Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I Dislike "Legal Hacks"

People who are self righteous about
cheating give me a headache.
I've been playing pokémon "competitively" for years now. Notice how I used quotations? Well, if you asked some people within the battling community they would strongly disagree that I'm competitive. Here are some of the things that make me "a filthy casual".
  1. Although I know about Smogon, and go there from time to time, I don't always follow their tier lists or ban lists for my teams. I typically don't use what they consider "uber" legendary (Mewtwo, Kyogre, etc), but that's typically where the similarity ends.
  2. I don't play Showdown. I figure if I'm going to play Pokémon, that I'll play the actual game. I have nothing against Showdown personally. I used to play NetBattle, but that was more because you couldn't play Gen III games online. If I wanted to battle friends elsewhere, Netbattle was the way to go.
  3. I don't use 3rd party software/hardware to edit my pokémon for tournaments. I have used things like GameShark in the past, however. The thing is, I never entered tournaments with it and actually after hacking a couple shinies I got bored with hacking. It took something away from the game for me.
I'm not even going to bother addressing the first two issues, mainly because I'm tired of having to defend myself when I feel I shouldn't have to. I don't battle in Smogon tournaments or play Showdown so I don't see why I would have to meet some kind of requirement for those two things, but if I ever post a moveset that involves Quick Claw or Double Team my post usually gets lit up with negative comments. Instead, I'm going to focus on the third.

Responses to "Why hack a
Parental Bond Mega
Houndoom?"
Those who know me know I am strongly opposed to hacking. Initially, I just didn't want to face someone who had things that would exist outside of normal gameplay. For example, at league during the Diamond and Pearl era I faced a fellow college student with a Water Absorb Entei. When he inevitablely beat me as several of his pokémon had illegal moves and abilities I was understandably annoyed. When I asked if he wanted to have a normal battle without hacks to see who really was the better of us he declined by simply saying, "why would I do that? I won didn't I?" This put a shadow of doubt in my mind vs anyone I fought who had something I deemed fishy (like a team of pokémon all in Master Balls). If that person could hack one thing, who is to say they didn't hack more to ensure their victory? One example of taking it to the limit is this video where a player hacked up a team of megas with abilities they can't normally have. The original poster to Google+ simply asked, "Why would someone do this?" The responses basically say, "because we can" as you see above. When I began proposing the idea that hacking, in this case, was a very obvious form of cheating people got angry. Really angry. Suddenly I was stupid for not allowing them to do whatever they want. I even argued I don't care what they do in their game as long as they don't take it online. One user suggested I should just not battle passerbys anymore if I was worried about people hacking. Now who is restricting whom? Now I am unable to enjoy a feature normally in the game because someone decided to alter their's to have something that is NOT a part of the game? Awesome.

That brings me to the concept of a "legal hack". In the pokémon community, a legal hack is a pokémon edited or generated using 3rd party software and/or hardware, but doesn't necessarily exist outside of the game's normal programming. Some would say this is ok, but not me. Although it doesn't break the normal parameters of the game, I feel it takes away from some of the integrity people should have as players. Competitive events often ban "hacked" pokémon, but those that are "legal hacks" may or may not flag a hack checker depending on the strength of the check and the severity of the hack. That leads to people "slipping by". I have a problem with this and I openly promote, "just because you get away with it doesn't make it right". Technically, you can go to the bathroom at a restaurant and not flush or wash your hands, however I think some people may take offense to that regardless of how much time you personally save. When I try to express my view point, many like to point out that I am not competitive or I must be stupid since I don't think "legal hacks" are ok. I'm assuming their stand point is that if I'm not willing to skirt the rules on a technicality, then I'm not a competitor. This infuriates me, and has led me to despise the very concept of hacking. If it were not for the rampant elitism that seems to come with being a competitive hacker, I'd probably just be rather annoyed rather than openly angry. I would like to point out that I'm not saying that elitism is only restricted to one side of this argument, it has just been my experience that it is heavily weighted on the hacker side.

I actually play the game to get what
I have. I must be a noob.
The other issue is I get tired of seeing all of the perfect shiny teams. They all have perfect IVs for what sites like Smogon say are best, they are all shiny, their moves have all been maxed with PP Ups, etc. I'm sure people will either reply or email me about how "being shiny doesn't affect competition!!!1!! You know nothing!" No, I actually know that. Being shiny is simply a palette swap. However, my point for this is it is supposed to be rare, at the very least rarer than the normal coloration. It's pretty much the opposite at organized events. That shows just how much control hacking gives the hacker. In my opinion it's too much. I will never buy into the "well I don't have enough time/am not patient enough to raise my pokémon". That is not a valid argument. Taking the time to make sure you have six max stats on a pokémon that only even utilizes three or four is optional. Ensuring your pokémon is a rare color is optional. So why do people do it? Bragging rights. I have had so many people butt into my conversations to tell me about how awesome their all shiny max stat team is or how they just got an Ice Hidden Power Zapdos from Powersaves that I want to hurl. You can cheat. Good for you. So can a lot of people apparently. No need to butt in and belittle the fact I caught a shiny Scraggy that is less than perfect, or bred a shiny Honedge that is missing that crucial 31 in one stat. It was rare and I got lucky. Why can't I be allowed to enjoy that fact? Oh yea, because you as a competitive player are more important and all of your stuff is perfect. Got it. I guess I'll just have to continue to hope I hatch/catch shinies, hopefully win the lottery for more PP Ups and PP Maxes, and actually spend more than ten minutes making a team.

The Tenants that make up the
"Spirit of the Game"
UPDATE: As expected I'm getting a good bit of hate from people who hack about this. Again, I was simply expressing why I don't like hacks and the fact it gives people some false sense of superiority. I have been called "a filthy casual" which is no surprise as well as a "bane of the game" which is a new one. A couple people even admitted to not reading the article at all, but felt the need to bash me based on the title alone. That's the sort of elitism I dislike. I can't say anything against "legal hacks", but people who hack can say whatever they want about me. I would like to point out that there is no such thing as a "legal hack" which is why I use quotations. It is a misnomer. They are currently undetectable hacks. That doesn't make them legal, it just means they are hard to catch. It'd be the same thing as someone who eats grapes before buying them and then puts the bunch back instead of purchasing. It's not "legal", but short of actually witnessing it, it is pretty impossible to prove. Now, if that person started talking down to me like an idiot for not doing their grape swipe method, then I would have a problem. Referring to someone as a "filthy casual" or "dirty hacker" is a violation of the "Spirit of the Game" as set forth by The Pokémon Company, plain and simple.