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The Blackwood Chapter and Update 30 are now available for testing on the PTS! Read the full patch notes here: https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/categories/pts/

A few facts about the recent ultimate exploit/hack

cyx54tc
cyx54tc
✭✭✭✭
I am writing this to let all the non technical people know about those facts so that we can make more constructive posts instead of just saying ZOS should ban all those people, fix those bugs tmr ect.

Fact 1: Why this is possible to do with ESO?
ESO used something I call client trust model. What this means is that ESO client does most of the calculation and sends the result back to server. The server then accepts the result with little or no validation.

An example flow of client trust (not necessary how ESO does it)

Client :
1. Player pressed ultimate key
2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
3. if player has enough then decrement ultimate point, if not then do nothing
4. tell server player casted ultimate
Server:
1. received player cast ultimate request
2. broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

so what would happen if someone modified the ESO client and removed step 2, 3 on client side?

An example flow of Server trust

Client :
1. Player pressed ultimate key
2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
3. if not then do nothing
4. tell server player wants to cast ultimate
Server:
1. received player cast ultimate request
2. validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it. If not then do nothing.
3. decrement ultimate point for player A and broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

so what if we remove step 2, 3 on client side this time? step 2 on server side will say no because the server has all the information and it can validate if the action is valid

Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

Fact 3: Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
If server trust is used it means the server will be required to do most of the calculation that the clients are doing right now. Meaning that it should expect at least X times (X is the number of players playing the game) heavier loads. So what used to be 10s lag in PVP you could expect that to multiply by X if they use existing server without upgrade.

Fact 4: Could ZoS just simply detect those people and ban them all?
I will put it simple.. It is hard. Feel free to take a look at maple story which uses similar model. Maple story even used 3 layers of anti-hack engine and still......

Fact 5: What exploits/hacks are possible with ESO?
Anything you saw in Maple story could theoretically be seen in ESO. Examples: god mode, damage modification, infinite resources, god speed, global skill, global gathering, global teleporting ect

Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...
Edited by cyx54tc on May 30, 2016 1:07AM
  • cyx54tc
    cyx54tc
    ✭✭✭✭
    Jaronking wrote: »
    Wait I thought ZOS did Fact 6 to get rid of all the bots.That why performance got worst when they added to the game.

    anti hack engine is something like a wrapper on top of ESO which we do not have right now.
  • milesrodneymcneely2_ESO
    milesrodneymcneely2_ESO
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Jaronking wrote: »
    Wait I thought ZOS did Fact 6 to get rid of all the bots.That why performance got worst when they added to the game.
    I never thought I'd actually miss the farming bots...

    :/
  • Jaronking
    Jaronking
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Jaronking wrote: »
    Wait I thought ZOS did Fact 6 to get rid of all the bots.That why performance got worst when they added to the game.

    anti hack engine is something like a wrapper on top of ESO which we do not have right now.
    So wait their a way to make the performance in PVP even worst then it is now.Thank you for telling me I always been interested in this type of stuff.Well what do you think ZOs can do to stop this from happening again without making performance worse.
  • Julianos
    Julianos
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    I am writing this to let all the non technical people know about those facts so that we can make more constructive posts instead of just saying ZOS should ban all those people, fix those bugs tmr ect.

    Fact 1: Why this is possible to do with ESO?
    ESO used something I call client trust model. What this means is that ESO client does most of the calculation and sends the result back to server. The server then accepts the result with little or no validation.

    An example flow of client trust (not necessary how ESO does it)

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if player has enough then decrement ultimate point, if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player casted ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what would happen if someone modified the ESO client and removed step 2, 3 on client side?

    An example flow of Server trust

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player wants to cast ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it. If not then do nothing.
    3. decrement ultimate point for player A and broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what if we remove step 2, 3 on client side this time? step 2 on server side will say no because the server has all the information and it can validate if the action is valid

    Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
    Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

    Fact 3: Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
    If server trust is used it means the server will be required to do most of the calculation that the clients are doing right now. Meaning that it should expect at least X times (X is the number of players playing the game) heavier loads. So what used to be 10s lag in PVP you could expect that to multiply by X if they use existing server without upgrade.

