Ubisoft says it has made major strides in its ongoing efforts against cheaters in The Division, including new methods for detecting those who are breaking the rules, and much harsher penalties for the people it catches.
“We have already caught more cheaters in the last few days than we had in total during the previous weeks,” Ubisoft wrote in the latest update. “As a result, we will be handing out the biggest wave of suspensions and bans to date over the course of the next few days.”
And when cheaters are caught, instead of being given a three day suspension for their first offense, they'll be suspended for 14 days. Second offenses will result in a permanent ban, as they always have.
Ubisoft also went deeper into what constitutes a “bug exploit,” presumably to address complaints from players unhappy at the prospect of being punished for violating the spirit of the law, rather than the letter. But it's not backing away from its previous promise to punish players who take advantage of them; instead, the publisher promised to “adopt a stronger stance against players abusing exploits,” although it will apparently take a somewhat more flexible approach to punishing exploits than it will with straight-up cheaters.
“Should new bugs be discovered, we will quickly confirm if these are considered exploits. All known exploits will be clearly listed in a public forum thread and across our various communication platforms. We want all players to be informed. This will ensure that those caught after an exploit was confirmed are aware of the consequences and actions that can be taken against them,” Ubi wrote.
“Sanctions will be implemented for players who repeatedly abuse exploits and will vary depending on the severity of the abuse, as well as the history of the player. Possible sanctions include character rollbacks, account suspensions and permanent bans. Those who encounter bugs during the normal course of play have absolutely nothing to worry about.”
Two waves of bans have gone out since the new measures were put into place, according to a message posted in The Division subreddit, and more will no doubt be coming. Whether any of this will be enough to put a meaningful dent into cheating over the long term remains to be seen: Ubi has been busy fixing bugs, but Glenn Fielder, an engineer on games including Mercenaries 2, God of War: Ascension, and Titanfall, recently opined that the only way to properly address the issue of bad behavior is through a “complete rewrite” of the network model.