Is making you lose in a game cheating?


#1

Would you buy a game that says you have to lose a certain amount no matter how hard or smart you play? I love this game but the forced losses are really getting to me. No matter what team I use or strategy I use, I get an unfair “forced” loss about every 10-50 battles on 3 trophy pvp. They are not because of me or my playing, they are how the game code is programmed. This cannot simply be bad luck or bad strategy. It happens with 100% consistency.

When these matches come up, it is the most obvious thing in the world. The computer goes berzerk and gets 20-50 turns and wins in one fell swoop out of nowhere. It’s never the same battle but if your win rate is in the 90-95% zone, it’s coming.

My question is, is this cheating? No where in the game does it state you have to lose but I can’t come up with another answer other than we are not allowed to win a certain amount anymore.

This is only related to pvp 3 trophy battles since that’s all I typically play. I quickly get over it and shrug my shoulders but it really is getting annoying because playing a game that is pre-determined by percents doesn’t seem ethical.


#2

Alternative theory: when a large amount of the game flow is dictated by RNG, sometimes you roll a natural 1. Given enough samples, this will converge on a win percentage near what the top players have.


#3

Rank 1 three-star PvP is where this game is unquestionably at its worst. 50% chance to spawn a Bandit? LOL, OK. Kraken a year ago? As bad or worse. Whatever the case may be, the game is essentially a roll of the dice with little to no strategy any more.

There are many matches where I win on the first turn. There are many that take two.

And as you said, there are many - very many - instances where the enemy gets an insane number of cascades or RNG luck. Sometimes it seems very forced.

Personally, I think winning on turn one or losing on turn one are both awful. The power creep has been utterly insane, and the always-awful RNG combined with the prevalence of extremely overpowered troops and weapons makes it worse.


#4

"No matter what team I use or strategy I use, I get an unfair “forced” loss about every 10-50 battles on 3 trophy pvp. They are not because of me or my playing, they are how the game code is programmed. This cannot simply be bad luck or bad strategy. It happens with 100% consistency.

When these matches come up, it is the most obvious thing in the world. The computer goes berzerk and gets 20-50 turns and wins in one fell swoop out of nowhere. It’s never the same battle but if your win rate is in the 90-95% zone, it’s coming."


Had something very similar (and, arguably, more impactful) during the last Guild War. In short, I scored 4/1 everyday, and during each singular defeat my designated mana generator cast their respective spells several times with NO matches made whatsoever; not even a token 3 gem match. However, the patterns of dispersal favoured the opponent perfectly every single time without fail resulting in cascades that defied belief. Made an offhand mention of this to a coouple of my Guild mates and they stated that they’d been going through the self same scenario also.

It’s abundantly clear that there are most definitely times when the game’s AI, coding, ‘condition based’ scripting, etc produces outcomes that are “forced”, wholly contrived and totally manufactured.

Absolutely, yes.

A quick peek at the fraudulently ‘tailored’ responses and damage control from several on this site (whenever this type of issue arises) reveals that ‘ethics’ and the developer of this game parted company quite some time ago.


#5

Same thing happens to me. I found if you play pvp until you get a “forced” loss and then go do your guild war matches you will go 30/30. Lol this is not a joke.


#6

Eh, you’re wildly misinterpreting probability.

Over in Magic: the Gathering, people deal with this too. See, you have to draw from a deck of cards to play. If your opening hand doesn’t have a very specific mixture of cards, you’re not as likely to win. There are other configurations that are practically guaranteed to lose unless your opponent’s hand is equally bad.

An obvious example of a “bad shuffle” is one where 7 or 8 of a player’s mana-generating lands are in the first 10 cards. That means they get “flooded” with mana: they have the means to cast spells but virtually no spells to cast. Another obvious example is only 1 or 2 of their mana is in the top 10 cards. That is the infamous “mana screw”, where the player has spells to cast but no way to cast them.

There is a tool called a hypergeometric distribution calculator that can be used to analyze a deck and figure out what its odds of a good hand might be. It turns out, very consistently, the best decks in the game are only about 60% likely to have a “good” start. Persistently, mana flood and mana screw hit about 30% of the time.

This hits all levels of players. The Hall of Fame players tend to have win rates hovering around 60-65%. This is why the community celebrates a tournament’s top 8 instead of just 1st place: everyone acknowledges that it’s exceptionally likely the best player can get flooded or screwed in the last 2 or 3 crucial matches, so it’s best to celebrate the people who “got really far” as the winners.

Players have argued about whether something could address flood/screw mechanically for decades. Nobody wants to change anything. It turns out the game’s just more fun overall with this little bit of luck tossed in.

That is very analogous to Gems of War. There are 8 types of gem randomly distributed on the board. Sometimes you get a board that has no purple on it. That’s devastating for a purple team. It’s also great for a team that doesn’t use purple. Almost every bad luck state you find yourself in is the good luck state for some other team.

This isn’t the game “forcing” you to lose. It’s probability. If you can’t take it, Gems of War isn’t for you. It’s not shameful to quit and go play another game. In fact, if you’re very angry, it’s healthy to quit and play another game.


