I don’t mind divulging that sometimes I dive into game data and even code for fun. Let’s talk about “hacking stats” and why it’s not easy and probably not possible to alter the stats you see for my team.
From our point of view, GoW has a “list of my troops” and each troop has stats. That’s good enough for how a player views the game. If that were true, it would follow if I could talk the server into believing my troops’ stats had increased, everyone would see stronger troops on my side. But this is not actually how GoW works.
Every player downloads a list of every troop before they’ve even logged in. That list has the stats for each troop and is maintained by the server. You also download a big chunk of user data, which includes whether you own each troop, which level it is, what traits you’ve unlocked, etc. When the game wants to know your troop’s stats, it starts with the stuff from the server file, then starts applying all of your relevant bonuses. Here’s where it gets weird.
I could modify those files on my side, with a lot of effort. It would be trivial to make the game believe I have a level 1 Infernus with 99 attack and the same ability as Zuul’goth. But I don’t think it’d get me very far. On my side, I’m very powerful and I’ll come back to that. Let’s talk about your side.
When your client wants to know about my Infernus, it doesn’t use my files. It uses the same “base” server file, then checks my server user profile and applies all of my bonuses/levels to that Infernus. Even if I’ve changed my files, I didn’t change them on the server. So you see what the server believes, which is that I have a normal Infernus with normal stats.
Now, I could certainly get a big advantage even if I can make JUST my client believe my Infernus is OP. But there are a few reasons I don’t believe this is rampant.
First, it is the base server file that determines stats, traits, and abilities. So if I change that file, my client will think everyone else’s troop starts that way too. So realistically, my only power over troops is to change what kingdom levels and other character-based bonuses I have from my player profile.
Second, it’s really easy to catch this. All that has to happen is for the server to occasionally ask my client questions about my troops. Discrepancies mean tampering. There are thousands of places where the game could innocently store a bit of information to send back and catch this kind of behavior. In this game of cat and mouse the cat’s got a distinct advantage.
Finally, there’s no way to make it manifest on your client, not without very obviously running afoul of the second point. There is no way for a client to modify the base server data. While you do update your player data frequently, this is where a cheater has to be really, really careful. I can’t just randomly upgrade a kingdom and skip a pet mythic upgrade. I can’t just give myself a mythic pet. I can’t even give myself a single pet. In order to simulate the pet upgrade process through cheating, I’d need to fabricate a lot of pet rescues. Unfortunately those are guild-wide events and generated by the server, so I’d fail even the most basic scrutiny checks of my account.
In the end, the process of believably bumping my account up through a few levels of GoW is harder than just playing the game. If this kind of hacking were possible, we’d be seeing much more obvious abuses like the aforementioned “Infernus with Zuul’goth ability”. Careful cheaters can stay hidden, but once the cat’s out of the bag someone with poor impulse control will always pull a stunt.
Stat calculation is obtuse and we don’t have an easy way to check GoW’s work. There is no page that tells us “these are all the stat bonuses I applied” to an opponent’s troop. So if you see suspicious stats on a troop one or more of these are likely:
- You’re forgetting or ignorant of some stat boost the opponent has that you do not.
- A user is performing some stunt like “How far can I get playing only Treasure Hunt?”
- The game is improperly applying stat boosts.
There are probably some avenues to make minor stat hacks available, but they leave such obvious fingerprints and provide such little value I don’t imagine many would jump through the hoops.
I may have a bad opinion of the devs, but the way the game data is set up is smart.