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I've been playing WATCH_DOGS on PS4 for a week or so. I have encountered a few player hackers in that time, both in Online Hacking and Online Tailing situations. In all cases where my character has noticed that he's being hacked or tailed, it's felt like an accident to me, the player.

I am sure there are other times when I have had other players in my game and haven't even noticed, or are there?

The last couple of times I noticed I was being hacked, I was in the process of logging off - I pressed the Start/Options button on my PS4 controller to go to the main menu and was informed that I couldn't go to the main menu right now because I was being hacked. I also noticed that the game sound and motion continued to run in the background on the Options menu screen, so I have taken to periodically pressing the Start/Options button to check whether or not the game is properly paused (no hack) or is not paused (being hacked). I feel a bit like this is cheating and it's also affecting my immersion in the game.

My question is basically this:

  1. If you are being hacked by another player, do you always notice and get a chance to respond?

  2. If you do not always notice, what can you do as a player to maximise the likelihood that you will notice? For example, does it help having all the ctOS towers active / being in a connected area? Does having your phone out/pocketed make a difference? Do certain activities help (e.g. hacking NPCs, starting missions)? i.e. what is it that triggers the game to inform you that you are being hacked?

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If you are being hacked, then you always get a chance to respond, but if you are being tailed, you are not.

When you try to hack someone, you have five minutes to find the other player and hack his phone. At that moment, a circle appears on your map that determines the area in which you have to stay to hack. From then on, you have one minute to initiate the actual hack and find some cover. The other player will only be notified once you initiate the hack. So it is possible, that he is already out of the circle and has to come back, but he will always be notified as soon as the download is initiated.

This is not the case when you tail someone. If everything goes smoothly, the other player won't even know you have been there. On Playstation, you can see if someone tailed you by looking at the "Players Met" section under the "Friends" tab in the main menu. I have recently seen two connections marked as "Online Tailing" although I had not started any at that time.

There is a possibility to be notified that you are being invaded (hacking and tailing), though, and that is when you attempt to start something that is not possible while you are being invaded. These things are all types of missions (campaign, phone games etc.). When you attempt to start it while invaded, you will instantly get the mission to find the invader, whether he is tailing or hacking, and even if the hack has not yet started. The same goes for your mentioned experience with trying to open the menu.

My personal experience is that I recently wanted to start a phone game and was instantly notified that I was being tailed and got this message for the first time, although the before mentioned "Players Met" menu showed previous tailings. I don't think there is another way to find out that you are being tailed.

I also had someone drive behind me like a maniac once without getting an invasion message and could identify him as an invader, so if you notice someone behaving very unusual (e.g. sprinting past you), quickly open the profiler to get a reward for spotting him. Because the tailing victim doesn't get noified, he also loses no points for it. I once tailed someone and climbed around in front of him, but because he probably didn't know about the mechanic, the just kept on walking. That is another hint that the tailing victim does not get notified.

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  • It does make sense that the mechanic is different between hacking and tailing. It would be much more difficult to tail someone if they were always notified to be on the lookout for someone tailing them, but it would be much harder to prevent someone hacking you if you were not always notified of the hack. – m-smith Jun 9 '14 at 15:38
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The fastest way if you are a paranoid is to simply try to pause the game. Like Dark Souls with bonfires going out/entrances going foggy and blocking you, some parts of your game will instantly deactivate quite noticeably as soon as someone else begins to connect to your game.

Pausing the game, if the game doesn't stop then baddum, someone is in your game. All you have to do then is find a nice little dead end corner and waste the guy as soon as he walks round into it.

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  • I already mentioned this in my question... – m-smith Sep 26 '14 at 7:53
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When you are tailed you can hear the other player car engine louder if you are on foot. The game doesn't warn you, you just need to be connect to Ubisoft servers!

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