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NetNomad's PSO Site
Hacking, Duping and Illegit Weaponry: My explanations and opinions
Page updated: 6/9/05

    You may have seen me online using one of these nine PSO characters in the past few months. It's funny how, for some reason, I've become more or less the unofficial local authority on illegit items - to some, at least. Of course I don't think of myself that way, as there are most definitely a lot of people who know considerably more than I do (and if you're reading this page, it's not really for you, except maybe the opinion section may be of some interest). I created this page to explain things that I don't want to explain over and over again to people on PSO - even though I use a keyboard to talk, it's extremely annoying to use PSO's 2-line text box system to explain this stuff. So here's my solution.
    And as people who know me well can easily attest to, I tend to write gigantic, text-heavy web pages ("essays" as some affectionately call them) when I get either pissed off or frustrated at something. So you may wanna grab a sandwich or something, this may take awhile.
 

Illegit tricks and practices
Legitimacy defined
Just what does the term "legit" mean? In its strictest definition, it is playing the game without using any glitches, cheats, or AR interference for any reason. I personally believe in using one glitch for backup purposes, as explained below; in my opinion, the goal is to be functionally legit; by that I mean, at any one time you only have one copy of any item you picked up. I consider myself to be legit, and that is how I play. Because of this though, the term "legit" may be more of a gray area than some would like (or admit to). On this page, I will be writing on the assumption that the reader wishes to be functionally legit (if not, you may wish to take it with a grain of salt).

FSOD
The "Frozen Screen of Death" is an event that can occur for many reasons. It can occur because your gamecube failed to read from your PSO disc, it can occur for no apparant reason, or it can occur through glitches in the game engine. Hackers can manipulate these glitches for their own reasons - to get back at people or just to cause trouble. Although this has nothing to do with actually playing the game, it can cause other players to lose their items; if you are FSODed, you may lose all unequipped items and weapons. This is because your gamecube turned off without saving, and let's say you had dropped something and then cut the power. If you still had the item after the FSOD, there would now be two of them. Thus, the FSOD item-killing code was included to prevent this method of duping (at least, that seems like the logical reason to me).

It is my opinion that there is NO good reason to cause an FSOD to another player, even if they caused one to you first. FSODing someone else won't prove anything, and it won't get lost items back.

To avoid an FSOD, there isn't much you can do except notice when it may be about to occur (from the actions of a hacker). You should know that resetting your system does nothing to your data. Like when you randomly disconnect, your data is saved automatically if you do hard reset (pushing the reset button) or soft reset (holding X, B and Start on your controller). For this reason, if you need to get out of a lobby fast to avoid an FSODer, you can always punch the reset key (this has no effect AFTER you get FSODed though, so watch out). To avoid losing items through FSOD, you can either dupe backups, as noted below, or you can put all your unequipped items into the bank before you enter a lobby.

FSOD X / Corruption
In the unlucky event that you are FSODed during a save process, your data gets corrupted. Essentially, you've cut the power during a save, which is what every saving message specifically tells you NOT to do. This can happen if the power is cut for any reason (power outage, someone tripped the power cord, etc.). Hackers have also found ways of corrupting players, such as by forcing a save within the lobby, and then FSODing players in the middle of that save. Personally, I have no sympathy for people who do this, because it serves zero purpose and is totally uncalled for. Those who have been corrupted usually recieve sympathy (and in some cases, some common-rare items) from people, and this is quite appropriate. After all, most people have ten million of some item and were dying to get rid of them anyway. ;-)

