Context:

As many of you are aware, EME had recently announced that they’re going to combat third party application or modifications to the client by permanently banning players caught using it.

https://forums.enmasse.com/tera/discussion/13823/cheating-and-third-party-tools-in-tera-you-wont-believe-what-happens-next

Quite a few users had reported being banned, including some claiming to only have used DPS meter. Multiple developers (including myself) on NA had already been permanently banned.

My view on the situation:

I have to start off by saying that EME doesn’t know anything. Most of what they used to base their decisions on are incomplete facts or straight up misinterpretation of how most of the recent affairs happened. For at least two years, EME had been completely out of touch with the community.

What gives me the rights to say all of this? Hmm, let’s see:

  1. I’ve been an endgame player since at least the MC patch, and had been in touch with the veteran community since.
  2. I was the pioneer and still the most famous theorycrafter in the entirety of TERA. All of the TERA theorycrafting and gearing strategy started from my work.
  3. I was involved in client optimization, not only publishing the most widely cited FPS guide but also fixed many of the broken UI elements including the notorious party UI. In other words, a huge proportion of the playerbase could play the game at a reasonable FPS only because of the tweaks I spent a long time compiling.
  4. I founded the largest TERA Discord community, have influence in the TERA subreddit and am constantly updated on Player Council activities for the past year.
  5. Recently I’ve been experimenting with proxy to optimize client <-> server netcode to improve gaming experience for high ping players, remove laggy/unoptimized elements and QoL fixes that really should have been introduced into the game years ago.

It might sound arrogant but it’s true. I’ve been one of the major users who’d been actively building the community, expanding knowledge, and fixing game problems.

In other words, for the past 4~ years, I’ve been involved in almost every major community-backed TERA improvement project. EME stayed blissfully ignorant at best and in denial at worst about all of these issues for the past few years. I and many other users had to work around these obstacles to solve problems EME should be responsible for.

EME had not once accepted that the game suffers from huge FPS issues due to issues on their end. EME had not once accepted that the server suffers from significant lag spikes and it has nothing to do with routing most of the time. Desync is an ongoing issue that was reported in BETA but never acknowledged to this day.

I can tell you for certainty that fixing desync, fixing ping tax and fixing lag regarding how player is rendered is trivially easy. How do I know? Because I tried it and it works. Every single major script writer in the community could fix all of these in a single day, every single one of us could fix what EME could not fix throughout the years in a single day.

USING PROXY IS STILL NOT AS GOOD AS LIVING IN CHICAGO. Proxy does not offer any advantage in regards to skill usage that low ping players with an AutoHotkey macro can’t already accomplish. In other words, the major utility of proxy is not to exploit the game, but rather fix the poor netcode on BHS’s behalf. Anyone who tells you there is an unfair advantage gained from proxy is basically saying you gain an unfair advantage from moving to Chicago… Which is ironic, because then they’re admitting that players who play at high ping are at significant disadvantage. You’re not gaining an unfair advantage from proxy, you’re negating the massive disadvantage.

EME had expressed desire to block proxy with updates, but it’s going to be just like what happened with DPS meter on Korea. KR TERA implemented a solution to block DPS meter, but that was trivially cracked in no time at all. Not only did it not work, but during the period KR was aggressively chasing down DPS meter, the game population there nearly collapsed. To put it bluntly, there are at least three versions of proxy in existence, and the major coders of each one is more skilled at programming and cryptology than the BHS staff. Two of these proxies exist outside EME jurisdiction but works for NA anyway.

“But proxy is a hack tool and banning it will resolve all recent exploits!” This is one of the most popular misinformed arguments flying around. Proxy does not grant any ability to players they could not previously achieve without using proxy. Many of the “exploits” could be done without even using a program, and the rest could be done with Cheat Engine. In fact, most of the recent major exploits were not done by proxy and had existed underground for years. In simple terms, you achieve nothing by banning proxy if you won’t fix what allowed those bugs to begin with, i.e. bad programming. How do you fix bad programming? By talking to us, because we know the code better than you…. Or you could just not communicate and watch exploiters dupe another million diamonds in the future.

Take the wall bug exploit for example, that bug had been around since beta, and there are at least 5 ways to achieve it, 4 without proxy. The issue had been reported to EME multiple times throughout the years, but they ignored it. Exploiting wall mechanic had been widespread since as early as LoT, and even during the SCHM patch.

