Cheaters suck. By exploiting vulnerabilities in any given game, either through datamined hacks or purchasable cheats, charlatans can ruin the fun for everyone involved. Sometimes these swindlers need to be publicly shamed to grasp the gravity of the ban hammer that’s fallen upon them, and that’s exactly what Escape from Tarkov developer Battlestate Games has done with over 6,000 cheaters the studio has caught and banned of late.
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Escape from Tarkov is a multiplayer tactical FPS with some MMO and RPG features. It’s an interesting amalgamation of various games such as Arma, The Division, Hunt: Showdown, and PUBG, all wrapped up in the fictional Russian capital of Norvinsk, Tarkov. It’s hardcore. So hardcore, in fact, that the game tasks you with counting your bullets and inspecting your magazines before engaging in shootouts. Escape from Tarkov has been in some form of beta since at least late 2017, with it spiking in popularity on Twitch in 2020 partly because of how exhilarating it can be to survive a gritty firefight. Due to its punishing difficulty, though, it’s also riddled with cheaters. Battlestate Games doesn’t treat tricksters too kindly, as evidenced by the series of Google spreadsheets the studio has started tweeting, full of the usernames of individuals the dev has recently banned from its game.
Over 6,000 names have been dragged
Since February 27, the official Escape from Tarkov Twitter account has shared several Google spreadsheets listing the handles of players caught using cheats to exploit the game. Using BattlEye, a proprietary anticheat software deployed in games like Destiny 2 and Rainbow Six Siege, it’s estimated that Battlestate Games has caught and banned some 6,700 players in the past couple of weeks.
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“We have decided to resume the practice of sharing the information about large ban waves done with the support of [BattlEye] anticheat,” Battlestate Games said on the game’s Twitter account. “Throughout the weekend over 4,000 cheaters were banned in Escape from Tarkov.”
Another 700 were reported banned on March 1 and an additional 2,000 shamed on March 5. And these lists are publicly available. No password, only shame..
The developers just want honest players
In a brief statement to TechCrunch, Battlestate Games spokesperson Dmitri Ogorodnikov said the move, publicly dragging the names of thousands of cheaters, was to inform Escape from Tarkov players that “justice has been served.”
“We want honest players to see the nicknames of cheaters to know that justice has been served and the cheater who killed them in a raid has been punished and banned,” Ogorodnikov told TechCrunch.
I’m kind of reminded of that Game of Thrones episode, “Mother’s Mercy,” in which Cersei Lannister endured the walk of atonement, a public ritual of punishment and penance that demanded sinners walk a long distance in front of everyone completely naked, the onlookers chanting “shame!” These Escape from Tarkov banned lists are giving the same energy.
Kotaku reached out to Battlestate and BattlEye for comment.
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Maybe this act of public shaming will be a good deterrent that makes hackers think twice before using cheats. At the very least, these banned lists will be something of a reminder that cheaters never, ever prosper.