Addressing Critical Ops Bans
We generally do not address these issues, but with the amount of confusion floating around and multiple staff members wanting to clear things up, I'd like to take a moment to explain.
Gankstars does not tolerate hackers and is the most active in the scene in trying to find and ban them. They ruin the game for everyone and we only wish hacking never existed. As our C-OPS team is not in a team house, however, we do not have control player devices and cannot stop them from installing a hack. Being the top team, we are perhaps more likely to be the victim of a player hacking for 2 reasons: 1) most players want to join GS because they see it as their best chance at winning, and 2) players are under high pressure to perform after they join, and those that cannot deal with that pressure may see hacks as an easy way out.
We've been taking more and more strict measures to combat this plague, from having random screen-sharing calls with our players and asking them to show their DMs and device configs, to offering $500 to any non-hacker who whistle-blows a hacker on our team. With careers of some of the most-known players ending in a spectacular crash and burn fashion, we hope others will think twice about hacks and realize that in the end they're just never worth it. You're sacrificing a career of making tens of thousands a year or more and working in esports industry, all for what? To maybe (a strong maybe) win one small-prize tournament?
Further, we are the most proactive. With 2 out of 3 players that we removed from Gankstars in the past year, we were the ones to get a confession out of them and submit them to developers for investigation. So yes, we told on our own players. We submitted Elite hours before a YouTube video about him went public; as devs can confirm, we wanted to ask for their official ban before making a public statement. We will go to great lengths to ban our own players if they hack; if that does not make our position on hacking clear, I do not know what else can.
Last but not least - the rules are the same for everyone. I've stated this publicly - I have zero problem with GS being disqualified from any tournament where our player was discovered to hack. Our reputation is a whole lot more important to us than any one tournament. As per the devs, Solar was only seen hacking outside the Valiance tournament, and that's why we were allowed to continue in it.
Evolve, a player for SpaceStation Gaming, hacked during an active tournament. This is why SSG was disqualified. Had he been discovered after the tournament had been over and SSG was paid out, SSG would have kept their title and money. Had he been discovered before the tournament, SSG would be simply allowed to replace him.
Solar hacked outside of Valiance tournament, but not during it. This had been confirmed by the devs. This is the only reason why we hadn't been disqualified from the tournament in question. We got hella lucky, I suppose.
There's no evidence, as far as we know, of MvP hacking. However, there's evidence of him attempting to download hacks. And just for that, we terminated his contract. As I said - we have zero tolerance for hackers.
J7, a player for D2R, was banned because he used hacks. We don't know for how long, and it could as well have been just one game to "try" hacks. The devs wouldn't ban a great player unless they truly believed he hacked at least once at some point.
There were concerns about us taking some prize money from a tournament that, months later, we found out one of our players hacked in. Nearly all of that money went to the players, and all but one of them did not hack, so it would be absolutely unfair to them if we took that money away from them somehow (which, legally, we cannot do anyway). GS took a tiny portion to help cover some C-OPS expenses; we haven't actually made any money on the game overall, yet.
We really, really don't like hackers. We do more than any other org to try and prevent hackers, and to oust them. Being the top team, we're of course the most attractive team for hackers to try and join because hackers, by definition, are looking for an easy win. We weed out the vast majority of them; sometimes, someone slips through. We give feedback to the devs all the time about the importance of anti-hack measures, and we know they're working hard on those.
Do. Not. Hack. (Or even try to/install)
Friends, please slap your friends on the back of their head if you hear about them hacking. If you're thinking of hacking, know that you have no friends in GS. Let's help this game become the success that it deserves to be. The devs and the vision are great, and the community is growing. Let's focus on the positives and growing this into an amazing mobile esport and the casual, fun game that it deserves to be.
It's just a matter of time before we have a hack-free competitive community. Until then, we at GS continue to strongly believe in this amazing game and we won't be giving up on millions of good apples just because there are a few bad apples among them. We have just shown yesterday that we can win a map 4v5; it's sad, annoying, and embarrassing for us that an occasional hacker tarnishes the hard work of so many other, good people on the team. :/
Huge shout out to all of the GS fans out there - you make a real difference supporting the team in chats and otherwise. #GSFAMOP I look forward to meeting you all at future events!