Catching obvious hackers

This is mostly directed at Mortal Kombat X Mobile (MKX), but it really applies to anything on the same engine as Injustice: Gods Among Us Mobile (IGAU), which would also include WWE Immortals.

For those in the know, MKX is running a modified Unreal Engine as it’s base software. Specifically, it is running on the same foundation as Injustice but with some different tweaks and some rather significant changes. However, the base of it is the same.

Injustice used to not have multiplayer. It was designed as a single-player only game and it was entirely installed on your device. Challenge characters are already in the code and new ones are pushed via updates. The only benefit to being online was for the daily rewards and for being able to receive the challenge “push” from Warner Bros. (WB)

At some point they tacked on Multi-player and there was an immediate problem. People were already hacking the game to give themselves everything and multi-player based off of local files just meant those same people could continue using their hacked game for on-line matches.

This causes a conundrum for figuring out who is legit and who is not. Someone who spent a lot of money or played a lot may well have a topped out roster. However, some hackers are not able to stop themselves and do things that shouldn’t be possible.

An intern could code something so simple as an autoban system that stopped players whose cards were above level 51, promoted beyond 7, or had any of their stats beyond what is the max for their level and promotion.

What I don’t understand is how the current system doesn’t ban people until the end of the season, which just skews the results, and how they are banning legit players. One of the autoban features apparently decides you have “modified files”, which is a dangerous way to determine someone should be banned since there are many ways file dates can be changed or be made to look different even if the end user is unaware anything changed.

Yet while legitimate players are sometimes caught in this net, obvious hackers are allowed to persist? Why?

If I were a cynic I would guess because there is money to be made having legit players trying to compete with hackers. It’s an ugly assumption and I’m not saying it is true, but with a simple solution to making sure we don’t see Level 99 Promoted to 10 players why aren’t they implementing what would be the easiest of fixes?

Thoughts on the Raiden Challenge

Assuming they will release the Raiden challenge soon, here’s my take on it.

For starters, it was easy. I completed all 5 stages within 45 minutes. Granted, I have a big roster so I didn’t have to wait for anyone to recharge, but completing it shouldn’t be a problem.

Frankly, it was a little too easy and over too soon. Injustice and Immortals offer 3 different tiers (Normal, Expert, and Nightmare) where Raiden was just one.

Considering how easy it is to acquire silver characters, I’m surprised there was no “Must have {insert character name here} to complete” challenges. For the initial challenge they could have just picked one of the cheaper characters. Maybe have Cassie Cage and then if you have Covert Ops Cassie Cage you could use her as well.

I really do appreciate Raiden being purchasable with Koins instead of Souls. I hope this is how they are going to do all future challenge characters. I think it gives people much more incentive to keep playing if they can expand their gold roster without spending premium currency.

Injustice vs. Mortal Kombat X – Faction Wars

This is my final entry on Injustice vs. Mortal Kombat X.

I’m just going to get this out of the way, if you don’t like multi-player in Injustice you’re not going to find a lot to love about Faction Wars. They are essentially the exact same.

There are a few differences. You earn points for your Faction and each Faction earns rewards based on how they do each “Season”. You not only earn rewards for ranking in the leaderboards but also for how well your Faction does and where you placed overall in your own Faction. That sounds like a lot of rewards and it can be a decent payoff even when you’re not that active and your Faction doesn’t perform well, but it’s still not anymore compelling to play than Injustice.

The Faction Wars scheme doesn’t work as well as it could because you don’t feel very involved. You don’t feel like you have a direct impact on your Faction and there is no real motivation to help. Either you’re motivated to play because you want to rank up like in Injustice or you’re not. There should have been a better tie-in to how your actions affect the bigger picture.

One nice touch though is that you no longer have to go through the “Connecting” screen everytime you touch something in multi-player. That is the most annoying trait of Injustice and I’m glad they did away with it.

Injustice vs. Mortal Kombat X – Character Progression

In many ways, character progression in Mortal Kombat X is the same as Injustice. You can level a character up to 50 and you can further promote them by “fusing” them with the same character card for an even more powerful card. The max fusion level is 7, the same as the max elite level is 7 in Injustice.

Experience is gained by completing battles, either in multi-player or single-player. So far, everything is the same.

Where it begins to differ somewhat is how experience is awarded. Like Injustice, you get less experience if the difference between your character card and your opponent is too great. The drop off is less extreme than in Injustice but is made up for in other ways. Although I wasn’t watching the bronze, it appears that the amount of experience needed to level up a silver card to 50 is less than a gold. This is yet another way the game distinguishes its gold tier from the earlier game. Considering how powerful a gold card can come and how a fusion level of 7 can mean any gold card can solo through single-player it makes some sense that golds are more difficult to level up.

