So I still play Call of Duty: World at War for fun... and because I want to hit 10th prestige to unlock that 0 point achievement. Currently I'm sitting at 6th with a level of 30. This all came to a grinding halt the weekend of April 22nd.
The night started off much like any other night: eat dinner, put my son to bed, entertain the wife, shower, then hop on XBL. First I find some friends for party chat, as I refuse to listen to game chat, and pick something to play. Having unlocked everything possible at that point in the GoW3 beta, I went back to CoD because it's still fun for me and I have a ways to go until that final unlock. So a couple matches of Headquarters later, I come across a bizzare looking person. His hands look all crippled, like he had been worked over by a baseball bat a la Casino, and had this funny looking item floating around his head. He was on my team, so I wasn't worried about getting shot while I stared at him. Then he just flew off like some sort of kneeling, crippled superman. Right through the wall!
Hold the phone. How the hell does someone just take off across the map? I've seen this before, back in my DOOM days. Good old "No Clipping" mode. Fantastic. A hacker. Funny that I've played this since Dec '08 and just now I come across my first hacker. So taking note of his GT, I decided to have a gander at the scoreboard. Somebody is 28-0. Like hell that is legit. On Asylum to boot! So as we captured the base, I cooked a grenade to kill myself so that I could watch his cam. Sure enough, someone had another cheat activated. GOD Mode. Countless people run up shooting, knifing, grenading to no avail. At this point I also got a better view as to his little "familiar" buzzing about his head. A pink cowbell with the letters "OWN3D" painted on it.
Well, once that round was over, and Jebus was on the other team, I decided I was done with CoD for the night. No need to try and play a game where you can't kill somebody on the other team. At that point it was off to the goog to see what I just happened across. Turns out, this is known as the "Default Weapon" and is part of a Dev mode for the games. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but for the next week I came across many players without said cowbell doing the exact same cheats. Something fishy is going on here and I need to find out what. Another quick search of the goog turns up a fun little name, JTAG.
After reading about the hard mod known as JTAGing, it becomes rather clear that something wrong is occuring on someone's part. Either Activision/Treyarch have abandoned all support for W@W now that Black Ops is out, a pile of hacked 360s have all decided to get on XBL, or Microsoft has dropped the ball on the Ban Hammer.
Regardless of whose fault it is, I must ask why? Back when I first played DOOM off of a 3.5" floppy install, I entered in the IDDQD console command to see what it was about. But after taking down the end boss with just a chainsaw, the novelty wore off. With no challenge, there was no point to play the game. The entertainment value was lost. This effect couldn't be any more prevalent than in the GTA series. Most people I know play the game for 10-20 minutes, just pissing around on a rampage with various cheats enabled. The novelty wears off, and they move on to something else.
So I must ask "what is the motivation?" Does ruining other peoples' experiences mean that much to you? I just don't understand what the point of playing a competitive game is when there's no competition. I don't mind if you pwn me with pure skill. That's fine. Just don't cause me to quit a game I enjoy just because daddy let you play with his soldering iron for a couple hours.