Duping
This is a staple of illegit players. It refers to manipulating a glitch in the menu system to create one copy of an item on the ground, as well as one in your bank. I will not go into further detail. While it can cause a great deal of confusion, the duping glitch can also be a valuable tool. This is because, should you ever get FSODed, you may be able to take out dupes from your bank and replace your lost items with them. You have lost one item, and gained one identical item; thus, nothing has changed. You have to be careful though. First of all, if you do the glitch wrong you might FSOD yourself, which isn't a wonderful thing. But more importantly, if you keep dupes for backup purposes, it's important to understand that that's their ONLY purpose. You can NOT give the dupes to your other characters, and you can DEFINITELY not give them to other people (that would make both of you illegit). Also, I would reccomend you keep your dupes on a separate character, on a separate memory card if possible. For instance, here's how my cards are set up:

Card 1
Card 2
Card 3
Card 4
Card 5
Will Blazk.
Master Shake
Neo Jester
KillCount++;
Loaded Die
Cyclone
TheGorgotron
Aurora Flame
Max(Damage);
[Future FOmar]
[Dummy char]
[Dummy char]
DUPEMAN
DUPEMAN JR
SUPER DUPER
[Empty]
Currently empty - may use for storage characters later on

On card 4, I keep my duped items. These characters are never brought online (which explains the semi-comical naming of them). The first is for hunter items, the second is for ranger items, and the third is for force items. For instance:

This picture is of Will Blazk., my RAmar, using his Frozen Shooter. It has a 9 grind, 15% beast and 35% hit. It's pretty rare, as rifles go. Thus, I'd like to protect it from FSOD loss as best I can. For this reason, the character DUPEMAN JR holds five copies of this weapon (the duping glitch was fixed on PSO Plus, so I simply made multiple dupes when I borrowed a non-plus copy, and "stocked up" on them). On one occasion so far, a random FSOD has forced me to retrieve a copy of this weapon as well as the other weapons I lost that day. Since only this character uses the weapon, only one copy of the weapon is in use at any time, and the others exist only on what is essentially a dummy character, I am playing functionally legit.

Stacking
Through another glitch, players can stack more than 10 of an item on their character at one time. A similar glitch is sometimes used to dupe Photon Drops (I've actually done it just to see if I could, but I deleted the PDs afterwards). Although it's illegit, it doesn't seem to cause any harm to other players.

Percent Boosting
There are in fact legitimate ways to boost percents on weapons. After completing the West Tower online quest, you can pay Paganini Photon Drops to increase your weapons' percents. The prices to do so are very high, however; 20 PDs to increase one stat by 5%, and one Photon Sphere (which equals 90 PDs) to increase a stat by 30%. Using the PD-duping glitch mentioned above, players can create innumerable Photon Drops and Spheres to boost their weapons' percents illegitimately. This practice is 100% illegit, because you never really FOUND the Photon Drops in the first place.

Item Creation
Using an Action Replay (AR), illegit players can create their own items and weapons. These items can have any attributes the illegit player wants. Technically and realistically, this practice is not legit by any means, unless you happened to lose a weapon through FSOD or corruption that you did not have a backup of. For instance, I lost a Flight Cutter +9 with no percents one time. I had no dupes of it, so it's gone for good. However, if I was get a new one through item creation, nothing was gained or lost.

There are also some AR-created illegit items that have crazy statistics, such as level 1304 mags. Some say that using a 1304 mag makes it impossible to find rares. I'm not sure if it's true, but when I'm hunting for something I do tend to check with my teammates to be sure they don't have such mags.

Stat Hacking and Ability Hacking
You may not think it's possible, but there are HUmars and HUcasts out there who can cast Megid. How? Quite simply, through some AR work. Again, it's totally illegit. I'm not sure if it can be reversed, but either way, it's quite weird to see. Personally, when I see a so-called "FOcast," I ask them to stop the otherwise-impossible casts so my experience gain can be as legitimate as possible. Hackers can also give themselves different statistics using AR.

