|Round||Division 128 Final|
|Match Date||Thursday, June 3rd, 2004|
||Melee - 50.57%|
32 for - 23 against
||Melee - 7.16%|
I believe the prediction percentage for this match was the lowest we've ever had in a contest poll before. Pretty odd, considering that SSBM was the 2 seed in the division. But also not surprising, considering how horribly messed up this division was to begin with.
And thus, the division from hell came to its dramatic conclusion. We saw two Starcraft fans act like complete morons in this match; aside from that, the massive war that went on between the two sides in this matchup was at its worst during this match. There are ugly matches, and then there was the colossal mod war that went on during this thing. But in defense of SSBM fans, they had a legitimate gripe here. During the entire contest, even when Starcraft cost me two matches, I have never said that Bnet spamming was illegal. Bnet is a part of what Starcraft is, after all. But a website known as www.sclegacy.com really upped the ante when it came to Starcraft's matches attracting the biggest flame wars. Everything was going fine until we noticed that site. This match was hyped as soon as it was announced, and Starcraft seemed like the favorite going in. As such, the poll was advertised across multiple Starcraft sites across the internet. But thanks to sclegacy going in detail to outline a method to cheat in our poll, the entire thing became as ugly as it possibly could have gotten. I even had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with sclegancy's administrator when he tried coming to the board to defend his actions. Apparently he assumed that the method he outlined was a well-known fact that was perfectly kosher. But by the time he explained himself and fixed up his homepage, the damage was done all across this board, and the ugliest match of the contest was very much underway.
As for the actual match itself, Starcraft once again managed to start off strong. But it would not last. After the massive flame war was well underway, the match was heating up as well. SSBM withstood the initial onslaught of Starcraft, and managed to catch fire during the morning vote. SSBM also happened to pick the perfect time to perform at its peak. It was less than impressive in its first three matches, yet it somehow managed to come on strong in this match. It was so strong in fact that did to Starcraft what its first three opponents failed to do: it built a huge lead that looked damn near unbeatable.
SSBM managed to build a lead of nearly 3800 votes on Starcraft throughout the day, which is something that not even The Wind Waker was able to manage. And this all happened during Bnet spamming as well, so no excuses could really be made here. The odd thing about all of this is that SSBM was one of the hardest games to read in this entire contest. In all of SSBM's wins in this contest, none of them were impressive. But wins are wins, and it was blatantly obvious that not even Starcraft could come back from being down 3800 votes. We all settled on 3000 being the necessary lead for SSBM in order to be comfortable going into the final hours, yet it was all the way up to 3800. Not even all of Starcraft's magic could allow it to come back from this, right?
*cues Dr Octopus earthquake sounds*
If you thought the flame wars and chaos that surrounded the end of the Wind Waker match and the beginning of this match were bad, you had seen nothing. Once SSBM built the 3800 vote lead, it was 8:40 PM EST. Right then and there, Starcraft went on the most insane charge any of us had ever seen in one of these polls. Within the next twenty minutes, Starcraft managed to slice the gigantic sum of 1400 votes off of SSBM's lead. To put this in a better perspective, look at the updates that were recorded during this (check out the graph below).
And I'm aware that it says 3691 up there, but I can assure you that the lead was just about to break 3800 around 8:40 PM before this all started. Anyhoo, don't those updates look a bit odd to you? Now imagine the entire face of the internet after all of this happened. Yeah, it was pretty bad.
As anyone could imagine, cheating accusations flew all over the place during this little spree. But of course, the Starcraft fans disagreed and actually called this surge legitimate. Rumor had it that Korean TV aired a commercial asking people to vote in our poll.
Thankfully, CJayC himself came to our board to shed some light on the subject not once, not twice, but thrice. But it took until after midnight for him to finally do it, so the entire site had to see Starcraft continue its comeback attempt all the way through the night. But on the bright side, the lead was around 1900 before CJayC posted his topics. This means that despite the massive Starcraft surges, SSBM still looked like it couldn't lose. 1900 votes being made up within 150 minutes is something that even Starcraft would have issues with. But in the interest of fairness, the Starcraft fans didn't give up in this match, and continued to fight their fight. Starcraft began making a massive push in the match, and it continued all the way through the end, even after CJayC posted this:
From: CJayC | Posted: 6/4/2004 12:23:59 AM | Message Detail
Seeing a lot of proxy server votes for Starcraft, from votes # 76000 to 79000. Looks like someone got real sloppy; this is kind of obvious. I may end up throwing out that entire block of 3000 votes unless I can sort out the legitimate from the proxy votes. Let me see what I can do here...
And after that, we were greeted with another topic:
From: CJayC | Posted: 6/4/2004 1:06:25 AM | Message Detail
I still haven't found the proxy list this guy used, but I'm piecing it together.
