The following is long, for anyone who feels the need to tl/dr this topic, may I redirect you to here http://www.coolfunnyquotes.com/ "Short, funny quotes" right up the alley for anyone with a 5 second attention span. If you tried to read it and still said tl/dr, I bolded the questions that make up the main points of what I wrote at the end, feel free to skip to there : P For everyone else:
I have seen within the KO4life community, as well within the larger English speaking KO gaming community itself a sort of clash developing between so called 'legit players', against what many see as an increasingly large percentage of the gaming community perhaps shrugging off the former concept of 'legit', players beginning to show quiet, and of late increasingly vocal support for the use of 3rd party tools. As such I thought it would make an interesting discussion, if we attempted to get down to the reasons behind this new movement; what the results of such a clash might mean for the game and its players; and what this might mean for the future of Knight Online the game itself.
For many players (especially older players), there seems to be a sense of honor that comes with playing within the basic rules of the game, the concept of enjoying the challenge of trying to be the best, or at least the best one can be largely within the confines of the rules of the TOS. Linked to this concept, is another concept which has come to the forefront of late: the question of whether a person were to choose to join in on the increasingly large scale cheating, would that person be surrendering their "honor" within the scope of the game. Or perhaps put it less dramatically, would they cease to be 'legit', deserving of a ban, as well as being ostracized within the gaming community itself?
Utilitarians might argue at this point that a cheater is in the wrong for increasing his own enjoyment at the expense of others decrease in the same, a selfish act against many, and therefore likely to be looked down upon by many. (Non utilitarians might instead point out that this is not due to a general sense of utilitarianism at all, but simply the selfish interest of the many individuals who do not cheat, to show displeasure as a group towards those few attempting to benefit at their expense). Regardless of the philosophy behind it (I'm sure there are other possible ones), if we are to agree that a society as a whole should take the general satisfaction, of lack thereof, of the community into consideration (one could call the KO universe a form of gaming society), yet another question arises: At what point does cheating become so predominant within Knight Online that the majority of players find that there is more satisfaction from not cheating, then by cheating?
The resistance to the 'using 3rd party tools is cheating' voice beginning to hum within the KO community, could be seen as a typical reaction, by people who see the ideas of being 'legit' and honorable within the games TOS no longer a viable option, the current state of the game being what it is. That those who continue to cling to a misjudged sense of honor will simply find it increasingly difficult to play the game at a high level, perhaps even at a functional level, as many parts of the game continue to be taken over by 3rd party users due to a poorly enforced TOS within game. Thus yet another question arises: Is it realistic to expect the majority of people to continue to stick to the principles of a TOS which de facto is largely no longer in force? Should people further be expected to feel a sense of honor and commitment to a set of rules which are no longer adhered to by the majority of the gaming community? If it should come to the point that it is apparent that the players benefiting the most within the game, are those who have gone farthest outside the terms of the TOS, often without consequences?
Within the game, there are two main reasons I can think of that players (new and old) would refrain from "cheating" by going outside the TOS to use 3rd party tools to xp faster, Pk better, or better equip oneself then by other means. The first and most obvious would be:
1 The detriment level of using 3rd party tools surpasses the benefit level of 3rd party tools. (such as via instant or high % of account banning, or other tangible punishments by K2 against people who use these tools; or else by a gaming community which routinely ostracizes cheating players, makes it difficult for them to participate with the community, and therefore enjoy the socializing aspects of the game).
2 The reward level of not using 3rd party tools surpasses the reward level of using 3rd party tools. (such as long time players being rewarded in some way by K2 for having accounts for a length of time, which would be conducive to players not wishing to be banned- the slow lvling, item acquisition system is a sort of reward system in this way; or else by rewards within the community such as a positive reputation for being 'legit', social acceptance by others playing the game, etc.)
As such we should expect that whenever the benefits of one or both of the above shifts increasingly from left to right, then 3rd party tool use would in turn rise accordingly.