    Fact 4: Could ZoS just simply detect those people and ban them all?
    I will put it simple.. It is hard. Feel free to take a look at maple story which uses similar model. Maple story even used 3 layers of anti-hack engine and still......

    Fact 5: What exploits/hacks are possible with ESO?
    Anything you saw in Maple story could theoretically be seen in ESO. Examples: god mode, damage modification, infinite resources, god speed, global skill, global gathering, global teleporting ect

    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    so you say eso is dead since there is no fix without ruin the game performance which is already sucky ?
  • cyx54tc
    cyx54tc
    ✭✭✭✭
    Jaronking wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Jaronking wrote: »
    Wait I thought ZOS did Fact 6 to get rid of all the bots.That why performance got worst when they added to the game.

    anti hack engine is something like a wrapper on top of ESO which we do not have right now.
    So wait their a way to make the performance in PVP even worst then it is now.Thank you for telling me I always been interested in this type of stuff.Well what do you think ZOs can do to stop this from happening again without making performance worse.

    IMO...nothing.
  • Jaronking
    Jaronking
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Axorn wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    I am writing this to let all the non technical people know about those facts so that we can make more constructive posts instead of just saying ZOS should ban all those people, fix those bugs tmr ect.

    Fact 1: Why this is possible to do with ESO?
    ESO used something I call client trust model. What this means is that ESO client does most of the calculation and sends the result back to server. The server then accepts the result with little or no validation.

    An example flow of client trust (not necessary how ESO does it)

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if player has enough then decrement ultimate point, if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player casted ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what would happen if someone modified the ESO client and removed step 2, 3 on client side?

    An example flow of Server trust

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player wants to cast ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it. If not then do nothing.
    3. decrement ultimate point for player A and broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what if we remove step 2, 3 on client side this time? step 2 on server side will say no because the server has all the information and it can validate if the action is valid

    Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
    Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

    Fact 3: Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
    If server trust is used it means the server will be required to do most of the calculation that the clients are doing right now. Meaning that it should expect at least X times (X is the number of players playing the game) heavier loads. So what used to be 10s lag in PVP you could expect that to multiply by X if they use existing server without upgrade.

    Fact 4: Could ZoS just simply detect those people and ban them all?
    I will put it simple.. It is hard. Feel free to take a look at maple story which uses similar model. Maple story even used 3 layers of anti-hack engine and still......

    Fact 5: What exploits/hacks are possible with ESO?
    Anything you saw in Maple story could theoretically be seen in ESO. Examples: god mode, damage modification, infinite resources, god speed, global skill, global gathering, global teleporting ect

    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    so you say eso is dead since there is no fix without ruin the game performance which is already sucky ?
    Lol I was thinking this but didn't really want to say anything.
  • Lenikus
    Lenikus
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think they do quite a few client checks... well they should do at least...
    But unless Zeni gets it's lil' hands on the actual trainer that allows people to do that, close to nothing can be done
    ... Mai cave. >:3
  • Sir Daniel Fortesque
    Jaronking wrote: »
    Wait I thought ZOS did Fact 6 to get rid of all the bots.That why performance got worst when they added to the game.

    That happened because they moved over some files from client side to server side.
  • Faulgor
    Faulgor
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭✭
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
    Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

    I thought that's what they did in 1.3 or something to prevent the item dupes and other exploitts after launch? That's why PvP performance went into the toilet.
    Alandrol Sul: He's making another Numidium?!?
    Vivec: Worse, buddy. They're buying it.
  • Jaronking
    Jaronking
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Faulgor wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
    Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

    I thought that's what they did in 1.3 or something to prevent the item dupes and other exploitts after launch? That's why PvP performance went into the toilet.
    Now I know this one they did the opposite and did client side trust checks.It took a lot of work but it moved things away from the server which had PVP working fine to client side.
  • Rohamad_Ali
    Rohamad_Ali
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's more then a few facts . I demand a title change to A lot of facts .

