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CS:GO Pros – Hacking?

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Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian, Simon “smn” Beck, and Gordon “Sf” Giry were all slapped with VAC bans a few days ago. What does that mean for the competitive gaming scene in CS:GO?

CS:GO Pros – Hacking?

Sometimes, you rely on certain things keeping you safe or minimizing damage. Seat belts are now common in cars – airbags along with them. What about VAC, and your gaming experience in many titles offered in Steam? You may not think about it, but VAC helps keep your experience in many games positive, by severely punishing cheaters.

While it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that people cheat in a game like CS:GO, but for professional players to do so – unheard of since about 2001.

Last week, pro players Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian, Simon “smn” Beck, and Gordon “Sf” Giry were all slapped with VAC bans. The timing on this is interesting, as the DreamHack Winter 2014 event is just around the corner.

More Information: Valve’s Steam Support article on VAC

KQLY, one of the pros banned, had this to say on his facebook to fans (raw translation):

As you saw yesterday , I was banned by VAC and unfortunately it was justified. I wanted to say that I’m really sorry for all the people who supported me , I am aware that with my bullshit, my career is now over and my team in a very bad position. They did not deserve that. At the end of August , I was put in touch with a program supex0 (he had a strong case and explained that many pros using the program). I became interested curiosity. He put rights for 7 days, and like an idiot, the temptation was too great and I wanted to see what it looked like on public servers and MM . Subsequently I have not continued to use it , I had to join Titan and I did not need to take unnecessary risks while I had all that I needed: a high-level team , a solid structure … My curiosity failed me and now my career is over CS after 12 years on the play. I lost everything and I do not expect any compassion , I made ​​a mistake and I will pay it. Unfortunately everything stops here , and again , I’m really sorry to have disappointed.

While it seems that people are not disputing whether or not cheats were used, it leads to a very serious question. Has any other pro players used cheats to “boost their game”, and if so, how many?

Playing at a highish rank within CS:GO, I’m usually able to pick out cheaters fairly well. However, the hacks used by these players (one calling theirs “supex0”) don’t seem to act in the normal sense. It’s unclear how much of an advantage it gives to players as nothing is drawn on the screen during play.

The team KQLY plays for, Titan, issued a statement about the incident. Here is a segment of it:

Today is a sad and disheartening day for Titan CS:GO.

On November 20th one of our CS:GO players, Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian, was flagged by the Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC). The player in question was immediately suspended by Titan, pending an internal investigation by the organization.

In parallel with this, Titan also attempted to confer with Valve directly, and when enquiring about proof of the infraction the organization received the below response:

We do not discuss players’ personal account details with third parties. However we can confirm that he is VAC banned.

Following the organizations own investigation into the matter, KQLY confessed to having used a third party program. According to his side of the story, the use took place at the end of August, pertaining to a one week time period, outside of a competitive context and on another Steam account.

Considering the information we now have at our disposal, it is no longer possible for Titan to maintain trust in our player. We have therefore taken the decision to dismiss Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian from the team effective immediately.

Interestingly enough, they also had this to say:

Upon learning of our player’s VAC ban we immediately reached out to Valve, trying to start a dialogue regarding not only the ban but more crucially its impact on the rest of our team.

After an initial email exchange, however, all communications from Valve’s side ceased. Even with these attempts being facilitated by DreamHack, the response to our enquiries regarding our DHW slot and a potential replacement fifth were still met with dead silence.

Much to our surprise – instead of reaching out to us directly, once an initial decision had been made – Valve instead opted for a public press release, letting us know we had been disqualified by allowing us to read it ourselves at the same time as the rest of the community.

Do you think the right thing was done? Should the whole team be punished for the action of that teammate? Let’s hear you below.

2 Comments

  1. IMO dismissing the whole team was not that harsh of a decision. It is the team’s responsibility to make sure each member is trained enough, has the right mind set, self confidence and ethics, and why not even come up with an in house anti cheat system or some sort of check, if we can compare it to normal sports like NukeTrooper did, where there are regular checks for doping and the team complies. Plus, one can not know for sure whether that team knew and was OK with cheating, (a rule against the use of 3rd party programs should’ve been in place) or even if they suggested such a hax in the first place. Their reputation was scarred either way.
    As for the actual player(s), curiosity and temptation cannot justify such an act. If they are indeed pros they should already be at a high enough level and be comfortable with that and their limits (or work harder), and they should also know the difference between doing things manually and fair, in the limits of the game and the engine, and, well, everything else.

  2. I guess it was a matter of time to catch a professional somebody cheating. “Regular” sports have doping, I guess e-sports have haxx. We will see whether anyone else will get caught, regardless of which game they play. It brings the question whether it is possible to cheat on other competitive games, and how much advantage would it confer.

    Without knowing all details, it seems kind of a misstep on Valve’s part that they have not informed the disqualified team prior to the official release.

    Which leads me to another question – should I stop drinking for tonight and finally go to bed? Meh…

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