SPS Governance Proposal: Update Terms Of Service To Prohibit Use Of Battle Helpers in Modern Ranked, Tourneys, and Brawls

in #sps7 months ago (edited)


Purpose Is To Create Individual Human Competition

Update the SPL Terms of Service to prohibit the use of Battle Helpers in the following:
a) Modern League Ranked play (see NOTE 1 below)
b) Tournaments
c) Brawls

In addition, the team should use their best efforts to enforce this policy, but ONLY when they have the resources available to do so.

NOTE 1: Battle Helpers are acceptable in the Wild Ranked Format
NOTE 2: Bots and/or Battle Helpers are acceptable in custom tournaments if the tournament organizer specifically chooses to allow them

While changing the Terms of Service is a high priority, the proposal DOES NOT want to slow down or stop any other projects for special enforcement, so the team can use whatever tools they already have developed on a "best efforts basis".

Definition Of A Battle Helper - Updated based on post feedback on 7/27/23

Definition of a "Battle Helper" for the purpose of this proposal: A battle helper is any tool or aid created to assist a user via instruction, recommendation, or hinting during team selection. A battle helper provides gameplay recommendations, and takes away from the player's decision making process, in real-time. It includes, but is not limited to, the use of professional services as well as sharing of spreadsheets, data bases, and match algorithms between users.

Clarification of what is considered a "Battle Helper" for the purpose of this proposal:

  • Using manually written notes that you created and manually inputted the data is permitted.
  • Distributing those same manually written notes that you created and manually input the data to other people is not permitted.
  • The use or distribution of spreadsheets, databases, or algorithms where any of the data collection or data input was automated is not permitted.
  • The use of any paid services that provide gameplay recommendations or assist the player with instruction, recommendation, or hinting during team selection is not permitted.

Further Clarification of what constitutes Battle Helper
adapted from Magic The Gathering Rules:

Modern Ranked Play, Tournaments, and Brawls test the skill of a player, not their ability to follow external advice or directions. Any strategy advice, play advice, or construction advice from an external source is considered outside assistance (ie. Battle Helper).

A game is between two players. Not a player vs. another player and their friend, or Google, or the Twitterverse. If it can be seen to have offered the player strategic, play, or construction advice then it should be regarded as outside assistance (ie. Battle Helper).

Below is the original Post definition of Battle Helper that was edited on 7/27/23

Definition of a "Battle Helper" for the purpose of this proposal: A battle helper is any tool or aid created by someone other than the user playing the account that provides gameplay recommendations, and takes away from the player's decision making process, in real-time. It includes, but is not limited to, the use of professional services as well as sharing of spreadsheets, data bases, and match algorithms between users.

Thank you for your time and attention to this proposal.


These are my personal thoughts as a player (not as a team member).

The two proposals (“SPS Governance Proposal: Update Terms Of Service To Prohibit Use Of Battle Helpers in Modern Ranked, Tourneys, and Brawls” and “SPS Governance Proposal - Update Terms of Service To Prohibit Bot Use In Tourneys, & Brawls”) are the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES that have come up before the Dao, even amongst all of the 39 completed and 1 active proposals.

In my opinion, these proposals are crucial to the future and survival of Splinterlands the game. Although the company started off with a bot agnostic position, over the past few years and especially the past few months, we as a community have seen the consequences of what happens when bot and battle helper use ramp up to such high levels. The reality is that while Splinterlands has always strived to ensure that bots do not have an unfair advantage over human players, it has become clear that over this entire time period the bots have maintained an advantage and that advantage has steadily grown over time.

The competitive aspect of the game disappears and skill becomes marginalized when everyone is using a bot or battle helper. Win trading within a botnet jeopardizes the integrity of the system. We have seen many human players give up and either leave the game or turn to botting (“if you can’t beat them, join them”) resulting in a cascading snowball effect.

Before I started playing Splinterlands in 2019, I spent a year playing CryptoKitties which I enjoyed. But the dominant and optimized bots in CryptoKitties pushed out the human players like me, and now I worry that I am seeing the same thing happen in Splinterlands. We’ve already seen what happens to games that become primarily bot-driven - do we want Splinterlands to follow the path of Alien Worlds?

How is Splinterlands going to attract and retain new players if the ecosystem is full of bots and most of the human players have already left? What is the player experience going to be like when you are constantly beaten down by over-optimized bots and battle helpers? How are we going to be taken seriously in the Esports community and get corporate sponsors for tournaments if botting and battle helpers are the norm in tournaments?

I do think there can be a space for bots in the Splinterlands ecosystem. At the moment it is Wild Ranked and maybe in the future there can be specific formats (botting league? bot vs human challenge?) that are specially targeted for bots. But I definitely do not think that bots and battle helpers belong in tournaments and brawls. And before the human-only Modern proposal was passed, a large number of community members agreed with that, even going so far as to informally agree to @davemccoy 's pledge to not bot tournaments and brawls.

The recently passed and implemented proposal “Splinterlands will try to implement anti-bot measures in Modern format” is a step in the right direction but by itself its impact will be very limited. It’s only a half-measure because battle helpers are not covered in the scope for Modern ranked. Furthermore, the impact of battle helpers is greatest in tournaments and brawls which are supposed to be about competition and skill.

I realize that many of the human players who have since resorted to botting or using battle helpers might now like the extra time that has freed up. But if you ever enjoyed playing the game, if you ever prefer playing against a human player, or if you want Splinterlands to grow and be able to attract new human players instead of just being a massive botting simulation, then I encourage you to vote in favor of both of these proposals. Even if you have more free time or earn higher profits from botting or using battle helpers, I hope you agree that these two proposals are what is best for the future and survivability of the game.

I am confident that the Splinterlands Dev team can identify the use of bots or battle helpers to a high degree of accuracy and that they can implement measures to significantly reduce and deter such use.

I agree.

Passing of these two proposals are not only critical to the survival of the game, but also the only way for the game to appeal to new audience and thereby expand. If the game is not fun to play it is a defi project. I have nothing against any defi project (other than they usually die a relatively quick death), but it is simply not fun. That said, if people are interested in defi, we have Land. Please participate on Land. Leave the game to the gamers.

Out of all the discussions I have seen about the game, this is one of the best comments I've seen. I hope people listen.

Thanks Byz!

 6 months ago  Reveal Comment

No worries @byebye ... I hope you have a nice day!!!

  1. You should edit this to "from the date x", otherwise it could be interpreted as it should take action retroactively. I know we're more sensible than that, but some people are pedants.

  2. Thanks for burning another 100K DEC :D

  3. I fear that this will be very hard to enforce and detect. The ideal team for a ruleset and mana count is likely to converge on a common outcome, which both players and helpers / algos / other tools would eventually arrive at.

  4. If I'm not making sense, its my post-operative state and the aching pain of my wisdom teeth and the fact I got a solid 4.5 hours of sleep. :D

First, I hope you feel better Holoz!

On the detection, its more about stating what the community believes the rules should be. Once rules are made, then of course people can choose to follow them or not. I believe that 95% of most players will abide by these rules if they know they are the rules. What we can do to mitigate the other 5% and how big of a deal that is in actuality, can only be determined after the rule is in place.

Many people will argue that some will cheat, so basically don't try. I am not in that camp though. I believe that we set the rules we want, then assess the outcome of those rules. And then if its necessary to adjust either the enforcement or the rules, then we do so at that time.

Put another way, I would rather try and fail; then not try and definitely fail.

And on the date, its a proposal to change the terms of service which implicitly means that it can only be in effect once that change is enacted. We can't ever go back and change rules retroactively.

I don't see any way to enforce this at all. It's impossible for sl to track or expose that.

All this will do is disallow the public from using battle helpers. Those at the top will keep on using their private solutions and dominate everything.

