Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cheating, the Community and Xwing

Cheating? How does one handle it? Recently, there was an incident in the Malaysian X-wing Nationals where one of the finalists was warned for cheating. Apparently, this wasn't the first time that particular individual was suspected or caught at cheating in X-wing games but wasn't particularly called out on it. That all changed though.
To get a bit of history on this. The player was a Singaporean player who went up to play at the Malaysian Nationals; it being only 30mins travel by plane, and was then warned. Now the interesting thing is this, the player has a HISTORY of allegedly cheating and at the previous Malaysian regionals, he threw his dice at his opponent. Yet, somehow, there wasn't really any warnings about him or bans. However, things really came to a head when someone called him out on it on the Singapore Xwing facebook group. Warning Long text ahead

Dear Sir,
On behalf of segments of both the local and the malaysian X-wing community, I'd like to hereby denounce certain actions taken by you during the recent weekend at the Malaysian Nationals. These actions are infraction of the tournament rules (V2.1.2) set by FFG, namely the following:
1) Component Modifications
2) Abuse of margin of error
3) Unsportmanlike conduct
1) Component modifications
The use of custom asteroids are not under the list of approved modifications. Paragraph 6, line 2: "Asteroids and other obstacles may not be modified in any way."
2) Abuse of Margin of error
Feedback from your opponents indicate that there is abuse of margin of error due to your sloppy plays, specifically referring to the nudging of ships and asteroids.
3) Unsportsmanlike conduct
- Treating an opponent with lack of courtesy or respect
During the top 4 playoff during the last regionals, there was an incident where you'd chuck your dice at your opponent, while this behavior was not replicated this time round, many of your opponent also had feedback on general lack of courtesy or respect. Which collectively led to the 'general announcement about sportsmanship' before round 3. When Justin was announcing that 'some of you already have 2 warnings' he was referring specifically to you.
- Collusion among players to manipulate scoring
This is currently being investigated. You are currently being suspected of colluding with your round 4 opponent to falsely report the kill point total in order to achieve a better standing/strength of schedule.
- Untimely clearance of expended tokens, actions taken are not explicitly spelt out
It is observed that in certain match ups you do not clearly communicate to your opponent the actions you have taken on your ships, choosing instead to execute the action causing confusion for your opponents. Tokens that are expended are also not cleared away in a timely fashion.
- Cheating
I don't speak for the entire event, but a particular event in the finals sticks out like a sore thumb, which I will address.
On one attack involving a range 2 attack from your opponent's Han Solo on your backstabber, your opponent had, based on my observation and later on with his confirmation, rolled 2 hits and a crit. Of your 3 evade die, you rolled 1 evade, which you did not deny. You went on to take a critcal hit while your opponent prepares his next attack.
I halt the game at this point, to point out that the spent evade token is still on the table.You replied that it was not spent and further implied that I should stay out of this. At the point the judge was called. You claim that you had only saw a hit and a crit, discrediting your opponent's roll. While it was later ruled as 'words against words' and a die roll judgement was awarded. I'll like to revisit the circumstances surrounding the incident.
1) Opponent was playing Han Solo and had rolled 4 dice for attack (Range 2 + Jan Ors boost). Your line of reasoning would imply that your opponent had rolled a hit and a crit out of 4 rolls, choosing not to reroll via Han, against a 3hp target, with 3 agi and an evade token.
2) You chose to take a critical hit, with an evade token on your ship, REALLY? Come, I clap for you
Let's now zoom out a bit and put the whole turn into perspective. Your Whisper is running out of combat, on 1 hp and had to put out a console fire it had incurred the turn before. Your backstabber is within range 2 of Han Solo who had collided with your echo, taking 1 damage from stunned pilot putting in at 2-3 remaining hull points. your only atk options this turn are, Echo on Jan Ors and Backstabber on Han Solo or Jan Ors.
Han at 11 PS shoots 1st at Backstabber (Jan Ors is next in line at 10 PS), which is where the alleged cheating occured. Backstabber is your only realistic way of putting further damage on Han Solo with the hope to destroy it before the new round begins and once this is established, it is not difficult to see why you had 'mistakenly' saw 1 less hit, in what was a futile attempt at keeping your backstabber alive.
Given this circumstances and your already very dubious play records, I'm not afraid to say this: "YOU ARE CHEATING"
You are not a bad player, so a lot of us dont understand why, so often you'll need to resort to tricks like this to give yourself an edge over your opponents. Maybe you have a very strong desire to win, but if you cannot afford to lose, maybe you should not be playing at all.
And as if having a reputation locally isn't bad enough, you carried over these habits to overseas events, TWICE. SERIOUSLY WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU. Throwing dice at Wei Jia and then apologising for it obviously means nothing if nothing is changed.
You have not only put yourself in bad light, but also putting the entire singapore playing community in bad light and this despite the Malaysians extending to us invites to their event and more importantly, their hospitality. That is how you responded in return?
Seriously, clean up your act or GTFO of the game I love.
So, with that being posted, naturally a flurry of comments came in. Including some from the alleged cheater himself. 

So lots of stuff flying around, which ended with even more people coming out to say that there had been some shady stuff going on during their own games with him, as well as one particular person that came to defend him. Which was interesting because his white knight wasn't even an X-wing player but a 40k player and someone who had only just been added 2 hrs ago to the group before his first comment; which was on this very issue, but about 16 hours after the issue had broken out. 

As it is, I don't think there's any doubt that the person in question is indeed a pretty shady person to play against, but it does make me wonder how do communities handle known cheaters? A lot of people were willing to let it go and not mention it because as they say, it's just a game. However, does saying it's just a game really make it ok? 

My opinion really is 'no'. Mostly because cheating affects both parties of the game. No one likes to play a cheater and no one likes to lose to a cheater. I've played with cheaters before, especially people who were known to be cheaters, and I've always always called them out on their BS (one of which involved a 12" deployment zone for Warmachine when he was going first. WTF) I don't think it's good to just stay silent in these matters because either you have to let the cheater know his ways are unacceptable at which point he'll hopefully change; which is the best case scenario, or he'll just ignore you EVEN though you've told him he's cheating, and well...just stop playing with him unless he's literally the only OTHER person in the community. 

In the end, yes, it's just a game but even more so, it's about honest fun. Not about one person needing to cheat to win.