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Continued from "Overtaken - Hackers within a Midst.."

From an estimate made by a trusted third party, in the time between each patch there are about ten public hacks made available to the public. That same party also estimates that if you add up all of the members on all of the hacking sites, you`ll find they total about 3.5 million in number, though this includes one person subscribing to multiple sites. Since about January 1, 2010 there has been an uprising of sites offering "Trial VIP Hacks." This allows the user to use a restricted version of a site`s VIP hack for 1–3 days. These "trial hackers" typically exploit cut-down versions of OPK or Teleport Kill as well as aimbot. The catch about the hacks is that they have a built in spammer, locked on, that blatantly states the user is hacking and the name of the website the hack came from. Nexon has made a great effort to stop these free VIP hacks, but the spammers work just as intended, creating a vicious cycle of hooking and drawing in more and more people to download the hacks. As a result, more people are quitting the game and going to better games or turning to hacking themselves once again.

Disarray, Chaos, and Sacrifice - CA's future in Peril?

Combat Arms is now a constant battlefield; With the new UI, HUD, and devastating weapons, hackers have all the opportunity to corrupt the community's game play. Other players are losing their faith; others could not seem to trust anyone anymore. Steadfast players have taken refuge within the halls of the NF Battlegrounds; from there, they could at least devise new plans and question Nexon's ethics. They have formed Allied clans such as the Dark Templar to show that there are truly professional players out there. Other sites, like the CBL, have constantly worked in unison with other communities to ensure that there is at least ONE safe haven for the dedicated players of Combat Arms. But trouble began to increase. The hackers continued their campaign and gradually took more ground and began to crush and take over areas the legits are camping in. Despite the overwhelming complaints and tickets about hacking, Nexon couldn't do anything but watch...

The only refuge legit players can find is within Clearance Level 3 Servers (with the exception of the Black Market). Most of the Level 1 and some of the Level 2 Channels have been flooded with hackers, but it is only with the efforts of the soldiers fighting on the front lines against the hackers that the CL3 has remained a haven for legit players. Most hackers get banned before reaching CL3 because of these soldiers' brave struggle and reports. It is imperative that they do not falter, as one hacker in the CL3 will cause massive mayhem. Although there are some rumors of hackers in CL3 servers ,mainly foxtrot because hackers lower their KDR to cause mayhem there, except Kilo appears to be clean. Keep up the reports and Godspeed...

Christmas, Disunity, and the Bad Part of Giving.

For the holiday season of 2010, several infamous websites such as Gordon and VIP hacks have released free hacks and even some vip hacks. The month of Christmas has been extremely harder hit compared to its previous months. Hacks have been created for free, such as Aimbot and super opk hacks. Even a new spawn system which can spawn many things at once. Brace yourself for fighting against the hackers these next few months!!

A New Beginning, An Old Problem

2012... A new year, and a new start, albeit a much-delayed one. January and February brought no relief to the battered player base. In fact, most would say it brought more suffering, with the introduction of more publicly available hacks, the start of widespread game crashing, and free VIP hacks being distributed at an alarming rate. The outrage at Nexon's inaction increased to the point where even the most hardened of veterans left Combat Arms behind for a temporary period of time, hoping that when they returned, things would have improved. However, it would be a few months until that happened.

Nexon, slowly but surely, began working on patching hacks. Hackers began disappearing over time, going from a constant to something only occasionally encountered. Around this time, the CEO of Nexon finally revealed the cause of much of the lag and the crashing that had been present for almost a year: DDoS, or Directed Denial of Service, attacks, launched by hackers and hacking websites in an attempt to ruin the game. This was the first actual admission by Nexon that there was an issue at all, giving many players hope of fixing these issues that had been plaguing the community for years. The veterans who had left tentatively returned, opting to play in small, cloistered games with well-known friends or legitimate gaming communities, such as the LGC or TWH.

February was the final month in the black fog of the unknown. March and beyond finally brought that light at the end of the tunnel into view.

A Decisive Victory Against Hacking?

March was when the tide finally turned. A lawsuit was filed, a landmark for the gaming industry: Nexon v GameAnarchy. Many initially thought that this would bring an immediate end to the hacking. However, it only brought truth to the saying "It has to get worse before it gets better." By March, the amount of free VIP hacks skyrocketed and DDoS attacks worsened to the point where hackers were taking down multiple servers. Bravo, Papa, Black Market, and Jackson West became entirely unplayable, immediately crashing a player's game if they attempted to join. Eastern servers were loaded to the brink of crashing, with heavy lag during the day. Players took refuge in Foxtrot West during the day and Eastern servers at night.