I understand where this comes from, but i don't think that this is thought through at all.

So a definite NO from my side, cause this doesn't promote player equality. It does the opposite

All this will do is disallow the public from using battle helpers. Those at the top will keep on using their private solutions and dominate everything.

That's also my concern. I understand that BH can be infuriating to play against, but there's no way to detect their usage without a huge load of false positives. Meaning, we could analyse matchups and check whether they're fitting a pattern, but what if someone with a giga-brain came up with the same solution, did he now use a battle helper or a spreadsheet? :/

Making the change to disallow it is really just the first step. In many cases putting up a speed limit will slow people down. That doesn't mean all people will stop speeding but most will. It also sets the framework to allow punishments in the case where speeders are caught.

This is about setting the tone at the top in a governance perspective.

Hey @yuexn thanks for the comment. I realize we would probably disagree on this issue. I respect you and your opinion, and certainly respect your right to vote how you feel is best.

The one thing I will say is I did think this through very carefully. I will be glad to have a discussion with anyone on the purpose, the impact, the risks/rewards, and of course why it is a big deal. Just because you don't understand where this comes from, doesn't mean I didn't think it through.

I have been here for a long time, run a guild with more than a dozen sub-guilds, engage in SPL daily, and of course have many many individual convos with players that play the game in all capacities and all sizes. To dismiss my idea as not thought through is of course your decision though.

I do appreciate all the work you do and if you ever want to discuss this in more detail, feel free to message me on discord and I will be happy to spend the time to discuss it with you out of respect for your valuable contribution to our game.

Sorry, if i came off harsh. That wasn't my intention. And i said i understand 100% where it comes from.

And my point on not being thought through comes from the technical side of things. It's impossible to enforce this, cause it's just the leniency of the operators you are relying on.

There is no technical solution to either detect it (if the operators do it rihgt) or prevent those solutions.

And even if it is in the TOS and they still offer their solution. How would you want to stop them? Sue the shit out of them? Good luck with that. Depending on their country of origin even more so. (+ the whole anonymity thing here)

And that's not even talking about the rise of the private solutions if this goes through.

Its ok, I recognize you are passionate on this issue so I didn't take it as a personal attack :)

And I've answered in many places the reason for defining the Terms of Service and not focusing on the enforcement.

The community creating its "will" is very important when setting the rules. Determining that will does many things.

While you and many programmers understand there are "bad actors", you are also dismissing the implications from many other angles. Are the top guilds going to go rogue? Will the popular bot/battle helper providers go rogue? If not, then that would cover probably 90% of the playerbase.

So if we have 90% of our institutions following the will of the community, then it will be much easier to police/enforce the other 10%.

But the central issue comes down to this. We can not ever implement anything to help players that want to play human vs human without aids if we don't try. According to you and others that make this point, its impossible.

I don't agree. I know there are many other games out there that do encourage human vs human competition without outside assistance. I think anyone that is honest with themselves would understand this is a good goal to achieve.

So do we try by starting with defining the will of the community?

Or do we just say it can't be done and tell ALL those that want to have human vs human competition without outside assistance to go elsewhere because we can't do what other companies do?

I agree its hard @yuexn, but just because its hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Again thank you for the respectful conversation. While we don't agree on this, like I said I do appreciate all you do to make this game better!

I can't understand why the players find bots a problem, think buddy. what rules this game are strategies, combination of cards, observation of the opponent's previous battles, mastery over the random variables of each match. Besides, we all know that we only improve by playing with better players, we only improve when we look at new strategies, we only improve when we see something that we wouldn't do happen. therefore bots are game liquidity tools as well as player improvement, ie banning bots is a disservice to the ecosystem.

In chess bots (chess programs) are nice training tools (to improve yourself) but it is strictly forbidden to use them in human tournaments. And I completely support that ...
Sports/games are about who is the best player not about who is using the best tool.
In addition making superior bots available for everybody makes 'skill' a completely useless ability.

we just disagree. I have answered many comments here with my thinking, but its ok if you have your own thoughts Bloodofking. That's the beauty of the community being able to vote for what they want collectively. These type of disagreements can be decided by the will of everyone collectively.

I think that what ****REALLY**** needs to be stressed is just the words "DURING TEAM SELECTION".

Before you get to the arena, you can do anything you want and learn from anyone/anything.

Once you are in the arena -- YOU ARE ALONE!!!

What is so difficult about this concept? Why is there so much word-nitpicking?

I support the ToS update to support the ban of battle helpers in tournaments and brawls. I think there is too much grey area with ranked play currently that it would not work in that environment.

For example, let's say I got my ranked battle conditions and saw it was magic-only. If I search for magic reflect monsters through the in-game website that's OK, but if I search for magic reflect monsters on splinterguide.com then that is technically a ToS breach? How does one prove who created/owns the spreadsheet information? Let's say a friend gave me a copy of the spreadsheet they use, but I go thru the logic of the sheet and update it with my personal collection and some lineup preferences -- does that now make it sufficiently MINE so I am able to use it freely during all types of competition?

Ambitious proposal for sure, but a bit too much grey area with what is a BH and implementing in ranked play with ToS update. Also not discussed were the appropriate consequences/penalties for a breach of ToS, so that is something that should also be spelled out by this post.

Hey @ducecrypto thanks for the comment. I appreciate you making your points to give people things to consider. I read your points and respect that we have different viewpoints on the issues and consequences of this proposal passing or not.

I will be amending the definition after much input from many players over the last 2 days. Its unlikely to change your vote, but I wanted to let you know that the definition will be more clear on what is and isn't acceptable as a battle-helper.

As for the consequences, those are not defined on purpose. This is simply a vote on the community stating's its collective "will", not deciding on how to stop or punish those that choose to break the rules. The first step in my opinion is making the rules, from there we will know what is right or wrong. And then enforcement can be discussed.

Again, thanks for the feedback and for taking the time to address it!

I initially considered voting 'no' on this proposal, but upon further reflection, I changed my stance. My concerns were related to the feasibility of preventing players from creating their own battle helpers and whether enforcing a ban on them would be practical. Additionally, I questioned the necessity of prohibiting the keeping and sharing of spreadsheets or similar tools. Ultimately, I concluded that despite potential rule-breaking, it's reasonable to implement this rule, as all rules are prone to being broken. I believe the key to the game's success lies in ensuring it is genuinely enjoyable and competitive.

Great to see @sharkmonsters! And I love this statement, and share the view:

I believe the key to the game's success lies in ensuring it is genuinely enjoyable and competitive.

This is the right decision. the bots have taken a lot of ground in splinterland. in my opinion it is a blatant form of cheating and this demotivates me sometimes.

Thank you for your words of support and for your personal feeling @cageon360 ... It helps to have you state them as many people will read and try to make up their mind about the issues!

You should know that your efforts are retaining players and bringing back those that had quit due to frustration (not lack of funds). And again, thank you for your efforts. To those unhappy with this proposal, you should really think in the context of the greatest good for the greatest number, greed is a terrible thing!

Thank you Mango. I wish everyone understood the impact as you do. Attracting and retaining players is how we will grow together and everything we can reasonably do to achieve that is a a success!

Its great to hear there are players in your community coming back. That's the goal, lets grow the base!!!

Much respect to you and thanks again for all you and @leveluplifeph do for both your community and for the game community as a whole!

I can't begin to express how much I agree with this sentiment. AI or VI in any form absolutely detracts from the integrity of competitive play and is flat out considered cheating in most gaming spaces. It should be no different here and the TOS is literally the tone at the top when it comes to this game.

Thanks for posting @kotenoke ... Its important that others see your thoughts.

