In the article outlining RGL's plans for 2020
, anti-cheat and reporting expansion was was outlined as an area that we wanted to improve.
When players participate in our league, we expect them to keep their accounts cheat-free. Cheating hurts the integrity of a league that tries to enact fair rules and guidelines in its competition, and it also hurts the experience of legitimate players in the league. With the rise in the popularity of cheats in the past several years, there has been a spike in cheating in the TF2 community. The complete lack of preventative measures from Valve to combat this spike in cheating has been an uphill battle with the limited resources that are available to us. With that being noted, there are several changes that RGL has made to its anti-cheat team, as well as plugins that we have developed, and will continue to develop to keep our league and the competitive Team Fortress 2 community legitimate.
New Additions to the Anti-cheat team
The efforts in finding volunteers experienced with how cheats behave and work, or training new recruits adequately in this department takes a considerable amount of time. After the previous update on Anti-Cheat, expanding the team was a priority. Regarding the disclosure of members on the team, there are several caveats that come from having such a public list, such as providing possible insight for a cheater to circumvent detection, harassment. bribing, or even brigading of the admins involved. It should be noted that many of the members on the team wish to remain anonymous, which is why we have opted for an undisclosed list.
We can reveal that our anti-cheat team now consists of 8 members. Aad
is our head anti-cheat admin and Comanglia
, prominent anti-cheat figure, has also been reinstated into the team.
Transparency in anti-cheat is an area that we try to improve, as well as be careful about. By revealing our techniques and evidence, this subsequently allows other individuals to better hide the possible use of assistance. This makes the techniques for anti-cheat detection harder and allows for cheaters to gain insight to circumvent detection. Historically, no TF2 league in any region has provided direct evidence to players in order to prevent current or future cheaters from avoiding detection. It is also worth mentioning that the world's largest eSports league, ESL, parent company of ESEA, will also not provide evidence (see ESL Anticheat summary
). With any case that is reported and sent to the team, we take many measures to ensure that each case is looked, with evidence to support the opinions of the investigation. Here is what you should know:
- A majority opinion with a high level of confidence must be had prior to issuing a cheating ban
Ensuring that the material being presented is conclusive is instrumental. Otherwise, there can be many interpretations that leads to uncertainty. The reason why anti-cheat cases are left to the team is limit the possible influence of public opinions that may lead to rumors, false accusations, and rash decisions.
Anti-cheat staff that are on the same team or friends with the individuals involved must stay out of that case. This goes with anyone on the administration team.
Spy Script Patch
In the past several years, the rise of sound decloak modification scripts has become a problematic issue, prominently seen in our Highlander format. The ability to modify the decloak sound to unfairly gain an advantage and single out an entire class has been banned in RGL, and players are subject to a year-long ban for doing so. The measures to detect the users utilizing such a script have been relegated to our anti-cheat team, who have their own techniques to detect such usage. While writing this article
Attempts to contact Valve about this exploit have led to void results. Thus, we have worked with Deaftjoe on a plugin to patch the spy decloak event modifications. The public release will be found here on RGL.gg Updater Plugin page soon, so keep an eye out for a message on RGL.gg. Installation instructions can be found in the file.
, it seems either a recent TF2 update or plugin updater has broken the patch. We are exploring other options.
Report to our Anti-cheat Here
We now have submission forms on our site for easy-access(League → Support/Report) or they can be found below. Report submissions will also automatically notify AC staff of a new case to review. Report CheatersReport Suspected Alts
Usage of 3rd Party Software
Over the past year, players have questioned the usage of specific 3rd party software, whether they can use software to enhance their hearing capabilities in game, or to bind a button to up the DPI of their mouse. Each software will be dealt on a case-by-case basis, but they all share the same underlying belief: does it give the user an unfair advantage over players on the server?
