I spent a while thinking about whether I should post this or not, since my discussions with community members in game and on Discord have been going around in circles for a while now, but with the result of the Tyrant's Trial tournament recently I felt like I had to get my thoughts out in full in the best way I can articulate them. Frankly speaking, this tournament was a disgrace, and was really a microcosm of the larger problem plaguing EpicDuel currently.
First, I'd like to make a comparison to the Golden Yeti Tournament (GYT) back in 2013. In that tournament, 1v1 wins were worth 5 points, 2v2s worth 15, and juggernauts worth 10. The winners of that tournament were mostly 1v1 players, since 1v1 battles were extremely fast at the time due to the then-recent Azrael promo being completely overpowered, especially Azrael's Will. The #1 player in the GYT 13,635 points, which translates to 2,727 1v1 wins. Over the 14-day span on the GYT, that makes an average of about 195 wins a day, which would be pretty doable for hardcore players even today, when 1v1 battles last longer on average than they did then.
I personally scored over 12,500 points in the recent tourney, with 1v1 worth 8 points, 2v2 worth 18, and jugg 5. I did it with juggernaut battles, since that's my primary gamemode. I poured pretty much all of my spare time into it, since I worked close to full-time and had other responsibilities as well, and got nearly 2,500 jugg wins over the 15 and a half days of the tournament. So then, how is it that I placed only 27th overall, with the top player posting nearly 3x my score? Statistically, this doesn't seem believable; given the much larger player base in 2013, you would think that the score for the top player was at least comparable to the top score for this tournament, with an active player base of 200 at best.
The obvious answer here was addressed by NightWraith in the post-tourney design notes: Botting. With juggernaut being almost entirely populated by NPCs, people have taken to using autoclickers and virtual machines to do the work for them. The fact that the moderators have been almost completely inactive in the last couple of years has only emboldened these cheaters, allowing more and better programs to proliferate, to the point where some players outright state their intentions and actions and receive no punishment. During the Tyrant's Trial, one moderator actually started to root out the botters and hand out suspensions and bans, for which he should commended, but it was still too little, too late. The ultimate winners of the tourney had already cemented themselves with days-worth of botting, and could simply cruise to the finish without fear of being actively caught.
Someone in the Mercenary balance thread commented that only the botters and the abusers of the strength/support Mercenary build had a chance in this tourney. This is fairly accurate, but in reality no one really had a chance except the botters and those who used alts in 1v1. Of the top 10 winners, I'm fairly certain that at least 9 were botting juggernaut. The 1v1 meta is awful, with the str/supp Merc build being a prime example of the braindead strategies allowed by overpowered skills and cores, but even that pales in comparison to the botting issue and the failure to stop it.
The general consensus in the community is that the new testers -- if we ever get them -- might be a help to the ED team, especially with regard to communicating with the players, but testers can't fix this issue, only make it clear how serious it is. We need moderators who are serious about catching and punishing cheaters, and can make their results plain to the community. We need a developer who is open to player feedback and willing to combat the botters on a larger scale than the moderators. More than anything, we need AE to support the developer in installing anti-cheating methods beyond his abilities.
Fixed a tiny typo in the title. -Digital X
< Message edited by Digital X -- 5/8/2021 20:36:54 >