Day 27 (June 28th): Total Draw-ma Cup

In Alabriss 5 the teams from the darkest corners of the colosseum pulled off two of the few sweeps we had today (few is like less than 7 at this rate). Haunted Woods defeated the Lost Desert and Darigan defeated Kiko Lake. Lost Desert gave it their best in Yooyuball and Kiko Lake seemed to drop Make Some Noise, Darigan’s best, but couldn’t gain any ground in the other games. The third match in the bracket had Meridell pulling off a draw in Yooyuball against Moltara. It’s impressive, but Moltara’s Yooyuball scores have fallen enough so that even Faerieland can draw.

In Minitheus 5 the rogue piranhas stepped back into the fray with a sweep over Mystery Island. Virtupets also gained a sweep on Tyrannia versus some rather unimpressive scores from the dinosaurs. The most exciting match of the day was Shenkuu and Krawk Island drawing. The two got draws in Yooyuball and Slushie Slinger then Shenkuu got Make Some Noise while the Krawks got Shootout Showdown. It’s a great result for the ninjas since they’ve been nonthreatening in Yooyuball this year and the 5 came out of nowhere. Pirates vs ninjas lives on.

In Vaeolus 5 the faeries jeopardized on the chance they were given against Terror Mountain and pulled off an impressive 5 in Yooyuball to capture the win in the game. It presumably took a lot of effort but clearly shows Faerieland’s a force more than ever before. Slushie Slinger resulted in a draw and Terror Mountain took the hold on the sides, so Faerieland won the match but lost by a margin of one in points. Brightvale and Kreludor also drew each other into sketches. Yooyuball and Slushie were draws and the latter games split. The Moon go loud and the scholars got trigger-happy. Kreludor got the one point marginal win in the end. Lastly, Roo Island nearly swept Altador except not really since the team got a huge 7 in Slushie Slinger. Where was that every other day?

 

Darigan Citadel vs Meridell
Too much trouble shouldn’t stem from here. Darigan has high side-game scores at the ready so Yooyuball is the only game up in the air. Meridell can get 5s so Darigan needs one of those 6s to pull off a slate of green.
YYB – DC | SS – DC | MSN – DC | SOSD – DC | WIN – DC

Haunted Woods vs Kiko Lake
If this was two rounds earlier Haunted Woods may have been able to lose anything, but Kiko Lake’s effectively done and aren’t getting the unpredictable scores that they need.
YYB – HW | SS – HW | MSN – HW | SOSD – HW | WIN – HW

Lost Desert vs Moltara
A Yooyuball draw is possible if Moltara spits out another 5.
YYB – MT | SS – MT | MSN – MT | SOSD – MT | WIN – MT

Mystery Island vs Tyrannia
Even on a slow day in the Tyrannian office the dinosaurs can still get passable scores to post against half of the teams. Mystery Island’s one of those teams who just aren’t threatening with unsupported scores.
YYB – TY | SS – TY | MSN – TY | SOSD – TY | WIN – TY

Shenkuu vs Virtupets
I have a feeling we’ll have more than a few sweeps today.
YYB – VP | SS – VP | MSN – VP | SOSD – VP | WIN – VP

Krawk Island vs Maraqua
The latest hot commodity by roaming bands of cheaters is Maraqua so they’ve got a sweep on lock with scores that they don’t need. Krawk Island’s like a crew that’s been lost at sea for weeks. Malnourished, weak, lost and out of cannonballs. Scurvy is not a performance enhancer.
YYB – MQ | SS – MQ | MSN – MQ | SOSD – MQ | WIN – MQ

Altador vs Faerieland
Thank you Vaeolus for saving us from sweep hell. This match is straightforward as can be though. Altador only has strength in Slushie Slinger so Faerieland can likely spread across the three other games and claim them.
YYB – FL | SS – AL | MSN – FL | SOSD – FL | WIN – FL

Kreludor vs Roo Island
A pretty close match where draws can occur in a specific score range. They fluctuate off of no particular strategy. Maybe a bonus in Make Some Noise will change that? I think that this point in the Cup the Roos are more constant in scoring while Kreludor has retired a fraction of their strength.
YYB – D | SS – RI | MSN – RI | SOSD – KD | WIN – RI

Brightvale vs Terror Mountain
Another close match but it depends on Brightvale’s strategy since the Mountain usually remains unchanged. If they can get 6s in Yooyuball and Shootout Showdown then Terror Mountain can’t touch those, but perhaps they’ll risk it and go for the Make Some Noise bonus that they’re terrible at? (Also, congrats on the streak Brightvale broke yesterday. They got a 2 in MSN instead!)
YYB – BV | SS – TM | MSN – TM | SOSD – BV | WIN – BV

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Interview with a Member of Stealth

Hello avid readers. After posting an interview with a member of Codex yesterday a few of you wanted me to get interviews with the All-Star Groups (ASG’s) so that we could hear their side of the story, and what they have to say about the cup in general. Fortunately a member of Stealth reached out and agreed to do an interview, under the condition of anonymity, I would like to thank this person for their time and answering the questions that I asked.

You are a member of Stealth, what attracted you to joining them, and how did they go about recruiting you?

I joined Stealth in their first year for much the same reason as most of its members in the first year. I had heard about how SOTAC had somewhat helped LD to the top in ACV and I was simply looking to recruit an ASG to my own team. It was a pretty simple recruitment. Back then it was just a guild on neo and they invited all-stars to that guild.

Do you know anything about the formation of Stealth, it’s origins story so to speak?

