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The SPF FAQ on GAMs - draft 2

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Cauthon, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. Cauthon

    Cauthon IncGamers Member

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    The SPF FAQ on GAMs - draft 2

    Hi everyone:

    As AE requested, I've re-drafted this FAQ based on the discussion, and I think I've gotten most of the major points included. Highlights include:

    -I changed things from Gameplay Affecting Mod to Gameplay Affecting Technique to better reflect the variety of methods, although I'm still not wild about the term.

    -I think the discussion on the -seed command is clearer; I really don't understand how it works myself, but I think I've been able to do the broad strokes.

    -I believe things are more consistent with respect to the trading FAQ.

    -And we still seem to be seeking consensus on the use of ATMA to "hot-mule" or transfer items off an active, in-game character file. I'm hopeful we can achieve that soon.

    I'm gone for the next few days, but look forward to all comments upon my return. Without further ado:

    The SPF FAQ on Usage of Gameplay Affecting Techniques
    By: Cauthon

    Q. Do we really need another FAQ?

    A. Apparently, yes. Questions regarding the use of character editors, mods, and methods of influencing game play have been increasing in the SPF, and it was felt that a lack of a consistent answer to that question was leading to flames and the perception of the SPF as a hostile place to newcomers. This FAQ is an attempt to provide that consistent answer.

    Q. OK then. What do you mean by Gameplay Affecting Techniques?

    A. For the purposes of this FAQ, a Gameplay Affecting Technique (GAT) is any process that alters the fundamental play of Diablo II. Examples:

    1) Usage of a third-party program that allows you to create items that would not be created in the game of Diablo II as issued by Blizzard,

    2) Methods that allow you to change character attributes or skills without leveling inside the game,

    3) Modifications to the game code that change the frequency or type of item drops or monster spawning.

    In short, anything that affects the play of Diablo II. These can fall into several categories:

    I). Any third party modification to gameplay, whether or not it gives the player advantage. This includes, but is not limited to: runestats, drop mods, maphack, d2hackit, mods such as the Middle Earth mod for D2.

    II). Use of command line edits. These include the “-seed,†“-act5,†“-w,†and other commands that can be placed on the command lines at start-up.

    III). In game commands, such as /players X and /nopickup.

    Q. Ok, so now I know what they are. What does the SPF think about them?

    A. Let’s consider each category in turn, shall we?

    I). Third party modifications to game play: Those that provide advantage to the player (maphack, drop mods, d2hackit) are frowned upon both by the membership and the forum rules. Other types of mods, such as the Middle Earth mod for D2, are viewed neutrally by the community – they are different versions of the game of D2.

    II). Command line edits: These include commands that are considered innocuous, such as the command that allows you to play in a window or skip directly to the bnet login screen at startup, to those that are considered methods for abusing the game. The two in particular that have caused a lot of discussion are the “-act5†and “-seed†commands.

    -act5 allows for the creation of a level 33 character at the beginning of act 5, with all skill and stat points unspent. Since this involves no effort on the part of the player, it is not considered an acceptable command to use.

    -seed affects the random number generator in the game. If abused, it can lead to the creation of games wherein powerful items can drop with some frequency. However, it also allows for the recovery of maps if a player accidentally changes difficulties or joins a multiplayer game. The consensus of the SPF is that the –seed command can be used to recover a map. However, once the map is recovered, the player should exit the game, clear “-seed†from the command line, and return to playing as this prevents abuse. Under no circumstances should map seeds be shared with other forum members.

    III). In game commands, such as the “/players X†or “/fps†commands, are viewed as part of the game by the SPF.

    Q. So, what are you saying? Can I use them or not?

    A. The stance on the SPF is that you are allowed to do whatever you want on your own computer, provided it doesn’t affect anybody else. Thus, feel free to mod, change settings, use character editors to your heart’s content. However:

    -open discussion on the use of third party programs that create an advantage (cheats, hacks or editors) will not be permitted, as per forum rules.

    -if you are using a mod (e.g., the Middle Earth mod) or a command line edit, we ask that you be up front about that when seeking to trade or seeking multiplayer games. Many SPF members may not be using the same mod (and thus unable to trade with you), or may be uneasy about accepting trades for items found by characters using these methods. They may also prefer not to play in MP games with such a character, and these characters will also not be welcome on either the SP Softcore or Hardcore ladders.

    You do not need to declare the use of in-game commands when proposing trades.

    Q. But I found six uber-leet awesome uniques using XXXXX last night, and I want to trade!

    A. The SPF economy thrives solely on trust. We have to believe that the items being traded are not the result of changes to the game - otherwise, the fundamental value of items becomes meaningless. Someone smart enough could create mods that enable elite uniques to drop with incredible frequency, which would destroy the value of items. For an example of the problems that exploits can create in an economy, note what has happened to the value of items on battle.net following the outbreak of new duping methods. We would like to prevent that here.

    For more information on trading in the SPF, see the our FAQ on SPF trading.