So far, I've found 400 votes for Starcraft made through proxy servers, all coming pretty much one after another. You can actually see when the proxy program starts in the server logs. This is a case of one person (or a couple of them) going through all the trouble of creating a program to auto-vote through proxy server after proxy server. I can only hope they're doing it for the fun of it and not for their own contest entry.
I mean, you usually see 1-2 votes from known proxies an hour, but those votes are for both sides. Then suddenly, between votes #75562 and #78961, there are over 400 votes for Starcraft, all from known proxies. Of course, I'm fairly sure another 300-400 votes in that range are from proxies as well, but I'm still hunting them down.
In short, one or more random dumbasses (who no doubt are rooted from yaoyuan.com) cheated the poll. What really gets me is that even though the cheated votes were eventually never taken out of the final stats, SSBM won anyway. Oh, Starcraft continued its massive charge, but it fell short by 500 votes. More on that later, as there is one more CJayC post to inform everyone of.
From: CJayC | Posted: 6/4/2004 1:57:23 AM | Message Detail
Total confirmed open proxy votes found for Starcraft: 637
There are likely more, but I've exhaused all of the public open proxy lists I know. All of the votes came within a specific time frame, and 100% of them were for Starcraft (something that can't really be passed off as a coincidence). They started off heavy, then slowed down (I guess as the guy exhausted his lists).
There are likely more than the 637 I found, but I was only going by public lists (i.e. ones I could find on Google). How I found them: Looked up a suspect vote IP address on Google with the word "proxy" as well, and then taking the lists that popped up and adding them into my known proxy list. I started with around 200 that I already knew about (I hadn't updated my lists in a year and a half), then found the other 400+ through Google tonight.
Oh, and this is pretty telling:(link has died, but check the graph below for the same info)
The plot points are votes per game per 1000 votes.
And now, for the frequently whined questions:
How do you know that these are all fradulent votes?
They're from known open proxy servers (most of them in countries like Malaysia, Turkey, China, and so on), 100% of them are for Starcraft, and they all came in a huge rush (as if someone started off a program to vote automatically).
How do you know that this didn't happen earlier in the contest?
I don't know, but I'm fairly sure, given that there wasn't a surge like this on any other contest. Every other lead change has been gradual and taken hours to fully come about; a 1000 vote gain in an hour isn't normal.
You're just a Nintendo fanboy, aren't you?
How sad is it this? I mean, I've been accused of being for/against so many different companies at this point, it's not even funny. Just a day ago, I was anti-Nintendo for not finding any cheating going on in the LTTP battle...
For the record, I don't care who wins, as long as both sides play as fairly as the other. If you'll recall what I said just a day or two ago, the only kind of "cheating" that I would remove votes for was when one person attempted to seriously sway the contest vote all by themselves, and low and behold, someone got desparate enough to try it. If you were online and watching it when the swing happened, there can't really be any question that this wasn't legitimate.
So, what are you going to do about this?
I'm not sure. Ask me in an hour. The options range from nothing (if SSBM holds out), to removing all proxy server votes, removing all votes within the known "cheating" timeframe, or even a complete re-run of today's battle from scratch, with new intensive security measures in place to prevent this from happening again.
You're just making this up, aren't you?
Why in the hell would I open myself up to this much criticism without a valid reason? I mean, seriously, tracking this crap down has been an amazing waste of my time that I could have spent updating the site. Instead, we've got some guy attempting to ruin things for his own personal benefit, and that's not right.
In short, Starcraft's amazing little run had just come under amazing suspicion. Cheating was caught in this topic, and it puts Starcraft's other two comeback wins in doubt as to their legitimacy. But either way, SSBM won despite every effort Starcraft gave it. I don't know if this speaks more for SSBM or Starcraft, to be honest. SSBM proved beyond a doubt that it was indeed a strong game in this contest, while Starcraft proved beyond a doubt that it has the most loyal and vehement fans of any game on this site. 99% of them acted like the fans of any other game to be honest, but it was the 1% that stooped to new lows that really brought Starcraft down in an unfair manner. It's one of the greatest games of all time, and for its legacy to be ruined by two or three really stupid people is unfair. I say give props to SC for it having done this well, but none of us truly know if it actually did this well. That's the problem.
Either way, FF7 was now a lock for the finals.
Match Trends Edit
Starcraft’s Cinderella sprint through the first three rounds of the 128 Division was fully prepared to keep on chugging along, even through the juggernaut that was Super Smash Bros. Melee. It had already taken down three games that most people figured were out of its league; what was one more? Indeed, Starcraft started off in the lead and stayed there for a little while… until Ceej deducted a bunch of votes for cheating. Whoops.
So Starcraft lost, and its miracle run ended on a note of sadness and uncertainty. Still, the match in question was great, and Melee really had to give it everything to hang in there. Starcraft’s crazy run has been one of the biggest reasons people have been looking forward so much to another games contest – who knows what will happen?