Stealth origins are kind of shaky. Right before ACV I believe the leaders (who were friends) had the idea of creating their own all-star group. They came up with the idea too late as many allstars had already chosen their team. Because of this they simply invited many high-leveled Shenkuu members to the guild as a solid base once ACV was over. That’s when their first widespread recruitment occurred, and they sent neomails to tons of allstars.

How does your group as a whole (and you as an individual for that matter) view the Cheating groups?

I think I (and most of my group) view the ACGs much the same way that most of the AC community does. I understand that they’re just trying to build their own “community” for the AC, but the fact that it comes at the expense of the enjoyment for the rest of the AC players is wrong.

Do you view your group as different from the likes of cheating groups and do you believe the Altador Cup community should view these groups as one in the same?

I feel that our group is certainly different from the ACGs, but the power of all of the different groups has gotten pretty out of hand. Sure, it’s more heartening that our groups (for the most part) legitimately play the games and earn our scores; but I think the size of Stealth and SOTAC has made it get to the point where we impact the cup negatively. The unfortunate idea of making a nomadic group of high ranking players sway the results of the cup falls on the ASGs, but I think the ACGs took it to a level where the cup is no longer playable in the way it was in ACI-VI.

Did Stealth and SOTAC really just happen to pick the same team or was there some sort of plan to all of it?

Absolute coincidence that they joined the same team. VP was the best option.

With it seeming apparent that the two of you combined can’t stop the cheating groups are you going to continue to play in the next cup (assuming there is one of course)?

Personally, I doubt that I will continue playing in the next cup unless it has been revamped. To be honest, I think that the only thing that legitimate players can do to repair the cup (and for the most part I only point at the ASGs), is to have both Stealth and SOTAC simply join whatever team the large ACG joins and let the other unaided teams play for the podium. Sure, this means that whatever team the ACG joins is guaranteed first place, but at least it frees up room for the other 17 teams to compete for something tangible (a colored trophy) rather than simply fighting for a footnote (4th place). While that’s likely not a popular opinion, I honestly feel it’s the only thing the legit players have.

Do you know of any members of Stealth who SS in order to reach All-Star status?

I do not know of any members of Stealth who SS. Though I’m sure, as with any group, that they exist.

What do you guys think about the stigma a team gets when you guys do well with it, talking specifically about how teams fall into the fourth tier and lower once you guys leave, do you guys feel the team helped pull their share of the weight or did Stealth drag them to the top?

That’s a tough question. In ACVI, Stealth really didn’t bring too many all-stars to VP, so I don’t feel that the ensuing drop was Stealth’s fault, rather just VP being the smallest team to ever get the winner’s curse. MI’s loyal players pushed very hard when Stealth joined in ACVII, and they put up numbers that MI’s leaders hadn’t seen in years. I think the MI stigma was just because Stealth never revealed they joined MI (there was a lot of sabotage trying to make the public join KL), so some loyal MIYP players were claiming they were solely responsible for the rise to 2nd. AL was great because we got to work with new people who were not used to winning, though that was when people started understanding the sway ASGs and ACGs have which was what irreparably changed the AC.

How far in advance does Stealth pick the team they join, and is it democratic effort to decide, or does a leader make the decision?

Stealth goes through 3 rounds of voting where each member’s vote is worth the same amount. Totally democratic. While we don’t technically select the team until about 3 days before the cup starts, the vote was leaning heavily in VP’s favor about 2 weeks before it officially started.

If someone decides not to join the group team what happens to them?

Players who don’t join the group lose access to the boards, and sometimes they are not invited back the next year.

What would be your best estimate to the size of Stealth?

As of yesterday (7/27), Stealth consists of 71 members, 45 of which have already made allstar for this year.

Would Stealth ever consider using SS methods in order to beat these cheating groups?

While some members might consider SS methods, as a group Stealth is filled with legitimate players who would not consider that.

Assuming you guys play in the next cup what other methods would you use to try and beat the cheating groups?

To be honest, trying to beat the ACGs is useless. If 100+ allstars joining the smallest team can’t beat one cheater group joining a mid-table team that is fairly large, there is no point in trying to beat them in any other way if the format stays the same. Honestly, I think that the groups should join the ACGs team. I feel this can do nothing but good for the AC. It takes away the competition from the ACG and they will see they are fighting against truly nothing, possibly allowing them to disband (that should appease their ego). Some members of the ASGs won’t like this, and they’ll return to whichever land they originated from, which I don’t think is a bad idea. If the AC is ever going to return to its previous greatness, all of these groups need to dissipate or just get smaller.

What do you think about the remarks the ACG group made about Stealth in their interview?

The ACG is free to think whatever they want about the ASGs. They’ve truly proven themselves to be the better “power” in the AC, but notoriety and respect are certainly different things to accomplish. I suppose doing nothing and winning against a dedicated group of players who legitimately put in the time must feed their ego, but messing with a game that people used to enjoy seems like a cruel way to go about feeding that. However, as you can probably tell I’m not overly pleased with what ASGs have done to the cup either. I suppose the best thing that can be said of the ACGs is that they aren’t disrupting the chat of HW this year the way that the SOTAC and Stealth members have to VP. I personally found it extremely rude that our members acted this way, and I remember feeling the same way about us last year when we invaded AL’s board. Finally, I disagree with his assumption that being in these groups isn’t fun. I’m not even sold on the idea of ASGs, but I keep coming back because the people in them are dedicated, supporting, and all-around great to be with. He can talk about his group keeping each other motivated (however much motivation you need to flip the switch and let it run for a few hours), but our group legitimately keeps each other motivated to play (and actually play for those few hours).

