Tobold's Blog
Sunday, August 27, 2023
Everybody is cheating

If you follow Baldur's Gate 3 content on a social media platform like YouTube, other BG3 content will be suggested to you. And some of them promise to tell you tricks how to get more or even infinite gold or experience points. You can get infinite gold with pickpocketing, followed by a long rest to reset the vendor gold. You can get double or triple the xp from an encounter by first getting xp for a diplomatic solution, saving / reloading, then getting xp from knocking the enemies out with non-lethal damage, saving / reloading, and finally getting the xp a third time by killing the enemies.

What is surprising is not that these methods exist, but how different people's attitudes are towards various methods of cheating. To me it is rather obvious that save scumming is cheating too, but very few people see it that way. And a lot of people think that getting more gold or xp by an in-game exploit is okay, while getting the same amount of extra gold and xp with a tool like Cheat Engine or a mod is not acceptable. I've watched one streamer who happily save scummed, but wouldn't use the very official "send to camp" function in his inventory, because that felt like cheating to him. Meanwhile the internet is full of Baldur's Gate 3 content of the "should you do this decision" or "how to solve this puzzle" variety, and needless to say that all that is cheating too. I don't think anybody played Baldur's Gate 3 without *any* form of cheating, with reloading a save after things went wrong probably being the most prevalent form.

And I am totally okay with that. Sometimes I just want to see what happens when I do a different decision in a dialogue, without starting a complete new playthrough, so I save scum to try. At some point I got sick and tired of searching every vase and crate for rotten tomatoes, so I stopped doing so and got myself the gold I needed with the help of Cheat Engine.  Divinity Original Sin 2 has 4,608 mods on the Steam Workshop, and I would expect that Baldur's Gate 3 Steam Workshop mod support is coming too. And while there are some purely cosmetic mods, most mods are a form of cheating too, changing gameplay. And that is great: For example for Jagged Alliance 3 I was able to use mods to fine-tune the game to be much more to my personal liking. And there is a bunch of things I would change about Baldur's Gate 3 if I could, especially regarding inventory management and items; e.g. for me the game would gain a lot of replayability if I could randomize loot instead of always finding the same stuff at the same location (not sure if that would be possible with a mod).

These are very complex games, and different people have different areas of the game they like more or like less, or that they find easier or harder. Whatever method we use, save scumming, in-game exploits, looking up solutions, cheat software, or mods, is fine as long as we use it to make the game more fun to us. We just need to realize that everybody is doing that, one way or another. The "holier than thou" attitude that often reigns on the internet regarding cheating is really not justified. Everybody is cheating.

Being able to get experience twice by reloading is one cheat I wouldn't have expected to exist!

I agree that everyone cheats, but if you are to enjoy games, you have to learn to be a little disciplined, and games should encourage that.

As for random loot, I don't know much about modding but it seems probable that it should be possible to make a 'loot-bag' item that can be put in lots of crates and which rolls dice when you open it to create a random item. That doesn't help, of course, if the real problem is 'too many crates'.
Yeah if you go to the nexus mods page for the game the top downloaded mods are all cheat mods or mods that make your characters race/class more powerful.

I don't mind this stuff at all and will use them when it makes sense to me. For example sending stuff to camp is the equivalent of just giving yourself infinite carry weight with extra steps in my opinion so why not just use the mod that does that and save myself the extra clicks and loading?
This has come up before. It's a total straw-man argument, based around the fallacious assertion that the word "cheat" has semantic value in these contexts, which it does not. You cannot, by definition, "cheat" unless there are rules to cheat against. Games like BG3 do not have such rules. All they have are mechanics which can be used or not used as you prefer. Neither using them nor not using them classifies as "cheating" any more than getting the bus to work instead of walking is "cheating". If you got the bus to get to the end of a marathon, then hopped off and ran across the finish line, now *that* would be cheating, because the marathon has rules. Without those, cheating is a literal impossibility.

As for mods and add-ons, using those is either within the Terms of Services of the game, in which case, again, it's a mechanic and cannot be called "cheating" or it's outsided the ToS, in which case it arguably could be "cheating", although "cheat" would not be the normal verb used for breaching a quasi-legal agreement.

As for the concept of "cheating yourself", clearly that's a psychological process for which the term "cheat" is used metaphorically. When you begin to extrapolate from "I'm not comfortable doing this in a single-player game" to "other people shouldn't do this in a single-player game" you are beginning to exhibit some questionable mental calisthenics. What anyone does or doesn't do in a single-player game is absolutely unconnected from what anyone else does or doesn't do.
I save scummed when, by choosing the wrong dialogue option, I killed a dog.
It's a freaking single-player (or co-op) game...who cares how somebody plays it?
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