    Also a TLDR version
  • oibam
    oibam
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    -> Gamemasters ONLINE !!!

  • Krombie
    Krombie
    ✭✭✭
    oibam wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    -> Gamemasters ONLINE !!!
    oibam wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    -> Gamemasters ONLINE !!!
    oibam wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    -> Gamemasters ONLINE !!!

    Support doesnt even work properly...

    Up, down, left, left, right, right, down, spin, down, up, left, right, left, down, spin, up, down, jump!
  • cyx54tc
    cyx54tc
    ✭✭✭✭
    Axorn wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    I am writing this to let all the non technical people know about those facts so that we can make more constructive posts instead of just saying ZOS should ban all those people, fix those bugs tmr ect.

    Fact 1: Why this is possible to do with ESO?
    ESO used something I call client trust model. What this means is that ESO client does most of the calculation and sends the result back to server. The server then accepts the result with little or no validation.

    An example flow of client trust (not necessary how ESO does it)

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if player has enough then decrement ultimate point, if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player casted ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what would happen if someone modified the ESO client and removed step 2, 3 on client side?

    An example flow of Server trust

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player wants to cast ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it. If not then do nothing.
    3. decrement ultimate point for player A and broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what if we remove step 2, 3 on client side this time? step 2 on server side will say no because the server has all the information and it can validate if the action is valid

    Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
    Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

    Fact 3: Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
    If server trust is used it means the server will be required to do most of the calculation that the clients are doing right now. Meaning that it should expect at least X times (X is the number of players playing the game) heavier loads. So what used to be 10s lag in PVP you could expect that to multiply by X if they use existing server without upgrade.

    Fact 4: Could ZoS just simply detect those people and ban them all?
    I will put it simple.. It is hard. Feel free to take a look at maple story which uses similar model. Maple story even used 3 layers of anti-hack engine and still......

    Fact 5: What exploits/hacks are possible with ESO?
    Anything you saw in Maple story could theoretically be seen in ESO. Examples: god mode, damage modification, infinite resources, god speed, global skill, global gathering, global teleporting ect

    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    so you say eso is dead since there is no fix without ruin the game performance which is already sucky ?

    depends how you define dead.
  • Rex-Umbra
    Rex-Umbra
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ZOS has data and they will be banning once they review it.
    Xbox GT: Rex Umbra IX
  • Pigment
    Pigment
    ✭✭
    So... If they fix the hacks, it creates more lag. If they fix the lag, it creates more hacks. Also, if you're caught cheating, you only get a 3 day ban, max. So Zenimax doesn't care if we cheat? What kind of *** is that?
    @ikon0 / Alt-aholic / PC / NA
    Pigment / AD / Altmer / Templar
    Pay Me / AD / Dark Elf / Dragonknight
    Pay Up / AD / High Elf / Sorcerer
    Puerto Rico / EP / Redguard / Dragonknight
    Puerto Vallarta / DC / Redguard / Sorcerer
    Perimo / AD / Argonian / Nightblade
    Puerto Cabello / AD / Khajiit / Nightblade
  • Julianos
    Julianos
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Axorn wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    I am writing this to let all the non technical people know about those facts so that we can make more constructive posts instead of just saying ZOS should ban all those people, fix those bugs tmr ect.

    Fact 1: Why this is possible to do with ESO?
    ESO used something I call client trust model. What this means is that ESO client does most of the calculation and sends the result back to server. The server then accepts the result with little or no validation.

    An example flow of client trust (not necessary how ESO does it)

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if player has enough then decrement ultimate point, if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player casted ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what would happen if someone modified the ESO client and removed step 2, 3 on client side?

    An example flow of Server trust

    Client :
    1. Player pressed ultimate key
    2. Validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it
    3. if not then do nothing
    4. tell server player wants to cast ultimate
    Server:
    1. received player cast ultimate request
    2. validate if player has enough ultimate point to cast it. If not then do nothing.
    3. decrement ultimate point for player A and broadcast to all players that player A has casted ultimate

    so what if we remove step 2, 3 on client side this time? step 2 on server side will say no because the server has all the information and it can validate if the action is valid

    Fact 2: How can it be fixed completely?
    Use Server trust implementation. But this would require complete rework of the game code as well as makes server load a lot heavier.

