The fine line of cheating


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.


  1. tss. Hey! wtf? I’m insisting that my PR progress in a3 was not a play ever. I’ve check 2 possiblitities to abuse and as a result find that it can give to player who use it great advantages. After than that I am with my own hands reset a3 progress and sent all acumulate data to devs. Even the reason why I’m start to try out these abuses is because I realised that PR sux way too much and playing for such a crapy race is wasting the time. Then I’ve chosen Syntis and only now I’m truly playing.

  2. Do u really think that overpopulated planets are dangerous because of t3 mines or credits or hardships in assault? lol. The biggest danger is t1 labs on such a planets wich can be built non-stop, basically +1 science every 1h 12minutes… It as way too easy to make a super huge science and credits production (as bonus) on one planet. With it’s way organic player could bypass corruption restiction on number of planets. And Syntis player could have even more since robots usually shot of credits. When I reset PR’s progress month ago it had all tech’s researched! If u really think that such a thing can be allowed to exist in game than I have a bad news for u… and these news exactly the same thing why I’m usually ignore u.

  1. Vega conflict were a shitty shit with legal cheats which richy idiots buys for money. B2W game are the platform were cheaters can have a joy for their money. Intill they are understand that it is they who are actuall dumbasses and were cheated by horses or the like.


Don’t worry @odis I understood (I belive!) your meaning! Yes I have gone on the assumption we are all Alpha TESTERS who… (Pause!) TEST things and if we do our job right we find bugs for the Devs. There is little point in testing if the moment you even think you see an exploitable mechanic if you deadstop and run away protesting you are not a “cheat”
Ultimately we should all submit bug reports and messages to the Devs as soon as we are sure of the facts of the shakey mechanic. I assure you all I am and take it as an article of faith that everyone else does. So I get pretty upset with folks calling other folks “cheats”. It only adds to bad feeling and prevents bug hunting in my opinion. Now if you are suspicious then all you can do is refer it to the team to judge and then get on with your own game .
“Exploit wise” yeah I deliberatly played with what I belive to be one in A3 Skirmish. About a third of my score in master of war was from “Farming” the starter pirate in four abandoned home systems, which is ridiculous! Either that mechanic needs to be adjusted or those guys need to give NO points in any future leaderboard. The full data will have to wait till I get back from Holiday but this serves to illustrate the original post.

@Pepelekus the translation thing must be really bad as it looks to me you are attacking odis when he wrote mastefully well a defence of your actions… might wanna work on that.

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1)He didn’t understand even a bit about my actions. So who cares about his “defence” since all of he says about it is a bullshit.

2)All his nonsence about fine line have a simple answer.
Cheaters using means to get advatage or have a joy to make difficultes to others wihile testers using the same means to understand sutation find ways to plug it and send report to devs.

3)Next about what u said. I’m almost absolutly agree. But with one point I disagree. Some things can’t be judged as exploitable and not fair from the moment when u see it first. May be it’s a good feature which makes game better? So then it’s must be try out to extremes to see limits of advatages it gives. It’s like with that 15/10 fleets of urs I destroyed recently. For the first glance it’s looks like “hey! Zath is cheater”(that fleet was able to destroy 2 my sabers) but then when checking and thinking about it… It’s not that bad thing I guess… It’s can balance sabers and it’s have a few penalties such a sacriface and limited circle and inabilitity to split such a fleet and change it’s composition. So atm I think it’s must be a legal feature. But only continious tests will show if it’s true or not.

4)And last point, I know that some guys thinks that when they encounter some strange thing they go to devs and ask “feature or bug?”. I think that position is stupid. And the reson I think so is what IDA do. Battle system, ships changes, disbalance in races, fleet management… This problems is enough for me to think that IDA not that good to judge what is good for game and what is bad. I shure they need suggestions and advises from expirenced gamers. And silence from rookies.



@odis I just want to clarify something. I am a player in the top 20, almost to be taken out of the list, but was for long time, and never used that strategy. You do not need to do that to be top player.



@Pepelekus i am very much aware of which building is more useful and which i would produce more of initially, 4.2 hours per mine was simply just an example. I also understand your actions very well, its how i knew you used a lot of Evolvians and i knew how valuable they were possibly before you did.

the point about using advantages to get ahead is exactly the point. there is no rule against any of the things i did but they all break something. having 2 back to back moves in chess is cheating but you can hammer that rule into a pretzel without breaking it; i have had 6 straight moves putting my opponent in check every time in a struggle to maintain control of the board, it was a rough match. I can drive this concept all the way back to using invisible fleets to do a number of things and compare that to cheating. Bypassing an orbital defense by use of a scout is about as cheap as any of my listed concepts but that’s not cheating. I could literally go on forever.

Every time i find something i feel is a cheat, i try to come up with a new rule to govern it and i send it privately to a dev, i just havent found a good enough rule to send about some of my examples, or i really dont feel that offloading extra pop is actually cheating, just smart.

@Emarel which strategy? the tax or the management of your populations?



I used none of them in A3.
In skirmish, I did use some days at the beginning the tax management strat but only in the Evo planets and only on the Evo population, just because they do not like to taxed.



Zath, do u see this? How… just how to talk with that dude… he first talking about overcome the max pop limit, then put evolvians from another galaxy… wtf!? And the person like him have the guts to suggest anything… unbelivable.



Indeed zath is correct, you missed the whole point of the original post completely, the posts reference you, but they are not about you.

@Emarel cudos to you



Ah was it you that squashed me :slight_smile: LOL glad something put up a bit of a fight. Hopefully they wont wipe things for a few days so I can get back to my gaming computer and review the carnage !

On this we agree. Without meaning to sound like a smug B"£$%d sometimes I do feel the really expert programmers in IDA really dont know a lot about game design and balance… It might be a cultural thing of course but I am continously baffled by repeated moves that have made the game steadily worse and worse and less and less interesting over the year I have been here.