Unpopular Opinions: The Difference Between Cheating and Exploits

When I looked at the threads on Facebook, I realized that there are certain misconceptions about the differences between bugs and cheats.

Now, here’s the difference between a cheese (i.e. overpowered strategy/weapon/feature), a bug and a cheat, for the common War Robots player out there:

A “cheese” is an extremely powerful unit or faction or strategy in video games, that either does not require much (or any) skill from the player and/or cannot be adequately countered by other players. This is completely legal, as far as the game is concerned…and spending time to find specific counters for that cheese is considered to be a part of the metagame. When the said cheese is countered, then a new metagame comes up.

Here’s an example:


Meanwhile, a bug is an unintended glitch or feature within the game that has never been intended by the developers. It is usually non-game breaking; as a matter of fact, it is as common as the grains of sand out there, but every once in a while, something comes out into the client that actually breaks and affects the whole game – war robots speak: Kumihos entering buildings, unlimited stealth, etc. happen in the game.

Now, there are famous cases of glitches in competitive gaming (and yes, these are professional players, mind you). Here are some examples:

  • Dota 2’s infamous fountain hook

  • CS:GO’s notorious pixel walking boost

The thing is that while these are game-breaking and are very unfair, using bugs are legal unless the developer states that THE BUG/GLITCH/EXPLOIT is ILLEGAL and VIOLATES their TOS.

It is completely up to the publisher to determine the penalties for abusing bugs and glitches: In the first one, the users of the bug went on to win second place in one of the largest competitions for competitive gaming (The International), while in the second one, Fnatic was forced to forfeit their win and give it to the opposing team.

The catch? The other team went on to win the said tournament!


Finally, Cheats are cheats – they are third-party programs designed to give users a very nasty advantage over everyone else.

This breaks multiple legal rules and social contracts, which include the following:

  • Terms of Service
  • Spirit of competitive play
  • Sportsmanship
  • Basic human decency

There’s no question whatsoever that players who use cheats should be banned outright and permanently from the game.


So what’s with all these differences?

With that being said, here is how it goes: When you use cheese (or you cheese as in the slang verb “to cheese”), you cannot be banned from the game, no matter how bad it is, because that is how the developers intended the current iteration of that same game to play out (or overlooked that part of the game when they tried to balance it out). It is up to the publisher or game creators to fix that cheese by either nerfing the overpowered mechanic or buffing everything else.

As for me, I believe that those who use exploits and bugs should be punished to the heaviest extent possible, but just short of a permanent ban (i.e. suspend them from the game for six months to one year), so that they will learn that there is a price for abusing glitches in games.

Other than that, using bugs is definitely not in the same category as cheating – while the first one does not involve breaking a social contract and is the fault of the developer, the second one does not just breaks a ton of them, but also actively denies the developer any sort of income and destroys the spirit of the game itself.


Yes, there will be violent reactions regarding this, so I am ready. I’m pretty sure that those who work in the gaming industry will understand the difference between the three terms above. Have a nice day!

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