Thursday, January 02, 2014

Path of Exile: Race 'Cheating'

I've been tuning in to Helmannn's stream during the week long race that started a couple days ago. I joined that league but I seem to spend more time watching him than I have been playing myself. Top 40 seems pretty unreasonable for me all things considered, but I'll probably keep playing the character to try to level up a scion to 65 for one of the challenges. It's 1 sleep in to the race and people are already deep into maps while I am level 26.

Anyway, one of the things that happened tonight is a truly awesome weapon dropped for someone who couldn't use it. It's worth about 100 chaos or so in the nemesis league and all items and characters that survive the week race will get dumped into the nemesis league at the end of the event. So what should the person who found the awesome weapon do? If he just banks the item he'll get 100 chaos in a week in the main league. No one has anywhere near that much currency in the week league right now but he could probably get 20 or 30 chaos for it... Should he take that instead? If he was really pushing to win this race and thought he could flip the 30 chaos into something to help him win then this could make sense. But otherwise if he isn't going to consume all the currency trying to be better he'll have thrown away 70+ chaos.

What ended up happening is Helmannn traded nothing at all for the weapon and agreed to trade the guy 4.5 exalts in the nemesis league.

This sparked quite a debate because he's essentially bringing in outside help for a race. This isn't just a group of friends working together and sharing drops... This is one of the richest players in the game using that wealth to dominate the race. Now, Helmannn was in 6th place on the ladder when he bought the item (and was grouped with #1) and is now up to 2nd place so it's not like he really needed this item to win. (Top prize is the same for #20 as #1 anyway.) His claim is he wants one of those weapons in the nemesis league anyway and probably would have paid that currency for the same item at the end of the week when it transfers over. Why not have it in the race for the next 5 days too? And it's not like the weapon is coming in from nowhere... It dropped in the race!

Helmannn got one of the developers onto voice chat and they talked about it a bit on the stream after he'd traded for the weapon but before he started using it. GGG's stance isn't officially known at this point because apparently the head guy really didn't like the idea of this sort of league crossing trade but there was no rule explicitly banning it at the start of the race and plenty of people have been making similar but smaller scale deals.

I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand I can see why items that are getting dumped into nemesis in a week should be held onto for full value. On the other hand the thing that really appeals to me about races is that they're self contained. Helmannn should beat me because he's had more practice, has more spare time (somehow), and has a guild of similarly dedicated people to play with. He shouldn't beat me because he plays nemesis and is filthy rich while I play domination and am not.

It's an issue with this race dumping into a main league and allowing trading. Solo races wouldn't have this issue. 2 hour races wouldn't have this issue. Races that dump into the void wouldn't have this issue. But those races don't get to count for the challenge achievements and I liked that aspect of this race.

I don't have a problem with what Helmannn did in this case because while it may go against the spirit of the rules it doesn't go against the rules. But I do hope they come up with some sort of solution for the next time they run this... The problem is I don't see what that solution could be while letting the race dump into a real league because enforcement is going to be erratic at best if they just try to ban people doing it.

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