 

Day 26 (June 27th): I’m Afraid to Sweep Alone

The closer of round four dropped a few bombs on us, namely the scoring coordination of Maraqua and Mystery Island. Maraqua swept Kiko Lake with some unexpected high scores while Mystery Island dropped their scores and didn’t even manage to sweep Faerieland. But the beginning of round five was all about backtracking. At this point many matches are repeats but many of them saw a change in strategy and thus a change in the results.

All of Alabriss 5 was a repeat. This time around, Darigan swept Lost Desert while Meridell took their turn to shut down the Kikos, leaving them only with a draw in Shootout Showdown. Haunted Woods and Moltara fought their second match in a row and shifted the side-games around, leaving Moltara with Make Some Noise and Shootout Showdown.

Minitheus 5 was sweep central. Virtupets swept Maraqua in what could have been a disaster for Virtupets, or so I thought. Maraqua’s scores are back to normal so perhaps they didn’t receive help to double their scores for that one day. If there wasany doubt about Mystery Island though, it’s confirmed today. Assistance has set sail as the pirates got a strong sweep against the Islanders. Tyrannia swept Shenkuu in the third match.

In Vaeolus 5 Terror Mountain and Kreludor swept the lower placed Altador and Faerieland while Brightvale and Roo Island split games. Brightvale once again gained a strong Yooyuball victory along with go to Shootout Showdown and Roo Island easily got the rest of the available games.

 

Darigan Citadel vs Kiko Lake
Darigan wants to go out with a bang (though it’s too little too late) and the scores that they post today won’t be able to be matched by the Kikos who seem to have gone home for the season.
YYB – DC | SS – DC | MSN – DC | SOSD – DC | WIN – DC

Haunted Woods vs Lost Desert
An easy match to shrug off.
YYB – HW | SS – HW | MSN – HW | SOSD – HW | WIN – HW

Meridell vs Moltara
I’m not sure why Moltara is so adamant in winning Make Some Noise but it will be the first win to insure though it won’t take much. Moltara can probably take the whole match, but the weak Slushie Slinger score from yesterday’s Moltara match could be exploited by Meridell.
YYB – MT | SS – MT | MSN – MT | SOSD – MT | WIN – MT

Krawk Island vs Shenkuu
Yooyuball is on point, even if it’s only a margin of difference. The sides are really close though since they both usually have the same scores of 4s and 3s. Occasionally it boosts in various games, so Shenkuu may win Make Some Noise and Krawk Island may win Shootout Showdown.
YYB – KI | SS – D | MSN – D | SOSD – KI | WIN – KI

Maraqua vs Mystery Island
They both got the exact same score spread in the last match so it’s a little hard to predict winners considering they’re fundamentally different teams at different points in the Cup. Mystery Island has advantage in wins but I imagine it will be closer.
YYB – MI | SS – MI | MSN – D | SOSD – MQ | WIN – MI

Tyrannia vs Virtupets
The last strategy of Tyrannia pooling the players towards a Yooyuball win over Virtupets worked so it definitely could again. Can Virtupets predict it though? It’s possible to outplay them with the similar scores they have.
YYB – TY | SS – VP | MSN – VP | SOSD – VP | WIN – Draw

Altador vs Roo Island
Roo Island still has something to fight for.
YYB – RI | SS – RI | MSN – RI | SOSD – RI | WIN – RI

Brightvale vs Kreludor
Brightvale doesn’t necessarily like to repeat Yooyuball wins day-after-day for some reason despite having the ability to win again today. Shootout Showdown is a lock too. Kreludor’s the one scrounging for wins and will take the latter two games if Brightvale doesn’t try again. The 1 in Make Some Noise is a streak that’s lasted 6 days and will long live in our hearts.
YYB – BV | SS – KD | MSN – KD | SOSD – BV | WIN – BV

Faerieland vs Terror Mountain
Similar to the match above, Faerieland has a good Yooyuball squad as well as a respectable hold on Shootout Showdown to threaten Terror Mountain. The Mountain does have the advantages of a dirty win though.
YYB – D | SS – TM | MSN – TM | SOSD – D | WIN – TM

Interview with Keil of NeoCodex

Hello my tired readers (I’m sure your love of the cup is waning at this point), but thanks to Keil from NeoCodex, we’ve been able to get an interview with a high ranking member of the NeoCodex community.

 

How long have you been a part of Team Codex, and what got you into Team Codex in the first place?

I’ve been in Team Codex all three years thus far, but I consider myself not as involved during the first one since I was loyal to Roo Island previously.

 

How do the other members of Team Codex feel about you giving this interview?

I got the consent of the NeoCodex staff before going through with this. They gave me the condition to avoid spilling the beans on the really juicy details, but they don’t me mind sharing what generally goes on inside the elusive ACIX subforum.

As for Team Codex as a whole, they had no clue. Surely, they’ll be surprised when they read this article. After all, I made an Altador.com topic where we have discussions about your articles and analyze perceptions made about Team Codex through pubish-worthy literature.

HI TEAM CODEX! *waves incessantly like a toddler going home from preschool*

 

I remember (back when you guys were on Meridell in ACVII) that you guys wanted to show that the Altador Cup was rigged. Since your groups efforts have proven that the cup is not rigged why do keep entering?