    Fact 3: Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
    If server trust is used it means the server will be required to do most of the calculation that the clients are doing right now. Meaning that it should expect at least X times (X is the number of players playing the game) heavier loads. So what used to be 10s lag in PVP you could expect that to multiply by X if they use existing server without upgrade.

    Fact 4: Could ZoS just simply detect those people and ban them all?
    I will put it simple.. It is hard. Feel free to take a look at maple story which uses similar model. Maple story even used 3 layers of anti-hack engine and still......

    Fact 5: What exploits/hacks are possible with ESO?
    Anything you saw in Maple story could theoretically be seen in ESO. Examples: god mode, damage modification, infinite resources, god speed, global skill, global gathering, global teleporting ect

    Fact 6: What is a potential solution?
    Guard ESO with anti hack engine will increase the difficulty of hacking it (not completely prevent but harder to do!) . But at the same time performance will suffer...

    so you say eso is dead since there is no fix without ruin the game performance which is already sucky ?

    depends how you define dead.

    high pvp lag, hackers on the loose, exploits = dead game
  • Faulgor
    Faulgor
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭✭
    code65536 wrote: »
    Zyle wrote: »
    They just need a client side process watching for modifications to ESO's core game files & DLL's. Difference in performance would be miniscule if implemented properly.

    Speaking as a programmer with experience in reverse engineering security... this will never work.

    If I were the engineer designing this, what I'd do is to trust the client, but have a separate server-side watchdog that audits what the client does and see if the client's calculations actually agree with what the calculations that the server would've made if the server was doing full validation. And by separate, I mean it's not handled by the actual game server but by a separate server, working alongside the main server.

    The key difference between this and a full server-validation system is that this doesn't have to be real-time and so it won't affect server performance. If the client sends bogus data, the game server will act on it, but the watchdog will, at a later point in time (a few seconds later), detect an abnormality and flag/boot the client. So you can get one errant meteor or whatever off, but it'll result in you being booted off the server a few seconds later.

    You can either prevent cheats by making it impossible to send any bogus data, which requires full game server validation, which takes a severe performance hit. Or you can make prevent cheats by making it futile to send bogus data more than once, which can be done in parallel and not in real-time.

    I don't know a whole lot about programming, but I'd have thought about a similar solution as well ... but I just tell to myself "nah, it can't be that simple, or else they would have already done it".

    So what are the reasons this isn't done by all online games?
    Alandrol Sul: He's making another Numidium?!?
    Vivec: Worse, buddy. They're buying it.
  • Julianos
    Julianos
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Faulgor wrote: »
    code65536 wrote: »
    Zyle wrote: »
    They just need a client side process watching for modifications to ESO's core game files & DLL's. Difference in performance would be miniscule if implemented properly.

    Speaking as a programmer with experience in reverse engineering security... this will never work.

    If I were the engineer designing this, what I'd do is to trust the client, but have a separate server-side watchdog that audits what the client does and see if the client's calculations actually agree with what the calculations that the server would've made if the server was doing full validation. And by separate, I mean it's not handled by the actual game server but by a separate server, working alongside the main server.

    The key difference between this and a full server-validation system is that this doesn't have to be real-time and so it won't affect server performance. If the client sends bogus data, the game server will act on it, but the watchdog will, at a later point in time (a few seconds later), detect an abnormality and flag/boot the client. So you can get one errant meteor or whatever off, but it'll result in you being booted off the server a few seconds later.

    You can either prevent cheats by making it impossible to send any bogus data, which requires full game server validation, which takes a severe performance hit. Or you can make prevent cheats by making it futile to send bogus data more than once, which can be done in parallel and not in real-time.

