Cheating in online games is not new stuff. In the virtual world of gaming, there are four types of players: the newbies, the casuals, the pros, and last, but (unfortunately) not least, the cheaters. These guys are like Internet trolls on steroids because not only they get overpowered – thus breaking the balance of an even match – but they also turn a fun and challenging game into an unfair, frustrating nightmare.
Especially when you are aware of your refined and almost flawless skills, yet you’re repeatedly crushed, blown, beheaded, and laughed at by a dishonest wimpy cheater who’s horsing around ruining the fun, or even worse, messing up with a bigger event, like an official tournament. And that’s what’s been going on in the maps of Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Whether they use an aimbot, a spinbot or a wallhack (more on these later), the fact that there are people willing to use third-party tools to put themselves in an unfair advantage when playing against others in an online match really sucks big dragon balls. And when you’re told that not one, but a bunch of CS:GO top players (most of them members of well-known teams) got caught by Valve’s anti-cheat detection system (VAC, for short), you feel like up there in the heavens, there’s a benevolent god bestowing upon those – in the words of Daybreak president – “cockroaches” the ultimate ban hammer.
Of course, you can’t help but think about the fact that they might have ranked up by aimbotting or wallhacking their way, while you were there on your couch, trying to figure out how to become “a pro” like them. Then, you feel relieved because “justice got served”. Or, in a pretty ironic way to put things in this game, “Counter-Terrorists win”.
But you may be wondering: how can I detect these CS:GO cheaters roaming around the maps? And when I find one, what can I do about them? Well my fellow gamer, you should start by learning what those three cheating tools I mentioned earlier are. So let’s get on with the first and most annoying one:
The Aimbot is a very common cheating tool in FPS games like CS:GO which main purpose is to save the player the need for aiming manually at their target by collecting all the information required for an automated target acquisition. Aside from the obvious advantage of pointing your weapon at your possibly next headshot score automatically, it might also allow you to know the location of an enemy, regardless of him being directly visible or not.
For example, if there’s a foe hiding behind a wall, waiting to ambush you or just minding his own business, and you happen to have your trusty aimbot turned on, chances are your character will be pointing the gun at some “random spot” on the wall that happens to match with the head of your enemy, and when he moves around, your gun will follow him, like those goldeneye’s surveillance cameras armed with a minigun.
This program can be just one or a set of tools destined to waste your victims like a Robocop-Terminator-Mad Baymax hybrid. It can be used in combination with a triggerbot – a tool used to shoot an enemy down as soon as he gets into the cheater’s Field-Of-Vision (FOV) or into the weapon’s reticule – or the wallhack, which we’ll get into soon.
Now it’s time for the second program: the Spinbot. This one is kinda confusing, I mean, this is supposed to be an “anti-aimbot” cheat tool that will make it harder for aimbotters to shoot you down by making your character spin fast on its own axis 360°, all while looking down at the floor. You can’t picture that, can you? Well, assuming you’re a spectator or just another player, from your point of view, the spinbotter’s character will be behaving like it’s having a seizure, but standing on its feet, and it’ll be pointing his gun towards the floor all the time.
I know, I know, you’re just asking right now: How in the yellow hell is this helping the spinbotter? How can he see? How can he walk straight? HOW CAN HE PLAY ANYWAY? Well my dear honest GIGN soldier, this is because all that crazy stuff is happening server side. That means the spinbot is sending the server some spiced data regarding the actions and movement of the character, so the server replicates this same info to other players.
Meanwhile, on the client side of the game, the spinbotter is viewing the screen like nothing’s happening, so he can move around normally. While you can still shoot him down, the headshot score becomes an almost impossible task to achieve, even for aimbotters. And that’s the supposed reason of this tool to be.
You could say: Well it’s definitely an anti-aimbot tool, and I still can kill him. No big deal, right? WRONG! Sure, you can kill him, but good luck aiming at him like you usually do, because as he moves around all erratically, your bullets may or may not hit him, for the server is thinking the cheater just dodged them, while you believe it passed right through his chest. In the end, it’s just another cheating tool and should be enough reason to ban anyone using it (And if it’s not enough reason to you, consider how annoying is to watch a spinbotter in spec mode).
Last, but not least, we have the Wallhack. As its name implies, this program allows you to change the programming code of a supposed solid and opaque structure – like a wall – turning it “transparent” so users can see who’s on the other side. At least that was the way it worked back then when CS 1.6 was the main game. Nowadays, it’ll just draw in glowing color the silhouette of every character in the match, allowing the user to see them no matter what obstacle they have in their FOV.