The first year we only placed third and that only drove us to take gold the following year. However this year, Team Codex is driven by their own motivation. Other than to secure victory, everyone has different reasons for joining Team Codex. Some people want more gold trophies or prizes, some people love the camaraderie/community, and some people love the drama gurgling without any provocation on our part and more.

My personal reason is that I enjoyed the Altador Cup’s political strife. The opportunities to play my cards right and outwitting the other ACG’s and ASG’s is how I play the Altador Cup the best. I’ve read several boards about people accusing ACG’s scoresending because of power. I can’t speak for everyone, but I agree when it comes to myself. I self-indulgence when someone tries to outsmart me.

People accuse me of using the AC to get NP unfairly. Truth be told, I absolutely have no desires to amass neowealth anymore. I proved to myself that I can have over two billion NP in goods and assets in one account without being frozen. My account is still kicking to this day. I probably racked up over 20m NP worth of potential prizes with all the accounts I scoresent with. In the end, I’m giving those accounts to energetic and active members of Team Codex when the cup ends.

 

There seems to be this notion that Team Codex profits (makes money) off of people using the SS (Score Sending) technology that you guys’ use. Is this true?

Let’s get it clear: Scoresending using NeoCodex’s program is 100% free. Unlike other cheating websites, you don’t need to pay for exclusive access nor post X amount of replies to a forum. Once you make a NeoCodex account, you have access to FULL, UNRESTRICED capabilities of the program. If a player desired to not cheat for Team Codex, they can use our program against Haunted Woods. I don’t particularly mind. Most people who cheat probably use our programs out of convenience. The features that are not free/easily accessed pertain to other programs like Abrosia, the autobuyer.

The accusation originally started when the ACIX subforum was restricted to multiple requirements: X amount of posts, Advanced Subscription Rank (one level higher than normal member) and up, and a residency in NeoCodex for Y amount of time. Plain and simple, people were sore about the requirements, especially the lurkers who want to access information such as our team host without really trying. The frequent members of NeoCodex did joke along and acted as if paying money was required, but the intentions were more playful than coercive. Essentially, if you were active to begin with, you would never have to pay to receive any special benefits pertaining to Team Codex.

Another clarification: Team Codex does not profit. NeoCodex does. They money is used for site maintenance and other expenses. Even I don’t get money for initiating and maintaining Team Codex all month.

 

Does Codex have an ethical code, do you guys see anything wrong with what you’re doing?

Ah. The ethics question.

As a forum, we are 100%, absolutely, no exception against stealing. We ban anyone who hacks accounts, cracks emails, sells stolen goods and profit off the work of others without the consent of the original owner.

As for Team Codex, I cannot speak for them as a whole because I don’t know where their ethics lie. However I’ll tell you mine: Cheating is okay because the most self-gain you can achieve from playing the Altador Cup is not playing. This works two ways: 1. The value in your team is not the podium spot or results, but the people you play with/against. Treat them well because if you come back every year just to play the Altador Cup, you can psychologically trace your desire for the people (or drama) instead of the game. Let’s admit it: the game is a poor excuse of a month-long time waster. And 2. I maximize the utility in my time. Sad to say, but spending all day in tumblr is better than playing the AC all day for prizes that don’t reciprocate the effort you put in.

Now for the juicy part: Does cheating cause harm to non-cheaters? No. I can write a guest article explaining this in detail at a later date, but the focus of this article is to know what goes on behind the most famous ACG and the people behind it.

 

What do you feel about people (myself included) who attempt to infiltrate your group in order to spy on you or harass you, do you feel like these people are warranted in their actions?

Honestly, it’s more publicity for us and also a huge ego booster. Spies give us power by acknowledging that we’re worth being spied or harassed on. In that respect, I contemplated on spying on the source of Moltara’s power (I already have accept to some of VP’s ASG), but with the flawed bracket system, investing energy into surveying a non-threat is a waste of time and effort.

I have no qualms with the action of spying since the top secret information is left with the Private+ members. Other than that we currently have no information worth leaking. People who try to grab the attention of the Altador Cup Neoboards fall flat on their face for not having worthwhile information to give outside of the initial: Who is Team Codex playing for?

To close the topic of spies: I can tell who’s spying vs. who’s lurking. I have decisive evidence to ban anyone from the thread who is considered a spy. But I don’t. Spies entertain us like foolish jesters in a medieval castle. They think they’re important and prideful for entering the presence of the royal court, but they’re just something used by the royal family to pass the time.

 

What are the decision making processes for joining team. I ask winning with Tyrannia made it seem like you’d stick with smaller teams (making Kiko Lake and Brightvale obvious choices) or did you decide to truly show how powerful you are by picking the fourth largest team?

First and foremost, I strongly believed Team Codex would get Gold without any huge problems a month before any announcements of the Altador Cup. It wasn’t until TNT revealed the same bracket system will be used that I closed my laptop and thought to myself: “Well damn, if we’re going to win regardless, how can I make this fun?” Being a part of SOTAC, I knew the direction of what team they wanted to take when someone first brought up the topic. I didn’t need to know what team they would pick because the sense of urgency made it evident they would pick a small team in hopes to yield large results.

I picked Haunted Woods since May 9. I know for sure we’d destroy everyone with a small team. Why not take a slight risk and go with a much bigger team? I was so happy that the ASG’s, no matter if intentional or not, all joined Virtupets. It adds more oil to the fire. At least we’ll have a challenge and on top of that, can prove that Team Codex is invincible. Ultimately, I was gravely disappointed in all the organized ASG’s teams in Virtupets. I commend them for producing exceptional scores throughout the cup, but disappointed that their power waned and couldn’t pose a risk towards the midpoint. I should have picked Shenkuu. At least the thrill of taking an even bigger risk would have keep me awake.

