Namco Bandai takes steps to stop hackers from ruining Dark Souls 3, but also penalizes innocent players who have simply crossed paths with invading hackers.
Hacking can happen on just about any gaming system, but PC versions of games are generally more susceptible to hacking and exploits, and Dark Souls III is no exception. Unfortunately, Namco Bandai's attempts to squash these hacks have simultaneously stepped on gamers who never did anything wrong.
Many players have reported receiving an "Invalid Game Data" message upon starting up Dark Souls III. This message alerts the player that they've been caught cheating by manipulating the game's files in order to get some kind of advantage. However, the big problem is that many gamers claim innocence, and there's good reason to believe them.
Dark Souls has a long history of online cheating invaders causing problems for gamers who play normally. In the past, gamers who have collected items dropped by other players in their games have sometimes been incorrectly flagged as cheating, because the item was illegally modified by whoever dropped it. More recently in Dark Souls III, however, gamers have reported that simply the presence of a hacking invader has caused them to get the message, even if they didn't pick up any of the invader's items.
Gamers who believe that they've been unfairly accused should try rolling back their game to a clean installation, and those who haven't been hit by it should consider backing up their files in case they later do. Unfortunately, Namco Bandai has only offered this solution to gamers who believe invading players are to blame for this message. It remains to be seen if this solution will actually resolve the problem or not.
While gamers accused of hacking aren't completely banned from the game like in The Division, innocent players still suffer penalties after being accused. Gamers accused of cheating are only allowed to play with other players who have received the same accusation, cutting many players off from being able to play with their friends. In addition, it just paints an even bigger target on the back of innocent players, since hackers that have been caught will be more likely to invade the falsely-accused gamers' games.
The entire Dark Souls series is notorious for its extremely high difficulty level, with terrifying boss monsters and insanely hard fights. Gamers have even taken it upon themselves to beat Dark Souls II with a Rock Band guitar, but this fight isn't fair. Namco Bandai isn't providing a way for innocent gamers to fight back and protect themselves from being invaded by hackers, let alone being found guilty by association afterwards.
Dark Souls fans, how do you feel about Namco Bandai's actions? Let us know in the comments.
Dark Souls III is now available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.