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A Message To Our Members, And To Bungie


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#1 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 01:45 PM

originally posted in the HALO 2 Hacking forum..
http://forums.xbox-s...howtopic=416934

HALO 2 HACKING FORUM – The End is Near?

The Admin and head staff of XS are currently discussing and debating the merits of keeping this forum in it’s current condition on Xbox-Scene.

The Admin have tackled the ongoing philosophies for a few years now.. how do we keep LIVE, and help to preserve it.. while, giving our members what they want.. an open and relatively free area to discuss, research, and communicate ideas back and forth.

Once upon a time.. our policy was.. nothing that can be used on live.. or hurt LIVE.. will be allowed as a discussion topic. That worked.. for awhile.

We then updated some of our policy.. and allow moderate discussion. That worked.. but then of course.. many topics of considerable friction started to divide the masses on XS.

We’re now at our present level.. where we have forums for hacking and modding of many major xbox titles.. most of which have a LIVE element. Now.. we are kicking and screaming in these forums.. with lines very well drawn. Our current policy has been. LIVE.. and to a lesser extend Bungie and the other devs need to police themselves, and their live members. XS can’t, and won’t be responsible for the actions of their members.

That.. while still true.. we can’t be responsible for their actions, and those services SHOULD be policing themselves.. clearly cannot do so. LIVE HACKING for HALO and other games is dog-gone insane right now. People are doing freaky shit in custom and matching games.. Bungie, despite a few bans, and a few warning, has done little to stop their members from using exploits on their services.

LIVE, and BUNGIE, have more than enough power with their TOS and EULA to stop people from using pirate maps, hacks, modded maps, cheats etc on their service. Why aren’t they tracking things better.. we know they are tracking a lot.. so why aren’t they taking more decisive action? I know.. or at least people whisper it enough in my ear.. that when I (HSD) am on live.. they are surely watching and listening. I know I don’t cheat.. and my LIVE box is virginal. I’m sure with the myriad of things they can check and scan for while I’m on their service.. they know it too. However, many of these guys who do these undesirable things, play with me.. or at least hang in a lobby and chat.

Yet.. month after month.. LIVE and BUNGIE promise to clean up the game.

They can’t. Best they can do.. is nail a few of the most annoying cheaters, only after they get enough feedback.

So.. what does Bungie and LIVE do? Threats.. warnings.. and more threats. Each month.. stronger.. more virulent threats. Well.. these threats.. we don’t shrug off anymore. We are giving ample consideration to them. Xbox-Scene has always walked a fine line, but we’ve done our best to remain legal.

Currently though.. with the GAME HACKING forums on XS.. we seem to be catering two two distinct types of players…

On one side.. we have people who mods the games.. for the pure enjoyment of modding games. They do it for themselves.. they show it off on their own boxes. Some.. will go onto free services.. and share these in rooms with friends and other invited parties. (or.. will at least let people know.. this is a modded room) Generally.. these people aren’t out to ruin anyones experience.. and don’t kid themselves into thinking they are great.

On the other side.. we got the darker element. People modding, hacking, ppf’ing to give themselves a slight edge. Sometime.. that slight edge is downright brutal.. and giving them extreme attributes making them impossible to play with.

That is what seems to have gotten lost in all of this.. PLAY.

People just don’t seem to be playing the game anymore. Oh. They’ll spend 10 hours a day reading, researching, and trying and applying ppf’s, hacking/cracking authent keys.. etc. But many of these same people.. just don’t PLAY the game anymore.

Awesome.. so now they’ve attained attributes a noob might not know how to get. 8 Rockets.. maps you can see through.. etc. Level 30 or better.

Well.. many of you learned how to do all that here on XS. Some learned it elsewhere. Doesn’t really matter.. as it’s becoming increasing clear that those who use MODS, HACKS, PPF’s, Pirated Maps.. etc.. are now starting to piss off those who have the money, and lawyers, and the know how to get sites like us into legal hot water. I put the blame squarely on the entire group.. not just “cheaters”. (so don’t waste my time or yours throwing flames, or telling me or us we are wrong. We don’t care)

In the next couple of days.. we will make a determination how to proceed. What I can say.. is that XS will not put itself in a position where we will need to defend ourselves legally. (which means.. when push comes to shove.. some or all of the hacking/modding/cheating aspects of the XS Game Hacking Forums will cease to exist)

You don’t have to like the comments I’ve made.. and you don’t have to agree with them. When we make a decision. It will be final and absolute.

