Cheaters Never Prosper

Sony, which runs the highly popular Everquest, prefers to handle cheaters through its customer service team, Kramer says.

"Because we run our own servers, we don't expose that much data to the client," Kramer says. "We don't necessarily need a third-party utility because we have lots and lots of those features already built into our server structures."

Sony also relies heavily on its customers to report "illegal" activities. "The customer service squad isn't that large," Kramer says. With 300,000 active accounts across 30 servers, customer service does "everything they can, but also depends on the eyes of our players to keep the world safe and fun."

Ray and Hollenshead recommend that gamers take screen shots when they think they have encountered a cheater, and notify an administrator or send the screens to PunkBuster.

Ray also suggests joining anticheating groups, and playing only with members of those groups.

For MMOGs, Kramer says players should report any activity that violates the terms of service or rules of conduct, from instances of harassment or profanity to suspicion of another player running bots or farming.

But be careful with reporting, Hollenshead warns. "Sometimes people think someone is cheating, but they're really just damn good," he says.

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