This kind of cheat is also known as Extra Sensorial Perception (or ESP for short) because it doesn’t render the opaque structure transparent, but rather marks the position of any character with a glowing line depicting, as I said before their silhouette. Depending on the program, it can also “dig a hole” in the wall so things like bullets not programmed for can pass right through it.
Have you ever wondered how some people are able to find you or always be prepared to blow the pixelated gray matter out of your polygonal skull all the time, no matter how cautious you were in hiding yourself? Well, you may never notice that your murderer got himself some nice (and forbidden) target-finding goggles that make the phrase “you can run, but you can’t hide” perfectly suitable.
How to detect CS:GO cheaters?
All three of them by themselves are a real pain in the you-know-what. So, consider an aimbotter that is wallhacking and spinbotting too. Yeah, like an intelligent T-Rex with long and strong arms, X-Ray vision and a sniper rifle (man, I already see the birth of a new meme in the horizon). That’s how unfair it can be when playing with – or against – CS:GO cheaters. So, in order to recognize them, you have to bear in mind some common things among them. Like, how obvious the cheat is. As stated earlier, the spinner is the easiest one to detect. Just go spectator mode and find the epileptic one.For aimbotters and wallhackers, things get very difficult.
For aimbotters and wallhackers, things get very difficult. For starters, you can’t point your finger at someone just because you think he’s aimbotting when in fact, he’s just a real pro. There are a lot of skilled players with sharp eyes and educated hands able to snap from one target to another smoothly, and that’s ok. Usually, these guys are training themselves hardly to refine their shooting skills and time reaction, and for someone who’s not used to play that good, it may seem like they’re cheating.
Still, there are some tips you can keep in mind if you want to catch them. First, study their playstyle. If you see a lot of inconsistencies in their way of playing, especially when admins are around, then it might be a red flag.
Second, check the demos and replays. Although there are really good players out there, sometimes the using of aimbots becomes quite obvious. If you see the crosshair behaving crazy, like, it went snapping pretty smooth, then it locked on an enemy’s head and it’s shaking, then something fishy is going on. Again, you got to be pretty sure about it before reporting them.
As for the wallhack, check the demo for people following player’s character across a wall, or for smarter wallers, look at the randomness of the crosshair position. Pro players tend to stick their aim to the wall of the corner they’re about to turn towards, so they can be prepared to fire as soon as possible. Wallers, on the other hand, like to play dumb, so they’ll point their crosshair at random spots, and when they see an opponent is about to come out of the wall, they quickly react, line up their aim and hit the fire button (if you’re smart enough, you can bait them to do that exactly).
Third, compare stats. Now this one is just for the complement. People can suspect about “newbies’ accounts” if their stats are not supposed to be “that good”. But again, a lot of players like to smurf – playing with a different account, just to try out new stuff, strategies, or just for fun, without affecting their main account stats and ranking – so comparing stats alone is not enough.
And fourth, keep in touch with other people in the game’s forums and discuss what you’ve seen. Maybe there’s another group of players that have the same suspicions as you. If you all agree on the facts and are sure enough, then hit the “report” button, and hope for the best.
CS:GO cheaters reporting
Speaking of the report button, it’s important to you to know how to properly report a player you suspect of cheating. As stated at the beginning of this article, Valve has an Anti-Cheat system installed on specific servers with the sole purpose of detecting cheat tools and third-party modifications installed and or running on users’ computers, ready to open a can of Ban-Fu on anyone trying to connect to one of this VAC servers.
This is an automated security system that takes identification of third-party software – known to alter or modify the game’s core executable files and dynamic links libraries – to determine whether a user is cheating or not. Although you can still report a suspect, VAC will only take it for tracking and statistical purposes, rather than instantly drop the banhammer based on your denounce.
But this is not the only security measure took in the game, for there’s also a self-regulating system called The Overwatch. Consisting of qualified and experienced CS:GO players known as “investigators”, this method allows them to review the reported behavior of any user suspect of cheating, determine the validity of those reports, and apply temporary bans if they see it fit, via a collective decision they make after watching a 10-minutes replay (worthy of eight rounds approx.).
And that’s it! I hope this article shed some light on those who didn’t know what to do when facing these party-wreckers. Maybe we won’t get rid of them for good, but at least we can work together to keep them at bay.