Popular live trivia app HQ Trivia usually pays out a cash prize after 12 questions, but last night, for the second time, they’ve tried a “winner takes all” approach. After 27 minutes of trivia, with $25,000 on the line, two players remained—then the game abruptly ended as one of them reportedly got kicked from the game for cheating.
Ever since it got popular, cheating has plagued the live competition game, HQ Trivia. In January The Daily Beast reported that a web developer had made significant progress on a bot that would generate correct answers for the game. HQ Trivia made it clear that it considers using bots cheating, as opposed to quickly Googling an answer or asking a friend. February saw the rise and fall of several popular HQ cheating bots, as they either closed voluntarily or were served cease & desist notices.
Evidently, that doesn’t mean cheating has stopped. During Sunday night’s game, question 26 eliminated all but two players, Jeric Brual and Kayla14. Before Jaric could answer the 27th question, he was kicked from the game, as you can see in this video by Flip Review below. Kayla answered incorrectly, and the game was over. HQ Trivia followed the game up by tweeting that moderators “kick players that violate HQ’s terms of service.”
It didn’t take long for players to find tweets on Jaric’s twitter account saying that they had used bots for other games of HQ. Jeric has since locked his Twitter. Kotaku has reached out to both HQ and Jeric but they did not respond in time for publication.
The Daily Beast reports that both Jeric and Kayla are apparently members of a private Discord dedicated to “hacking” trivia apps. “On Sunday night, a bot in a private Discord chat that both Brual and the runner up, Kayla, were active members of was spitting out supposed answers live as other members of the group collaborated on answers in real time,” Daily Beast reporter Taylor Lorenz wrote. Lorenz also wrote that members of this Discord provided screenshots that purported to show both Jeric and Kayla were in the chat during this game of HQ.
“I can confirm that Kayla is in chat because she, along with Jeric, were both screaming in the voice chat about how far they got, and the only reason Kayla actually didn’t win was because she fat fingered,” one member of Discord told The Daily Beast, meaning they accidentally tapped the wrong answer.
Lorenz writes in her report for The Daily Beast that while the bots helped Kayla and Jeric, the key to getting answers right was being in a voice chat between the community members. Speaking aloud helped them figure out the correct answers faster than just using a bot on its own. Sounds a lot like my own HQ experience, honestly. I’ve used HQuack, I’ve conferred with friends, I’ve tried to Google answers. But the first, and only, time I’ve won, it was because head of Special Projects Tim Marchman happened to walk by and answer the final question correctly for me.