As many of you have noticed, recent beta-tests have had the first confirmed "public" appearance of cheats used in Ghost Recon Online. First and foremost, we would like to reassure the community that battling cheating is a top priority for the team, and these disturbances are not going ignored - in fact we've had tracking methods in place for several betas that allow us to detect many of these incidents.
Our programming team has also been hard at work putting multiple measures in place to secure the game against those cheats that are beyond detection. This is in fact one of the driving reasons why Ghost Recon Onlinerelies on Dedicated Servers to operate the game matches, allowing us to implement more robust verification of in-game actions by players. Of course our other priority is to never let such effort interfere with the game experience itself, or degrade the game functionality when new security measures are implemented or enabled in a particular beta build.
With this in mind the planned rollout of security measures follows an incremental path, where you'll see more and more features on this front in upcoming patches, but with each step allowing us to thoroughly test the new functionality to avoid negatively impacting the game before activating the next measures.
Roughly speaking, our security work currently falls into three broad categories:
- 3rd party cheat protection software - this has been in on-going tests since our first Beta, to guarantee we will not impair the end-user experience when its full-feature set is enabled.
- Server-side verification of in-game actions, this is again an on-going effort that balances in-game performance/experience, resource usage and accuracy of invalid actions performed by players.
- General hardening of local game binaries against typical intrusion attacks.
- Tracking&analysis of potential cheats that aren't caught by any of the above - this is as much a technical exercise as it is training our GMs to understand what constitutes potential cheats and how to investigate when such occurrences are reported.
As part of this ongoing effort, the next Beta period will come with a few countermeasures specific to hacks that have already been observed in the wild, as well as increased tracking of such activities. Additionally, we're targeting to start enabling functionality of our 3rd party cheat protection software sometime during this period as well.
The members of our Security Team are committed to making this game as grief-free an experience as possible, and work closely with other teams on the game to achieve this.
We here on the Ghost Recon Online team recognize that the fight against cheating is an ongoing war and look forward to your support in the upcoming battle.
Ghost Recon Online Lead Programmer