Does this mean there is a chance you could join a team like Krawk Island or Darigan Citadel in the future?

No because the Altador probably won’t last for another year.

That and there’s nothing else to prove for Team Codex. We beat everyone with a small team and we beat everyone with a big group. We proved we’re competent unlike other ACG’s *cough*. I do agree that joining an even bigger team would be the next biggest challenge, but it’s not worth achieving if the competition isn’t a challenge to begin with. It’ll just be an empty trophy to add to our lookups.

 

What do you guys feel about TNT possibly ending the cup after this year, and do you guys believe your actions had an impact on that decision?

Relieved. We don’t have to push ourselves to fire up tens of scoresender instances at one sitting anymore.

And yes, Team Codex as well as other groups impacted to that potential ending. A recent editorial revealed the possibility for scrapping the Altador Cup based on the incorrigible tournament style. In all honesty, the bracket system would not be a problem in an environment without groups having the ability to manipulate the scores. It’s just that TNT cannot fix the groups problem, thus cannot fix the tournament issue, and thus would scrap if absolutely unfixable.

 

Does Team Codex enjoy being hated by the majority of the neopian community or do you guys sometimes feel guilty?

Neither.

Hatred targeted at us is not something we particularly enjoy but it doesn’t decrease our morale either. We’re just able to translate those negative feelings to something positive and encouraging within our team. We make jokes, energize each other, and offer help even more so in times when the opposition is vocal about their ideals.

As for guilty portion, I think the guilt factor was eliminated because of the nasty attitudes placed upon us. Through hatred and opposition, we further justify our actions to push forward and get stronger. If we were playing against a team who had positive or even no opinions about us and were all earnestly playing their games, then maybe we’d feel guilty.

 

What would you say to the people that think you and your group are ruining the cup?

We’re not going to deny accusation. The only thing I’ll say is that it’s unfortunate that you are not sided with the best team out there. Results and scores aside, I’ve never felt the energy, passion, and love I’ve been graciously blessed with in Team Codex on the Neoboards or ASG site/forum since ACV.

There’s also the arguments that ASG’s objectively ruined the cup longer than us. It doesn’t matter what method you use, manipulating the scores ruins the cup no matter how you look at it. An ASG still prevents a team of earnest players from winning no matter how you look at it. If that doesn’t ruin the spirit of the Altador Cup, I don’t know what does. Now you’re probably asking yourself: how are you any different? We’re not. At least we admit it.

 

Since becoming widely known last year with all the neoboards discussing you, has your membership increased?

Taking statistics from this month alone, Team Codex has over 200 members recorded. This excludes the lurking population that probably adds another hundred. These numbers pertain to only the Altador Cup subforum, not even the NeoCodex forum as a whole. On top of the new vocal members, we go rows and rows of new lurkers for the general forums. One notable thing I would like to add is that our most active new members started off as curious Altador Cup supporters. A handful of them are now celebrating their first year anniversary with Codex.

 

Would you ever consider leaving Team Codex?

If I had pressing real life issues, then it wouldn’t be a question. I live by the mantra: help yourself before you help others. If you can’t maintain yourself, then how the meepits could you help something bigger than yourself.

 

What do you feel about groups like Stealth and SOTAC that mostly play legitimately but join a different team every year in the hopes of winning the cup, do you see them as being as the same as your group?

Firstly, respect for the level of organization (email invites, maintaining a site, facilitating correspondence, moderating discussions, etc.) that is required to make a strong ASG.

Secondly, pity for spending over 50 hours on a game that net yields negatively on your real life more than positively in Neopets. I’ll keep ya’ll in my prayers.

Thirdly, gratitude for making this year’s AC memorable and further proving the power of Team Codex by contrast.

Fourthly, resentment when you invaded the loyal VP player’s AC board and ignored them while you chatted exclusively to your ASG, causing those poor players to recede into their guild because you all made them unwanted. Good job, you’ve done something even I don’t have the audacity to do.

I don’t consider them the same as my group because Team Codex is actually fun to be with. Although I have my level of involvement with ASG’s, I felt so stifled being in an environment where putting up a façade is common practice, and legit or not, saying or acting in a way that the ASG disagrees with will result in a quick expulsion. The notoriety and fame from being in an ASG is definitely not worth it when you have a different place that allows you more freedom to express yourself with even more emotional support to keep you motivated.

 

Why do you think TNT hasn’t been able to curve the boost you give to your team? Is TNT just that bad or are you guys just that good?

Let me put this out there: I have an insurmountable level respect the Neopets Team. I love their sense of humor, their tact, and even how they handle some of the back-end shady ordeals that you wouldn’t even think about without accessing their records database. I do blame Viacom’s inertness towards non-NC endeavors. A creative administrative group can’t fully reach their potential if the corporation rejects proposal after proposal of ideas we are thinking now.

As for the curving, I believe TNT did nothing with the formula or the scores we posted. The relationships I hypothesized last year (between score data and scoring system) and the one I fully tested and confirmed this year matches with negligible outliers. In short, nothing has been done numbers wise. They did change the programming to prevent us from scoresending the first few days, but their success waned along with VP’s initial remarkable results.

 

Does Codex always join the same team, or do some of you break into smaller factions and join other teams?

Um. There is information I only share among the higher echelons of the NeoCodex Ranks, specifically Private and up. If you want to know the truth, be an active member of NeoCodex.