Did they need to take the reward shop down? No. All they had to do was come and ask us what was going on, and the “exploit” would have been explained to them as being relatively benign and isolated. By not communicating with the knowledgeable players, they instead ignorantly took down reward shop and inconvenienced the entire population for no good reason. Spoilers: that emporium exploit where you can buy items beyond your tier had existed since emporium was introduced, and the 8 million credits was just faked. The entire situation could have been avoided if they just communicated with the players.

EME did not consult anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about before pushing this change through. To my knowledge, no programmers involved in any TERA mode projects had ever been approached by EME. In other words, the entire decision was done based on nothing but fiction and misinformation. Just look at this: http://imgur.com/a/Fhp5e

These two screenshots are just an hour after their announcement. The GMs have no idea what proxy is, and even lacks fundamental knowledge about how latency works. This is the extent of their knowledge. DPS meter seems to be implicated too, so goodbye 100% of the playerbase if they’re serious about it.

The veteran community is fed up. For once we get something to fix the game with after years of unanswered pleads, and EME decides to take it away for no good reason. It’s one thing to ignore issues and pretend they don’t exist, it’s another thing to block solutions to these problems without offering any alternatives. Do they just want the game to go back to being unplayable? If they’re going to ban it, at least introduce an alternative to all of these issues.

I implore everyone to share this message with the entire community and try to get in touch with EME staff regarding this. Without a proper discussion, this sudden, uninformed and inconsistent decision will only spark disharmony and unsettlement in the community. I’m being barraged with messages from concerned players, and honestly who really knows what’s going on? Are we going to get banned for DPS meter? What about just INI and GPK edits to get playable FPS? Are we expected to just deal with 500ms latency and play the game at half the speed? I have no answers to any of these questions.

EME does not have the skill required to detect if someone is running an injector at this very moment, so all bans will be based on reports and circumstantial evidence. To summarize, what will EME achieve with this decision?

☒ Piss off the majority of the endgame community.

☐ Successfully detect proxy and ban users with consistency.

☒ Make the game unplayable again for more than half the population.

☐ Removed the ability to use injectors permanently.

☒ Ban white hat developers and potentially turn them black hat.

☐ Ban actual black hat hackers who had been exploiting TERA for half a decade.

All the bad things, checked. All the intended effect, not checked. Way to go.

Conclusion:

The majority of the serious playerbase is now stuck with the dilemma between:

  1. Running an essentially undetectable program to actually play the game properly and risk getting banned through reports or just bad luck.
  2. Playing a laggy half broken game at 10 FPS.

Of course many would choose option 3, i.e. quitting the game, because the nature of the dilemma is that you simply cannot win regardless of your choice. This decision is going to bleed players, especially because there was no prior communication between the staff and community regarding this issue and the fact that the majority of veteran players use proxy.

In reality, proxy will exist for the foreseeable future regardless. Some players will be scapegoated here and there, but the majority who didn’t quit the game will still use it in secret.

For EME:

I Implore EME to consider Plan A, which is to negotiate and at least communicate with knowledgeable individuals regarding this decision. All major scriptwriters are perfectly OK with a logical conversation about restrictions and other guidelines. I’m sure everyone is also more than happy to actually explain how all of this works, so you can at least make an informed decision.

If I haven’t made it clear enough already, at least two of the major players you banned (i.e. Meishu and myself) are very knowledgeable on TERA netcode and have no interest in malicious exploits. Working with us can only improve the game experience for everyone.

Or you could choose Plan B with your half-assed approach to banning. Quite a few developers are still active, and the banned ones are still writing code. With this option, you might scare the playerbase for a week, make a bunch of people quit, then it’s back to step 1 with everyone using proxy again.

For the community:

I suggest taking a break at the very least. Until this issue is fully resolved, if you’re not playing at 10 ping with a monster PC already, you’ll either have to play a half broken game with no UI mod, no INI edits, no DPS meter and certainly no proxy or risk being permanently banned at any time. Quite frankly, TERA just isn’t worth playing in 2017 in its buggy and laggy raw form.

Given TERA is EME’s only profitable game, and subsequent projects all falling flat on their faces, the consequences of this change of events may be disastrous.