Long ago.. we strayed from many of the original principles of the founding of this site.. in order to try and satisfy all of our membership. Sometimes, we have to sit back, admit that sometimes we can’t cater to everyone.. and cut off an arm or two to feed the wolves and to keep them back.

Note.. that if we take any action on the HALO 2 Hacking forums.. we will give equal consideration to reviewing the other GAME HACKING forums on XS. HALO 2 isn’t being singled out unfairly.. if anything.. it’s just the first of many that will change or disappear from XS.

.. and just in case it hasn’t been said enough recently, anyone posting links to the AWSK or other MAP PACKS on XS, will have their accounts closed. Those maps are the property of MS/Bungie. You can purchase them, or wait for them to become “FREE” on their service. At no time, now, or in the near future, will linking to those packs, direct or indirect be allowed on Xbox-Scene. Those maps are not copyright cleared, and I doubt they ever will be. The moron members of XS.. who are tripping over themselves to install the simple MAP PACKS via downloads, are also a huge reason the HALO 2 forums are being reviewed. Between the HALO 2 maps pirates, and the people whiny, crying, and complaining about cheaters, and the cheaters themselves, you’ve all pretty much driven the Halo 2 Hacking Forum all to shit.

Just in case it wasn't apparent.. I think and expect Bungie (and transversely LIVE) to ban anyone using pirated maps, hacked maps, weapon hack/mods, attribute mods, save game hacks and exploits etc. As a paying customer.. I expect that when going on LIVE.. I'd be up against people on a level playing field, instead, LIVE, with their lack of response to cheats, have allowed the once great LIVE service to become a "who can get their new hack/mod/exploit working and out to the masses the quickest.." joke.

LIVE needs to sort their house.. before 360 launches. Otherwise.. their currently tarnished name will only get worse as more people become frustrated with the lack of decisive action on LIVE or Bungies part to clean up their service. Note to Bungie, I won't pretend to know the inner working of all the hacks.mods/cheats for halo.. but ffs.. put some more people on it and close your shit up. This isn't brain surgery. Unless of course.. like a name I saw a member of your service used.. "BUNGIE CANT CODE"

The members of this site, and some of the recent abuse aren't really the problem. Its the lack of attention LIVE has placed on this issue. They seem to prefer the approach.. "if we put our collective heads in the sands..."

Of course.. maybe we've been looking at it all wrong.. maybe they are staffed by moron.. and the 13 years old her simple got them scratching their heads. Maybe Bungie can offer some awesome kids here an action figure for the tips on how people hack and cheat.

HSDEMONZ, Admin
Xbox-Scene.com, Forums.Xbox-Scene.com



#2 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 01:47 PM

interestingly enough...

http://files.halomod...pic.php?t=36234 and http://halomods.com/

QUOTE
HaloMods Forums will close temporarily   
Friday, July 01 2005 @ 07:21 PM CDT
Contributed by: Admin As some of you may have read on Bungie's website lately, the cheating problem on Xbox Live has grown out of control. While our moderating team has been vigilant in eliminating any information about these cheats on HaloMods over the past month, I feel the time has come for me to take more drastic measures. Starting today, I have decided to temporarily close both the files forum and the main forum until Bungie releases their next auto-update. From what I hear, this will likely be in the next few weeks. I know this will disappoint many of you, but I think it is better for the long-term health of our community. You may remember a similar situation on the HBO forums when Halo 2 was leaked.

I believe the majority of our community despises what these XBL cheaters have done to ruin the Halo modder's reputation. Modding is supposed to be about being creative and adding new content to our favorite game. We will not tolerate their intrusion into our community.

During this time, the main HaloMods webpage will remain up, so please do your part to help Bungie out. If you see ANYONE using mods on live, please click the "report cheaters" button on the right side of this page. You need to have an account with the main site. In addition, if you find any links with step-by-step tutorials on how to mod and get on XBL, links for warezing the new maps, or cheat ppfs, send the link to cheaters-list@halomods.com. We will forward the information to Bungie so they can take appropriate action.

Even though the forums will be closed, you may still contribute stories to our main page. Our IRC channel will remain open. Again, sorry for the inconvenience this may cause many of you.

-Grenadiac




#3 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 01:59 PM

and.. current Bungie.com "news"

http://www.bungie.ne...heatz&p=3800195

QUOTE
Weekly What's Update : Cheaters!