But just to recap history, Team Codex has always been united for the first two years. This year, I did something different. Team Codex does not purely scoresend for Haunted Woods. I am certain we have at least one person scoresending for each team. You’re probably questioning whether or not I am on hallucinogens. The answer is no, at least not right now.

This year Team Codex is open to ANYONE joining ANYTEAM under the pretense that they would either cheat/play for Haunted Woods on a different account or support Team Codex’s morale by posting frequently and being an active member. Team Codex is Haunted Woods, but Haunted Woods is not Team Codex. The essence of Team Codex is the diverse group of people in it not limited by shortsighted limits of what a team can be. I am not blind nor ignorant to the supportive quality and influence of non-Haunted Woodians. Thanks to that addition to our team, we have people from Darigan Castle, Virtupets, and even Moltara posting on our boards and enriching the overall Team Codex experience.

 

What do you guys think of teams like Moltara, Tyrannia, and Mystery Island showing larger than average scores, do you think they’re legit or do they have smaller groups helping them out?

I do think all the teams have smaller groups, but what is lacking that prevents them from reaching Team Codex status is organization, planning, and fellowship.

Honestly, after the end of the second bracket, I thought nearly nothing of them. We have the Altador cup in the bag and any surprises and upsets don’t entertain us much since there is no sense of urgency that would change the final results. I’m not trying to invalidate all your hard work, but the monotony of the Altador Cup leaves me jaded to all things new and exciting.

Kudos to all those teams. You all either reallocated your time to other endeavors by scoresending or truly worked hard at achieving goals. Either way, I applaud you.

 

Parting Thoughts:

Regardless where you place in the final standings, make sure you take the time to recognize and thank all the people in your team. Legit or not, they are heavily invested in this game and probably suffered a lot of casualties or sacrificed something dear to make sure the team did its best. People may never show that weakness, but taking that one moment to say “you made a big positive influence in my (neo)life” would mean the world to them.

 

5 Ways to try to fix the Altador Cup

The Altador Cup has become a farce; all-star groups and automatic score-senders have fixed the cup, and TNT is too stubborn to admit the bracket system is the worst sport schedule system to have ever existed. However, staff and customers alike realise how important the Altador Cup is to Neopets as a business – For some customers, it is the only thing that keeps them returning each year, giving Neopets more revenue from advertisements and the possibility of more NC shop sales. However, nobody wants to compete in a fixed competition. Without some drastic changes, the cup is as good as dead. So without any further ado, five ways the Altador Cup can hopefully be salvaged.

 

1. Allocate more resources to the Cup.

TNT has a small team to work on the Altador Cup each year, but has it is right now the team seems to be extremely lazy. The infamous belittling editorial implied that TNT only bothers about the cup “when it approaches”, meaning probably the month-and-a-half before the cup begins – When we see spoilers of whatever small roster changes. Of course, an event as important as this should have more time and resources allocated to it than just the two months before it – Especially with the state it is in now. Time should be used to test any future scoring and scheduling solutions, rather than using the public as a guinea pig. Resources should also be allocated to art and other content, which will be explained below.

 

2. Overhaul Roster and Art.

 

In the first few years, we had massive roster changes, however since Altador Cup IV, we’ve said good-bye to “Dasher” Soley, Bertie Shurtz, Babolino, Gregorio Maille, Dorina Hals and Wan Dirx. That’s only six players, and of those six, only four were replaced by new characters, the remaining were from “team trades”, meaning no new art needed to be created, apart from an outfit update. The team transfer of Lamelle Turow from Lost Desert to Maraqua was met with anger from both sides of the story, not only was Maraquan fan favourite, Dorina Hals replaced by Lost Desert fans’ least favourite member, Turow was replaced by yet another Kiko – The easiest Neopet to draw, and the only thing needed on the game of the LD team was the change the colour of the kiko. This is just pure laziness.

These kikos look suspiciously familiar...

These kikos look suspiciously familiar…

Furthermore, Kiko Lake’s four kikos have exactly the same scoring sprites, apart from changes to match their colours, and how did they replace Kiko Lake’s original Peophin, fan favourite Helmo Timm? Recoloured her artwork to be purple, rather than using Erli Quinnock’s already present artwork for Brightvale – This here is the definition of pure laziness.

 

From left to right: Brightvale's Erli Quinnock, Kiko Lake's Erli Quinnock, Kiko Lake's Helmo Timm

From left to right: Brightvale Erli, Timm recolour Erli, Helmo Timm

 

The sprites from this year’s new comer Crade Talvos, the updated Derlyn Fonnet sprite and the trades of Coco Metrone and Ealyn “Hunkshanks” Hawkshanks do not run as they are supposed to. In addition, Metrone and Hunkshanks display their former team colours when running towards or away from the player.

Team Kiko Lake is in desperate need of an update, and along with other teams, such as Brightvale, Virtupets and Darigan Citadel.

The team rosters are becoming stale and predictable, sometimes aesthetic differences like roster change ups and art improvement make all the difference, and shows that this is an event that TNT actually cares about – like it used to.

PS. Please don’t ever show Derlyn Fonnet smiling ever again.

OH GOD, IT BURNS!

 

 

Changing up the games.