Recieving items from other players
Easy ways to confirm illegitimacy
I feel very sorry for people who want to play legit, try their hardest, but accept weapons from illegit players not knowing that they are illegit (assuming the player was just being nice). I beg of you, if you consider yourself legit or functionally legit, to check the weapon's attributes. Here are some sure-fire ways to tell if a weapon is illegit:

Probable illegitimacy - percents
A lot of hacked and duped weapons follow all the rules above but are pretty sure to be illegit. If you see a weapon with 100%s in 3 places, it is most likely illegit, simply because nobody could gain the number of Photon Drops needed to put such percents on a weapon. For that matter, anything with a percent above 50% should be looked at suspiciously IMO. If you see a weapon with 85% hit, it is probably illegit as well; even if you're lucky enough to get a weapon with hit%, it's extremely unlikely that it will have 85% hit. Paganini will not add percentages to hit, so PDs can't even be used for this.

The tricky part is deciding to leave the weapon alone even if there's a slim possibility of it being legit. Like I said, it would take forever to get as many PDs as one would need to make those kinds of percents... and if you used that many PDs on a single weapon, then think about it... would YOU just give it away? It takes 270 PDs to put 90% in just one place. Compare that with how many you probably have right now and you'll see what I mean.

Some people will also claim that the percents are legit because they believe PD-duping to be legit. This is not the case; the PDs were not dropped by enemies or traded for, they were created by a glitch, not created for backup purposes, and thus are not legit.

Probable illegitimacy - item rarity
I want you to do something right now if you haven't already. Take a look at PSOWorld's weapon database and heyf00l's ultimate dropchart. Note specifically the weapons with incredibly rare drop rates, such as Sealed J-Sword and Heaven Punisher. There are certain items that people would never, EVER give away if they were legit. Thus, if you see a weapon like a Sealed J being given to you, you should assume it's illegit.

The gray area comes in when you look at what's being given to you; there are items with varying degrees of rarity in PSO, and people themselves will vary in terms of how easily they'll part with semi-rare items. You may find people who'll only give away common, 9-star items, or people who give away every item they don't need. Personally, I keep semi-rare ultimate weapons for trading, but may give away semi-rare stuff I know a person rather well. Regrettably, thanks to a recent corruption, I have nohwere near as many rares as I used to, and therefore I have to hang on to most anything I may be able to trade at this point. So I might be a bit stingier than some, but it's out of necessity. :-/

But back to item rarity. You can get a clue of how rare an item is by checking how many starts it has in its description. 12-star items are never given away; don't accept them. This is pretty much true of all 11-star items as well, as these are usually very rare. The bulk of decent/interesting items are 10-stars, but not all of them are legit. Some things are easy to find, like Stag Cutlery or Angry Fist, and these you may be able to accept. But items such as Frozen Shooter, Twin Brand, Demolition Comet, Asuka, and a bunch of others are quite rare when compared to 9-star items. This is where your judgement and your knowledge of the drop charts come in. Learn the drop charts if you can, to find out where you can find certain items. Then you may be better able to decide if something is legit or not.

Trading - Making a fair trade
Trading is very tricky, more so than simply accepting items. If you were dropped a Yamigarusu with nice percents, you could say there's a good chance it's illegit, considering its drop rates (it is most often found in Ultimate Tower from Ill Gills). But what if you were offered it in exchange for something else?

I traded for this Yamigarasu to someone I met online and played several games with beforehand. If he had just dropped it to me, I would have had no doubt it was illegit. Eventually however, I traded a Spirit Garment and a Star Amplifier for this weapon (also, people in game at the time confirmed that it was legit, having apparently seen it drop in the tower). IMO, this appeared to be a rather fair trade; the Yamigarasu is a rare weapon, but is not incredibly powerful (it can be compared to God Hand or Red Saber, which are considerably more common). Although the two items I traded for it were relatively easy for me to get, not everyone can get them as easily (they required hunting with my Redria character, and later, piping with my Oran character).

