I know that it's a dangerous word to use because there are many shades of activity that many people look at in a very different light. There's cheese, there's milking and then there is outright cheating. The problem is that while everyone can think of various activities that obviously fall into one of these categories there are many potentially grey areas between them where people may see things differently.
The other part about an actual accusation of cheating is one of evidence. What constitutes sufficient evidence for something to be considered cheating? Clearly a cheat flag detected is one (hence the name). But even in the case where a game is cheat flagged, care is taken to not specifically throw around accusations of outright cheating, and in general rightly so. There is no reason to cause any more embarrassment than necessary and the cheat flag speaks for itself. Also cheat flags have occurred in error to even the most reputable of players for no explainable reason.
Take for example the best player that I ever knew, Mangumaniac. He received a cheat flag on a game with a score and settings that he had achieved many times both before and after with no cheat flag. He hardly even mentioned the fact. At one point when someone else had questioned what they had felt was an undeserved cheat flag he mentioned his case along with an opinion to what may have caused it. In some way it’s almost a badge of honor. To take an undeserved cheat flag on a high scoring game that most folks would give their eye teeth to achieve, the truly great player merely shrugs it off as just one of those things.
While I haven’t personally had a game cheat flagged, I have had a very high scoring game that wouldn’t submit. At first I was annoyed to say the least but when it became clear that there was really nothing that could be done I at least tried to live up to the example that Mag had set and shrug it off.
But I digress. The point is that although a cheat flag is evidence, it is not incontrovertible. The issue I have is that I have far less evidence then even a cheat flag yet even so I honestly believe that the accusation is warranted.
So what is the evidence that I do have to make such an accusation? Very little actually. The only evidence I have is when some otherwise unknown player achieves a score that is close to 100 times the score the best known players could achieve. To me that’s more evidence of cheating than any cheat flag could ever be.
Keep in mind that I’m not talking about someone getting 40K on a game that an acknowledged expert could achieve 20K. I’m not even talking about a game where someone gets 200K on a game that the so called expert would only expect to achieve 20K. What I’m talking about is a game where someone achieves 2 million points on a game that the best players might expect to achieve 20 to 30K.
This is precisely the level that I’m talking about. Like I said this can be a slippery slope. People come up with new strategies, cheese, exploits etc. all the time. While some may object to such things mostly they don't stoop to the level of actual cheating. But how can one be sure that there is outright cheating based only on the absolute value of the score?
There is the idea of reasonable doubt. That some unknown player could post a game 10 times the score of the best known experts is not outside the realm of reasonability. That some unknown player could post a game 100 times the score of the best known experts is. While this is a slippery slope I feel confident that 100 times is safely beyond the realm of reasonable.
The issue is that Stardock cannot take action based on this "evidence" and rightly so. Stardock needs hard proof and in these cases there is none. However the fact that Stardock is prohibited from taking any action due to the lack of any hard evidence doesn’t mean that the weight of forum opinion needs to be held to the same rules of evidence. In fact the AltMeta as a non-official media is able to make such distinction.
Also as I mentioned the good opinion of your fellow players is really what is sought when one strives for high metaverse scores and as the fellow players involved we have every right to withhold the respect that otherwise would be due to someone that achieved such scores.
Therefore I want to use this thread to highlight those extremely few players that any reasonable person would be certain is cheating.
Again I want to highlight that this is in no way an attempt to be petty or vindictive, it is merely an attempt to uphold the integrity of the metaverse.
So without further ado I want to present two players that I believe deserve the title of
Who achieved 2 million points on a 2 year small galaxy suicidal DA v1.80g game when the best players in the game would expect to achieve 30K tops.
Who achieved 1.4 million points on a 0 year small challenging DL v1.5 game when again the best players in the game would expect to achieve 30K tops.