Yooyuball, Slushie Slinger, Make Some Noise, Shootout Showdown – For years, these have been the games of the Altador Cup. And of those games, only Yooyuball, the main game, has received any type of shake up. We can see by the daily scores, no human outside of Tyrannia wants to play the carpel-tunning inducing, keyboard breaking, button mashing Make Some Noise, or tedious and time-consuming Tapper rip-off, Slushie Slinger to earn a fraction of the points Yooyuball can give, in triple-to-ten times the amount of time you can earn the same amount of points in Shootout Showdown. These games need to be done away with and replaced or completely overhauled to make them new and exciting. What can they be replaced by? Well, we’ll have to let TNT’s imagination run wild at the possibilities.

Let’s get this guy in on the action too.

 

Eliminate Bracket System

The bracket system is perhaps the single most epic failure in the history of Neopets – and the fact that they refuse to change it, and disparaged the public’s response to it is testament to the poor customer service Neopets is renowned for. Winning and losing doesn’t matter with brackets, causing confusion and vast amounts of anger. And I cannot stress enough that if this cumulative bracket system were implemented in any real sports, there would be huge riots. We need to change the format immediately.

Just “The in thing to hate on”, really now?

We could return to the double round robin, plus finals. The problem there is how long it will take, and the reason why we have the awful system we have now, plus there’s a bigger problem, which we’ll deal with later.

We could have an elimination style schedule, but that will leave many players unable to support their team.

Or, we could go to a single round robin system, plus finals – 17 days, plus 4 days of finals makes an even 21 days. Add in break days once a week, plus in between the end of the SRR, and first half of finals, and that creates an extra five days to create 26 days. Add in two extra teams (The MUCH requested Lutari Island and Neopia Central teams for example) will not only add some much needed freshness to the stale teams, but it also makes an even 28 days (or four weeks) of play – Enough to coincide with any four-week NC mall event TNT has planned.

Alternate finals systems could be in place too, to bring freshness to the finals system, such as the finals system that the Australian Football League (AFL) uses, giving even 8th place a shot at the title. The possibilities for better scheduling are endless, and all possibilities are better than the current bracket system.

 

Eliminate All-Star Groups and Automatic Score Senders

 

“We at Neopets support the use of bots.”

By far the major issue in any scheduling changes, game changes or anything cup related really is the influence of All-Star Groups and Automatic Score-Senders have. As soon as it is revealed who goes where, the fate of the cup is determined. How can we combat this?

We could take TNT’s current approach – Hunt down and freeze anyone who raises flags, be they legitimate and hard working, or illegitimate – But this is all futile, as cheaters have many different accounts, and can always make new ones when they get frozen.

We could close sign ups after the cup begins, but what happens to the dedicated players who may have been a little late due to real life situations, like school or work?

We could randomise sign ups, but that will infuriate many of those who are loyal to their teams.

What needs to be done is to actively work on fixing flaws in the system that the ASSs are exploiting by constant updating.

My personal idea is the “World Challenge” model – Only the first 3 games of the day count towards high score and Neopets in World Challenge, and any remaining go towards challenges. Similarly, only the first three games could go towards team count, and any remaining go towards personal score and prize points – TNT has the technology to make it happen, and with some tweaks and testing, it could certainly work for Altador Cup (Of course, it would have to be in secret). This would level the playing field regardless of how much or little one plays, and theoretically renders both ASGs and ASS groups ineffective.

 

The Cup is in need of a drastic overhaul, and if changes are not implemented next year, it is game over for Neopets’ biggest event.

Day 23 (June 24th): It’s Hard Out Here at the Top

In Alabriss 4 Krawk Island’s swords were dulled by the bitterness of winter, granting them only full victories in Slushie Slinger and Shootout Showdown while Terror Mountain drew Yooyuball and Make Some Noise. Faerieland also did similarly well to avoid a sweep against Lost Desert. They got a noise win and a draw in Slushie Slinger but no more since they couldn’t get more than a 3. Mystery Island’s fluctuating scores shifted around again and it was enough to leave Meridell winless.

In Minitheus 4 Moltara swept Altador with scores that are plummeting. There was no danger to losing to Altador but a slightly stronger team could do damage. Tyrannia beat Virtupets in a riveting Yooyuball competition while Virtupets side-swept the match. Tyrannia’s ability to drop and focus shows the power behind the scenes. On the other hand, Haunted Woods swept Kreludor, making this look easy.

In Vaeolus 4 Darigan swept Maraqua up with scores that the fish couldn’t compete with. Kiko Lake and Brightvale traced victories against Roo Island and Shenkuu. Both won Yooyuball and clinched the match with Shootout Showdown.

 

Krawk Island vs Meridell
A good pressurized match to end the round for these two. I believe they’ll both actually try to win so Yooyuball will raise 5s and draw. In fact, all of the games are close. Meridell seems to be the better performer on a day-to-day basis and it shows in my prediction since Krawk Island won’t get a win. That seems wrong, but we’ll see.
YYB – D | SS – MD | MSN – MD | SOSD – D | WIN – MD

Lost Desert vs Terror Mountain
Yooyuball is probably a lost win so Terror Mountain should readjust to side-games where they can perform better but it’d require a lot of sent scores to side-sweep. They’re actually ahead in Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise so pulling off wins should begin there.
YYB – LD | SS – D | MSN – TM | SOSD – LD | WIN – LD

Faerieland vs Mystery Island
Faerieland should provide little challenge to Mystery Island at the end of this round.
YYB – MI | SS – MI | MSN – MI | SOSD – MI | WIN – MI

Altador vs Tyrannia
Man, after the strength of schedule Tyrannia’s had this round, they deserve a slushie break. Altadorian upset notwithstanding.
YYB – TY | SS – TY | MSN – TY | SOSD – TY | WIN – TY

