A League of Legends cheat coder tells of his “double life” coding cheats for profit, then selling that code to Riot Games.
The battle against cheats is something that pretty much every online multiplayer developer struggles with. It’s a constant “arms race” between cheat coders and anti-cheat software that more often than not, the cheaters are a step ahead of. So how do you get ahead of the cheaters? Well, you hire the people who make them.
For at least five months-and likely more-Riot paid cheat coders to pass along code, work as consultants, and act as informants on their peers, according to sources within the cheat-coding community and a contract obtained by the Daily Dot. One of the sources, who for obvious reasons prefers to remain anonymous, tells of how Riot first approached him.
“At first a well known Rioter, who I won’t name, would reach out to members of the cheating community that they could entice with non-monetary rewards,” said the source. “They’d be giving them free Riot Points [Riot’s “premium” in-game currency] and various items of swag, like Teemo hats. I can’t believe people actually accepted it. When I was offered that, I told them to get fucked.”
“They appealed to what all coders really enjoy: exposing flaws in someone else’s code.”
The source went on to say how Riot’s next step was to appeal to what all coders really enjoy: “exposing flaws in someone else’s code. They straight out said we could get paid to work as consultants and all we had to do in exchange was explain how these programs we were making worked. We didn’t have to stop coding cheats. We would get paid twice.”
However, the source said that while the pay was good, and working with Riot was generally rewarding, after a time the company became more and more demanding of him. “Personally, I think I gave them everything they could have wanted and more,” he said. “There were probably 10 exploits that never saw a ranked game during the months I was contracted. The management would pressure you and say they weren’t getting enough for their money, so you’d work more and more hours. If that didn’t satisfy them, then they’d ask you to give up other people.”
“What they do with the information we provide them… Well, it’s not always what I would call ethical.”
The source explained that what Riot did with the information provided in “giving up” fellow cheat coders wasn’t exactly ethical. “They know legally they can’t touch them without cast-iron evidence, so when developers won’t ‘flip,’ Rioters go directly to them and let them know that they know who they are. If you’re a 16-year-old learning how to code and you get confronted like that, obviously you’re going to shit your pants. It’s obviously more cost effective than how they used to do things but I doubt it has the same results.”
In the end, the source claims that Riot’s dubious ethical nature, combined with a change in his contract that would see him earn considerably less money, caused him to cut ties with the company. “I know that no-one reading this will be sympathetic and I guess I can’t complain,” he said. “I got months of great pay-until they switched the agreement-and a free trip to L.A. In the end though, they weren’t committed to fixing the problem and couldn’t pay me enough to make my time worthwhile, so I went back to developing cheats and Elo-boosting.”
Source: The Daily Dot