    I don't know a whole lot about programming, but I'd have thought about a similar solution as well ... but I just tell to myself "nah, it can't be that simple, or else they would have already done it".

    So what are the reasons this isn't done by all online games?

    i think real problem and the mess comes from megaserver architecture its just too much load and they cant effort any other systems on it
  • Abeille
    Abeille
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    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for this post, OP. It is definitely not my area and I understand very little of all of this. Your post surely helped.
    Just so that everyone knows, my Altmer still can't have black hair. About a dozen of Altmer NPCs in the game have black hair. Just saying.

    Meet my characters:
    Command: Do the thing.

    Zadarri, Khajiit Fist of Thalmor: The thing was done, as commanded.
    Durza gra-Maghul, Orc blacksmith: The thing was done perfectly, in the most efficient way.
    Tegwen, Bosmer troublemaker: You can't prove I didn't do the thing.
    Sings-Many-Songs, Argonian fisher: Sure, I'll do the thing... Eventually. Maybe.
    Aerindel, Altmer stormcaller: After extensive research, I've come to the conclusion that doing the thing would be a waste of resources.
    Liliel, Dunmer pyromancer: Aerindel said I shouldn't do the thing. Something about "resources".
    Gyda Snowcaller, Nord cryomancer: I will find a way to do it that won't waste resources and make Aerindel proud of me.
    Beatrice Leoriane, Breton vampire: I persuaded someone else into doing the thing. You are welcome, dear.
    Sahima, Redguard performer: Doing the thing sounds awfully unpleasant and really not my problem.
    Ellaria Valerius, Imperial priestess: I'll pray to the Eight for the thing to be done, if it is Their will.
  • Lava_Croft
    Lava_Croft
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭✭
    This is a game that was worked on for at least 6 years, is an MMO and was released without any form of meaningful protection against the most basic hacks.

    'Nuff said.
  • SirAndy
    SirAndy
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Zyle wrote: »
    They just need a client side process watching for modifications to ESO's core game files & DLL's. Difference in performance would be miniscule if implemented properly.
    But that's not how the hacks are done. None of the game files are modified.

    What people need to understand is that on the PC, you can write an app that can read and write *any* running process's memory. Memory is NOT protected!

    And it's not hard to do either, the code required for such an app is pretty simple. Once you find the right data offsets while the game is running, you can change them at will in realtime.
    type.gif
    Edited by SirAndy on May 29, 2016 8:08PM
    The Sidekick Order:
    The Naked Nords | The Cannon Fodder of Tamriel | The Mercenaries without Skills | The League of formidable Crafters
    The Psijic Order - 0.016% | Elder Moot | Lone Wolf Help | Great House Hlaalu
  • Rohamad_Ali
    Rohamad_Ali
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    ✭✭✭✭✭
    SirAndy wrote: »
    cyx54tc wrote: »
    Fact 3: Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
    If server trust is used it means the server will be required to do most of the calculation that the clients are doing right now. Meaning that it should expect at least X times (X is the number of players playing the game) heavier loads. So what used to be 10s lag in PVP you could expect that to multiply by X if they use existing server without upgrade.

    Why is client trust model used instead of server trust?
    Because when they had that meeting where some kid "programmer" said:

    "Hey, i have an idea! Why don't we ignore what everyone else has already figured out and use client side trusted decisions so we don't have to write good server code! I mean, "Never trust the client" is soooo '90s ..."

    Nobody stood up and told the kid: "Are you insane?"
    screwy.gif


    If they had implemented a server based system using UDP for transport, optimizing the data packets for throughput and used client side prediction combined with server side prediction and server side decision (!) the game could easily support hundreds of players in the same spot without lag and most importantly, without cheating.
    shades.gif

    You're abusing the amount of acceptable emojis . Also , this is a Fable made into a myth wrapped in a urban legend .
  • sadownik
    sadownik
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    @holosoul i must admit that you shed a light on the situation but as you i am very surprised to see that simple program like .... can be used in ESO. I mean damn... used it myself ages ago for single player game, didnt think any of the new AAA MMOs are prone to that hack.
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