Some people will find following statements difficult to believe, and some will say they are besides the point, but they are my views nonetheless:
I didn’t gain a competitive advantage. I looked at one of the first deck lists to see what the bot was about, and I couldn’t tell you whose it was or what was in it. I didn’t participate in group testing, group strategy sessions, or looking at deck lists. Not because I didn’t want to, but I’ve simply been too busy at school to play netrunner. Maybe if I had been more involved I would have stopped it, maybe I would have encouraged it. But because of how things worked out, I didn’t gain any advantage. Again, I understand there is no way to prove that beyond a doubt.
The bot didn’t seem like cheating to me. It seemed like a clever way to gather public information. If Wes had come up with a hack to access any deck from any account on NRDB and asked me if we should use it, I would have said “no, that’s a terrible idea.” This point has also been dismissed, but I firmly believe that intentions and perspective matter, not just consequences.
I’ve played this game for four years now. My days of grinding out hundreds of games a week are long behind me, and I don’t think I’ll ever play the game on that level again. I’ve been lucky to get a half-dozen games in over the past few months, but that’s my choice based on a need to take other parts of life more seriously. But even those few games I spent recording, analyzing, and always trying to get better at the game. I don’t think I will ever be able to be a “causal” player in that sense.
When I T4’ed Worlds in 2015 it was the first time I truly felt like I was good at something in this world. Later that night I found out more than a few people were saying I didn’t deserve my finish because I “cheated” by not allowing a late parasite token. I got super emotional and burst into tears, and it took a while for my friends to calm me down. Drunk, 20-year-old me couldn’t understand why someone would want to take away what I had just accomplished.
Those days are long behind me. I understand now that perspective plays a big roll in deciding what is fair, and you need to stand by your conscience. Simply put: I can live with people hating me, but if I lie to myself for the sake of my reputation, I’ll just end up hating myself instead. Nothing in my mind says “back out of the tournament, you don’t deserve to do well because you cheated.” Say what you need to say and issue whatever condemnation you see appropriate. But I’m playing in this Worlds, and every Worlds until circumstances prevent me from doing so.
It’s cool seeing such a formidable list of players united for the good of the game. I’m sorry I had to be on the other side of it.