VRChat is being absolutely nuked into the ground on Steam after the developer announced it would be adding Easy Anti-Cheat into the game.
It was quietly implemented into the game's beta on July 25, with a blog post pinning its introduction on mods. While modifying the game's client has been against terms of service for a hot sec, it's generally a widely-accepted part of VRChat. The vanilla game can run poorly and has a stark lack of accessibility features, something that the mods are often making up for.
Now, VRChat Inc. says that "malicious" mods are "responsible for a massive amount of issues for both our team and our users" which led to the decision to introduce EAC. The biggest issue has mostly been turds who use mods to crash servers and PCs, though there's rarer cases of hackers exploiting mods. The blog post does its best to frame EAC as a silver bullet, rather dramatically calling mods "a burden" and saying that frustrations around mod debugging "has a chilling effect on VRChat creators."
A compilation of reactions to VRChat adding Easy Anti Cheat (to ban mods)A passionate member of my discord put this together and I thought it was a great way to archive the moment (with their permission) pic.twitter.com/A4jJaIqdWIJuly 26, 2022
VRChat players aren't exactly buying all the doom and gloom though, taking to Steam to murder the game's "mostly positive" review score. Along with the negative reviews, a ResetEra post points out many of the ways EAC's introduction hampers a large portion of VRChat's community. Many point out the impact this will have on players who've relied on modded accessibility features, such as speech-to-text and being able to open the menus while lying down in VR mode.
"The community banded together to help this platform, and created client-side mods that solve many of the problems the game suffers from and adding features," the ResetEra post reads. "Mods are against the ToS, but VRChat silently allows them because in truth, they helped the community grow massively and keep the game safe." A Steam review said adding EAC was "not good for the innocent users, the 'wholesome' modders, and the quality-of-life modders," while another said, "this decision helps no one, and harms many."
When you also consider that players have already managed to bypass the anti-cheat in the few hours the beta's been live, the whole thing seems like a complete dumpster fire. I tried to peep into the game's Discord to see what was happening there, but that is also currently on fire as hundreds of players air their grievances across the server's channels.
As I write this, the game's recent reviews are "mostly negative" with over 10,000 reviews, around a thousand of those flooding in as I put this together. It's early hours so who knows if the extreme backlash will cause the developer to change its mind, but for now it seems settled on introducing the anti-cheat into the full game.