they wish on their own as long as it does not impact any other player in any way. A ban isnt necessary, but surely detection and achievement block would suffice

    Really? Prestige? A bunch of arbitrary task to get points that dont do anything! Damn i hate where this is taking gaming today. Heres hoping that someone in influence sits back and thinks this through a little. Strip him of the achievements!
    Imagine if you could have no longer have played Red Alert because you couldn't resist the urge to make medics that through out dogs instead of heal, or cruisers that fired nukes! Ohh the good times.

    Hacking disrupts the online component making it unfair to other players even in single mode as there is a achievements system even for the single player component. by banning i am sure blizzard is banning for that reason. if there weren't achievements players can compare or benefit from, there would be no ban unless you hack the multi-player game. Moreover Blizzard has their OWN set of cheats that are sufficient for any players to dominate the game but with a price of not getting any trophies.

    cheat+trophies=ban
    cheat-trophies=blizzard's rules

    so by hacking in single player, it still disrupts the fairness of blizzard's online achievements competitive system even for single player. blizzard isn't wrong. if you wanna cheat you can just do it all the way with BLIZZARD's codes. i am surprised no one SPOKE of it and instead just go on about why blizzard banning them for cheating using a 3rd party program. i dont see anyone getting banned with blizzard's cheat codes. it's the gameplay that matters. achievements are just mere graphical satisfaction. and it doesn't count much if you hacked for it.

    Blizzard has every right to take ownership away. You bought the game under blizzard's rules. Break it lose it.

      If blizzard, and you, are so concerned about the online achievements then take THAT component away from the cheaters. There is no good reason for them to stop people playing it offline by them selves any way they like.

      Whining about cheaters getting achievements is just a ridiculous cover. It's pretty easy to just take the achievements away from those that have cheated (as I'm sure they do in addition to banning).

    This is wrong. You can't take away something that someone paid for just because they use it in a way you don't like. The argument about achievements is complete BS. If blizzard investigate your account for cheating in single player and find that you are cheating then they can just remove your single player achievements, but you still should be allowed to play the game you purchased.

    I'm not sure what Blizzard are trying to achieve here, but they're being pretty successful in diving people towards piracy. If people want to cheat in single player mode it looks like the only way they're going to be able to is to download a cracked version of the game.

      Didn't take long to justify piracy eh? lol. :D

      For serious, why do you need third party cheats to enjoy a game? Does anyone remember the days of AOE or AOE2 with the like of cheese steak jimmy's and big daddy's????

      Devs chuck them in there for the fun so you don't have to use third party software to get the same experiance from using them. If Blizzard want to crack down on a license THEY own, then so be it.

      If your arguing "Becaue I can" and don't actually use trainer's, why do you bother?

        He wasnt justifying piracy, he was making a valid point regarding the fact that you legally purchased a game, and following an arbitrary decision, he had his possession of the game removed. Thats theft.
        He had it, now he doesn't (which, amusingly enough, is the opposite of piracy)

        Stop trying to justify Blizzard's actions, the software sitting in his computer is his own business. He was not attempting to interfere with others enjoyment of the game, and further or more the fact that Blizzard can revoke access to a game you purchased for it is wrong.

        NOTE: This assumes that what was described in the news is true. It is likely more nuanced than reported.

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