Welcome to the September edition of the Combat Arms State of the Game Address. You can review the last Address by clicking here:
There’s a lot going on this month, so let’s get to it.
The big theme this month is an expansion on a topic I mentioned last month – abuse and the “Spirit of the game.” A very smart person once said to me “people usually ask for advice when they already know the answer and don’t want to hear it.” I thought about that quote a lot as I followed the interesting discussion about REZ modding. There was a great deal of back and forth discussion on the topic along with a lot of speculation on what “is” and “isn’t” allowed. Many people speculated that as long as REZ modding only affected images and not gameplay, it’s not a big deal. I wanted to make our official position clear:
REZ modding is considered hacking and will not be tolerated.
If that seems a bit harsh, I won’t apologize for it. REZ modding, like any and all fooling around with client files, is explicitly prohibited under the Terms of Service. Hacking is an issue we take extremely seriously here and we draw a hard line against it. Put simply, in our view, there’s no such thing as “harmless” hacking. Any and all techniques that could allow people to possibly damage the gameplay experience is not allowed. The thing is, almost all of you know that and we’re always gratified by the members of the community who stand up for “the spirit of the game” against those who look for justification to do what in their hearts, they know is wrong.
Benefitting from Hacking
In the same vein, we take a hard line against those who benefit from hacking. We’ve asked you in the past to observe and report hackers whenever you can. (Check out our To Catch a Hacker post for more details) That doesn’t mean that we expect you to become vigilantes on the battlefields of Combat Arms on constant hacker patrol. It does means we do expect you to be honorable players, avoid the temptation to benefit from other players hacking, and do what you can to help fight against that scourge. 99% of the time, you more than live up to our expectations. The Combat Arms community is a great one, and one I’m proud to be associated with.
Still temptations abound, and it’s always easy to be sitting in “Cabin Fever” while a hacker is killing every zombie in sight with one shot and keep quiet. In such cases you can and will be banned. It’s as simple as that. Being an honorable member of this community means doing your part to keep it clean. Of course we’re not perfect either and there have been cases where people have been banned for benefitting from hacking who were innocent. We have procedures for that and we encourage you to submit a ticket if this happens to you. Our GMs go through tons of evidence and thoroughly review cases to make sure they’ve made the right call. Their record is actually quite good, but if we do make a mistake, we’ll do all we can to make it right.
One of the most important things we do is monitor activity throughout the game. We do this to make sure that the game’s rules and services match up to what the Combat Arms community wants and needs. One of the situations that we’ve had our eye for a while now is the Delta server. We’re aware that in the past we’ve had issues with power-leveling on Delta as well as other servers, and we’re always on the lookout for its recurrence.
Power-leveling is a classic example of violating the “spirit of the game.” Allowing it penalizes honest players and scares off legitimate players who are understandably afraid that they’ll get caught up in a sweep for such activity. In order to deal with this issue before it grows out of control, we’re currently considering several courses of action besides the new rules. One of these is the possibility of bringing back the higher KDR servers or higher rank servers such as Kilo. We won’t be making this decision alone though. Keep an eye out for a poll in the next few weeks where you’ll be able to voice your opinion on Delta.
Positive Negative Feedback
One of the rules we live by at Combat Arms Command is to never to be afraid of constructive criticism. This was never more evident than when it came to criticisms of the new Heads-up Display. The level of detail that many of you went into regarding what was right and what was wrong in the new HUD was just remarkable. In fact, I wanted to call out forum member Klypto for an excellent series of screenshots that presented in very clear details some of the issues with the new system. This is exactly the right way to tell us when you feel something’s wrong! The result: we were able to better examine your claims for ourselves, set up specific test situations and make adjustments as needed. You have already noticed that we’ve made many adjustments to the HUD and will continue to do so. Keep the feedback coming!
Repacking the Game
This is another issue that’s been under consideration for a while. Combat Arms gets updated a lot. In fact, we’re very proud of how often we add new content to the game and being responsive to the community. The down side of that is that our client gets a bit file heavy which necessitates an occasional repacking. The good news is that we’ve made the decision to repack the client. The bad news is that it’s not going to happen soon. Repacking a game like Combat Arms is a massive project, requiring us to go through every file in the game, reorganize them, and then retest it to make sure we haven’t introduced as many bugs and issues as we’re hoping to eliminate. We will keep you updated on the status of the repack in the months ahead.
The Future of Combat Arms
Finally, we wanted to put one rumor to rest permanently. Recently we’ve had some members of the community express worry about the future of the game because the servers seem less crowded and there seem to be less people to play with. A lot of explanations have been offered for this except the big one that’s just hanging out there – back to school. It’s September and many of our summer players are heading back to school, college, or no longer have vacations. We monitor our player populations very closely and track player trends very carefully. Combat Arms is very healthy and we fully expect to be playing this game for years to come. We hope you’ll be here with us.
Now get out there and fight for victory!