#7

Hi,

Have an idiom!

YOU CAN’T WIN THEM ALL

Meaning

  • indicates the reality that it is not possible to always succeed
  • failure is inevitable and is bound to happen
  • implies that it is impossible to always keep succeeding without disappointment

Source: theidioms.com

Thar’s wisdom in them there ol’ folk sayens.


#8

Losing occasionally in a heavily RNG-based game is not a sign of the computer cheating. It’s a sign of…a heavily RNG-based game. And sometimes, you lose.


#9

Magic: The Gathering is not a match 3 game. It’s a card game and there are only so many possible permutations available. Software has no such limitations, so this is a very poor analogy.

I don’t think the game “forces” the player to lose, but the power creep coupled with the devolution of this game into a zero-strategy OHK free-for-all makes it seem that way. It used to be that the only element of randomness was with the gems falling. Then it added gem creation, percentage chances, different outcomes (Nobend, Fizzbang, etc.), random-chance positive and negative status effects, preemptive explosions, and on and on. Couple that with the fact that there are dozens of troops with OHK capability and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

For better or worse (much worse), the outcome of a given match is heavily dependent on the RNG. When you recognize that 11 of the 12 RNG-based outcomes are against you it certainly feels like a forced loss.

I don’t have any real way to evaluate this, but I feel like far too many of the games are heavily skewed one way or the other instead of having an equal distribution of player-benefitting and AI-benefitting outcomes. In my opinion, this is very deliberate as players have complained about slow games in the past. Matches NEED to take 45 seconds or the paying players won’t have time to do all of their in-game chores.


#10

Lol just play the game or dont, sometimes luck is required, I just went 95-0 on 3 trophy matches before taking a loss. Maybe your team is too rng dependant


#11

This part of your post? Misguided and false:

This part of your post? You’re close to enlightenment:

The board is an 8x8 grid that might contain any one of 7 potential gems (since skulls and Doomskulls are compatible, there’s not much worth in considering them separate.) Not every potential layout is valid for the start, we know these two things must be true:

  • No starting board has more than 2 adjacent gems of the same color. (As in: no board starts with a match.)
  • No starting board has 0 valid moves.

That still allows for a fantastic amount of variance, but I think you’re also sniffing out that our teams do stuff that really tilts the board one way or another. Let’s think about it.

For a long time, Mercy was one of the best troops in the game. Troops like Mercy are still popular: Tai-Pan is very prominent right now. Why? These troops turn one gem color to another gem color.

When you do that, probability shifts. Now the board is not an 8x8 grid of up to 7 gem types. It is a board with a grid of up to 6 gem types. That is a lot more likely to make matches and cascades than the board that had more. There are also troops like Divine Ishbaala that convert 2 colors at the same time. This narrows the board down to 5 gem types.

The reason my YG team works is I take advantage of a series of converters. In the right situations, I get the board down to nothing but 3 different colors and skulls. That’s when I cast Flammifer, a spell that generates 2 of those 3 colors and is almost guaranteed to get free turns and cascades. This team is “lucky” because it tries to tilt the playing field to one where yellow, red, and purple are the only colors that can exist. When does it do poorly? When the board starts very heavy in Purple, Green, and Blue because I don’t have ways to convert or use those gems!

Now let’s think about it both ways. If you are a Purple team, what happens if I cast Mercy? Bad day for you, right? Not only am I likely to get a free turn, you needed that purple mana for your troops. So now your turn stinks because I literally stole the colors you needed away. Sucks to be you. This isn’t the game forcing you to lose: this is a player’s team intentionally starving you of a resource.

Why’s a Dragon’s Eye team work? It tends to vomit brown gems everywhere. Unless your board is set up such that there’s less than 8 brown gems, it’s really likely a DE team is going to create its mana no matter what you do. That’s not luck. That’s the team tilting the field.

If you study successful teams, they almost always tilt the field in their favor by eliminating at least one color. The ones that don’t tend to use a mass exploder like Ragnagord: that is the only anti-converter and anti-generator tech. If you’re on a board that’s great for Mercy’s next turn, odds are good blowing up the entire board will make it not-so-great for her next turn.

So, long story short: the opponent’s team’s JOB is to make you lose in an unfair manner. Your job is to know its plan and use a counter-strategy that breaks theirs. But even with the right team in the right place, you are hoping against hope that you get a good starting board. That is not conspiracy.

If “software” were to work against that, then the intent of the game would be, “Make sure every player starts in a winning scenario”. That’s not fun. The only logical way to arrange gems is “randomly”. Doing anything else stacks the deck.


#12

Well, this is all understandable. However, there seems to be no actual signs of intended cheating or extensive manipulations by developers clearly visible.

Recent emphasis on everything random plus quite streaky actual pRNG can make parts of the experience extremely frustrating. I would add compulsive obsession of the developers manifested by constant addition of new broken cards. By broken I mean either extremely bad or overpowered. On the bright side, the game is moving somewhere. Would you prefer it to get frozen at some meta? It might get stale even for long-term veterans.

