The ESL has announced the release of their ESL Wire Anti-Cheat as it moves from the beta stage to a public release. The Anti-Cheat is now required to be run in all ESL matches and events.
We sat down with David Hiltscher from the ESL Community Management team for an interview regarding the ESL Wire Anti-Cheat.
How did the ESL Wire Anti-Cheat come about?
David: Cheats have evolved over the last few years, so it was time for the next generation in anti-cheating software. Our old software – ESL Aequitas – came out in 2005, a lot has happened since then. We needed a complete overhaul of the software, so we hired experts from the Anti-Virus industry that have a lot of experience in securing people’s PCs. All in all, we have invested a mid 6 figure sum of money in making this big step against cheats. That is a huge investment for any eSports company.
What makes the ESL Wire Anti-Cheat different from ESL Aqueitas.
David: ESL Wire Anti-Cheat runs on the so called Ring 0 level of windows systems. That’s the deepest level of the operating system. A lot of cheats in recent years started to act as system drivers on the Ring 0 level. So it was the logical step to also take Anti-Cheat software to that level. It’s the only way to really detect all modern, private hacks. Also, since we finally have real experienced programmers, our Anti-Cheat software is a lot more flexible than before. If there are any new cheats on the market, we will be able to detect them quickly. Also, ESL Wire Anti-Cheat is the only tool on the market that works out-of-the-box for any game. So we’re not only about making CS/CS:S secure, but can also cover games like Enemy Territory, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Medal of Honor, all the Battlefield titles and many more. Also, Wire Anti-Cheat not only protects gamers from cheating, but has a lot more gaming security features like thoroughly detecting fake accounts of banned cheaters.
Will the ESL Wire Anti-Cheat be available to the public for scrims and pugs or will it be for official matches only, similar to CMN or the ESEA client?
David: the moment, it’s only available for matches played on the ESL website. But keep in mind, we have a very good system for running scrims called ESL Gathers. It’s a very simple system where teams (either fixed or comprised of individuals) can meet and face each other. There is no rule system for that. The creator of the gather can enter certain prerequisites. One of them is that all participants need to have Wire Anti-Cheat running. It requires a bit of extra effort compared to IRC scrims, but having a cheat-protected scrim should be worth the effort. In the future, we plan to even expand this strategy, and make Wire support for any servers or private tournaments publicly available against a small fee. We’re looking forward to community feedback on this topic to adapt our development plan to the specific needs of the eSports community.
How resource intensive has the client proven to be?
David: We have had a 6 week beta phase with several thousand users. The effort we put into the software seems to have paid off. According to surveys, more than 90% of the beta testers are very satisfied with the program. The remaining few are running PCs that are really old or heavily infected by viruses. Of course this does influence your performance. We can only advise everybody to keep their PCs clean and buy new hardware every 5 years or so. But naturally, this goes for any kind of software. So I’m pretty confident that we struck the ideal balance between optimal PC performance and maximum cheat security.