The end of March brought the end of the server crashing. How, exactly, this came about is unknown at this time, but most of the people simply didn't care.

April finally brought the long-sought relief everyone had been seeking. Even with the departure of Kalika, the community was finally encouraged to play Combat Arms again. By mid-April, hackers had become less of a force, lag was reduced to a minimum, and things were looking up for the community. With Nexon v GameAnarchy yet to come to court, however, the future of Combat Arms remains uncertain. Many of the issues still remained with many servers lagging tremendously some days.

Nexon's Colossal Step Forward

Towards the end of April, Nexon had achieved a great goal with the Update Notes of April 25 of 2012. For they have patched many of the hacks that plagued the game including: Godmode, Weapon Spawner, Lifetaker, and Room Crasher. With this the hack blocks have been updated from many notorious hacking websites: BrutalCheaters, InfinityHacks, That_Kid, Tom, CookieHax, DeadCode’s CA, teehee, OBrozz, Flameswor10, and TheCAKilla and many more hacks. This is just a small listing compared to what has been achieved as it was only a brief update. However, the after-effect was much greater. The Nexon vs. GameAnarchy lawsuit was a clear message to the remaining hacking websites: Close down or suffer.

Small hacking forums such as Ragekick.net, Brutalcheaters.net and Gamerzcontact.com have shut down their websites permanently and have gone into hiding. This marks a great milestone in the battle with hackers.

This has restored faith in the community with Nexon's trying efforts to stop the hacking problem. The future is still unclear, but the mist is clearing.

Return of Anti-Kick

Things however suddenly changed again for the worst with the return of anti-kicking. With no way of removing hackers from the room, the gaming quality began to go downhill again. Worst, it made its return during the SvS event. Hackers would join rooms and freely hack, bringing their team to victory while the opposition team could do nothing to stop the destruction. Even the hacker's teammates could do nothing about him/her as the hacker is unable to be kicked.Many players complained that the Spiders vs. Scorpions event was rigged as the teams were unbalanced. People complained about people 'stacking' on the Spiders which caused a lot of outrage and disputes within the Nexon forums.

Nexon, unresponsive as ever, did nothing to solve this problem. Many enraged, formerly legit players let their desperation for victory, began to turn to the dark side and began utilizing hacks, in an attempt to balance the competition.

A False Ban Wave

In an attempt to satisfy the community, Nexon decided to ban over 1000 accounts for 'hacking'. However, not all is as it seems as most of these 'hackers' are high-ranked, legitimate players who willingly spend a lot of NX. This incident coincided with the Quarantine 'water-only' problem. Many players were enraged; others distraught at the fact that their accounts were falsely banned. Next, the Combat Arms forum was spammed with threads titled 'wrongful ban' 'false bans' 'wrongful bans sign here' or threads with similar titles. How does Nexon manage to get away with this? Users who had their accounts wrongfully banned indicated that they were all heavy NX users with Gold grade or above, and had held a rank of Captain or higher. Many people speculated that Nexon resorted to ban heavy NX spenders in order for them to create a new account and fill up their newly made accounts with NX items and at the same time make more money in an attempt to stop the hackers.

Another week had passed and the wall of shame had not been updated, wrongfully banned users were kept in the dark as the post by Khali, the CM, was vague and not elaborated further. 'The recent bans which occurred were Violations of the ToS and are not for water-only power leveling. Please check the Wall of Shame for more information'

This sparked another wave of wrongful ban threads. How can the CM tell the players to check the Wall of Shame when it has not been updated since the 25th of June? As a CM, working for Nexon, she should know that the Wall of Shame has not been updated. Another week passed and the tickets of falsely banned players were left open and unanswered. By the 5th of July, many falsely banned players had continued to flood the forums concerning their false ban. A few players had their ticket changed to 'Work in Progress' though, many would not believe it. The wall of shame had not updated, disappointing many of the falsely banned players, leaving them in the dark. On the 6th July however, the lists of banned players have been updated (finally), but disappointed many players as most of the names were blacked out, rank removed and the reason was 'In-Game GM Action.' Players were outraged. Why would Nexon hide the reason for the punishment for the certain players?

Another month had passed, the 4th Anniversary came and went; falsely banned players' tickets were left as 'Work In Progress'. Nexon, continued their marketing scheme by offering 'sales' and re-releasing the 'retired' weapons up for permanent duration. Banned players were outraged. Why would Nexon dare to have multiple sales after the suspension of heavy NX spending players' accounts? Of course, Nexon's plans were finally revealed. The falsely banned players had their tickets 'Auto-closed' but it also revealed a side of Nexon which players have never seen before.

