so i wrote this, and idk that i want to post it and open up that can of worms again, but i am tired of a few things and i feel that this needs to said even if i am too verbose to be the one to say it as my voice might get lost in the mountain of words to follow.
In any game, the biggest advantages you can acquire is by getting around the rules. In chess, each player moves a single piece and the opponent does the same. Any player moving twice in a row is cheating, but forcing another player to make silly moves (such as being forced to block check by moving an important piece out of position and into another less advantageous position) essentially grants you 2 sequential moves, but this is 100% legal.
In vega conflict, destroyers had the best range and dps to armor ratio as well as a small set of limited perks, but moved god awfully slow. That was the rule, destroyers are slow. It was a common strategy to use ships in certain formations to form blockades in order to protect other ships and an attacker could either try to push its way through, go around, or try to stay away. It was also a common strategy to use some ships to push slower ones such as using cruisers to push a carrier when a player stood no chance of winning vs a superior opponent. By pushing the carrier, the fighter squadrons would have more time to deal damage to the pursuing battleships which would naturally try to engage the cruisers without taking too much damage from the carrier. Its only natural progression that I would try putting frigates (the most agile of ships) in behind the destroyers and leave the game on auto (the 2 had identical AI, pursue head on and when able to engage, strife) making the formerly slowest ship with moderate DPS and natural shield bypass one of the games fastest ships with the longest range. The enemy has about 1 to 1.5 (which would normally be 3 almost 4) seconds to figure themselves out before they are in range of the destroyers and another 4 before they loose their first ship. I have no way to prove this all worked on auto ever since they changed how the AI functioned, but while I did get some nasty messages about being cheap, no one considered it cheating.
So I arrive in this game and begin learning the basic mechanics and one of the first things I realize in A3 is that the most scarce resource is the human one. I toyed with the concept of making my home planet produce humans primarily. I would build colonization vessels from here and then shipped them from my HW to new colonies to expedite their growth bypassing the requirement to build centers on other planets, squashing the time it would take to produce a useful colony down to little more than 48 hours (you and i may define useful differently but considering my inactive time, the results speak for themselves) and cutting down the need to remove structures while keeping my growth high. As I reach maximum population on any planet, I again bypassed the restriction of declined pop growth due to achieving maximum population by shuttling the populations around keeping every planet 50k shy of its max. This entire time I had been informed of the strategy to raise taxes to 100% regardless of the decline in happiness because no matter what, it would not decline faster than 1%/H yeilding a massive income very quickly, so 24 hours at 100%, 12 to 24H at 0%.
At this point your probably thinking, “#$@, why did I bother to read all that?” Well, in each and every example I danced around rules and requirements in the specific effort to gain an advantage over my enemies. The natural progression of my strategy in A3 would have been to overcome the max pop limit as that is the next most restrictive rule I would have encountered and why not? Its not exploiting any bug nor is it hacking or any more underhanded than the ideas listed above. the pop will just die off as I add more to the colony and at the time, I did not read anywhere that this was specifically against any rules.
I, like many of you, eventually discovered this strategy and thought it was cheap too, but possibly unlike you, i didnt actually consider it cheating until i saw what pepe had been able to accomplish and was stunned, but heres the problem, did pepe actually break any rule more than any of the other concepts i laid out above? Do not misunderstand, i am not defending him. well, no more defending him than i am defending the rest of us. every player in the top 20, including myself, has been using at least one work around with the specific intention of gaining the upper hand which is by one definition cheating. Pepe may indeed be a cheater, but are you?
Are you going to try to argue that your slight was less damaging than his or can i merely point out that he can build himself an island and crown himself a king, but he would never be able to leave that island. Sitting pretty on a planet with 100 trillion population is wonderful but he would both have to build that up to make something useful out of it and keep you from offending his other planets while he does so meaning he is vulnerable until his efforts not only bear fruit but enough to catch up which can be a while considering every t3 mine takes 4.2 hours to produce, but its not an issue when your building them on 15 different planets instead of just 1.
this post is plenty long enough but i am going to end it here by saying the above is pretty much just the tip of the iceberg which is why every situation needs to be left up to the devs and i am going to ask that the devs look into the other listed strategies to decide if those are cheating as well as i am personally having a hard time drawing a clear distinction between them. A decision does not need to be publicly rendered, but rather rules and in-game mechanics should be added to govern the behaviours and as far as i am concerned, pepe is no more of a cheater than i am.