    Q. So I can use program XXXX to make my character an unkillable god?

    A. Yes, go ahead. Just don’t expect to be able to trade what that character finds, play in MP games with people from the SPF, or join the ladders.

    Q. Where can I find a character/item editor?

    A. We can’t discuss that here due to forum rules; try a search on Google.

    Q. What about bugged items and skills?

    A. Bugged items and skills have existed in every version of the game. In 1.09, Eth runes were bugged, as were the skills that gave characters a chance at critical strikes. In 1.10, Marrowwalk boots have an exceptionally powerful bug for Necromancers. The SPF considers the use of such bugs/features as up to the individual player. However, if you are using known bugs like these, we ask that you be open about it; we won’t condemn you, but those players who feel strongly about such things may not wish to trade with you.

    Once again, it is your computer, and we aren’t going to tell you what to do on it. Before you get mad at those who don’t accept the use of bugs or GATs that you like, remember it is their computer, and they can do what they want on it.

    Q. But what about ATMA?

    A. ATMA is a program that does not affect gameplay. It allows for muling between single player characters, and is considered the best method of doing so (other methods do exist). It does not change the character, drops, or items, or any other facet of playing the game of Diablo II. What it does allow is quick and simple transferring of items between single-player characters, much like characters created on battle.net enjoy. Some players here reject ATMA as a non-legit way to play; others embrace it; and others limit their usage of it. ATMA is the primary vehicle through which trades on the SPF are managed.

    ATMA can be used to “hot-mule.†This refers to muling items off a character while that character is still in an active game, and has been primarily proposed as a means for enabling a single player character to deal with finding a second Gheed’s Fortune charm during play so that both charms can be kept. The player would mule one charm off into their stash, and then return to the game, delete the charm just muled (as otherwise it would be a dupe), and continue playing. Consensus on this issue has not yet been reached.

    Similarly other non-gameplay affecting programs are around, including various spreadsheets for tracking items found and calculators for analyzing build strengths are allowable.[/QUOTE]
     
  2. wildjinn

    wildjinn IncGamers Member

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    Nice. It's concise and well-written. The only thing that I would ask for is that you add to this portion:
    I think you should add that one should mention, when trading, whether or not he has used the -seed command to restore his map, since some people are against that use of the -seed command.
     
  3. Shade

    Shade IncGamers Member

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    One point: most of the major 'proper' mods (like Middle Earth) have their own forums for discussing the game (AFAIK), so you may find more people to discuss these with there - although you can always ask here, of course :)
     
  4. Boddah_khan

    Boddah_khan IncGamers Member

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    Nice guide, alot more specific then last time. Thanks for clearing up the mod point. I am writing my own mod at the moment, and didn't know this forums stance on mods. It doesn't really matter as I have characters specifically made for the mod, and it uses all completely new items, so theres no chance of trading a altered drop item from regular D2, as there all disabled. Cheers for makinf this so much clearer. :thumbsup:
     
  5. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo IncGamers Member

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    Cauthon, this is very, very well-done!

    Thank you!!

    :thumbsup:

    wildjinn, this seems to be covered already in this line:

    -if you are using a mod (e.g., the Middle Earth mod) or a command line edit, we ask that you be up front about that when seeking to trade or seeking multiplayer games. Many SPF members may not be using the same mod (and thus unable to trade with you), or may be uneasy about accepting trades for items found by characters using these methods.
    I hope this works for our forum. I know there will be outliers who either think this is too strict, or not strict enough, but we can't make everyone happy.
     
  6. wildjinn

    wildjinn IncGamers Member

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    I know that it's there, but since it's such a hot issue, I think redundancy is a good idea for this topic: a definitive SPF viewpoint is given, and, reading it, a newcomer might not bother reading further, since their question seems to be answered. I can see an issue being made out of "but I read the -seed part!" And that would be unfortunate for anyone involved. Sorry I was unclear with my first post, suggesting that it was omitted. That was not my intent. And I'm not one of the outliers described, but those who are would probably make a big deal of a small mixup.

    I suppose that, as dense as this writing is (a good dense, in the concise kind of way), it would potentially be bad to be redundant because of the similar cases that would go unspecified. Perhaps just a note that suggests that the user read the trade portion? But that's clearly up to you and Cauthon...it's just a suggestion.

    And I'd like to reiterate that this is very, very well written. Thanks for the great work, Cauthon. :thumbsup:
     
  7. Ashlen

    Ashlen IncGamers Member

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    Should the info about ATMA include that it DOES allow you to rename your character though? I think it might be nice to list this as some people accidentally screw up a char's name and would welcome knowing they could fix it later if needed.
     
  8. Indemaijinj

    Indemaijinj IncGamers Member

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    I will say that performance altering parameters such as windowed mode and no-sound are NOT GAM's

    Easening the workload on your CPU is not "a fundamental change in gameplay".


    Anything else seems fine.
     

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