47 U.S. Code § 509 - Prohibited practices (Oops Hearthstone)

I think I get why people are bending over backwards to defend Blizzard here.

Nobody wants to admit that a game they’ve spent so much time and money on was designed with every manipulative tactic in the book to get them to spend money. Such an admission is tantamount to admitting being ripped off, and that will always feel bad.

That’s why people don’t even read or try to understand the patent. Cognitive dissonance is painful.

Kinda sad to watch though.


I just wanted to comment on how many of you are jumping on the bandwagon to defend a gigantic corporation that would undoubtedly do whatever possible if it helped their bottom line.

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I find this statement kind of funny because of two reasons:

  1. If you believe that Blizzard is rigging the game and you still play it, it is kind of funny.
  2. If you don’t play the game, because it is rigged, you still waste your time on said game’s forum, also kind of funny.

Yet, Activision has patented game rigging in order to “encourage” microtransactions, and I made those 100% true, verifiable statements, and your weak counterargument consists of ad hominem with red herrings tossed in.

Try arguing with my argument. I dare you.

It is an absolute 100% unarguably true fact that Activision patented game rigging to “encourage” microtransactions.

I argue that patenting techniques to give ezmode matches to players who buy stuff, in order to manipulate them to buy more, is morally wrong. It’s one thing if the players know this match rigging is going on and make the decision to play anyway. It is another thing if players don’t know about it, or are unfit to make such decisions, due to being too young, or too addicted, etc.

Clearly, some players even in this thread believe their opponents are selected without bias favoring people who spend real money. Until they have a decent understanding of Activision’s manipulative matchmaking tactics, these players are not making an informed decision about how to spend their time and/or money, which is pretty much the definition of being ripped off.

What does whether or not I play have to do with that argument? I don’t consider it a waste of time on these forums if I’m helping players make a more informed decision about buying products from a company like Blizzard. Nor would I consider my posts a waste if someone from Blizzard sees this and knows players will call them out on this stuff.

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Algorithm puts my cheap rock deck against paper deck and I often lose. Rarely, I get put against a scissors deck just to keep me playing.

I finally spend real money to craft paper deck because that’s what is giving me a problem and it seems OP.

Algorithm then rewards me by putting my shiny new paper deck against a bunch of rock decks. I win a lot and I am happy I spent that money.

After I get X amount of easy games against rocks, my paper deck gets put up against many scissors decks. I start to lose again. Rarely, I get put against rock deck just to keep me happy.

So I spend more money to craft scissors deck because it seems OP.

Algorithm puts me against paper for easy wins.

Then it’s time for next expansion and new meta.

Well, there are some problems with that idea:

  1. Most people buy packs only at the beginn of an expansion.
  2. If you want a specific Deck, buying Packs would not be that helpfull.
  3. Whales, the main target, already own all cards or enough dust to craft what they want.
  4. What you describe is negative reinforcement (You lose untill you buy a new deck) That does not work very well, if you want people to give you money you need positive reinforcement. (You win often, so you decide to spent money)

Most people complaining about the game beeing rigged say that is rigged against them, so that paying players win.
Let us think about that:
Lets say everyone who pays money always wins.
Lets say 10% of Players pay money.
Both of these Numbers would be a lot lower in reality, but let us just asume this.

So from 10 games i lose 1, because my opponent was a Pay2win Player.
(In reality it would be more like 1 out of 50 games.)

This does not match with people telling you, that every game they play is rigged. Nobody would even notice anything, if that was the case.

Why would I? I read the patent, found the game still fun and play as much as I like. Though I wonder, if you know some interesting fact: a patent does NOT mean, that only only the owner is allowed to use it. In fact it is very common, that they allow other people to use the patent. For money of course. Do you play a game with micro transitions? Can you be sure, that company did not pay money and is now rigging the game.

Probably true. Expansions are prime time for other tricks though. (Release OP cards to lure sales with intention of nerfing post release to make players buy/craft other archetypes, making certain amount of new cards necessary in order to monetize bgs and duels, etc.) I don’t see what difference this makes to the argument though. Maybe the value of employing manipulative MM algorithms to Blizz is lower during this time?

Since buyable decks this may be true, but in general, latest expansion packs are best dust value one can until a good part of the set is complete, no? This is because nerfed cards can be dusted and since the expansion is new, you’re getting cards which have more a chance of being nerfed.

Disagree that whales are the main target. Usually they’ll buy stuff anyway. I think this algorithm is designed to convert low paying into higher paying.

You are right. Interestingly, the system as described in the patent is positive reinforcement. However, I’d argue that whatever operant conditioning is being employed against its players, would be equally bad unless known by the players. If I were to make a big purchase and craft a Ticketus deck and sail through D5 to Legendary with it because of easy matchups, is that fair to other players who are more skillful, playing decks perfect for the meta, who are stuck for longer at that level?

I agree that probably not every single game is manipulated. I wish I could say that for sure, but I can’t because Blizzard’s matchmaking algorithm is largely a black box whose inner workings are hidden from the players.

Of course it can be very difficult to figure out the games whose outcomes are determined by honest reasons (skill, deck design, random effects, etc.) vs. those won/lost due to dishonest reasons (matchmaking against favorable/unfavorable archetypes, etc). I don’t blame players for not being able to tell the difference.

I just want players to know that Activision patented rigged matchmaking, and that there is a strong possibility it is being employed currently in some form or another.

I stopped reading there. Good luck.

