Competitive Integrity In Axie
Recent reports of “win-trading” serve to remind us of our collective responsibility to ensure fair gaming in Lunacia.
Thanks to numerous reports from the community and published video examples, we have learned about a growing problem with “win-trading” inside the community.
There will be updates to the Terms of Service that clearly expresses zero tolerance for collusion and match-fixing.
We will continue to highly prioritize the development of rules, incentives, and consequences that protect the competitive integrity of our games.
On December 28th, members of our community brought to our attention that some players might be engaging in match-fixing behavior known as win-trading.
Although we never enjoy getting reports of unfair behaviors, we were very pleased that members of our community were willing to step forward and alert us of what was going on in order to protect the integrity of the game. We received numerous reports, not only of this primary event but additionally a collection of others like it. What was initially a suspicion of a single violation turned out to be several.
What is win-trading?
Win-trading occurs when two players at a similar MMR are matched in arena, and the game is conceded after one of the players is requested to do so. This feeds the other player free MMR and is facilitated by queuing at the same time with the hopes of being matched together.
This gives the player receiving the free MMR an unfair advantage- especially on the top of the leaderboard. Due to the mathematical nature of all MMR systems, players battling for the #1 position lose more MMR for each loss than they gain from each win. This makes the impact of each free win especially significant.
This activity becomes more relevant at the top of the leaderboard, as there are less players in the pool to queue at high MMR. When matched against a friend or guild-mate in the arena, both players should always try their hardest to win any given match.
This form of MMR abuse erodes the integrity of a fair and competitive gaming ecosystem.
During a livestream on Facebook, streamer Taxton from the guild GotSkillz (GsZ) was shown to have been provided at least 3 free wins from his colleagues when matched together during a push to rank #1.
Two players (IU and Atelo) were also complicit in this behavior, by choosing to lose intentionally.
Taxton was clearly responsible for encouraging those matched against him to give him free wins, both through public messages that riled up pressure from viewers and private messages that were provided to us in confidence.
These messages have given us context and confidence that this action was not a one-off event, but part of an ongoing pattern. It is clear that Taxton has been using his clout as a streamer to pressure guild-mates, friends, and other streamers to lose intentionally for his personal gain. Not only did we see requests to forfeit matches, but also aggressive language in cases where the opponent did not agree to do so.
This behavior is completely unacceptable for anyone in our community.
Abusing the power dynamic in place as a popular streamer and prominent guild member is a form of bullying.
Players should never feel pressured to lose matches intentionally or engage in any unethical behavior.
This becomes especially important if scholars that don’t own their own assets are involved, as they might feel the additional threat of losing their scholarship.
Streamers, guild leaders, and influencers are role models in Axie Infinity and have an enhanced responsibility to set a good example.1
That being said, collusion requires two or more people agreeing to break a rule. Everyone in Lunacia has the responsibility of holding each other accountable to protect competitive integrity.
Actions Being Taken
We believe that Taxton is a highly skilled player, who is more than capable of climbing to the top of the leaderboards without the assistance of win-trading.
However, being a highly skilled player and popular streamer does not excuse unethical behavior.
As such, Sky Mavis has decided to take the following actions:
The three Axies Taxton used on stream will be banned for 365 days. He will also forfeit his Season 19 rewards.
IU and Atelo will forfeit their Season 19 rewards.
*The forfeited funds will be placed back into the play-and-earn fund and ultimately redistributed to competitors in future seasons.
We would like this situation to serve as the final warning to all Axie players that have engaged in, or are considering engaging in, any form of collusion or match-fixing in the arena or tournaments.
Moving forward, we will likely issue stronger penalties for those caught compromising the competitive integrity of Axie Infinity, including bans of axies.
There will be an update to the Terms of Service that clearly expresses zero tolerance for collusion and match-fixing.
As Lunacia continues to grow and embrace new users, it is paramount that our community be a place where people feel safe and empowered to stand up for what is right.
Anyone that feels threatened, unsafe, or forced to engage in unethical actions should be free to refuse and/or speak up about them.
It is imperative that we work together, as a community, to hold each other accountable and grow our great Axie nation with high integrity.
We will continue to take seriously allegations of cheating, match-fixing, win-trading, and any other from of unethical behavior that compromises the competitive integrity of Axie Infinity.
We would like to encourage and empower all of community to report any suspicious behavior, as long as it is done in good faith and without personal attacks.