I completely agree and I hope we can get this passed together!!!

sigh...your a great cheerleader...the problem is your cheering for you and your rich friends to maintain your powerbase. not for the game. this proposal and it's supporters aren't interested in 'competition'...the main point is this: Why now? why eliminate 'helpers' and 'bots' now that non-whales have access to the best earning modes? Because all the regular folks trying for an ROI are butting up against all you established whales and you want your pennies back. CHOKE on them please...

you honestly have no idea what you are talking about. I'd love to debate you, but your comments are just made up BS.

You do know I run a group of guilds with more than 12 separate guilds? Its hilarious that you just spew lies to make your points and so many people know they are not true. I don't blame you for trying to state a case for your point of view, but when you lie and make up stuff, then your really don't make the point very well.

And for the record, I'm trying to help you and every other player in the game. If you can't see that, then you might want to open your eyes.

ps... many people make a name that makes a statement about themselves. I don't know if your name was just a joke or you were serious, but if you want to be taken a bit more seriously as an advocate for the little guy being treated fairly in the game, you might want to reconsider re-naming your account.

Lies? I clearly stated that i don't believe your motives. that's not a lie. it's my opinion. So set aside that i questioned your motives...I'm sorry i hurt your feelings, that was not my intent. but the reality is that there are multiple private services out there that will not cease because the terms are changed. Public services that serve the 'regular' guy will not operate. that leaves those who are using private bots...HAVE BEEN using private bots...and will continue to do so, only with less competition.
Do you really think that limiting tools like this to only those who are already exploiting the game really makes the game better?
Or maybe you don't think that's even a thing? do you really believe there is a subset of our community that are just so awesome that they get a 90% win rates along all ranks/modes because they are just that good? Or maybe that is the 'lie' you are talking about? lol

It's clear that 'Whale Games' are afoot...and while i appreciate the fact that you are trying to help [me] and every other player in the game, it still looks like your really just trying to help yourself

ps...really? your going to talk smack about my VIDEO GAME HANDLE? lulz, you smell like a lawyer.

can you name me one private battle helper service out there, tell me which account runs it? I can't, but if you can then I'm all ears.

you are stating lies. This proposal has nothing to do with protecting any whales using private battle helpers. NONE.

In fact many of the large players voting against it have been know to use private bots. You are arguing on the same side but projecting that somehow you are right and want to save the little guy.

For the record, I have never used a Battle Helper. My guild Team Possible has passed a guild ban on using either bots or battle helpers for many months now, maybe even a year. I have nothing to gain from this proposal passing other than the increase in value that will come from creating an environment where new players can join.

You may think you know things, but honestly you don't. Unfortunately, only one of us will get to see the results of this vote play out. If it passes, then I we will both be able to see the implications. If it fails, we will also be able to see the implications. However we could argue forever about what the "could've happened" if the vote went the "other way".

Its great the community decides, I will learn a lot from the vote and will pay very close attention to the impact regardless of what the outcome is.

on your ps... I was somewhat playfully jabbing you, but trying to not completely inflame you if it came off as I was serious. So that's why I handled it delicately. But its all good, there are all kinds of names out there :) pps... I'm not a lawyer btw :)

Okay. so in your response, you first declare that I'm wrong about private bots...and then two paragraphs later, you admit that they exist. WE ALL KNOW THEY EXIST. you admit it, i acknowledge it...it's real. Maybe you don't run a private bot and maybe your guild is noble and bans them...but that doesn't mean that OTHER players don't use them and that OTHER guilds ban them. If you did that, great...but that doesn't change the fact that there are many shady operators out there and this proposal allows them to continue their parasitic ways without consequence.
in my original response i said something along the lines of 'get rid of the API endpoint and there won't be an issue with bots or helpers or cheaters' obviously not a quote but the point stands. if this proposal offered clear and fair enforcement guidelines (and better definitions) then it would be a pretty easy pill to swallow. my beef isn't with the idea of getting rid of bots/helpers...though i am not convinced they are bad...using them to exploit is bad, but i can see multiple use cases where automation and AI could act as a superior teacher...but w/e...my beef is that the ONLY people who will be effected by this are those who are using public, non-exploitative services. now i define non-exploitative as a single individual using automation to secure his personal ROI as a deck owner and player. bot farms were sucking the life out of the game...at least in a bear market. but individual players? XBOT and other services are good, but they arent perfect, they lose...you say it protects the competitive environment? I would agree that the very top of the ladder, where everybody has just about everything...there skill matters, everywhere else? the TCG model is clear about the level of investment being directly linked to success. I'm not saying pay-2-win...but the whole TCG models is P2W adjacent...you wanna argue just look at Lux Vega. mic drop
SORRY, MY POINT was that competition is just as much about how much you have in your deck as your skill at playing it. the best player in the world will still get smashed in champ if all he has is 700 bucks worth of CL cards.
So what are you protecting? Bots sure, bot farms definitely...but battle helpers? they are killing this game? It's like your trying to polish up a pig to get that flywheel going...SO many other things to put energy in...but whatever
Well i'm generally not into this whole back and forth...and i certainly wasn't trying to be offensive with my positions and opinions...and i acknowledge that's all they are, opinions. They may be wrong or misplaced, or muleheaded, or whatever, but that doesn't mean they are lies...

Definite upvote on both your pre-proposals from me! Really great to see this coming from such an esteemed and respected individual in our community. Both of these will be a big step in the right direction for the betterment of this game we all love. Thank you for submitting them Dave! :)

Thank you very much @king-arminius ... I'm glad you liked the proposals and I agree if they can pass then it will be a very positive step indeed! :)


Battle helper definitions read clear to me - Submit your OWN WORK only. Love it! 👍

There's 3 separate definitions here. I wouldn't call that "clear"

It's clear to me.

I am testing your battle helper and can say you have an exceptional product, it wins a lot more then i ever could and all i gotta do is push some buttons. To me without using my own resources though, it's not playing a game and can't imagine why anyone would use it except to get financial benefit.

P.S Bought some xbot tokens but would still expect to pay for continued use of your bot service in wild. I'm also hoping you can find other ways to prosper in this ecosystem. Ambitious people with some smarts, deserve to win in my books.:)

Thanks Michael. And I like that you were able to properly interpret the message. :D

im going to post what i said in your other proposal in here as the same thing applys really. i love the effort and people finally looking at these things.

i like the idea but i feel we need to be clearer with what we want and a path to do so. A blanket ban in tournaments won't work as services need a way to earn to stop them from just updating their tools to just play in tournaments. We also need to detail what will happen to accounts that break x rule. We need a path for human vs human and a path for people to bot so we have a middle ground so services will get on board with this like they did for modern ranked. For tournaments, it should be a setting for host to choose if they want a human vs human tournament or not so then Splinterlands can keep their decentralized approach to things while allowing others to make the human vs human league. Matt said before that host and sponsors should have the opinion and finding a middle ground for both partys to be happy will be the most successful way to do things.

tournaments is an easier task to do this over brawls as brawls will need a full rework to have a path for human vs human or services wont get on board with this and will still allow their tools to work in brawls.

i love that you have tried to tackle all the most at once but i feel tackling them one by one will yield a high result to get people on board and find what areas we can get success with the human vs human part of the game. Also separating bots and helpers is a good idea but if we find a perfect middle ground then we can tackle them together.

the only parts missing in this really is

1.how to handle accounts that break this rule to stop them from just doing it on another account by moving assets
2.how can we set this up for tournaments to still allow these bot/helper services to make money so then we can keep them out of the human vs human league
3.how can we change brawls to allow bots/ helper services to make money so we have human vs human brawls while keeping a path for people to bot brawls
4.we need to use what the team did with the modern and wild split by allowing these services to make money in wild while allowing us to have modern as the human vs human league as the only reason we got the bot free modern league was because the team made the bot/helper services get on board with allowing modern to be the human league.

as i whole im happy we are actually looking to make steps on working on the underline issues without spl but we need to do it well otherwise any attempt after it fails will make things worse to re try again.

