In a move to attempt to rid Overwatch of cheaters and hackers, Blizzard has banned over 10,000 accounts in their South Korean servers for the use of non-permitted third-party programs.
Blizzard uploaded the results of their past few ban waves on a post on their Korean forums. According to this entry, they’ve found over 7,000 players using cheating software in the last wave alone, the highest amount so far within the past few months.
They specifically point out those using a new cheating tool called “nuking” which is functionally similar to a DDoS attack. Nuking basically sends out a large number of packets to the opposing team’s IP causing their game to slow down to the point of being unplayable. Blizzard has acknowledged the existence of these tools as well as its spread in the community and are working on countermeasures to prevent it in the future.
This is a good move on Blizzard’s part as it shows that they’re very serious about hackers and cheaters in their games. However, this doesn’t really solve the issue of the prevalent use of hacks in the South Korean servers. A large majority of PC gamers in South Korea don’t actually own their own machine or buy their own games, instead they rely on PC Bangs — the Korean equivalent of an Internet cafe.
PC Bangs have special versions of Blizzard games that will allow anyone that pays the hourly fee (usually about $1 an hour) to play without any real trouble. Making a Battle.net account in Korea requires people to input the Korean equivalent of their Social Security Number, which usually means that if you get banned you’re banned for good.
But what really happens is that Korean cheaters use a VPN to create North American or European accounts and play with those instead of their personal ones. If the account ever gets banned, they simply need to make a new one and continue playing at the PC Bang without repurchasing the game.
So it’s easy to see that while Blizzard is making the right moves to clean up their servers, they aren’t actually getting to the root of the issue. As long as these cheaters can continue to use PC Bangs to their advantage, they’ll just keep coming back no matter how many times they get banned.