Let’s be honest: there’s been some cheating going on in Old School RuneScape (OSRS). It’s wrong but nothing new. However, when there’s cheating in an OSRS tournament, then there’s a problem. So, how bad is it? Jagex is still finding it difficult to declare who’s the real winner even though the tournament is over.
Of all the tournaments that could’ve had a cheating controversy this massive, it had to be the one held during the game’s most significant annual event: Runefest. For Runefest 2017’s RuneScape tournament, the prize wasn’t OSRS Gold; instead, it was a whopping $20,000, and $10,000 went to a charity of the winner’s choice.
To qualify for the competition, competitive players had to be in the top 2,000 as of July 27. Afterward came one week of leveling, and then battling. For this year, Jagex added a new rule: once the 2,000 combatants are thinned down to 200, they got into four 50-member groups, with each one placed on a separate island. In fact, this was when the series of random events began.
On Red Island, seven players decided to form an alliance rather than fighting. The Survivor-inspired move didn’t get Jagex’s approval. Yes, they repeatedly warned the competitors that they had to fight each other or else they would get booted off the competition.
DDOS in OSRS
Something even more bizarre happened: several competitors got disconnected at random. The outcome led players to believe that there was a planned chain of DDOS attacks against them. Despite this strange occurrence, the tournament continued, and eventually, there was a winner: 5PLUS50K12. After 5PLUS50K12 was crowned, allegations of him cheating surfaced. 5PLUS50K12 is also a member of an even more sinister-named RuneScape clan called “Reign of Terror.” Also, the clan was accused of launching DDOS attacks in past tournaments.
However, it has been difficult to prove that “Reign of Terror” was behind the scandal. On top of the sheer difficulty of tracing where DDOS attacks come from, “Reign of Terror” allegedly doesn’t approve of its members using DDOS attacks. On the other hand, Jagex was able to determine that 5PLUS50K12 was the cheater “responsible for the creation of a bot farm,” which would’ve likely been used in the DDOS attack.
Where Does the Money Go?
Now the question is what to do with the prize money? Well, Jagex is debating whether they’re going to give it as a bigger donation, dividing the money among the finalists, or just adding it to next season’s prize pool.
Regardless of what Jagex does with the money, the important thing is that the culprit got apprehended, right? Technically, yes, but the matter is that a DDOS attack with that many targets could not have been something only one person could do. Even if we put “Reign of Terror” into the equation, it still doesn’t answer how they managed to target all those players since a DDOS attack requires the target’s IP address. Some players allege that it was an inside job, specifically, Jed Sanderson, the tournament organizer because he frequently tweets about “Reign of Terror.” However, this finger-pointing is hard to prove.
In the end, Jagex denounced the allegations, and semi-finalist True Fox was declared the winner. Fox and Jagex’s charity of choice received $10,000. As for what truly happened in the cheating scandal, we’ll probably never know for sure.
We reached out the Jagex for a statement in regards to this
“Following the disqualification of the Deadman Autumn Invitational winner due to bot farming, we are pleased to confirm that $10,000 prize money will be awarded to the second-place finalist, True Fox, and the other $10,000 to Jagex’s supported charities,” said Mathew Kemp, Senior Product Manager, Old School RuneScape. “We do not tolerate cheating of any sort in our games, and we hope this strong response will help dissuade others in the future.”
Several publications have named a member of Jagex staff in their coverage of the tournament finale, mirroring early allegations on Reddit that this individual was somehow involved with disqualifying a group of finalists as part of an ‘inside job’. This allegation is wholeheartedly false. The individual cited in the reports helped develop the content used during the tournament final, and was a technical advisor on the day. He did not have any access to back-end systems during the final.