First, I love the time it took for you to explain your thoughts to the community.

Second, I agree with most of your points with the exception "what goes first, and therefore what is the best way forward".

I have learned from more than 5 years of experience here that things are never easy. Every suggestion you made could be good, but people will fight because a) they are against it b) they like it but like something else better c) they want the order of events to be different.

On top of that, the load on the team is a huge issue, and this proposal was designed in such a way to not take away from any of the other projects they are working on. While a comprehensive process is "better" in the sense that it might achieve better results, if that process takes say 2 years for example, then we didn't achieve anything until such time.

My main issue for bringing this forward faster than I planned was I saw yesterday what I feared would happen. The bot developers are in a rush to make battle helpers so that their clients can win more games than the other players. Its an "arms race" and I've seen it before.

We used to have small time bots that weren't any good, then j69 came in and did really well and took lots of prizes by developing the first high powered bot. It didn't take long for Bubke to get mad at his rewards, and so he developed his own bot. Once people saw how much money Bubke made, they felt they needed their own bots and so both Archmage and Xbot were made.

Now all the big players have to use a bot or lose out on earnings. Its not hard to see. What this has done is create a situation where players have 3 options: a) use a bot and keep up with the competition b) not use a bot and make much less money from the cards or c) leave the game.

So what this has led to is a situation where people have forgot how to play the game, because for the most part they don't play (they just bot). This creates a situation where we have taken out most of the human manual play. Very few new people are entering as a result. If we don't have more new people that feel they can come in and compete (without a bot), then we won't get more money into the system and we continue on the path we've been on. Sooner or later, it will lead to death as all business need new customers.

So this is a long answer, but my point is I love your points and agree with many of them. I actually proposed a 3rd MODE that is Bot vs Human, but the feedback from others was that it would take a long time and they suggested I cut it from the proposal. Which I did.

Thank you again and I do hope you decide to vote for this. I recognize your points though if you decide not to.

ps. I will repost this on the other post as well so others can see the same response!

I don't see any significant benefits in implementing this proposal. It seems like the goal is to restrict the use of battle helpers in wild mode. However, if this policy can't be effectively enforced, it might lead to the creation of a black market for such tools, which could have unintended consequences.

In my opinion, a more effective solution to address the battle helper issue would be to make the game itself more interactive. By introducing items and spell cards that allow for real-time decision-making, players won't be able to predetermine outcomes in advance, thus reducing the reliance on external aids.

Changing the Terms of Service alone may not be the ideal approach to address this issue. It might be better to focus on enhancing the game's mechanics to promote strategic thinking and spontaneity during battles.

As for services like https://splinterboard.org/,(a service that i provide) which help players find optimal teams, it raises a valid concern. Where do we draw the line between what qualifies as a battle helper and what doesn't? What should i do with the website? just remove the service? take it private? Removing such services entirely might negatively impact players' ability to improve their gameplay, especially when high-ranking players have used them before.

No not at all. This is not meant to restrict Battle Helpers in Wild, in fact its clearly stated: NOTE 1: Battle Helpers are acceptable in the Wild Ranked Format

Your point about adding more interactivity is valid and I agree with it. It is on the drawing board but will be many months before it can be implemented.

Changing of the Terms of Service is a powerful mechanism. It might not completely solve the issue, but it certainly will improve the chances of success.

As for your service, and all services, if this passes then I would imagine that the Wild format will be where it would be implemented. That is purposefully a place where players can play in an automated fashion if they choose to. But for Modern Ranked, Tourneys, and Brawls it would be against the terms of service to use them. Some people might violate the terms of service, but most people will try to honor the will of the community.

Remember these 2 proposals are meant to grow the game. Not to penalize anyone. The creation of a competitive human vs human environment can attract AND RETAIN more players. Those players will use tools, buy cards, buy SPS, etc... so everyone in the ecosystem will benefit by the game growing.

Also I think there are ways that we can add future modes that encourage people to play assets in different forms too. I've suggested one already to others, called "Beat the Bots", and it would have its own reward pools and evenly pay out human players and botted accts from their own separate pools.

I love that you are developing tools for the game and I want to encourage you to continue. I think we can do much much more together over time (devs and players). But to do that, we need to attract and retain human "players". This is a way to get the message out and I'm confident it will work if the community agrees.

I am very against both proposals but I'm gonna reply to this one because I think it's the most problematic of the 2.

The first one is mostly pointless. Regular users won't be able to bypass the ban, whales with bot farms will be able to do it undetected, if they want to. My biggest problem is updating the ToS because one day we might ban an innocent player and that is way worse than all the bot farms together.

The second one is worse because it benefits people with private battle helpers. Especially with your definition, it is an atrocity. That's like saying an Olympic athlete can use performance enhancing drugs if they manufacture them themselves. Even without this definition, it just stops public battle helpers not private ones.

I also read a comment where you said that 95% of the players will follow the rules. The problem is that the small % of players who won't follow the rules have thousands of accounts and/or are whales.

I appreciate you stating your thoughts and opinions to both me and the community. I disagree this will aid "the whales" at the expense of the innocent little guys. That is certainly not the intent.

While we may disagree on how this would impact the game and the community, I do share your passion for the non-whale players. I believe if his passes it will achieve making this game a fun and vibrant place for non-whale players in the leagues where this applies. However if I'm wrong, then we can always make a new proposal and I will be willing to pay 100K DEC again to fix it if necessary.

Again thank you for your input and for being part of the community Olaf! :)

I also appreciate your reply but it's not exactly whale vs non whale here. The community has always been vocal against bots but they were more prevalent during the DEC at over 1 cent days. However anti bot sentiment has been rising ever since the regular player got access to bots with archmage and xbot. Part of that comes from private bot owners who had the bot monopoly but not anymore. The anti bots in modern proposal would have never passed if there weren't public bots. It might have never even been a proposal. Personally, I think it's way better if everyone has access to bots and Battle helpers than only just a select few. This is more about fairness and leveling the playing field.

I don't like the "if this goes wrong I'll make a proposal to reverse it" approach. You may do it but it might not pass. If 66% of SPS approved it, it's not easy to sway half of that.

You also didn't address the worst part of the proposal. I don't like banning battle helpers because private ones will still be used. I'd rather have everyone use it than just 5% of the players. Ideally no one would use them but we don't live in an ideal world. However, allowing a battle helper that you built yourself is just wrong. What if I hired someone to build one for me? Is that ok? What's the difference? I paid for my xbot token. So, I should be allowed to use it if they're allowed in any form.

Just for context, I do own an xbot token that I have used to play most of my ranked battles for several months but I have barely used the battle helper. When I did it was to try to see how it worked. I haven't even used the free credits they gave us a while back when they released a browser extension. I do like playing my own games in tournaments and brawls.

We have a difference of opinion on what constitutes a game. There's nothing wrong with that, its just a fact.

On the point about what happens if people cheat point, I have addressed it at least 5 times in the 2 posts, so I apologize if I didn't reply to you. The bottom line is I disagree that private ones will still be used and only public ones won't be. I know people view human nature differently, but I believe that most people follow the rules.

Those that don't will stick out and they can be dealt with in many ways.

Again I appreciate the comments and I'm happy you are here in the ecosystem and enjoying the game. I am not against botting, I am just for having a human vs human mode as well where battle aids of any kind are not used. That is my goal, and you can have another goal. That's perfectly fine and I respect that we can vote on these things and collectively decide together what is good or not as a group!

If you want to have a mode without bots or battle helpers of any kind, why do you have that definition of a battle helper created by the player himself? At least, remove that exception, for fairness.