Foul play, cheating and general harassment are things that most all of us have encountered at one point or another during our Halo 2 online adventures. While anyone who has played games online will tell you that these issues are nothing new, the sheer scope and volume of Halo 2 have amplified these problems into something that is affecting a much large number of players. To put it simply, the more people there are playing Halo 2 online, the greater the number of troublemakers to deal with. In addition, if you factor in some of the recent "soft mod" exploits and the ease in which they are implemented, it's easy to see why these scenarios are becoming more and more common. Yes, this sucks and we hate it as much as you do.

Everyone has a lot of questions about cheating – what's happening, what's being done about it, etc… This week we try to address the most common concerns and shed some light into what we've been doing and will be doing to continue addressing the problem of cheating in our online community. For additional information, please keep an eye on the Bungie.net Cheating FAQ.

Why isn't Bungie or Xbox Live doing anything about the rampant cheating in Halo 2?

Actually, we are. Right now we ask that you please be patient as we continue to wade through literally thousands and thousands of emails dealing with alleged cheaters. The Halo 2 online population is humongous – nearly 500,000 unique people play Halo 2 every day accounting for well over 1 million recorded matches. That's a ton of data to sift through and we are trying to keep up as best we can. We realize this is still only half the battle and we are taking additional measures to not only improve our banning but to greatly reduce the instances of cheating that are occurring.

In addition to our efforts, the Xbox Live Team is continuing to track and monitor in-game feedback and they are enforcing the Code of Conduct and Terms of Use for the Live Service.


It seems like almost every game I play involves someone who has hacked their Xbox to run super fast, jump super high or some other unfair exploit. What gives?

Hacking or "modding" isn't a new phenomenon in the Halo universe. With Halo 1, many fans found ways to do interesting things with the game by either using a modified Xbox or some form of "soft modded" application. We have never condoned tampering with the hardware or game code in any way but back in the day, it wasn't ever a huge issue since it only impacted individuals who elected to tweak their own experience.

Now with Halo 2 online, these same types of tricks and exploits are being used to impact innocent players. This problem has become worse recently due to the release of the downloadable multiplayer maps for Halo 2. These maps reside on the consoles hard drive and as such are more vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation. These aren't the only instances of modding or hacking but they are the most prominent.

Our team is aware of the types of activity taking place as well as the websites and individuals who are propagating these files through the community. Anyone who is found to be using hacked tags or modified game content will be PERMANENTLY banned from Halo 2 matchmaking. This is a serious issue and we will not be issuing any warnings. In addition, the MS Legal Team is pursuing any websites or individuals found to be distributing Halo 2 game files or content.

The old saying "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" may seem more tempting than ever but you should resist the callings of the dark side. Right now we are trying to keep up with modders but admittedly we're a step or two behind. However, we have changes coming very soon that will substantially increase our ability to detect and more importantly, QUICKLY ban anyone found using hacks on Live. Things will be rough for a little while longer but then we should see a very quick purging of these types of players.

Please note that contrary to some rumors floating around the internet, this does not solely apply to ranked games. Anyone using modified content or hacks in any game of Halo 2 over Xbox Live is subject to the full wrath of the Bungie Banhammer. You have been warned.


If the downloadable maps are where the problem lies, won't things get worse when the next 5 are released? Why should I buy them if I'm just going to get matched against hackers?

We realize that once the new maps are released they will open up additional avenues for hackers to exploit them in matchmaking. We anticipate this only being an issue immediately following the map release. Shortly after, we have some changes coming that should make a significant impact towards reducing map hacks encountered on Xbox Live.

In the meantime, it is possible that players who purchase the new maps and choose to play in one of the "Preview" playlists will face people using hacked content to their advantage. We will be continuing to monitor our data and the H2cheats alias to ban people as appropriate.


Does anyone actually monitor the H2cheats alias? I've reported several people but they are still playing.

Absolutely. Since we launched the cheater hotline alias, we have received well over 10,000 email reports of alleged cheating. Yes, TEN THOUSAND. That number is simply astonishing and it’s a painful reminder for all of us here of just how bad this problem has become. We take our banning seriously and its important for us to thoroughly investigate allegations before we decide to issue a ban. The fact is that this takes time, and the flood of mail is currently more than we can handle in a reasonable time frame.

Players who encounter cheaters are encouraged to continue to submit email but we ask that you please be patient with us as we do our best to keep up. We are catching people and we are taking actions, it's just taking a little longer than we would like.


How many people have been banned so far?

The Bungie Banhammer has been dropped on nearly 3,200 people to date. Currently, approximately 2,600 players have active bans in place. We realize that this is probably a drop in the bucket but we are continuing to make progress.

