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We have Where do we stand on cheating in single player games?, about cheating in singleplayer games (which says "cheating in singleplayer is fine") and How do we stand on cheats, in particularly for multiplayer games? (which says "cheating in multiplayer is deplorable").

However, some games that are primarily singleplayer also have multiplayer components partially integrated into the singleplayer. Examples:

  1. Leaderboards (MANY games);
  2. invasions, both NPCs and players (Dark Souls, Watch_Dogs, Shadow of Mordor);
  3. optional co-op (Far Cry 4, Saint's Row 3 and 4, Assassin's Creed: Unity);
  4. objective sharing (Helix fragments in various assassin's Creed games);
  5. shared economy (some city management games);
  6. other shared elements.

These games are mainly singleplayer, but they have a multiplayer component included. This component may or may not be optional. This component may or may not involve direct interference with the gameplay of another player. This component may or may not be complete nonsense that is forced on players that play this game for the singleplayer storyline.

In case a game has such a multiplayer component, how should we handle requests for cheats for that game?

For example, as someone who only plays multiplayer because the next part in a gaming series they love is an MMORPG (SWTOR, WoW, ESO), I try to disable as much of this forced nonsense as possible in singleplayer games. I disable all online elements in Watch_Dogs, I play Far Cry 4 in offline mode,... I might want to ask how to cheat in a game where the singleplayer is infected cursed sprinkled with multiplayer components.


I am not asking 'what should we see as a cheat?". I'm asking "If a singleplayer game has multiplayer components in the singleplayer part, are we allowed to explain how to cheat in that game"? Example: Suppose I want to ask "How can I enable godmode in Watch_Dogs if all online interactions are disabled?". Believe me, I have no intention of ever messing with the online interactions of Watch_Dogs because I believe that crap has no place in a singleplayer game.

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    Is this prompted by a specific question or theoretical? – GodEmperorDune Jan 7 '16 at 18:09
  • @GodEmperorDune this is prompted by me wanting to ask about cheats for such games in the future, when I'm working through my back catalog. For example, I want to ask about Watch_Dogs and Shadow of Mordor. I am preemptively asking about them to make sure that I'm not wasting my time on asking questions that will end up closed. – Nzall Jan 7 '16 at 18:51
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    Cheating against the AI is fine, the only person's experience you're affecting is your own. (Until the day that an AI complains about you cheating against it). Cheating against other players is not fine - as a rule of thumb, if it's likely to get you kicked/banned from a match or server, or is otherwise against the TOS of the game, then it's not allowed here. – Robotnik Jan 8 '16 at 1:57
  • I brought this up in chat a while back when MGS5 came out. Consensus was that you're walking a fine line and it will depend on what the cheat does and how that impacts multiplayer. Note that SE's policy, if any, will be completely disconnected from the game's TOS which likely prohibit all forms of cheating via memory analysis or other non-standard ways. – Lilienthal Jan 8 '16 at 11:24
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    I think an important thing to consider while answering this is, "Do you perceive a difference (moral or otherwise) between a direct leader board hack, and a cheat to enable god-mode/super speed/whatever in an otherwise single player game that automatically posts to leader boards?" That's just one aspect, though. – Dallium Jan 8 '16 at 20:59
  • @Dallium I don't perceive a difference because I think leaderboards are not relevant either way. If you've read Ready Player One, you'll understand why – Nzall Jan 8 '16 at 21:10
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    You don't see a difference, that much is clear. My comment was more directed at the community as a whole, who may have a different opinion than you do IRT leaderboards – Dallium Jan 8 '16 at 21:12
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    That's not a duplicate at all, and I feel the discussion has been squashed. – DCShannon Jan 12 '16 at 21:14
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Such questions in the past have not been closed. Here is one example.

I see no reason to close them. Sure, maybe we don't want to help people specifically cheat online, but cheating single player is another matter. I don't think we should disallow questions just because the information could be used to also cheat in multiplayer. We're not the gaming police.

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    +1 I agree, however the only caveat I have for this is Leaderboards (as mentioned briefly by the OP in the question) - I don't think we should support leaderboard cheats/hacks etc that artificially raise a user's rankings online, thereby lowering players who have legitimately gotten an actual high score or 'best' time. If Arqade and SE has taught me anything, it's that reputation should be earned, not given (or hacked :) ) – Robotnik Jan 11 '16 at 0:58
  • @Robotnik Then the question becomes "what's a leaderboard cheat" or "what's a bad leaderboard cheat"? Some games have leaderboards for the smallest minutiae, like resource collection, which would otherwise just be another part of the game that players will commonly use cheats in order to avoid grinding. Even if there's not an in-game leaderboard, most gaming platforms (particularly consoles, but Steam, GOG, and others are picking this up too) have Achievement lists which bring their own competitive aspect even to otherwise fully-single-player games. – Iszi Jan 20 '16 at 18:31
  • It's worth noting that several games have leaderboards or other 'locks' when cheats are used. As example, GTA-San Andreas displays a message on stats and when saving, Crusader Kings disables cheats on Ironmanmode (the only one that allows achievements). I believe the same happens with x-com eu/ew aswell. Personally I think that the cheats should be given, as long as they do not interfere with the game's policies. A cheat that could be considered a glitch shouldn't be used, but a cheat which is officially supported should. – Oak Feb 4 '16 at 10:09
  • Note that cheating is similar to metagaming. You get an advantage versus people who don't know the cheat/meta. This is particular obvious on MMORPGs, where new players tend to either not know the best path/routes, but ones using guides, essentially metagaming have a large advantage. If all cheats that reflect in multiplayer are disallowed here, then so should best / most efficient paths to x be. – Oak Feb 4 '16 at 10:13
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Do we have any example(s) of this? If so, lets make a decision for that particular question. If we don't, this discussion is not worth having.

Trying to come up with a general-case solution is hard enough when we do have enough incoming questions to warrant creating blanket rules. Without that problem, there's no point in discussing it.

#Lifehacks

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    Using mods which could also enable you to get good leaderboard times in JustCause3 would be one example. – GnomeSlice Jan 8 '16 at 15:50
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As the OP of this question, this is my opinion. If the singleplayer component of the game you're asking about works unmodded without a connection to the internet (and thus the multiplayer components are TRULY optional), that means that there is a way to disable the multiplayer components. In that case, you can cheat all you want in singleplayer without affecting the enjoyment of other players, which is what the consensus seems to be.

As such, being able to play without internet, for me at least, is the border between "cheating is allowed" and "cheating is not allowed" when talking about such games.

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    If your arguing that it could be used in an environment that does not interact and spoil the enjoyment of other players, you shoot yoirself in the foot by arguing that it likewise could be used in multiplayer, to spoil the enjoyment of other players. – user106385 Jan 7 '16 at 21:22
  • Yeah, I realized that this answer is badly worded. I'll edit it to explain myself better. – Nzall Jan 7 '16 at 21:32
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    Also remember that we can not use "but in this case, I will not do be exploiting other players" as a valid reason, as we aim to answer for the community, not the individual. – user106385 Jan 8 '16 at 3:52
  • This seems like a reasonable bar for deciding if it's okay to cheat, but I don't think it works as a bar for deciding whether it's okay to tell someone else how to cheat. You know how you're going to use the information. Someone answering you does not. – DCShannon Jan 12 '16 at 3:06

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