Personally, I have given up on NoCD patches because an (Alarming) number of them now, particularly ones for very popular games, actually contain nefarious code within them to actually STEAL your legit CD keys (among other things). At first I thought this was mostly propaganda put out by the developers to scare you into not using them but after some decompiling/investigation it indeed is true in some cases. However, I still do everything I can to run a duplicate copy of whatever so the original does not get wear and tear/scratches ect (from all the swapping I do, but having 3 CD/DVD drives makes it easier, at least for me). But there is a very fine line between copy protection and inability for a drive to simply read the CD because of it. As we have seen increasingly common these days (Including BF1942 early on) As far as the hacks I always refer to a Quote I have kept for a couple years from one of the programmers at Pandemic Studios:
"Nathan Mates: Programmer for Pandemic
Cheating is only the refuge of the incompetent, the lazy, or the scum of the earth, and none of those are excuses for cheating in a multiplayer game.You wanna shaft yourself in a single player game, go ahead, but your "right" to cheat stops when you play against another human, period."