I'm still voting no on both, no matter what, even if my 40k SPS don't matter for the decision but you should, at least, remove that. The team should not even accept this proposal with that exception.

yes I am editing it after much feedback and will address exactly what you said. I'm close to putting out the final definition, just waiting on the feedback from those that have been giving their thoughts on discord.

And its ok if you don't vote for either proposal, that's the beauty of our process. You should vote how you think is best.

And thanks for the feedback on the definition.

I voted no and its because like most others have said. It will end up like it was before bots became accessible to the masses. What really grinds my gears is that we have been screaming about bots for the past 2 years or so and no one cared, that was until it started affecting the top players bottom lines. It does indeed leave me jaded. As others have stated, if this could 100% be enforced across the board for everyone and truly make everyone on a equal playing field then i would 1000% vote for it. I voted for the the bots in the tourney and brawls one but this one i can not support since a BH could easily be locally run and will be for alot. Sadly i think doing this will actually push people away from the game, especially once they start catching on that some are still using while others stick to the TOS and don't. My measly 100k sps means nothing but that is my thoughts and I only care about being part of a game where everyone has the same access to everything the same. While most of us are here for the game aspect, alot are not and will do anything and everything to keep the extraction flow going.

I appreciate you making your points.

I 100% agree with this point:

While most of us are here for the game aspect, alot are not and will do anything and everything to keep the extraction flow going.

However we completely disagree on who is doing the extraction. As far as I can tell, the players voting for this proposal are against "extraction" as you described, but you seem to think otherwise.

Its ok though, we can disagree.

For the record, I only care about making the game grow by making it so that we can attract and retain as many players as possible. By appealing to those that want to play in a human vs human with no assistance mode we can grow that demographic. Without addition of players, we will die.

So while everyone is fighting over who earns how much of the pie, I am focused on making the pie larger.

I am with this in principle. I.e. if we could say for certain that we could easily ban any use of battle helpers in the modern format, I'd happily vote yes to that 100%.

I am however a little concerned that while this would stop the majority of people from using them there would likely be a few that still had access to such a service and so be part of an exclusive club which would be at an distinct advantage over the rest of playerbase.

Also not sure exactly how this can be enforced?

Hey @dark.star ... Thanks for replying. I discuss that here: https://peakd.com/sps/@davemccoy/re-therealwolf-rygkca

And Byz made a good argument here as well:

The bottom line is the order that must be followed to find out. If we never try, then we will certainly fail. But if we do try, then we will know and then can adjust in many ways.

I of course do hope you vote for it, but I do understand your point of view. Again thanks for the response too!

downvoted because I think we need to see how the bot ban in modern which has not yet been "as of now" implemented and assessed . I think we need to see how thing go with this change before trying to implement other similar changes

That's fair. I understand that is a consideration and I too had to evaluate that before making this proposal. I appreciate your time to share your reasons with the community!

I'm voting for this because I want no Battle Helpers for brawls and tournaments.
I am okay with Battle Helper being used in modern ranked at this time to allow its use as a tool for learning.

However, I know some Leaderboard players are concerned. Perhaps the ToS could state that use of Battle Helper makes one ineligible for Leaderboard Prizes? Then simply requiring a user to make a checkbox in their user settings "I do not use any third party Battle Helpers" in order to be eligible for Leaderboard prizes?

Some degree of honour or trust would be involved. But hopefully the biggest Battle Helper services would perform an API check and they would opt to not provide BH functions if a player makes a claim that they don't use it.

The reason for including modern ranked is as you said is the competition aspect of this - via your leaderboard comments. That is where people OBVIOUSLY compete. But there are many many more places where people compete for rewards too. The goal is to make the human vs human modes "competitive" and not just be "bought" by the use of tools that create better teams through automation.

I'm actually trying to stop an arms race before it gets going. For instance yesterday, one of the Legendary Dragons proclaimed that their "bot service" has now developed a battle helper for use going forward. They did this only because they felt disadvantaged to the players using xbot for instance.

We saw the same thing with bots in general in the past. First we had a guy called j69 that botted at a high level. Then Bubke got tired of him winning so much and developed his bot. Then Archmage and XBOT came along and had to compete with those guys. And in the process, most players turned to botting or they left. Worse, no new players would join as the experience was horrible if trying to play against these machines.

So these 2 proposals are meant to stop an arms race before its gets started. For instance, I have already spoke with the Legendary Dragon Dev @NoKo | Legendarytools.io and he confirmed he would disable his battle helper if it was against the terms of service. His clients just don't want to be disadvantaged if the terms of service are not clear. Put another way, they will follow the rules if the rules exist. But they will not stop the automation if the terms of service still allows battle helpers.

How is helper use determined and what's the plan for applying/enforcing this on the private side of things? Sylar has been extremely accommodating with Xbot but he's one of the few, if not the only public service, "playing nice."

Also curious what kind of detection methods people are thinking/have in mind for those that are sharing spreadsheets or using offline helpers.

This is a step in the process that is making the rules. Once the rules are made then it is clear what is "right" and what is "wrong".

Only after we implement the Terms of Service can we tell what the problem will be in enforcement. Some people thing everyone else is a cheater, some people think very few will be. But we can only know once we put the rule in. Then we evaluate the impact.

I do agree that @sylar has been accommodating, as well have some other bot makers like NoKo from Legendary Tools. I imagine all the bot makers will adjust since they want their clients to follow the rules.

Remember this isn't about hurting bots or bot services. This is about making modes of competition that enable humans to compete against each other using their own minds. We had that a long time ago and it was fun and we grew. So this proposal is meant to create that competitive environment that will encourage people to want to sign up to play and thus grow our game for everyone.

Why should there be a difference between Wild and Modern???

All I know is that I find it harder and harder to win battles, in my case I should be able to get to diamond, but I hardly get to Gold in a season.

Because Modern is where the new players enter since that's the latest set they can buy. To attract more players through the creation of a better competitive environment, Modern is much better than Wild.

I am not anti-bot form of play. I am for a pro-human vs human form of play. And creating these human competitive environments where people's minds are used is a way that we can both bring in new players and also activate old players that did not want to bot in order to compete.

A battle helper is any tool or aid created by someone other than the user playing the account

Do you mean that if you develop your own battle helper you are allowed to use it?

I will clarify with an and addition edit to this post. I spoke to you about it on discord and will incorporate even more detailed language that further strengthens the language. Thanks TC!

Mentioned this on the other proposal, but I'll drop it here for clarity as well:

I voted down on this for now and will likely do so on the official proposal as well if it makes it through, not because I disagree with the sentiment, but because rules without plans for enforcement are a non starter to me.

I'd personally like to see how the bot ban in modern goes so that we as a community can gather data on how it works in that test environment first then expand implementation from there.

I replied to the other post, but that's fair. I did give an explanation in further detail to Cryptozard's comment, if you want to read my reasoning. And I thank you again for your opinions and sharing your thoughts with the community!

the use of professional services as well as sharing of spreadsheets, data bases, and match algorithms between users.

When is a spreadsheet/database illegal? How much data must it contain? How good does the data have to be?

Also, how exactly do you want to enforce this? How can you differentiate between a good player and one that uses a battle helper? How can you make sure that a good player is not mistakenly punished for being good?

Also, how exactly do you want to enforce this? How can you differentiate between a good player and one that uses a battle helper? How can you make sure that a good player is not mistakenly punished for being good?

You are an employee of Splinterlands, is that correct? Your employer, your boss Matt mentioned to us that he has a solution. We are not privy to the details of the solution. I trust Matt and I think he will provide a solution. If you have further questions regarding details you can ask your boss.

By the way, this is current sentiment of the community regarding the proposal, it is 91% and 73% in favor for the two proposals respectively. Rarely I see community comes together with wuch overwhelming unity.