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I did read it, did you? Because there are two things that popped up that are relevant here:
section 16:

In another example, if a player has been performing poorly (e.g., getting killed at a rate higher than the player’s historical rate), the scoring engine may dynamically adjust one or more coefficients to match the player in a game that will improve the player’s performance. For example, the player may be matched with easier opponents, matched with better teammates, and/or placed in a game that is more tailored to the player’s preferences (e.g., players that play in games more closely aligned with their preferences tend to perform better).

If you’ve seen all the rigging threads, you know that this isn’t true.

But most of all (and this is very important since it returns a lot):

identify an in-game item that is relevant to a first player, but not yet possessed by the first player for gameplay in a multi-player game

So, the whole point of this patent is to buy stuff that will help you. They use the example of a sniper rifle in the patent, but to reiterate: if you play as a sniper, you’ll be matched with a sniper who has a better gun, so you want to buy that gun. Which, you know, makes sense. If you’re a sniper, you wouldn’t be incentivized to buy something if your matched with a guy who bought a flamethrower (I don’t play CoD, I don’t know). See, the whole thing is the game is basically telling you “this guy here that’s kicking your donkey? that could be you!”. And now you’re wondering what does this have to do with Hearthstone?

Everything! There are ten classes in Hearthstone! People have their preferences! If someone plays Shaman, why would he want to spend money if he gets his backside handed to him by a Mage? He doesn’t want to be like the Mage, he has no interest in playing Mage. So, why showcase the Mage cards? In order for this to work, he would have to be matched against another Shaman who has better cards. But this doesn’t happen. I don’t have that much mirror matches, and the ones that I do run into, aren’t OMGROFLSTOMPED, and that’s not because I whale or spend money. I only buy one of the pre-purchase bundles and that’s it. Don’t spend any cash otherwise.

See? That’s the point of a patent. If you patent a method of operations, you have to follow that method. You can’t derive of it, because you’re no longer following it, a crafty lawyer from the competition could make you lose it if they find out. I mean, I get that you want to make people aware of this patent, but in it’s current form (and it is unlikely to change) it’s NOT applicable to Hearthstone.

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Oh great, another “this game is rigged” thread, “Blizzard is evil”, yada yada. Get in line with the others and wait patiently for your ban.

No, it’s not a proof.

Then how would you explain how zephyrs works?

What does Zephrys have to do with rigging? A card that fails to see the deathrattles of minions, or what they do, and can’t read your hand is proof there’s an almighty algorithm that knows the inside out of your deck and knows how to pilot it to its best advantage?

it shows you cards based on the board.

Have a bunch of minions? Bloodlust
Your opponent have a bunch of minions? Board clear
Neither of those? Have a Jaraxus

There have been plenty of posts complaining about how bad the options from Zephyr are since his release. Don’t really see a connection to a rigged algorithm here. Just some predetermined choices based on mana and health.

Because his mechanic is an algorithm made up of data they have acquired over the years to match the board state. If zephyrs can give the best choice available and still end up failing it’s because it’s programmed to fail sometimes, and if blizzard can do that they can run statistics and rig the average results of RNG individually as well.

Think about it, the amount of cash put into hearthstone is at an absolute minimum in form of quality, where does it go? Game development or an ingenious, complex algorithm that is designed to make you hate and love the game equally to invoke strong emotions, like ixar(Iskar? Can’t remember names I don’t respect) like to say all the time.

Again, think about it… There are soooooo many people saying they hate this game yet still play, not everyone, but many, and why do they do that? Because the game is designed to make you addicted, and that happens through a well-made algorithm, perfected to give the perfect balance of joy and anguish. Ergo, it’s rigged.

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Wages of staff? Marketing? I mean, you don’t throw money at a computer and programs come popping out.

Also, you’re talking about two different algorithms, one for Zephrys and one to rig RNG results. It’s not like you take out pieces of code out of one thing to make it work less good. Any programmer will tell you if you take out pieces of code, it’ll fail completely. That’s why there’s always bugs with a new release, because they changed something minor in the code, and it broke something seemingly unrelated.

Yeah, things like that were already happening with MtG in the late nineties, long before they went on-line. Guess what? You can’t put an algorithm on paper cards. Also, if anyone at Blizzard would be able to make such a complex algorithm that can manipulate that much data in record time, they wouldn’t be working for Blizzard, because their talent would be wasted there.

Zephrys is based on a large spreadsheet with options for many board states: Hand sizes, minion counts, potential minion damage, Taunts (and their size), life totals, mana left, mana next turn and so on. The only non-keyword text Zephrys understands is Doomsayer and that was added as a special case after he was released. Every single option he can offer was manually entered into that spreadsheet.

They published at least one article detailing how they made him work when Uldum was released.

you must be a complete moron to think this game is not rigged at this point…

All right, if that’s what you wish to believe I’m not going to stop you, but “throwing a crapton of cash into the game” isn’t exactly what I meant… Throwing a crapton of cash at a team of specialists, hired to make a “designer drug” would be more precise.

Blizzard made 8 billion dollars last year and you think they don’t put heavy investment into the addictive aspects of their games? It’s not like every dime gets put into their games, but 8 billion dollars is a LOT of cash, and hiring people to make an algorithm for HS to exploit our impulses provides more income.

We are humans, not cyborgs, the knowledge to manipulate us has been used since the origin of religion, do you honestly believe that blizzard isn’t capable of HIRING(not owning) great minds to obtain their desired product?

There are a lot more easy ways to make a game addictive than manipulating the matchmaking. There’s a large market out there. If the game’s too hard (meaning you loose too much), you can just move on to another game. I mean, every time a new game pops up, there are enough threads of people saying they’re going there. And guess what? They all have the same problems.

By all means, I’m not gonna continue convincing you otherwise, if that’s what you choose to believe we can always agree to disagree.