The number one rule for living a peaceful life is to not mess with anime girls online–one edict VRChat has decided to break by implementing Easy Anti-Cheat, a program banning all mods.
In the initial announcement, VRChat stated Easy Anti-Cheat will address malicious modified clients that bad actors use to harass or attack other players. Even non-malicious modified clients, VRChat added, can still create moderation and support issues.
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“Every month, thousands of users have their accounts stolen, often due to running a modified client that is silently logging their keystrokes as well as other information,” VRChat said. “These users–often without even realizing it–run the risk of losing their account, or having their computers become part of a larger botnet.”
Mods have always been against VRChat’s Terms of Service, so this isn’t a decision coming completely out of the blue. However, VRChat users developed a very robust modding scene over the years, and the community is, understandably, incredibly upset about EAC.
VRChat users showed up in droves to review bomb the game in Steam and to express their unhappiness in the official Discord. A blanket ban on mods without prior acknowledgement of all the helpful mods people use, be that for accessibility or quality-of-life, frustrated players.
VRChat user Foxispo gave an example of VRChat’s accessibility mods. There are movie worlds where deaf and hard-of-hearing users will use a mod to add captions, something EAC will now prevent.
@VRChat "VRC-CC" is a mod that adds closed captions to movie worlds so deaf/HH people can watch movies with their friends. VRChat is killing that today by banning all mods. They've done absolutely nothing to address serious accessibility gaps on their platform. Please RT pic.twitter.com/DuJSUJCb4n
— Foxipso (@TheFoxipso) July 25, 2022
So what other features will people lose? OpenVR AMD FSR, an upscaling tool, will be banned–as explicitly stated in VRChat’s FAQ. AdvancedSafety helps VRChat crash less by limiting character polygon count and other features. UIExpansion allows users to tweak the UI according to their needs, and there are also mods like IKTweaks that improve full-body tracking. There are many–so many!–other quality-of-life mod tools, a testament to the community’s many years of hard work, which overnight, are now no longer usable.
In response to the backlash, VRChat has updated its initial announcement. The company will change its internal development plans to address accessibility concerns, in addition to finding out what quality-of-life additions the community wants. VRChat, however, will not roll back EAC. It remains to be seen how VRChat’s decision will affect its future.
VRChat is a social virtual reality game where users can walk around in avatars and create unique online worlds. It released in 2017 and is currently the most popular social VR game.