We don't have access to the Xbox Live Team data so we can't comment on how many people have been banned due to negative feedback resulting from racist remarks, threats, poor conduct, etc...


What exactly are people being banned for nowadays?

Our highest priority is removing players who are using hacked or modified game content on Live. We consider this to be the most severe offense and we are permanently banning everyone we catch. Teammates and clans who ride the coat tails of someone using hacks in order to inflate their ranking are also being banned. We are currently using the reports submitted via H2cheats along with game data we gather to make these determinations.

Secondly, we are banning people who manipulate their network connections to their advantage. The "standby" exploit is greatly reduced but people still attempt to use it to screw their opponents. We can detect this and bans are being issues for players meeting specific criteria. Reports of standby attacks are way down so there has been good progress in this area both through banning and changes implemented in the last auto update.

Players and clans who "boost" their way up the leaderboards are also being banned and removed from the leaderboards. In addition, the Live team continues to track negative player feedback and ban players as appropriate for violating their Code of Conduct and Terms of Use.


Ok, fine, but whatever you're doing it clearly isn't enough. There are still tons of people cheating every day with no end in site…

Yes, unfortunately this seems to be the case. We are doing our best to keep up but we agree it's not quite enough. This is why we have been spending development time on a new auto update for Halo 2 that will employ additional anti-cheating mechanisms to purge these evildoers from our community. We are very optimistic that the auto update will greatly reduce the instances of hacked and modified content on Xbox Live.


When will this new auto update be available? Will there be any noticeable changes to the game?

The auto update is currently undergoing a test pass and if all goes well, we anticipate it will be released on Xbox Live around the second week of July. This does mean that the new maps will be released beforehand, potentially resulting in a small spike in hacker encounters, but it will quickly level out when the update is implemented.

The AU is a "behind-the-scenes" change only and will not impact the actual gameplay or experience itself. Once it is released, players will be forced to download it in order to play any game of Halo 2 on Xbox Live.


I tried to enter Halo 2 matchmaking and it's telling me that I've been banned. What's going on? I haven't done anything wrong!

Occasionally innocent people may get caught in the fallout of our anti-cheater crusade. While this is unfortunate, overall it is a risk we have to take for the greater good of the overall online population. The only time someone will even possibly be banned inaccurately will be if they are flagged by our quality of service monitor. These tools detect the use of standby and suspicious network interruptions and over time will accrue enough to warrant a ban.

It is possible that innocent players who have a consistently spotty internet connection might get caught in the crossfire. If you regularly encounter connectivity issues, have low bandwidth, wireless interruptions or any other consistent service issue, you could end up being banned from matchmaking. If you feel you have been wrongly banned, please send a polite email to h2cheats@MS.com explaining your predicament and we will follow-up. To help our efforts, please indicate the nature of your mail in the subject line. We will do our best to investigate your mail in a timely manner but please be patient as the sheer volume of mail we receive could cause delays.

If you continue experiencing the network issues listed above, please be aware that you will likely end up being banned again once you accumulate enough negative data. To minimize that risk, please take steps to improve your connection when possible and if you have low bandwidth, avoid playing in playlists that push your connection to its limits. Big Team Battle games require more bandwidth than Head to Head or Double Team, so if you experience issues, please try to play within the limits of your connection. While you're not technically cheating, your connection irregularities are causing a poor experience for other players in your game.


Every time I enter a game there's always some jerk who insists on spewing insults, racial remarks or some other offensive comment. I didn't buy Halo 2 to be treated like this. What is Bungie doing to clean things up?

There's nothing that Bungie can actually do to thwart jerks who insist on being mean, crude and rude to other players. In these instances, your best defense is to use the in-game feedback system and report them to the Xbox Live team. As players accumulate negative feedback, they will face punishments ranging from a 24 hour ban to a permanent cancellation of their account. You can also mute players so you never have to hear from them again.


#4 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 02:01 PM

I'll have another reponse shortly..

#5 HSDEMONZ

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 02:46 PM

From the XS news page..

http://www.xbox-scen...llFkryKtQxP.php

It’s been an interesting 24 hrs in the scene.

With the recent rumblings from Bungie regarding Cheaters/Hacks, there has been a shift in the hack HALO 2 scene. Bungie’s most recent post goes into a fair amount of detail what they are doing about cheats and people who use mods on their service.