The trick really lies in figuring out which items can be traded for which items. Obviously, you can't trade something like a Kaladbolg for a Yamigarasu or Red Saber (don't think the other guy is dumb, because they can see the stat differences just as easily as you can - if you think you're getting a deal that's too good to be true, it probably is). But some trades aren't so easy to tell. Some trades are pretty much dead even - if you traded a Hero/Ability for a God/HP, that's almost exactly even, since both of these units can be found from the same enemy in the same difficulty, just under different IDs (BTW, I'd make that trade any day, since I can pipe Hero/Ability with my Greenill, but my Skyly character is a droid... if interested, feel free to tell me). Some trades aren't exaclty even, but are believable nonetheless. I once traded a Frozen Shooter to an offline friend for a Red Sword. The Red Sword is far more rare, simply because it cannot be piped and is only easily accessible in one place (Skyly, Caves, Govulmer 1/900). However, I knew the reasons this person wanted the Frozen Shooter, and overall this trade seemed rather fair to me. If the trade is pretty much equivalent in terms of rarity, there should not be any reason to doubt its legitimacy.

On that note though, I would like to advise NOT trading for any weapon that is VERY rare, such as Lavis Cannon or 1975 Agito. IMO, these weapons should always be hunted or piped by yourself if you want to have them, because it's simply too rare to be believable otherwise. Remember that you cannot be 100% sure that any item is legit unless YOU saw it drop from the correct enemy in the correct location, and YOU picked it up. I've traded for the Yamigarasu, the Red Sword, an Asuka, a God/Power, a God/HP, a Red Scorpio and several other things, and I have no way to confirm that they are legit. At some point you have to give the trader the benefit of the doubt, considering the weapon isn't too rare. Like I said, things like Sealed J-Sword, Heaven Punisher and Psycho Wand would never be given away, and they wouldn't be traded either. I believe this also applies to most 11-star items; check the dropcharts if you don't believe me, and see how rare they are. Accepting an untekked weapon can increase the probability that it is legit, but this is not always true; not only can some hackers create untekked items, but I've actually seen some kind of AR code or glitch that made EVERYTHING drop a rare (I left that game immediately, however).

One more thing: just because it's a traded item doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out. I urge you to use the "verify items" feature, and check the attributes on the weapons. Remember the rules of percentages above, and probable illegitimacy based on percents. If you're trading for a weapon with 3 100%s, it's just as illegit as it would be if it were just given to you.

Opinions: Playing with legits and with illegits
Finding the common ground
A lot of stereotypes have been thrown around from both sides of the "legitimacy fence." The natural suspicion to a newbie is, that all hackers and illegit practices are inherently bad and should be avoided/feared at all costs. Conversely, I get the feeling that a fair number of hackers believe legit players to be elitists who would not play with them if they knew they were illegit. If your dealings with other players on the PSO servers become a simple battle of stereotypes, you may find yourself very frustrated. As a person who is (I think) around the middle, "on the fence" you might say, I hope you'll hear me out.

Why hack?
It's the number one question many newbies ask. Oh, this guy is doing something totally wrong by warping and manipulating the game engine to suit them... there's no way I can play with him, right?

You have to think about it for a minute. Have you ever played an emulator on your computer? Wasn't it nice to save and load states every time you screwed up? And AR was always so easy to use on emulators, wasn't it? You could give yourself whatever item you wanted, change your stats, whatever. I know I've done it, and I never hurt anyone by doing it. I suspect that the same theory applies to PSO. The difference is, that having hacked weapons, statistics and abilities can affect how your fellow players get their experience. This varies based on how much you hack, of course; if you hacked yourself a Black King Bar +80 with 100% hit, it would give you pretty awesome power and accuracy, yes... but it wouldn't really hurt anyone. However, if you play with megid-casting HUcasts and 1304 mags, that starts to affect how other people get their experience. I personally don't play with them, because of the ease at which they kill things as well as the rumors of hacked mags nullifying rare chances.

