Even our favourite games can become a toxic swamp when the internet comes into the picture. With trolls, spammers and cyber-bullies, it can often become a challenge to enjoy an online match with friends. As a controlling measure, player bans are becoming increasingly common on online platforms.
Recent anti-cheating and anti-troll measures added by Respawn on their popular free-to-play battle royale game have resulted in a total of 7,70,000 bans from Apex: Legends. A development update posted on Reddit by the official Respawn handle shared details of new anti-cheating measures.
The post details the changes made and the impact they have had on the game. Firstly, Easy Anti-Cheat has been added to the game via an update. This anti-cheat client can also be seen in several other online games, including For Honor, Rust and Tom Clancy's The Division 2. It was also being used in Fortnite but was recently replaced in favour of BattlEye.
The client has been able to discover new cheats, including "previously undetectable cheats that are now being found automatically". A PCGamer report said that the banned players' HWID (hardware ID) has been identified to prevent them from making another account. However, HWID spoofing tools exist, which may allow determined trolls to resume their work. The post mentions why the developers cannot go into details - "While we can't share details on what we're doing so as to not give a head's up to the cheat makers, what we can say is that we're attacking this from every angle."
They are doing quite a lot, in fact. The new reporting system that allows players to report cheaters and trolls has made it possible to find and ban over 4,000 cheat sellers and spammers. 7,70,000 accounts have been banned and over 3,00,000 accounts have been blocked for various reasons. All this has reportedly halved the number of matches impacted by cheating and spamming, improving players' experiences and creating a more balanced playing field for everyone.
Apex: Legends is not even half-a-year old, and already has a steadily growing fan base that may quickly surpass other games in the genre. As a free game with massive 60-player battles on an island, played in squads of three, it has found a following among players of all ages and play styles. It takes its unique environment from the world of Titanfall and is set 30 years after the events of Titanfall 2. Professional esports players and streamers like Tfue and Shroud are known to play the game on their channels. The popularity of Apex may be credited partially to these streamers, despite Shroud's recent disliking towards the game.
The developers of Apex:Legends are actively seeking out issues and bugs through public forums and promising to solve the issues if they can replicate them. This kind of feedback from the community and active participation can reduce online toxicity and gradually create a more positive environment for players and developers alike.