You didn't go into any of my questions, instead you're trying to bring some argument about Matt being "my boss". I respect Matt and his judgment, but this is my account and I'll write whatever I believe is right on here. And if my brain tells me, that banning battle helpers will stop public ones but will benefit those with their own spreadsheets, tools and battle helpers which can't be detected, then I'll write that.

And by the way, I voted in favour of the tournaments/brawl proposal, but you probably already knew that ;)

Matt is your boss, it is a fact.

Matt is not my boss, and I am not an employee of Splinterlands. Do you see the difference? If not I will mention it. I don't have any conflict of interest. You do. This is a fact.

Yes you can write and express whatever you want from your personal hive account. So can I, which is what I did and am doing.

Individual with spreadsheets is not something we are trying to prevent. We are trying to prevent commercially available mass production services. How is this hard to understand?

Also, how exactly do you want to enforce this? How can you differentiate between a good player and one that uses a battle helper? How can you make sure that a good player is not mistakenly punished for being good?

Thats what I was wondering too. In chess they do it by comparing the moves to the optimal engine solution and determine accuracy. But in chess you can kindof see inhuman decisions that involve planning all possible scenarios for the next 20 moves of action and reaction. In SL you submit your team blind from the ruleset (and you have some hint about what cards your opponent has available). Every possible team combination could always have been conceived by a human player.

I don't want to see people running around and calling every winning opponent a cheater. Thats a pandemic wherever it occurs.

and the loose wording of the proposal gives a lot of grounds for accusations of ToS violations and calls for enforcement.

Hey thanks for the reply @therealwolf ... I realize we disagree on this, and respect your right to vote on it however you want.

On the first part, its not the creation of a spreadsheet or a database, its the sharing that matters. Having said that, there are a few people that have suggested language to be more clear and I am happy to do an Edit before this is live to give more clarity if possible. Feel free to let me know of any language you would suggest should be added to better define the intent.

This is a simply vote of the DAO community to set a rule. If such a rule is passed by the community, then as stated in the proposal then it will be up to the team to enforce such a rule. Here's the relevant points:

In addition, the team should use their best efforts to enforce this policy, but ONLY when they have the resources available to do so.

the proposal DOES NOT want to slow down or stop any other projects for special enforcement, so the team can use whatever tools they already have developed on a "best efforts basis".

The purpose of the proposal is to set the rules, period. Once rules are set, then over time then they can be a) enforced b) changed or c) removed.

Again, thank you for your questions and feel free to ask more if you have them!

If the rule is set and the ToS updated, then that means public battle helpers will most likely stop their service, even if nothing is enforced. Which means that private ones will dominate. Please dave, think about this: if private ones have a monopoly (aka. a few smart ones dominating the plebs), do you really think that this outweighs the benefits of everyone being able to use them? I'm not saying that BH are not a problem, they are - but disallowing them will only hide the symptom. :/


This is impossible to enforce as much as I would like it to pass, I cannot support this. The only fair way to address battle helpers is to make it available to everyone. I would support a proposal for the game to implement a basic battle helper.

thanks for your response @icyflow . I was hoping you'd vote for it, but of course we can disagree on it. I don't think its realistic for to think the team would provide a battle helper any time soon, nor would that achieve the goal of appealing to the players that want to play competitively vs other humans without aids.

But I still respect your thoughts and glad you came by and told me and anyone else what you think. Many people know you so its good that you share your insights! :)

you will end the game because you are bad at strategy and that's why you blame the bots, the game doesn't have enough active players to maintain an acceptable level of matches.
if they block bots, especially in wild and modern games, I'll particularly abandon the game because I don't have time to play all day, nor to wait indefinitely to find a game.
the acceptance of this proposal is a shot in the foot.
however I am in favor of banning it in tournaments and clan battles, not in free ranked matches.

Hey Bloodofking, glad you stopped by and gave your thoughts.

If the game doesn't have enough active players to maintain an acceptable level of matches then its BECAUSE OF BOTS. I have been here since the beginning and we had a game with acceptable levels of matches for a long time when we were much smaller. So if the bots made people stop playing and just botting, then I think its definitely time to reverse that situation.

As for you leaving, I don't know if you realize it but 1/2 the rewards for ranked go to the Wild Format with is for ALL PLAYERS. And you can bot that all day every day. That's the point, you can play either manually or via bot, but now it will have segregation and clarification of where people can do either.

Finally I'm very happy to see you are in favor of banning bots in tourneys and clan battles. While we might disagree in your mind, I don't think we are very far apart at all in reality. I want you to play and earn in ranked when you need to use a bot. I also want you to have a "choice" to play manually against other players that want to play manually as well.

Again thanks for your comments and opinions, and even though they were a bit harsh, I do appreciate letting the community know your point of view!!!

I can't understand why players consider bots to be a problem, think friend. what governs this game are strategies, combination of cards, observation of the opponent's previous battles, mastery over the random variables of each match, if you don't observe these things it's what makes you lose not your opponent, what bothers you is that the bot doesn't forget to notice it, besides, we all know that we only improve playing with better opponents, we only improve when we look at new strategies, we only improve when we see something that we wouldn't make happen alone. Therefore, bots are liquidity tools for games and moves, which results in player improvement, I learn from bots and use them when my work does not allow playing, that is, banning bots is a disservice to the ecosystem, without It's actually a really palpable improvement.

(EDIT: Voted FOR, just stating my view)
Bots are against ToS and bannable in every other game on the internet.
Every other game on the internet is still overrun with bots.
Pass, or fail, this will do literally nothing.
Thanks for burning DEC :P

I'm glad you are voting for it :)

And I hope you're wrong. Happy you stated your opinion with both me and the community!

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@davemccoy ,

Thank you for submitting both of your recent proposals. I fully support the other one, and I do support the principle behind this one.

However, I do have what may be a niche question about the interpretation of what constitutes a battle helper. Particularly the adaptation from Magic the gathering as games occurring "between two players. Not a player vs another player and their friend"

Would you consider sitting side by side with another human (say a friend, or child, niece/nephew, significant other, etc.), and working together using nothing other than your own brains in real-time as enlisting a battle helper?

I would interpret the Magic the Gathering clarification above as ruling that practice against the terms of service. I don't believe that this is the intent behind getting rid of battle-helpers
(Please correct me if I'm wrong).

I think we should want Splinterlands to be something that friends/family/etc would participate in together, and if this is prohibited under new terms of service, I think is would be a potential unintended consequence.

Maybe I'm too far into the weeds on this, but I think it's at least worth considering.

Thank you for your hard work.

Thanks for the feedback and question @t-rexwing.

You would be surprised at all the theoretical things people have come up with, and I think some people are being sincere in their concern (like you), and other people are trying to craft loopholes in the definition so that it can be exploited (not you).

Having said that, I think there are so many variations possible, that its impossible to define them all. Do I think if you giving a verbal tip to your nephew or niece that is new to the game in a Modern Ranked battle is a big deal? No of course not. Do I think it would change if he/she was playing a ranked tournament, yes I do because that wouldn't be fair to the person you are competing against and its a higher level of competition.

I agree we want Splinterlands to be something that friends/family can enjoy together. In fact I have many of my family members that play as well. Other than the very beginning when I was teaching them how to play, I can't remember a time when I gave any of them any advice during a match.

I do think you are in the weeds a bit, and that's ok. Like I said this proposal has created many conversations with others so you are not alone. I don't however think this rule will hurt or prohibit families from having fun. If that is the goal, then you can rest assured that this rule will not thwart that.

Again thank you for the kind words and again I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and giving this some good thought!

Hi, I don't mind the proposal in general, but including sharing of notes or spreadsheets in the definition of battlehelpers is beyond ridiculous. That means making knowledge databases about the game illegal. Stats of played battles, winrates of card combinations etc.