However, the flip side to all of that is the presence of Level-Up Cards. Unique to MKX, there are cards that level up your character and give them an equal proportion of experience at the next level. So, for example, if you have 51% of the experience you need to get to the next level, when using a level-up card it leaves you at 51% of the next level, which is quite a gain since it appears each level requires more experience to get than the last. The real value of these cards is reducing some of the grind that Injustice became notorious for. Accumulated and used at the right time and you can get your favorite card to the top levels quickly rather than endlessly grinding them. In turn, this have given me the opportunity to utilize more of my roster rather than my old standard of focusing on one card in particular to get them maxed out.

Overall, this is a relatively minor game change but a nice change all the same.

Injustice vs. Mortal Kombat X – Gears vs. Equipment

It’s no surprise that MKX has a gear equivalent in the game. Basically, character equipment is the same thing as gears and like Injustice some equipment gives a bonus when used by a specific character.

What changes is that all characters have all 3 slots unlocked from the beginning. However, the slots are divided into a weapon, armor, and accessory slot. So while you can equip three items from the start, they must be of three different types.

The effects of equipment are largely the same as gears, giving various bonuses to abilities, increased power generation, etc. No real difference here. Weapons tend to give offensive bonuses, armor tends to give defensive bonuses, though both categories may vary somewhat. Accessories are all over the map in terms of the type of bonus it can give you.

The most notable change is that it costs nothing to upgrade equipment. Have two of the same thing, it is automatically fused for a more powerful version and the max is a fusion level of 10. On the other hand, this means you can’t break equipment down and upgrade something else. You can ONLY upgrade equipment if you find a double of it. Also, there are no packs for equipment. Instead, Kombat and Kard packs may draw equipment.

Overall, I like this system better. It’s more logical, less punishing, and simpler without being less effective.

Injustice vs. Mortal Kombat X – Character Tiers

At a glance, MKX has the same tiers as Injustice. Bronze for your weaker characters, Silver for the mid-power characters, and powerful Gold characters. It would be easy to think it’s the same set-up. In fact it is quite a bit different.

For the most part, Bronze characters are now unnamed members of the various factions, such as Troopers and Sergeants for Spec Ops or Lin Kuei ninjas for the Lin Kuei. They lack a 3rd level special attack, another change from Injustice, but are just as weak as you’d expect. This avoids problems with people seeing their favorite characters lumped into the least powerful category and I think the change works for the most part.

The most welcome change is the silver tier which is where the primary versions of the major characters reside. Silver has become the standard and, unlike Injustice, the game is entirely playable with nothing but silver characters. Assuming your levels and fusion is high enough you can easily beat the final tower in the game with a team of all silvers. Another change is the 3rd level special attacks are no longer block breaking finishers but simply more powerful attacks that usually carry an added bonus like increase to defense for a few seconds or increased critical chance.

The Gold tier are specialized version of the silver characters with a few notable exceptions like Kitana or Quan Chi. They effectively mirror their Injustice counterparts with the replacement of supermoves with X-Ray attacks that effectively have the same result. Unfortunately, Gold characters are mostly earned by using the new premium currency in the game, but it appears quite a few gold characters pop up in the Kard Pack on rare occasion.

While I do not care for the new premium currency or how Gold characters are now purchased with that currency, I will say that I appreciate how the game allows silver characters to be competitive as a trade-off.

Injustice vs. Mortal Kombat X – Combat Mechanics

Apologies now. Yesterday’s post was intended for today and today’s was supposed to be yesterdays. I’m a little out of order and also realized with the shorter week for me there is going to be no Character Spotlight this week. I will be doing at least two next week to make up for it.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Combat is somewhat different in MKX than Injustice, but should feel familiar to veteran players of Injustice.

In Mortal Kombat X, players tap the screen to attack and hold two fingers on the screen to block. What’s missing is the heavy attacks using a swipe. I’m not sure why they decided to omit this as I often took advantage of heavy and light attacks in Injustice. This does take away from depth in a fighting system that is already fairly shallow.

Some of the special moves have been changed as well. Moves that require multiple swipes can not only be vertical or horizontal, but may actually be diagonal on the screen. Again, not a great move because up/down/left/right seems natural where diagonal swiping just seems needlessly difficult. Attacks that require sustained tapping to keep a meter up will automatically stop if you hit 100%. This is a change I like very much! There were some other changes as well. Attacks that require tapping a dot are now many dots that fill the screen and you have to top as many as possible before they disappear. I think with Injustice the most I ever saw was Catwoman’s special attack 2 that had maybe five dots. Tapping a dot repeatedly to build up power is about the same, but some powers put two dots on the screen.

In short, MKX takes away depth where it was needed and adds complexity where it is not.

Overall, I would say the new combat mechanics are a step backwards from Injustice.