By Shiela Bertillo
Sky Mavis, the developer of popular play-to-earn non-fungible token (NFT) game Axie Infinity, confirmed that they were looking into an unfair in-game practice known as win-trading, following the complaints of many avid gamers online.
What is win-trading in Axie Infinity?
Win trading involves queueing up for a match with friends in different lobbies so you get matched against each other. Then, one of them throws the game so the other one can increase their MMR. Although the scheme may not be effective at the lower ranks, those on the top of the leaderboard can exploit the method to push their MMR, since the top 1K players on the leaderboard will get Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) prizes, one of the games in-game tokens that can be converted to fiat money.
“This form of MMR abuse erodes the integrity of a fair and competitive gaming ecosystem,” the developers wrote in a statement.
Nix Eniego, Assistant Vice President of cryptocurrency exchange Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) also took the initiative to report these abuses to the developers via Twitter. He expressed his surprise that “this is happening at a larger scale than we all thought.”
“I do not intend this to be a witch-hunt yea, and it shouldn’t be. But a concerned player shared it and I felt it needed to be reviewed by Axie team. It’s a pretty serious offense,” he added.
Accordingly, Sky Mavis mentioned an incident where during a Facebook livestream, 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.
“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,” the developers stated.
In the same statement, they also named two more players, IU and Atelo, for choosing to lose intentionally. The developers stressed that “this behavior is completely unacceptable for anyone in our community.”
Sky Mavis determined their sanctions wherein; the Axies Taxton used on stream will be banned for 365 days and he will forfeit his Season 19 rewards. IU and Atelo will also forfeit their rewards.
The developers emphasized several points regarding the issue such as “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. 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,” they added.
On the other hand, another Filipino streamer Extra Rai released a statement regarding one incident in his stream where he gave a free win to one of his viewers.
“Last Nov 25 2021, I had the rare chance of matching up with one of my viewers during my livestream, who asked that I let him win because he hasn’t won since he started playing that day. I asked him to prove that it was really him by making him pass a turn, and he actually did, which made me forfeit the match because I wanted to give the win,” he wrote.
He also said that he has “no intention but to share some good vibes with everyone. I didn’t care about gaining money, and I just wanted to help out someone who might need it more.”
“I am also aware now that this action is not allowed in Axie Infinity, and I am prepared to accept any sort of punishment or consequence. If ever my viewer who I gave my win gets punished as well, I will be more than happy to replace his Axies with a much better set than his current one,” he added.
Further, Axie Infinity guarantees that they “will continue to seriously take allegations of cheating, match-fixing, win-trading, and any other form of unethical behavior that compromises the competitive integrity of Axie Infinity.”
“We would like to encourage and empower all of the community to report any suspicious behavior, as long as it is done in good faith and without personal attacks,” they added.
This article is published on BitPinas: Axie Infinity Win-Trading Issue – Sky Mavis Issues Statement