But what is vital to understand is this: even if you meet the most illegit player out there, that doesn't mean they're out to get you. More than likely, what they're doing is equivalent to what you'd do on an emulator; they want to enjoy the game's levels without the challenge. It's over-simplifying, to me, but that doesn't make it wrong. Most of them aren't out to FSOD or corrupt every legit player they see... they just want to play differently than you.

Are you elitist?
I'm not a hacker or an illegit player, so I can't guarantee what I'm saying here. But I get the feeling that illegits really, REALLY resent when legit players call them "bad" or "wrong" for playing illegit. As I said above, most of them aren't out to hurt anybody. Even some of the most dangerous hackers out there might just want to be left alone at some times; I've read posts on forums where such people basically just said "don't screw with us and we won't screw with you." It sounds like a threat, and IMO they just said it that way to act tough, but the point is that they just don't want legit players giving them holier-than-thou attitudes simply because of their play style choice.

I actually got some of the elitist vibe one time, when I was talking to someone on AIM and they basically told me I was "a cheater" for keeping my backup dupes. They left immediately without letting me reply, and I suspect they blocked me from AIM and on PSO as well (if you're reading this, please, please stop being so childish, I just want to play). I personally believe that duping for backups make a lot of sense... but more importantly, that not keeping backups does not make you better than anyone else. I cannot stress this enough... as a legit player you are no more morally "right" or "good" than an illegit player. I said above that I don't play with super-hackers. Here, I'm saying very clearly that I will NOT play with elitists either. If you want to harass me just for keeping backup dupes, take it outside or go yell at a brick wall, because I don't care. And FYI, it's incredibly stupid and pointless if you stubbornly decide to let your items die with FSOD just so you can hold yourself on a higher moral ground than someone else. This just in: NOBODY CARES.

However, these elitists seem to be a select few. Even among those who don't keep backups, most people I've meet seem to have no problem when that Dark-Flow-weilding, Red-Ring-wearing HUmar comes in to join the game. Sometimes I joke about it when I see a double cannon or sealed J, and I also ask if some very rare items are legit (like Lavis Cannon), but I'm not being an elitist... and I make it clear to them that I don't mind them using the hacked stuff just as long as they don't kill everything faster than us. I will only decline playing with a hacker for two reasons: if their hacked statistics kill things so fast that I can't keep up, or if I'm on a specific item hunt (in which case the presence of hacked mags might make my hunt pointless). Other than that, I have no problem with illegits, and if you hackers were to talk to the average legit player, they would probably have no problem with it either.

Message to legits
In closing, my message to legit players is this: just because a player hacks, doesn't mean they're evil / immoral / wrong. That's simply their style of play. If you don't play that way, it's your option to duck out of that game and play your own. You do NOT want to be an elitist (especially if the target of your elitism is a person who's only keeping backup dupes). Unless their hacking affects your exp or you're on a specific hunt, there's no real reason not to allow an illegit to play with you.

Message to illegits
I'd like for you guys to understand two things... first, that not everyone is an elitist, not everyone hates you for hacking your items or character stats, and unless you FSOD or corrupt people for no reason, most people have no real reason to fear you and will more than likely let you play. I'd ask that you respect an ongoing hunt, however, and not to bring hacked mags or any other item that would cause no rares to ever drop... because that's our style of play. In fact, I strongly encourage the illegit players out there to keep a "legit set" for playing with legit players on hunts. It doesn't have to be anything fancy; even if it's made up of Cross Scars and Justy rifles it's perfectly reasonable. It may not be as powerful as your 100% hit Double Cannons or Tsumikiri J-Swords, but it'll probably be more likely to get you less raised eyebrows.

Secondly and most importantly... I beg of you, if you're giving away illegit weaponry and items, please, please tell them so! There are a lot of new players out there who don't know how to tell an illegit weapon for what it is. Remember that there aren't as many elitists out there as there may seem to be, and even if they don't accept your item because it's illegit, don't take it personally; it's just how we play. But by spreading illegit weapons under the false assumption that they are legit, you're causing a world of confusion on PSO.