Dark Souls Remastered On PC Already Falling Victim To Infamous Hackers
Dark Souls Remastered released slightly early on Steam last night, letting preorders or new buyers go ahead and start playing the newly updated and remastered version of FROM Software's action-adventure game. Just as quickly, however, cheaters entered the game to troll other users and this time there may not be as many options to protect yourself.
Once a player escapes from the Undead Asylum and ventures into Lordran, they can start using humanity to call other players for help, with the trade off of allowing human invaders to enter your game. In a normal game, losing an invasion to a human opponent meant a loss of progress or, at worst, a loss of souls. With users like infamous Dark Souls hacker Malcolm Reynolds, however, players have much more to lose.
Reynolds, who is purportedly going by a pseudonym named after the Firefly protagonist, is likely well known to anyone in the Souls community or watches Souls streams. He claimed that, through modifying code, he could invade players in Dark Souls III and hit them with a weapon that would get them banned from the game's PVP content. As soon as Dark Souls Remastered went live, so did Reynolds on his Twitch channel.
Using the code modifications he boasts about, Reynolds made it so he can invade early game players and inflict status ailments like Curse and Egghead. In Dark Souls, Curse kills your character and then halves your HP until you can get it healed from a NPC in New Londo, which most new players won't know anything about. Egghead implants a parasitic egg into the player's head, which prevents the player from wearing helmets and has a tapeworm-like quality of stealing half the player's souls. Both ailments can massively harm a player's early game and aren't really meant to be introduced or cured until later in the game.
Reynolds would joke during his stream that players were better off starting over, effectively making his attacks progression blockers.
This isn't new to Dark Souls Remastered specifically, but the community has tried to find ways to work around it. In Demon's Souls, a weapon called the Scraping Spear would destroy armor and was a favorite of trollish invaders, so the community developed strategies to avoid it, the most popular being just killing yourself in the game and hoping it did not ruin your world tendency too bad. For the original PC version of Dark Souls, a mod called PVP Watchdog that would warn players if they were playing against a hacking player, giving people the opportunity to just hurl themselves off a ledge and not deal with it.
Unfortunately, PVP Watchdog does not work on Dark Souls Remastered and the creators have no intention of updating it to work. In a post on reddit, the program's creator eur0pa explained why Watchdog won't be returning to the Remastered game.
"It's been 6 years since Dark Souls came out, there have been 4 games on different engines, all of them sharing the same flaws, plagued with the same amount of cheaters and script kiddies, and all of them pulling off the same destructive actions: it's time FromSoft fixed their own games without relying on the efforts of the community," eur0pa explained. "Besides, the presence of their in-house 'anti-tampering' solution has proven, over the years, how any third-party approach only nets innocent players softbans and troubles. Any tool I could come up with would only get you flagged."
That means players who have something designed to tell them if someone is cheating get picked as cheaters by the game's ambling but heavy-handed anti-cheating process. It does also pick up actual cheaters, but like Reynolds, most can either work around it or don't care.
It's a shame that this is already happening, but eur0pa isn't wrong that FROM Software has been making these online portions for a decade now and still haven't found a solution to cheating. On the plus side, Dark Souls really doesn't have a reason to go human unless you need to summon help, but it really sucks for those that do.