09 Jun, 2016

Are Tools Illegal?

The short answer is no, but the long answer requires a bit more explanation.

Legal or Illegal

For many gamers, the word “tools” has a negative connotation, bringing to mind illegal hacks and cheats that should be avoided at all costs. In a casual survey of a college esports club, we found that many gamers viewed add-ons as illegal third-party software, and looked down on players who used them (regardless of the type of add-on).


This makes sense given the esports context. In professional gaming, any kind of modification to the game is prohibited to ensure a level playing field.


However, in reality, the right kind of tool–for the casual gamer or in a practice setting (which comprises most of the gaming population)–is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged. In fact, Blizzard and Riot, two of the most well-known game developers today, have made the APIs for World of Warcraft and League of Legends public to allow fans to create original game content and tools.


This being said, it’s important to consider the ethical implications of toolmaking. Our goal at Red Queen is to respect the developers’ intentions regarding gameplay. We define tools as any legal supplemental programs that have been accepted and okayed by game developers and do not negatively affect the experiences of other gamers. Types of legitimate tools include things like heat maps, additional DPS meters, and other supplementary statistics or data visualizations. We will not host programs that give the player an unfair advantage over other players, or damage the spirit of the game by providing, for instance, unlimited gold. Using cheats, hacks, or exploits will get a player banned from a game in most situations, and for good reason.


So in conclusion, “bad tools” are illegal, but “good tools” are not, and in fact, tools can benefit both the player and developer. The player has more fun in-game, and the developer enjoys higher customer satisfaction and retention. In the coming months, we hope to clear up the misunderstandings surrounding legitimate tools, help the community distinguish between “bad” and “good” tools, and demonstrate how proper tools can enhance the game experience–all of course while maintaining an atmosphere of good sportsmanship and fairness.

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