From <a href="http://www.bungie.net/News/TopStory.aspx?story=cheatz&p=3800195" target="_blank">Bungie.com</a> :

QUOTE
<i>
Our team is aware of the types of activity taking place as well as the websites and individuals who are propagating these files through the community. Anyone who is found to be using hacked tags or modified game content will be PERMANENTLY banned from Halo 2 matchmaking. This is a serious issue and we will not be issuing any warnings. In addition, the MS Legal Team is pursuing any websites or individuals found to be distributing Halo 2 game files or content.

Please note that contrary to some rumors floating around the internet, this does not solely apply to ranked games. Anyone using modified content or hacks in any game of Halo 2 over Xbox Live is subject to the full wrath of the Bungie Banhammer. You have been warned.
endquote
</i>


When you read their release, it reads like so many they’ve published in the past. All the same words are there. “we’re doing our best” and “we’re gota lot of members.. blah blah blah”. But, despite all their well meaning words, all you have to do to tell how effective Bungie is at stopping and dealing with the cheaters is to look at their own numbers.

They reported..

QUOTE
<i>
The Bungie Banhammer has been dropped on nearly 3,200 people to date. Currently, approximately 2,600 players have active bans in place. We realize that this is probably a drop in the bucket but we are continuing to make progress.
</i>


Take that number, divide that by the number of days HALO 2 has been on the market, and you’ll see that very few people have been banned for cheating or hacking with Halo 2.

Then the other shoe dropped…

From <a href="http://files.halomods.com/viewtopic.php?t=36234" target="_blank">Halomods.com</a> :

QUOTE
<i>
As some of you may have read on Bungie's website lately, the cheating problem on Xbox Live has grown out of control. While our moderating team has been vigilant in eliminating any information about these cheats on HaloMods over the past month, I feel the time has come for me to take more drastic measures. Starting today, I have decided to temporarily close both the files forum and the main forum until Bungie releases their next auto-update. From what I hear, this will likely be in the next few weeks. I know this will disappoint many of you, but I think it is better for the long-term health of our community. You may remember a similar situation on the HBO forums when Halo 2 was leaked.

I believe the majority of our community despises what these XBL cheaters have done to ruin the Halo modder's reputation. Modding is supposed to be about being creative and adding new content to our favorite game. We will not tolerate their intrusion into our community.

During this time, the main HaloMods webpage will remain up, so please do your part to help Bungie out. If you see ANYONE using mods on live, please click the "report cheaters" button on the right side of this page. You need to have an account with the main site. In addition, if you find any links with step-by-step tutorials on how to mod and get on XBL, links for warezing the new maps, or cheat ppfs, send the link to cheaters-list@halomods.com. We will forward the information to Bungie so they can take appropriate action.

Even though the forums will be closed, you may still contribute stories to our main page. Our IRC channel will remain open. Again, sorry for the inconvenience this may cause many of you.
</i>


Even before those News Posts.. Xbox Scene had been reviewing our own forums, and making sure our house was in order. However, we’ve also seen the changes in our Halo 2 hack forums. A shift in focus from simple mods that people can enjoy and maybe share with a few trusted others.. to a more seedy, underground, less scrupulous user who asks for and researches the myriad methods of possible cheating.

Worse still, these same people have turned the Halo 2 Hacking forum upside down in a short period of time requesting Cheat files, offering Cheat files, while others are offering or can tel you where or how to download Maps. So, with our own XS membership not respecting XS site policy about NO PIRACY (by frequently asking for or attempting to link to files) and with the cheaters making life hell on LIVE and bringing down heat on sites like ours, we’ve decided to follow in the Steps of Halomods and close the Halo 2 Hacking Forums temporarily, and possibly permanently.

It’s with a heavy heart, that things have come down to this. However, we’ve devoted more than enough time and resources working hard to keep XS legal, and above board. We’ll wait and see what and how Bungie deals with the cheaters/hack users. I hope they get their ship in shape and actually do something about the cheating on LIVE. Cause, to date.. their record is piss poor. As a paying member of LIVE, and an owner of many copies of HALO 2 I'm upset and dismayed at how opftn Bungie continues to drop the ball on the issues of hacks and cheaters.

Bungie may well wish sites like HaloMods and Xbox-Scene didn’t exist, and they may blame us and other sites for their headaches, but until Bungie takes REAL responsibility and starts banning people for cheating and using mods/hacks the problems on Halo 2, and LIVE for that matter will only get worse. Closing our forums, will NOT fix the cheating problem on Halo 2.

Bungie.. Step up, and fix your game. Fix your service!




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