Now for the most part, the last couple years Blood of Kittens has tried to take a more positive tone when it comes to these things, only bringing up BIG stories when necessary. In that spirit, I bring you this story and how it illustrates a very real threat to large events and the players who play in them.
First off, I want to say with the exception of one name, I won’t specifically call people out for their behavior. The reason for this is two-fold, first off I want the focus on one person alone, and second the bad actors in this little play know who they are, and folks truly interested can figure it out. Moreover, this article is using Adepticon as an example, because how they act reflects on the rest of the community. Adepticon sits on top of its perch always trying to stay above the fray, but this time it needs a dose of realism.
So with that out-of-the-way where do we begin?
First, we start with a personal story. A few years back I had the joy of playing in a tournament where I was in contention for top honors. By game five I was paired against a good friend of mine; both excited to play each other for the first time in a tournament. As the game went on it became clear my friend was gaining the advantage. With about 30 minutes left on the clock, my friend tired from not eating the whole day asked if we could call the game a draw. If I drew I would still be in contention for Best Overall, where if I played out the game I had a good chance of losing. The choice was easy, I should take the draw and get some food.
Instead, I looked around at over 100 other players and wondered about them. Me and my friend were about to without any real malice to rig the system. It was at the moment, I told my friend to finish the game. He was grumpy at the prospect, so with low blood sugar rage he crushed me and my army. He went to play in the finals of the event, while I was kicked to the curb.
I had no regrets about my choice and didn’t really think much about it until a few days ago, when I started getting reports from Adepticon.
First off, for all those old-timer competitive players Adepticon has a running joke; certain first round matchups seem to always occur, between the same people and groups playing each other. When groups related to Adepticon staff members never do. Odd for event that always has so many players. Now, this phenomenon is anecdotal and almost impossible to prove bad intent, but it gets to a bigger point.
Even just the impression of shenanigans can be just as bad as real ones. In world lacking transparency, Adepticon stature makes it easy for them to get away with it. Things most events have settled on seem to fly right past Adepticon. The biggest of which goings well beyond claims of game rigging. Instead, should we wonder why Adepticon allows their staff members to participate in events where prizes exist? Their is a litter of stories of event organizes winning their own prizes for events they put on. Then their are the charity army raffles where Adepticon staff members have won the prize. It is common practice for any large organization to ban remembers from entering contests or participate for prizes. So, why does Adepticon continue to allow it? Why is Adepticon really the last big event not to publish their missions beforehand?
Regardless of intention this all gives the impression of impropriety, but for Adepticon they are on the top of the mountain, so why should they care? Well, it can breed at the very least complacency, a complacency that allows friends of Adepticon to take advantage in the largest competitive 40k tournament in the country.
Let me tell you another true story.
Joshua Taylor a player a few hours drive from Chicago goes to his first Adepticon, in fact Josh has only been playing Warhammer 40k for about a year. On the biggest stage at the biggest event he goes 4-0 on day one, in all the years of Adepticon this would assure him a seat to the championship elimination on day 2. Now, in the Adeption rules primer the scoring seemed confusing to Josh. So, Josh emailed Adeption weeks before the event wondering how exactly scoring worked, but never got a response.
On the day of the tournament Josh asked a judge how getting into the Top 16 was determined and he was told Win/Loss trumped everything and even a second judge said going 4-0 meant you were into the next round. When the names for the Top 16 where announced Josh discovered he didn’t make it. Instead, at least players four players with ties made it ahead of him, because how Battlepoints were calculated. Under the system it is actually better to get two crushing victories and two minor losses for a score of 28 points, and a win loss record of 2-2, than to win four minor victories for a score of 24 points, and a win loss record of 4-0.
I guess that is the way Adepticon system works, but what if you are one of the top players in the world and have been for some time? What if as a top player you are friends with many other top players, including top organizes at Adepticon? How would would that effect things? Well for some players it can have a great effect. A system has been grown where a who’s who of elite players seem to be developing a nice system of quid pro quo for themselves.
In a large event last year for instance, two of the top players in the country faced off in a finals match where one side conceded, so the other could secure a spot on ETC team, since the other participant had already gotten a spot. Now, this year at Adepticon mutual friends do the same thing to make sure one goes on to the next round, while new players like Josh don’t. All because conceding gets you more points. Finally, certain elite players also seem bent on denying other players entree into certain groups, because of old grudges.
All of this can be adverted, for any event, but especially Adepticon because the community holds it to a higher standard. Adepticon has a good record of changing course when prodded, I hope shinning a light on this sort of behavior provides an opportunity for Adepticon to make changes, so every player regardless pedigree can feel like they have a fair shot, and not beholden to the 40k good olde boys club of North America.
To the 40k good olde boys club, I know most of you, for the most part you are good people, but I report for everyone, so don’t get complacent by behaving you know are wrong, because I will call you out.