If I might suggest, a few simple steps that may calm you down. First, take it easy. The game is silly as it is, there is no need to get angry as you are not going to lose any money, only time. One can say that time is money and those should probably abstain from any games or anything that distracts them from making money. Second, it might be a good idea to focus on long-term goals instead. Like, getting more cards, stones, and weapons, participating in guild life, wrapping up these nasty level 500 delves, and trying to have some fun. Little battles are just little battles, they don’t matter in the big picture. Third, enjoy the artwork. Yes, that nasty Ubastet just obliterated all your team is a single turn. But it surely looks good. Hopefully, that helps.


#13

Wrong. Absolutely 100% wrong.

Imagine if you were playing Skyrim, doing some side quests and running from one place to another then suddenly BAM a random bandit archer shoots you from off-screen for 600 damage and kills you instantly because you haven’t died recently. “Can’t win them all!”

Game design 101: It must ALWAYS be possible to win. If you set up a scenario where there can be no victorious outcome for the player, you have FAILED. The point of a game is to challenge the player, and for the player to be the driving factor in the game’s outcomes. If the game is designed in such a way that the player’s agency is removed in order to force them to fail, then losing is not the player’s fault, nor is it “life’s” fault, it’s the developer’s fault.


#14

Eh, for some games this is true.

(And I’d be careful about using a Bethesda game as an example of where “if this happened you’d be mad”.)

Counter-example: FTL. The creators, in interviews somewhere or other, stated something to the effect they wanted to balance the game so a really good player could win 10% of runs on Normal. 10%.

I feel it in their game design. You need certain setups to have a shot at beating the final ship. To get there, the right merchants need to be in the right sectors, and before you get to those sectors you need to have the right encounters so you have the money to buy them. You also need the right opportunities to recruit crew members.

Meanwhile, there’s always the odds that the wrong kind of encounter will take away a crew member or damage your ship in a way that makes it impossible to meet the other goals. The “fun” once you understand all the systems is trying to figure out if you can win from a certain position. That involves understanding what you need to happen and how likely that will happen in your remaining jumps.

Part of being a good FTL player and having fun is learning the unwinnable states and either playing, ‘Well, how far can I get?’ or abandoning an attempt as soon as you recognize it. If you don’t like that, you won’t have fun with FTL.

Another example: Poker. Once the deck is shuffled, your fate is set. Your left-hand partner might have been dealt a Royal Flush and you might be dealt “if I’m lucky I get a Full House”. There is absolutely nothing you can do to win that game. Part of being a good Poker player is learning when it feels like you can’t win and folding before you’ve bet too much on that game. By losing on purpose, you’ll have more money to bet when it feels like you can win. But, alas, if you think you have a good chance of a Full House, you might bet hard and get wrecked by the improbability that your opponent had a Royal Flush.

Those games have stood the test of time and are very highly regarded. They have built-in to their premise that you can’t always win, and that it’s not always clear when you can’t win. Some would say that nature is what makes them fun.

I don’t think every game has to have this aspect to be fun. But it is not true that 100% of games have to make every game winnable and be completely transparent about your chances of winning. Many RPG games with puzzle elements have this aspect. Puzzle Quest has always had it.

You can’t win some setups in GoW. Even if you are “the right team” vs. “its natural target”, if the game gives you the wrong board you are toast.

What is worth discussing is whether some teams have too many “the wrong boards”. That’s what’s happening over in the DE thread. That’s what the devs felt like when they made every nerf they’ve made.

So it’s valuable to pick out specific teams and discuss, objectively, whether they are too “lucky” because they can do things like “replace every gem on the board with the ones they need”. That’s what Forest Troll and Nyx did together on Nyxbringer, and it was nerfed.

And while I think “I’m losing more than I feel I should” is a good thing to express, it’s foolish to jump to “…because there is a CPU AI conspiracy against me.” Successful teams in Gems of War can and do exploit free turns plus cascades to lock their opponent out of making decisions.

Every time you pass the turn to the opponent you risk that happening. The best defense is a cheese team of your own that denies turns. Some of my best win-rate teams never get used because it’s boring: they win on turn 1 or 2, but it takes me longer to resolve their loops through careful play than it does to accept some losses with a faster team.

Most of the people who seriously threaten leaderboards have accomplished win streaks in the multiple hundreds. Many still do. A friend of mine just broke their personal record. If there were really a system in the game to mandate losses, why would it only focus itself on specific people and let others win “naturally”? It doesn’t make sense, unless you assume the devs have personal vendettas.

I guarantee you if they did I’d have been a target and quit long ago. I’m not particularly nice to them, and I get real sensitive to swings in my luck.


#15

Everywhere where rng is involved, you’ll lose sooner or later. Rng might favour you 9 of 10 times, and will favour the opponent the 10th time.

It’s like that everywhere, in every game, and in irl.

That’s the whole difference between rng and godmode. Gow is a wrong choice if it’s godmode you’re out after. There’s better games for that out there, like doom, farmville etc.


#16

And that is what makes it a game, afterall.