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Sony Online Entertainment has decided to adopt a very simple policy for mods in PlanetSide 2. If you use one, you will get banned from the game and in the process lose your characters.
"We cannot make exceptions to this," reads a forum post by SOE. "We do understand there are relatively harmless apps that fall in this category, but if we allowed those they would simply be used as a shield excuse by players trying to cheat. This same rule applies to data that Planetside 2 uses for gameplay. Do not modify any of these files or attempt to modify them in memory."
Voice chat software like Mumble, Teamspeak, and Fraps are allowed. Specific applications that modify Windows or DirectX will be exempted from bans as well. However, you shouldn't use any third-party programs that affect the game unless you've heard from SOE that they're okay.
Cheats and hacks are the common reason that online games don't allow mods. Still, there are plenty of games that do permit mods (World of Warcraft and RIFT are two prominent examples) and aren't infested with filthy cheaters. Differentiating between hacks and legitimate mods is presumably more time-consuming than a blanket ban on all mods, though.
I've always been on the fence with mods. They can be unquestionably beneficial for some games. Still, I don't like the idea of needing to use them in order to play a game properly. For years, mods have been mandatory for playing WoW at a high level. It takes the pressure off developers a bit. "Sure, the UI sucks, but players can just mod it!" If SOE plans to ban all client mods, then the onus is on them to make sure that the game runs as smoothly as possible.