I think a good case study of the results that both the community itself, and the enforcement level of certain sections of the TOS can bring would be the concept of "Babashopping" within Knight Online. At one time, buying virtual items within game with real money was frowned upon to a larger degree. There was a feeling that it was an unfair and illicit advantage by players who chose to do so, a way to skirt the actual commitment and ability it would take to earn those same levels within the game. However, as the PUS store and premium users in the community began to increase in concentration, the line between spending money "legitly" to aquire in game advantages, and even to trade PUS items for in game coins/items became increasingly fuzzy. In addition, K2's almost complete inability to track and ban 'babashoppers', led to it becoming more common, as players purchasing in game items with real money were found to have long term advantages over those who didn't. As such, for the most part now, baba'ing items is considered largely 'legit' by the KO community, even if it is not supported by the games actual TOS. Indeed, many players simply buy chars now that they might jump right into Pk, without all the time needed to lvl up and equip a character, which they would rather use in other ways. And for the most part, the Ko community currently sees this as perfectly acceptable.
In this same way, the game currently may be undergoing a new paradigm shift. As cheating continues to go largely unpunished for longer and longer periods of time, and with less checks on such tools within the game, the obviousness of benefits to those using 3rd party tools will only become more noticeable. At what point does the average player decide the only way to realistically compete in the game is to join in the use of said tools? Knight Online certainly wouldn't be the first MMORPG where a lack of detriment towards the use of 3rd party tools has led to an eventual embracing of them within the entire gaming community. Certain elements of the Turkish community have already largely embraced 3rd party tools, how long before it becomes commonly acceptable within the English community as well? If 'alternate accounts' continue to be made increasingly by those seeking for now to keep their 'legit status' in order to at the same time benefit from the use of these 3rd party tools, how long before these same players turn these into main accounts, if they continue to be largely unbanned and get to take advantage of the use of these tools for faster lvling, farming, etc?
I think this makes some food for thought for the KO community, for the consequences of Knight Online having no real anti hack program for months now is threatening to make long term changes to this game, and player's perception of what is, and what is not acceptable. I am not sure whether there is anything the community itself can or will do to prevent this type of change from occurring, or even if it is important if they do. Afterall, this is a game, and if the changes that occur are likely to match what people find most enjoyable within the confines of what they can or cannot do. But I would expect that for those who have become used to playing KO without using 3rd party tools over the years, and denigrating those who do, to be resistant to the notion that this should become a 100% bot game. Especially as comboing, which most older players enjoy most about KO would become moot. So perhaps the question that is most important for players who do not wish to see this change is: What can be done about it besides waiting for K2 to someday possible get it's act together on their own and limit the use of botting to a more reasonable amount then is current? For if this is not prevented, the only options down the road may be join in and bot too, or quit KO for good.
So now again some good questions for the English KO community to consider : P
1 Were a long time 'legit' player to openly choose to use 3rd party tools (perhaps for xp for instance), would that player be seen as ceasing to be "legit", as well as to be ostracized within the KO community itself? Or will we begin to see this as acceptable behavior if K2 continues to fail to ban botters properly, and people realize the advantages to bot are many?
2 At what point does cheating become so predominant within Knight Online that the majority of players find that there is more satisfaction from cheating, then by not cheating? Is the state of the game in danger of reaching this point right now?
3 Is it realistic to expect the majority of people to continue to stick to the principles of a TOS which de facto is largely no longer in force?
4 Has there been a paradigm shift from left to right for either/both of these following points within Ko?:
The detriment level of using 3rd party tools VS to the benefit level of 3rd party tools.
The reward level of not using 3rd party tools VS the reward level of using 3rd party tools.
5 If 'legit' players begin making alternate bot accounts, and find that these accounts have large enough advantages to begin making them their mains while KO continues to do little to stop botting, will the KO English community ostracize these people as strongly as they did in the past?
6 What can be done about all this besides waiting for K2 to eventually get it's act together on their own in regards to this issue, as this has gone on at an unprecedented level for an unprecedented time now? Should the community attempt to do anything at all?
7 What are you yourself doing to prevent 3rd party tools from taking over the game, if you do not wish it to? Are you partying with 3rd party users? For xp? In BDW? Farming bosses? In CZ? Have you taken to using them yourself though you'd rather it would be removed from game? Are you clanning people you are aware use(d) these tools to gain advantage for your clan? Is looking the other way part of the problem? Are you friends with people you know use, and overlook that they do? Would you rather play KO with these tools then not play at all?
8 Do you feel it is ridiculous to give a crap about the KO community's best interests, as long as you are enjoying yourself? This is "only a game" afterall. If your answer is yes, would it not still be in your best interest to care somewhat at least what others choose to do in the game, as it is likely to affect your own playing experience?