Using this belief, we can determine whether a piece of software is allowed in competitive play and whether its usage may result in a ban. If you are unsure whether your use case is legal, please contact Aad
The use of an audio equalizer software was a debated topic during Highlander Season 4 with the River anti-cheat case(more here
). We have determined that the use of audio equalizers to isolate
specific sound ranges to enhance the hearing capability of certain audio cues(ex: spy decloaks), whether successfully or unsuccessfully, will result in cheating bans. Using audio equalizers in this methodology is no different from the perks gained from using sound scripts/ESP cheats, without the risk of VAC bans. If AC Staff determine that you are using ESP cheats, then you will receive a cheating ban
and will not be granted a chance to appeal on the basis that you were using an equalizer.
With the recent uprise in use and ban of 180* turn scripts, players were inquiring the legality of the use of built-in mouse software(ex: Logitech Gaming Software) to achieve similar results. The use of mouse software to automate turns is cheating
, whether through macros or any other means. Players are expected to manually move their mouse to achieve movement in-game. Those that resort to the use of software/scripts will receive a Scripting Abuse ban
. However, players are allowed to use a sensitivity toggle
in software or in-game to press to turn up or lower their mouse sensitivity. An example is provided below of a legal version of a sensitivity toggle.
Alternate accounts have always been an issue in TF2’s competitive history. Whether they are used to evade bans or to mask the player’s actual competitive skill in order to sandbag; players have used alternate accounts in various ways to undermine the legitimacy of matches. The RGL Rulebook already addresses these issues with the following rule:
Although this rule allows us to penalize teams and players accordingly, it does not mention the need for player due diligence in taking preventative measures to avoid receiving a ban for facilitating alternative accounts, or allow us to be lenient against teams and players that have put effort into clearing their players. In recent seasons, we have come across teams that claim they did not suspect players without microphones or players that are “pros in Paladins”, and so forth.
Provided below is a list of checks players must do in order to avoid harsh repercussions:
- Be wary of players that of players that perform well in logs with limited to no traceable competitive experience, specifically in Main or higher divisions.
- Be wary of players that have limited experience inside of TF2 or use newer than average Steam accounts.
- Be wary of players that state they do not own a microphone
- Verify stories such as being a “pro” in other games, return from a long departure from the scene, etc.
- Verify a player’s competitive experience on RGL.gg, ESEA, ETF2L, OzFortress, UGC, as well as their performances on Logs.tf over a prolonged period of time
- Preemptively inform admins of suspicious players
Those that fail to perform these basic checks, are liable to various levels of punishments, such as assisting alts bans, matches overturned, season disqualifications, etc.
Banned Scripts & Game Exploit Edits
The Scripts section has been updated with examples of banned scripts in RGL and the Game Exploits has been updated to clarify the use of sound scripts/hearing aids will receive Cheating bans. These sections and others will continue to be updated whenever a new script, exploit, cheat is discovered or reported to us.
Below is a list of predetermined ban lengths for which players will receive for each Competitive Integrity infraction. Certain scripts and game/map exploits, for example, audio scripts/hearing aids, illegal use of 3rd party programs, are classified as cheating and players will receive a full cheating ban rather than a ban for its category.
Failure to seek clarification from an admin prior to the usage of scripts, software, game/map exploits, etc, that is later determined to be illegal, is not an adequate reason for appeal. If an event occurs that is not listed here, discretion will be used for ban length and added to this list for future use. Bans will stack, resulting in longer ban lengths and match results may also be overturned should a player on the roster receive a ban for any of the following offenses.
- 1st offense: 1 Year
- 2nd offense: Permanent Ban
- VAC Bans: 1 Year(Unless confirmed non-TF2 related)
Failure to Submit Demos^
- 1st Offense: Warning
- 2nd Offense: 2 Weeks
- 3rd Offense: 3 Months
- 4th+ Offense: 1 Year
- Script Abuse: 3 Months
- Game/Map Exploits: 3 Months
- Account Sharing: 6 Months
- Ban evasion: 6 Months
- Alternate Accounts: 6 Months
- Assisting Players**: 6 Months
* = Repeat offenders for the following will double their ban length for each new offense, with the 3rd offense resulting in a permanent ban.
** = This ban will be given to all players that are found to be assisting another player to break rules
^ = Failing to provide demos during playoffs is an immediate 2nd offense. Matches will only be overturned should a player fail to submit their demos for their 3rd offense. Teams will receive a minor penalty if their player(s) fail to upload demos.