An apparent 'Nexon Spy' had been patrolling known hacking websites and gathered information concerning the hack functions, hack users and linked them to Nexon accounts. Within days, the 'Spy' who is only named as 'Mjollnir' a Nexon employee had gathered information and linked several players who were banned to hacking websites. 

Mjollnir, the Nexon Spy, had taken a small sample of the accounts which were banned, and after investigation, found 27/28 of the users guilty of using a 3rd Party Hacking Program. It came as a major shock to many players, as they have now discovered the players they have admired, have aspired to be, had been discreetly using hacking programs, in order to maintain their false hiatus, their level of skill. Reputations were tarnished forever, other players were shunned and never forgotten. It's like déjà vu all over; this event came as a surprise, identical to the events that followed after Nexon had implemented the 'Zero Tolerance Hacking Policy'.

September-October 2012: New Updates and Old Problems

Fall arrived and the annual Autumn G36E Valkyrie and Autumn LAW came and went in a permanent sale. There was still quite a bit of hackers out there coupled with the tremendous amounts of lag, forced many to quit playing. There was still outrage at the return of the permanent option for all NX-Standard weapons which now gave players more overpowered options at a permanent duration. The Daily Job system had returned and created a ton more lag because it was bugged. New NX weapons were added but Nexon managed to add a few more GP items as well such as the MAC-10 SE, G18 Carbon Black, and the Tristar Cobra Force, pleasing the players quite a bit. Coupled with the new GP weapons were more NX-epics and rares like Wraith's CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1, Banshee's FMG-9, and the Micro UZI Metal (the first UZI variant). Everything was going well so far for the players who settled down after the tremendous amounts of hackers were reduced. With the newest patch in October came a brand new map and new problems. Tremendous amounts of lag made it unbearable to play and the game was subject to a myriad of crashing, frustrating players. Even more ridiculous is that most one day GP or NX weapons were removed, forcing players to buy items in 7-day duration. The random crashes wasted the duration on the weapons due to them not being able to play. Nexon claims to continue to ban hackers which so far they have done a decent job on.

A New Beginning?

The apparent 'end of the world' passed, Nexon's 'Evil Never Dies' and 'Happy NeX-mas Sale' have come and gone, but many players were unaware of Nexon's continuing efforts to thwart the hackers. However, in their first briefing of 2013, Nexon had gone off to a great start for this year. Within the first week of 2013, Nexon had issued a permanent ban to 2,633 accounts, including at least 1,255 accounts which held a rank of Captain and/or higher. Hackers are encountered much less frequently than before, however, the ban:time ratio has increased dramatically, to a ban per 6 minutes. Most of these hackers are caught by the HackShield as soon as they have logged onto their account. This is thought by the majority of Combat Arms players, as a huge improvement for Nexon.

A New Approach to Combat Arms

Months have passed by since the ban wave and Nexon's court case against Game Anarchy is still on going. However, they have proposed to restore the game to its former glory. The start of Operation: Overclock, patches and maintenences have been dramatically improving the game's stability and performance, not to mention keep out the hackers. Hackers have not made a dramatic appearance, but instead, seldomly show up and create a riot as Nexon finally abides by their 'Zero Tolerance Hacking Policy', issuing permanent bans and denying appeals made by players who were found guilty of using hacking programs. Another improvement is the fact that Nexon faces the truth about GP players, their outrage and cries for balance. In turn, Nexon decided to make variants of less popular and forgotten weapons to expand the number of GP weapons. This was seen as a step forward by the CA Community. 

The St. Patrick's Day event pleased many players as well. This was one of the few events which Nexon had held, which did not require players to purchase NX or NX items, but instead, reward players with weapons, which they can choose to sell back. 

Pyrrhic Victory

Summer of 2013 saw an incredible amount of improvement from Nexon. Nexon would update hack preventions weekly and would also ban hundreds of players every week for hacking. The destructive hacks such as Crash to Desktop Hack, OPK and Server Crasher were patched and had not arisen as of yet. The Bravo server was 'cleansed' of hackers. Players rejoiced as blantant hacking was seldom seen. However high ranked closet hackers were still roaming free, leading to players still feeling the same uneasy suspicion towards anyone who had an abnormally long killstreak or a high headshot ratio. Scars would remain as many players have already left due to Nexon's rather slow response and server capacity would hit a new low (in part yes do to hackers being banned but also due to low amounts of players new and old). Glitching and the NX/GP imbalance would also prevent the game from reaching its full potential. While most hacking is now obsolete, the other problems still remain as a grim reminder of Nexon's unresponsiveness.



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