Shadow Era TCG » Interview with Rumsey
Rumsey is one of the most well-known figures in the Shadow Era community; mostly through his posts on the forums, but also from doing a fair amount of innovative work behind-the-scenes and from his varied experiences with other similar games. He's also a very good player. I'm not sure Killtrend could have suggested a better name for my second interview. Read on to find out whether you agree ...
How did you discover Shadow Era?
Largely by chance. I searched for "TCG" on the Android Market and was very happy to stumble upon Shadow Era.
Had you played any similar games before Shadow Era?
Yes, I've played the WoW, MtG, and Yu-Gi-Oh trading card games. I've also played lots of games that have similarities with trading card games but are not, such as Culdecept, PoxNora, Enchanted Arms, and others.
What has Shadow Era displaced to become part of your life?
League of Legends has definitely taken a back seat, and it's cut in to my Disc Golf outings as well, though since the tournament I have been playing SE a lot less and making time for other things. Before the tournament, I was playing all the time in preparation.
You've gained quite a reputation for hacking and general computer wizardry, which got you into trouble with the developers at one point. What did you do and how was the matter resolved?
I am something of a hobbyist hacker. Basically, when I discovered Shadow Era, I wanted to see what kinds of security it had in place, and I soon found out that there wasn't much. When I started playing SE for fun, I noticed I was getting LOTS of random defeat bugs, and I got fed up quickly. (In retrospect, it was most likely a side-effect of poor networking and playing on my mobile device.)
So I decided that I was done with the game if I was going to be getting that many random defeats (upwards of 50% of the time), and made a rage post on the forums exposing some of the security vulnerabilities that I felt were responsible for my constant defeat bugs. The topic became heated very quickly, and Kyle promptly removed the methods I had posted for cheating. This garnered me a reputation in the community, but not necessarily a positive one.
Soon after, I found out where the game clients store the data for the AI decks and players, and realized it could be easily modified. I tried to improve my public image by releasing a helpful tool which would let players play against the top 2 deck from the first unofficial SE tournament. This was up for a short while before it was removed by Kyle, which spawned something of a debate in the forums - this time with several people taking my side. I took the conversation to PMs with Kyle and, after clearing up some miscommunications, bad first impressions, and more explanation on the tool's functions, usage, and safety, Kyle decided to allow it on the forum after all.
A few days later I got another PM from Kyle asking if I'd like to join his new game security team, and the rest is history. Now I check the security of upcoming client/server releases and report the vulnerabilities and solutions to Kyle and the rest of the security team in private. As a side effect, my hacking video thread has died off, sorry guys!
Thanks for sharing the full story there. I think it's a credit to both you and Kyle that things turned out so well. I do wonder whether there is still some grudge though, as your official title is Account Security Specialist, which has one of the worst acronyms. How do you feel about this?
Maybe you're right, Kyle does never pass up an opportunity to refer to me as a cheater!
Haha! Well personally, I think it is a pretty terrible acronym, there is a story to it however. AnAdolt specifically requested this acronym when the security team was being assembled because, well, that's just AnAdolt for you. It's been mentioned several times that I can change my title if I don't like it, but as much as I don't care for the title, I dislike a break in conformity even more.
In short, for as long as AnAdolt is content to keep his title the same (and I think this will be a very long time), I'll just ride it out with him.
While we're talking about the forums, I have to say that I think your avatar is one of the coolest I've seen. Where's it from?
Ahhh, I'm glad you like! That would be one of my favorite video character from my FAVORITE game series, Metal Gear. It's Frank Jaeger, better known as Gray Fox, better known as "Ninja".
Now back to the game, who is your favorite Shadow Era Hero and why?
Nishaven, because he was my first Hero and I really like his board wipe ability.
Who is your least favorite and why?
Baduruu, because he is basically impossible to make competitive.
[That sounds like a challenge. I might give it a go!]
If you could introduce one new card, what would it be?
I would introduce draw engines like Wizent's, Research, and Blood Frenzy to the classes which are currently lacking them: Elementals and Wulven. I would also rework the draw engines for Hunters since the armors don't work well enough in the majority of situations, but work quite too well in the minority of others.
If you could delete one card from history, what would it be?
Definitely Eternal Renewal. I think it is the root cause of all the complaining about the Elemental classes. Elementals have possibly the best card pool in the game and renewing the cards is definitely not a neccessity of a powerful Elemental deck. I don't see the reason to give them this special ability no other class gets, when it results in so many players getting frustrated when playing against it.
If you could delete one player from history, who one would it be?
Haha, sure we could all name players who annoy us, but I don't think it would be in good character to say ...
Shadow Era just had the regional qualifiers for its first official tournament. What was the experience like for you?
It was a good time, I managed to win all my games and come out as the top seed for regional finals. I got lucky with my matchups, facing one Elementalis and 3 Majiya players. That's good for me because my deck is strong in the mirror.
[Since this interview, Rumsey has placed 2nd in the regional finals and will be playing in the world finals.]
So you didn't play Nishaven? That's a shame. What do you think he needs to become tournament viable?
You know, I haven't given it much thought. I think after the tournament is finished I might spend some time ironing out a competitive Nishaven deck and see if it can be done. One thing I'm sure of is no one has come really close to creating the "definitive" (or best possible) Nishaven Deck yet, so that could be fun.
What are your plans with Shadow Era going forward?
Currently I am working on a stand-alone SE multi-tool. So far the Deck Builder functions are complete and there is a beta floating around out there, if you can find it. I also plan to add AI deck export so you can make and play against any deck you'd like, and a simple deck counter that you can keep onscreen as you play and mark off cards as draw them (so you know what is left in your deck).
Aside from working on my program, I plan to continue playing with 40 card decks and keep myself in shape for future tournaments.
Can you give us any insider information on the 1.26 update?
I can tell you a bit about the security related side. 1.26 will bring improved cheat detection and features to make cheating a lot harder, you can expect Force Defeat exploits to no longer work any more. Sync errors should now result in a draw instead of playing out until someone gets a defeat.
2 more features that are in the works but I can't promise for 1.26: Better information on the defeat screen (if you lose due to network timeout, taking too long, etc), and a turn timer being displayed on the GUI. Currently there is a 2 minute hard limit on turns that people sometimes surpass and get defeats, and then think it is the result of a cheat or timeout.
Fast forward two years, how is Shadow Era doing?
I really hope it takes off and blows up. Its already successful by some standards, but I would love for it to become a "household name" for TCG players. I hope going forwards that Kyle focuses on some publicity aside from partner advertising in the mobile markets.
I think its important to reach out to the media outlets that cover TCG play and do our best to make Shadow Era known. I also think that any SE fan sites dedicated to game coverage could go a long way towards giving SE the image of a legitimate competitive game.
Well, that's a very positive way to end, so let's wrap up. Thank you for answering all my questions and making this interview so interesting to conduct and, hopefully, to read. Just one final question: who do you think I should interview next?
LyingDragon or Yaemon. I have a lot of respect for these two level headed guys, who always manage to find creative ways to play within the rules and never complain about different decks or cards being overpowered. I've spent a lot of time practicing with both of them, and its personalities like theirs that make me proud to be a part of the SE community.
I will do my best to get them to take part. Watch this space.
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