Kreludor vs Virtupets
Virtupets has a great advantage in this match. It’s hard to believe Kreludor will be able to close out the large margins.
YYB – VP | SS – VP | MSN – VP | SOSD – VP | WIN – VP

Moltara vs Haunted Woods
This is a match that could screw up Haunted Woods’ streak. Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise fluctuate so much that it’s funny, but the latter two usually stay the same. And “the same” is a draw tossup. I could actually see Moltara splitting the match here if they don’t continue to drop scores.
YYB – D | SS – HW | MSN – MT | SOSD – HW | WIN – HW

Brightvale vs Darigan Citadel
Darigan, as usual, gets teams fired up. Brightvale can likely get a win out in Yooyuball if they go all out, but the sides look lost.
YYB – D | SS – DC | MSN – DC | SOSD – DC | WIN – DC

Kiko Lake vs Maraqua
Kiko Lake has the daily scores to sweep but Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise – Maraqua’s weaknesses – are their best bets since they’re also Kiko Lake’s weaker games.
YYB – KL | SS – KL | MSN – D | SOSD – KL | WIN – KL

Roo Island vs Shenkuu
Yooyuball could draw since they usually have the same scores but I’m going to grant it to Roo Island since this isn’t a Yooyuball season for Shenkuu. Even with a draw in the sport Roo Island would still win with the majority of side-game green blocks.
YYB – RI | SS – RI | MSN – RI | SOSD – SK | WIN – RI

Day 22 (June 23rd): Knick Knack Knock Off?

So day 21 ended with six sweeps and three matches where Yooyuball was the place to dodge the broom bullet, so you could call it a regular day in the cup. Virtupets swept Altador, Meridell swept Faerieland, Darigan swept Shenkuu. Moltara swept Kreludor in a rather restrained performance and Kiko Lake really did manage to pull a 180 on Brightvale.

In terms of the non-sweeps, Lost Desert drew the Krawks in Yooyuball. Lost Desert clearly can’t clinch a side-game to save them. Maraqua drew Roo Island in Yooyuball, which isn’t bad since Roo Island’s still getting the points from the sides. Tyrannia actually managed to draw Yooyuball against the Woods in the only way that they could.

The most concerning match to me is Terror Mountain and Mystery Island. Mystery Island swept, tell me something new. Well, ever since their intense victories over Darigan, there’s scores have begun to rise. It was relatively unnoticeable at first and seemed like a natural progression. I don’t want to be the one to shoot first, but a 12 in Make Some Noise is the ultimate sketchy alarm. Throughout the Cup, the Haunted Woods and Moltara have gotten ridiculous scores in Make Some Noise that even exceed 12. We know what’s behind the curtain in the Woods, and we kind of assume that Moltara’s getting help this year too. Is Mystery Island being supported now in the same vein? This is less of an accusation and more of a point of discussion being raised since the c-word is widely loathed by the community. It’s just so pointless. We know Haunted Woods will win and we know Mystery Island is smack dab in the centre of the standings. We’ll have to see in the coming days if the scores continue to rise. /controversy begins.

Faerieland vs Lost Desert
I doubt Lost Desert could even sweep if they tried. It doesn’t usually work out that way for them. Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise are consistently in drawing territory so the faeries have multiple legs up.
YYB – LD | SS – D | MSN – D | SOSD – LD | WIN – LD

Krawk Island vs Terror Mountain
One margin wins are still wins all the same.
YYB – KI | SS – KI | MSN – KI | SOSD – KI | WIN – KI

Meridell vs Mystery Island
Meridell hasn’t been that strong in this round but they haven’t had significant competition which finally comes today. Underwhelming scores compared to Mystery Island’s strength surprisingly spells a sweep.
YYB – MI | SS – MI | MSN – MI | SOSD – MI | WIN – MI

Altador vs Moltara
Industrial oven vs microwave
YYB – MT | SS – MT | MSN – MT | SOSD – MT | WIN – MT

Haunted Woods vs Kreludor
As Virtupets and Tyrannia showed before, Yooyuball is the only way. Kreludor couldn’t beat Moltara who has similar scores so I don’t think they can pull off the draw.
YYB – HW | SS – HW | MSN – HW | SOSD – HW | WIN – HW

Tyrannia vs Virtupets
Ouch, not something Tyrannia would like to see when they have a small chance of winning. Yooyuball and Shootout Showdown have potential to be upsets, and even Slushie Slinger. It would take some intense effort though and Virtupets regularly gets the better scores without trying. This match will probably be marginally close but a sweep all the same.
YYB – VP | SS – VP | MSN – VP | SOSD – VP | WIN – VP

Brightvale vs Shenkuu
Shenkuu can continue the trend of side-sweeping in this round since Brightvale’s scores aren’t too much of a challenge. If Brightvale maintains a 5 in Yooyuball then it’s their win but any lower and suddenly Shenkuu will draw it.
YYB – BV | SS – SK | MSN – SK | SOSD – SK | WIN – Draw

Darigan vs Maraqua
Maraqua doesn’t have any spare 6s laying around.
YYB – DC | SS – DC | MSN – DC | SOSD – DC | WIN – DC

Kiko Lake vs Roo Island
Roo Island’s looked good in this round while Kiko Lake is a lesser team than what they started out as. The Roos can probably take the sides by storm, but again, Yooyuball is where it’s lacking and the Kikos can fill the gap.
YYB – KL | SS – RI | MSN – RI | SOSD – D | WIN – KL