Despite the things the game gets right, The Division’s post-launch support has led it to be known for one thing and one thing alone: cheating. Taking to the Ubisoft website, one of the game’s developers took the time to explain why the problems have continued as long as they have.
Anders Holmquist is the technical director at Ubisoft Massive, and one of the key figures behind the technical side of the The Division. “I think we underestimated the amount of process to catch security issues,” he says, “We need to have more strict processes for that. We also were surprised by how quickly people were cheating. This is probably our highest priority. This is what everyone is talking about. This is what everyone cares about.”
The root of the problems seems to come from how the infrastructure of game is set up. While the majority of things like health are handled on the server side of things (i.e. on Massive’s end), things like character movement, aiming, and everything else connected to the actual interaction of the player with the game, is handled in the client (i.e. on the player’s end). In order to make sure everyone is having the same experience, the server is asked to validate that whatever the player is doing makes sense within the confines of the game. If it doesn’t, it means the player might be cheating. The problems arise in the fact that not everything lines up perfectly every time.
Speaking specifically to the popular use of the mobile cover talent to glitch through walls, “The problem there is that we can detect when you’ve glitched through the walls, but it can happen even if you’re not intending to do it. The risk is that we hit people that are innocent that aren’t actively trying to cheat.”
Cheat detection has been in the game from the beginning, but Massive was concerned about punishing players that didn’t even mean to glitch the game. “What we’ve been doing is adding cheat detection for certain systems, but mostly, we’ve been tweaking the numbers because we want to try avoid having false positives. It’s been running all along. Even people that we’re cheating before, we know about it, but we wanted to tweak it to make sure we knew who the true cheaters were.”
Going forward however, with the changes that have been made behind the scenes, Holmquist is confident things will get better. “We’re very aware of the problems that are there, and we’re aware of them. We’re fixing them. We know who’s cheating. They’re going to get banned.”
Even with an eye to the game’s future however, there is still a lot of work to do, and the continuing updates to The Division will hopefully support that. The focus for the team is, “besides cheating and exploits, just stabilizing and trying to nail down all of the bugs. [Making] sure that the new Incursions work great, and that all the new content is working as it should. Those are the most important things for us right now. Just to give as good an experience as possible, basically.”
With the Division’s second major content update due out this month, Massive has already said they won’t even set a release date until they are sure the content is tested properly. Are you still playing The Division? Or did the continuing problems drive you to move on? Let us know in the comments.