Thanks for the fantastic feedback on the Speed Run puzzle this week. We definitely hear your comments that assigning bonus points based on start-to-finish speed (rather than how soon after the puzzle is released) is a much fairer system and considers those who aren't available to start puzzling smack at noon ET each Wednesday.
We've been considering this as an overall change to all puzzles, and ran this Speed Run as a way to test it and gather feedback. And well, I've got some good news and some bad news (but then some more good news.)
The good news is that we're generally in agreement with you. We wanted to test this method as a fairer system, and will always be looking for ways to improve Possibility Storm. Your feedback being consistent with our goals is a great place to be.
The bad news is that the existing system isn't ready, as there are a few ways to exploit it. There are two ways in which this system can be cheated, that allow players to access the puzzle without starting the timer, so that they can later view it normally and submit their answer in very little time to unfairly earn speed bonuses.
We knew about one of the two exploits, but decided to run the puzzle anyways for two reasons.
1) It's detectable. Even though we wouldn't be able to identify the cheater, we'd be able to see that it happened. In this case, only one Patron used this exploit, and they also came forward about it to make sure we knew about it.
2) We were eager to collect your feedback on this approach. We knew we'd need to work on the system, but we wanted to check first that it was something you wanted.
The second exploit was discovered during this testing process by another Patron, and confirmed for us that we need to improve the system before running another speed-based puzzle, let alone use this system with regularity. We're dealing with puzzlers here, not normal people, so just like our puzzles, our systems need to be bulletproof.
Puzzlers = hackers. Spread the word.
The next bit of good news is that these exploits did not unfairly affect the scoring for this puzzle. "How do we know that?", you ask? Because not enough people got the dang puzzle right to even have a"Top 4" times to award bonus points to! It turns out open-ended puzzles aren't easy, though most of you got really close. Stay tuned for the solution which will come out Monday morning as usual.
Finally, we're happy to let you know that a replacement system is already in the works. We're going to give it some time before we roll out another Speed Run, but when we do, we'll be testing this new approach, and if it checks out, we will strongly consider changing the way you submit your answers at some point thereafter.
There's no timeline for this - it's all long-term stuff. We just like to keep you fully informed of our processes and be entirely transparent about any challenges we bump into along the way. Amonkhet season will certainly stay the way it is, and since we probably want to run this out at the beginning of a season, Hour of Devastation is likely going to maintain the same system as well. Beyond that? We'll just have to see!
Once again, thank you for your fantastic feedback. It's a real thrill to see you enjoying solving our puzzles as much as we enjoy making them, and it's a great feeling to see how invested you are all in offering your feedback and helping Possibility Storm improve.
Thanks a million,
The Possibility Storm Team