Under this definition, a SL wiki, and in-depth build guides that consider different rulesets and good card combinations would be an illegal battle helper.

Are you serious? You're making sharing knowledge about the game illegal.

Tools that read out the current machup, rules and then tell you the AI optimal solution to problem in real time? ... yes, agreed. But sharing notes and guides? Come on.

Also you're killing a big innovative part of the eccosystem

I think you are missing two key aspects,

  1. this only has to do with:

Update the SPL Terms of Service to prohibit the use of Battle Helpers in the following:
a) Modern League Ranked play (see NOTE 1 below)
b) Tournaments
c) Brawls

It does not apply to the use of Battle Helpers in Wild Ranked play.

  1. you might have missed this too:

Clarification of what is considered a "Battle Helper" for the purpose of this proposal:

Using manually written notes that you created and manually inputted the data is permitted

Put another way, if you want to use battle helpers you are free to in Wild Play. That is 50% of the game. Bots and Battle Helpers are both able to be used.

This is a creation of a human vs human format without assistance of technology. Just good old fashioned competition pitting one mind against another.

If this passes, then we will have a place for both ways of playing to be used. There is no "killing of a big innovative part of the ecosystem" happening with this vote at all. I'm sure if there is demand for using those innovative tools, they will thrive in the 1/2 of the game where its legal to use them.

Thank's for the reply. Please note that I was writing in a hurry and didn't mean to be quite as rude as it sounds.

Sharing of manually written notes is prohibited? Databases etc. that are generated throug automation and sharing of such is prohibited? Sharing? And we can share/distribute and use said tools for wild but have to forget everything for the other modes?

This is a blockchain game afterall. Naturally anyone can create a publicly available app that analyzes past blockchain entries (i.e. past matches) and generates comprehensive statistical reports about winrates of cards (and teams) in matchups and rulesets. And share those at will.

I assume what you want to say is that 'the use of those tools during team creation shall be prohibited'. And then we're back to point 4 of the classification that is the use of real-time aides during team creation.

Sorry but you gotta ditch the 'sharing between users' aspect. It makes no sense.

I didn't interpret your comment as rude so no worries there @absoluthenne.

And to address your point, there was many ways to go with this, and all have their own impact. Ultimately the idea was to create a league where human vs human play could occur without assistance.

You would be shocked at how many people can get nuanced as to what that means. I've heard far too many ways myself. :)

The sharing aspect is in there intentionally as there are ways to work around the intent if sharing was not prohibited for the purposes of this proposal.

Again people can use tools and automation for 1/2 the game, Wild Ranked.

I do appreciate the civil conversation even if we don't agree on this issue.

Hive is a civil place, so i've learned.

I don't generally disagree with you on the issue. Banning live assist from the formats as was done with bots is justified.

I played ranked manually daily for two years, I hated playing xyz3265 and then xyz3761 and then xghtdf342 ... you know what i mean.

Loved getting my xbot, though. it actually took a huge burden of my chest. I can now use the time for other things, looking at cards, rentals, tribaldex, reading lengthy proposals (:P) ... anything but clicking teams together for 2 hours every day.

Was salty that it had to move to wild a few months later and after I just optimised the deck for modern within my limited financial options. It's doing fine there so i don't mind.

I like playing brawls, rarely turnaments, and I know my deck and don't need assistance to slap together a few competitive teams here and there. I never used a battle helper for those matches.

So I have no conflict of interest with this proposal.

It's just that the wording of the part of the proposal, as you said, leaves way too much room for interpretation, or nuances regarding what it means - that for a 'quasi text of law' it's not very reliable. Adding a 'for the purpose of live team creation' at the end would solve this perhaps.

Or do you want people to completely stop analysing past modern ranked and brawl matches and to provide those analytics? Even for the purpose of learning aside from live matches?

I doubt that's going to happen, the blockchain is a public space and where is demand, there'll be supply.

I find it interesting the there was no noise about bots when it was just whales and farms. As soon as bots and helpers are put into the hands of the 'regular' players, people are up in arms about it. Whales leading the masses to what is best for them...and they follow. They follow because you guys tell them it will save the game, they can start winning, they can earn more...but really the only people who will truly benefit from these changes are the ones who really don't need it.
It seems similar to the gun debate...in that if you make guns illegal then only criminals will have guns...lots of them. the only people who will follow the new terms are those who follow the rules...OR are using the XBOT service as Sylar has decided earlier that he would respect the terms (when he disabled his service in Modern)...so the 'regular' players will now lose access...but that won't stop it. it'll be back to the status quo where only a certain class of player will have access to these tools (whales)...which is, interestingly, exactly where we were at before bots came to the masses and whales started getting beat up in diamond/champion.
Tinfoil hat aside...If this proposal could guarantee any kind of equal enforcement, then i'd vote for it just to move on...so i have a counter proposal for you...instead of changing the terms of service, simply disable the 'ongoing_match' API endpoint. this will make sure that there will be NO access to banned tools during a battle. Or they could set it up to where it would only return Wild Ranked battles instead of every match.
Personally, i don't really think bots are the root of all the problems in the game or ecosystem. I would offer that 15 million Chaos Legion packs hurt this game as much, if not more than individual accounts botting...but that's just me.

Disabling the API, encoding the id to the battle ... will make it harder, but there'll be ways around it still: take your phone, scan the monitor for ruleset and go... it happens in games with implemented anticheat, with no monetary incentive ... people pay money to cheat in bronze level CS, CoD, you name it. Ofcourse it'll happen if actual earnings are on the line... the question is do you go the chess. com way and ban people for too high accuracy agreement with the gold standard bot?

I think you are viewing the reasons why people care about this through jaded lenses. I know for instance that I care solely about the growth of the game. That's how my interests are aligned. So if it grows the game, then I am for it. If not, then I'm against it.

I have been against bots since they first showed up in the J6969 days and fought loudly to the destruction they were causing. I have been vocal about it, as have many others. But we were told bots couldn't be stopped for all these years. Now that enough people have left the game, others see we were right.

Whether you agree or not, its my observation that bots and automated play have driven our attraction and retention rates to massive new lows. If nothing is done then the game will die at some point.

You might disagree and that's fine. Everyone can see things through their own eyes.

I agree with the sentiment on this Dave but the issue is the implementation. If Terms of Service are updated to incorporate new rules and guidelines then these new rules must be detectable and enforced, otherwise they are pointless and you will end up with some following the rules (quite possibly to their disadvantage) whilst others continue to exploit the system. Therefore if this passes (which I think it will) then the Terms of Service should not be updated until Splinterlands can detect, enforce and prevent those accounts that breach these rules in the future. I believe this critical aspect should form an integral part of this proposal (bit late now I know but I wanted to mention this).

Hey @kaljerico I appreciate your feedback and voicing your thoughts. I realize many people feel that enforcement of the rules is necessary before we can vote or roll this out.

I think step 1 is setting the rules. Once the rules are clear and defined, then I would agree the next step would be to ask "how do we implement?".

Here's a comment I just read right before yours and he lays out why defining the rules is important https://peakd.com/@bronko/re-davemccoy-rypp8p ...

The bottom line is I definitely would like to see this pass so that we as a community determine the standard we expect. From there we can implement, and of course adjust if necessary.

Again thanks for the feedback, I'm glad you let me and the community know your thoughts!

if this proposal passed, Im interested how the SPL team come up with the solution.
But what's good about this Sir Dave burned 100k DEC <3.

lol yes I did... :)

If this passes then we will find out. First step is to define the rules, then the implementation comes next.

