Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cheaters never prosper, except when they do.

I'd like to start this post with a quote from my youth;

"Up, Down, Left, Right then hold A, B and C whilst pressing start" - Sonic The Hedgehog (1991).

I've been thinking a lot about cheating lately, especially as I am a videogame cheater in “almost” every sense of the word. I hope you will take a few minutes to understand my motivations before condemning me to the pit of gaming despair that houses an 8-bit Judas Iscariot and Denis Dyak.

For years I've been trying to get my significant other to game with me, I'm primarily a single player gamer and grew up with no siblings, so I can't think of anyone better I'd want as my Player 2. She's no real gamer but I've had a few successes over the years. I managed to get her to Play Final Fantasy VII to the end, some World of Warcraft for a while and even got her playing as Shiva in Resident Evil 5 (which means I had a better experience in that game than most of you). So with my initial underwhelming experience with Borderlands 2, I grudgingly accepted her request after I had just completed it, to "have a go" because she liked "the funny little robot".

This turned to be one of our most successful games. Spending night after night coming home from work and playing through the whole game together was a joy, then the 2nd play-through to increase our levels, then all of the DLC, and we even maxed out our levels again after the Level Cap boosts. So, what does this have to do with cheating? Both of us going back to the original Borderlands, that's what.

As you may know from some of my recent posts, I now game on Steam as my platform of choice, so when my wife recently asked me if there was any more Borderlands I suggested we go back and do the original. I decided we would play through it on Steam. It meant we could have our own screens as opposed to the split-screen we were locked to previously.

I also managed to easily transfer my Xbox Borderlands saves to the Steam version too, and it was at this point, I became a dirty stinking cheater in The Borderlands!

Technically, just moving my save from one platform to another was cheating, and more-so in that, one of applications which allowed me to do this was a save-game file editor called WillowTree. The functionality I wanted was purely to load an Xbox format save file and save it as a PC style save. (There are numerous guides online if you want to do this). But as I looked into the software, I noticed I could actually edit my save in great depth. I could change what weapons or equipment I owned, what level my character was, how much money I had, the number of skill points I had and more. And because this was purely a case of changing numerical values in some cases I was able to go above and beyond what the game even allowed, and I could extend my attributes beyond this virtual world’s restrictions. I could easily create a new character at level 1 and have the best weapons, all my skills mastered and more money than I could ever need! Having already completed the original Borderlands several times already I wasn't super excited to go through it again, but wanted to just so that I could play with my wife (oh, ha ha). I and now had a greater reason to go back to it.