I wouldn't mind banning bots if the game wasn't so damn hard to play. I have a cybersecurity certification, various other certifications, according to the military a high IQ. I understand complex models, game mechanics and such, studied this game for a few months and even I could not figure out how to win battles in this game. I tried every combo of strategies I could. It did not matter what I did. Nothing I did gave me any kind of advantage or higher chance of winning. It was all totally random if I won. Too numerous of times to count, I had leaps and bounds better cards than the other team. Not a chance in hell they would win, yet they would. Repeatedly. Sometimes I would throw random cards in there, stuff I knew was trash and I would win. This game has no strategy. It's all just if the game algorithm feels like you should win or not. I resorted to using the bot only and even then it didn't matter. Still would lose when it should have won. I stopped playing altogether a month ago now that I can't get any chests in daily or the season anymore for the last 3 months cause of the changes. This game is only for whales now, not the average person/player.

Maybe people feel differently than I do on this point, but I feel like there's a pretty large gap between MTG and SPL, one of the most glaring of which is the base format of the game. It's just hard to equate the two in my mind. SPL has an element of RNG to it which makes it closer to Hearthstone imo. That's a game I haven't played in years, but I remember the debate about Yogg-Saron in a competitive environment and how much RNG can exist in a game before it becomes inherently uncompetitive.

MTG tends to consign a lot of chance based effects to supplemental sets like Un- and Commander prebuilt decks, by contrast HS & SPL rest directly upon these same effects. Obviously, skill trends tend to emerge, which is what makes many players rank consistently high over multiple seasons. It does make me wonder about how much goes into SPL though, how and why bots are perceived to have such an advantage, how much player agency, how much money, how much RNG goes into each match.

Personally, I think the other proposal banning bots is more feasible, but I don't really think either are really possible to implement to a really effective degree. This is really my unprofessional opinion, and I haven't been super involved in the process like some people here, but I haven't even seen a discussion of what type of measures will actually be used to detect bots or what will happen to accounts that are determined to be botting. That should be solidified before we vote on something as bombastic as altering the TOS.

So far, much attention seems to be focused on public facing services that anyone can pick up and get involved with. In light of the amount of cooperation from the dev of one of these services in particular, it's pretty sad that they keep getting targeted like this. Tournaments can already have a flag that disallows battle helper. Modern is already free of the bot. This has all been possible due to the good faith. I'd like that process to receive some recognition.

Can the same be said for private bots though? How will bad faith actors be detected? Does the drive to run bots out of town extend further than this layer, or will it stop once the general public loses their access again? This is a commitment, and I expect it to be treated as such. The reason I have trouble believing that is the timing of this wave; we've had bots for years, but only once anyone can access them has this discussion begun for real. Those of us who fall under the banner of good faith have already divested ourselves of our tools. If this discussion is to continue, it's time to take a serious look beyond that.

Otherwise, this may as well be called the re-privatize bots and helpers proposal.

First I appreciate the thoughtful reply. You cover a lot of topics in it.

You know more than I do about the comparison to other games, so I will defer to you on those points. Many other of your points have been addressed many times on this post, but I will address your conclusion.

So far, much attention seems to be focused on public facing services that anyone can pick up and get involved with. In light of the amount of cooperation from the dev of one of these services in particular, it's pretty sad that they keep getting targeted like this

This just isn't true. Its how you perceive it maybe, but there has been a core group of players that has steadily watched the number of human players dwindle over the years. It has been an issue for at least 3 years, if not 4. It has nothing to do with whose making the bots/battle helpers and everything to do with the fact that they have ruined the experience for many many players over the years.

This is a commitment, and I expect it to be treated as such.

Of course, this isn't about targeting any particular group. This proposal is about setting the rules for what the community wants. If you look at the people voting for this, it is not only a high amount of SPS for the proposal, but there are also a massive number of players in favor of this as well.

I realize some people don't understand it, but to assign some ulterior motive for this quantity of players is simply wrong. The fact of the matter is many people want a "game" to play, not a just a defi platform to use their digital assets. While some people think a game is "anything goes", other people want "rules" where its defined what is cheating and what is not.

On top of these points, I would also like to point out that 50% of the rewards go to the players that do use bots and battle helpers. So when you (and others) make a threat to leave if this passes, its basically saying that half the reward pool isn't enough, you want access to it all.

And respectfully, I would assert that many people (including me) disagree with that line of logic. We feel that a human vs human mode with no assistance is just as equal to the survival of the game as botting and automated play (if not more so).

So while I do respect you being polite and giving the vote your attention, I do hope you try to understand the points I'm making as valid (and not as some money grab to steal from the poor legitimate bot services).

Hey Dave, thanks for your reply, I didn't expect it this fast!

I guess I should be clear here that I'm not throwing shade at you personally, and I apologize if I came off that way. You seem pretty above board and I respect your process. I have no doubt at all that there is a lot of legitimate support for this proposal, and if you put this in front of me those couple years ago I absolutely would have voted yes as well. I'm just questioning who else is throwing their support behind this thing and why. Maybe that seems tinfoil hat of me but I still feel it's important to consider.

I'm probably not going to quit the game over these things passing either, I'm not sure how I gave that impression. I've been here for a little bit now (I was playing manually around the time of the pre split Bronze level ghost card bots), and I've been on both sides of the bot issue. I do understand why it's a pain point, and I do understand why people wish for a human to human exclusive environment. I've actually been thinking today that I should give bot-free modern a shot when I have some time to spare!

Ultimately, I just felt I should provide my own perspective on such a large issue. As a smaller SPS holder, I don't have a big swing to provide on that end, but participation is important regardless. In that, I feel I'm doing right with this share, just as you are with yours.

Hey Clucks, I appreciate this message a lot. And I also think you are stating your points in a above board way. Even if we disagree on the process or the effectiveness or even the need for such a rule, I do respect you for taking the time to state your thoughts and to voice your opinion. So thanks for doing so!

I also want to say that I'm glad you are going to stick around regardless of how this vote turns out. My goal is to grow the game by attracting and retaining the most amount of players. I have said it many times to others, I'm not anti-bot but instead pro-human vs human play as well.

I do hope you play manually and get the feel for what that is like. I think you will find its fun to select a good team and win with your own mind. I know its not for everyone and sometimes it takes awhile to win, but from your previous message I think you will enjoy it.

And finally, I think its fine to be suspicious of everyone in life. One thing I would suggest you do to ease that suspicion is to go look at the number of people that voted FOR this proposal. Its a lot. And when you see the names and understand they are all wanting to see this game succeed. then I think you will realize that your fears about this proposal having ulterior motives are unfounded. Put another way, I think in order to get this amount of votes spread across the community, I believe you can see many people are hungry for this mode of play.

Thank you again for the nice reply and even if we vote differently, I'm happy we had the conversation about the issue!

Dave M please watch Crypto Zard's video on why to vote no on this even though he is 100% for banning battle helpers and bots. Please watch it all the way through not stop at the "against reasons" part but continue to the other half of why the intention behind this is a great idea, there he also makes a lot of great points.

That's the most flattering no vote I've received. Thanks for sharing. :)

in a competition, clear guidelines are first of all important. the implementation is secondary. in many sports, for example, doping is forbidden, although there is no proper implementation to detect it. Findings are more by chance or on suspicion. to catch everyone, you would have to do doping tests on everyone every few weeks, all year round, this is impossible. nevertheless, you need the rules to have a benchmark of what is fair in this competition.
if someone wins. why did he win? because he is the better player? because he has bought the better tool? etc etc
you can't even say this because there are no ground rules.

that's why we need this proposal to lay the groundwork for what is fair, what is our competition, etc. etc.

murder is forbidden everywhere in the world. are there measures to prevent every murder? no there are not! should murder therefore be allowed?

Well said Bronko. I will use this analogy myself now. Thank you for making it and thank you for not only understanding the issues, but spending your time and energy to make great points like this!

Thank you for participating in SPS DAO Governance @davemccoy!
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Link to this Pre-Proposal

Updated At: 2023-07-31 15:42 UTC