Dream is also number 2 on the overall list of top YouTube creators for the year. His wildly popular speedrun videos have brought him all the attention and acclaim. He competes against other Minecraft players to complete Minecraft as fast as possible. Sometimes, he even sets records. Now, those who hold the records are challenging them.
Speedrun.com keeps track of all the runners and categories that compete for spots. The moderators of Minecraft records published a 14-minute video in December. It summarizes the two-month-long investigation into Dream's 5th place run earlier in the year. This is a primer for a longer document that is formatted as research paper and breaks down all of the high-level math done by the team to verify Dream's speedrun.
The paper measures 29 pages in length and includes graphs, as well as concessions to account for potential bias. Geosquared, one moderator on the team, told Polygon that the group was made up of volunteers who study mathematics and computer science. This might explain the report's thoroughness and format. Geosquared is an authority on the subject and has been featured on Mojang's official Minecraft website.
Before we get into the details of what is being disputed it's important that we note that Dream himself denies all allegations. Dream stated on Twitter that he is taking the time to respond to the video above in a "quality" manner, while also pointing out that some smaller claims within the video are incorrect.
He wrote on Twitter, "Sad that people jump on the hate wagon before listening to any opposing viewpoint." Dream did not respond when asked for comment.
What's the controversy? Dream was able to get extremely lucky during six livestreams that the team created. This is something many consider impossible or even unlikely. The gist of it is that you need two items to reach the end Minecraft. Trade with Piglins, which are in-game creatures that will give you random items if you barter gold ingots, is the fastest way to obtain one of these items. A Piglin may give you the exact item you need to trigger Minecraft's end. However, it is only 5% likely. The odds of getting the second item are slightly better, as a specific mob has a 50% chance to drop it after being killed.
Dream bartering successfully for the key item 42 times out of 262 times is what we see in the few livestreams. However, 211 of his total mob kills dropped that second item. The team admits that the results may not be as accurate as the data. Flipping a coin 10 times does not guarantee you get exactly 5 heads or 5 tails. The team realized that there could be bias and gave Dream statistical credit. Dream's odds of success are far better than those of his contemporaries, even when they are compared to other luck runs - which almost all top runs are, in a way.
The paper states that "If nothing else, drop rates from Dream's stream are so extraordinary that they should be analyzed for their sake, regardless of whether any one individual believes them legitimately."
What are the odds of getting a trade? There is only 1 in 177 billion chance that Dream will make as many trades successful as the trades. The team gave Dream some leeway and tried to account for bias. However, they still determined that the chance of the barters being traded during the run is 1 in 82 billion. Dream's mob drop rates during his livestreams were only 1 in 113 million chances of happening. The moderation only getting one set odds like the above makes it unlikely. This makes it even more difficult to achieve the record-setting run. Although they can't prove it, the moderation team believes that Dream may be running a modified version of the game.
Dream has, for his part tried to defend himself against the accusations. The moderation team requested the files showing what was in his folders at the time of the livestream's completion ten days later. Dream provided the files as requested. Dream provided the files as requested. However, the moderation team claims that the files could have changed during the 10-day gap. Dream says this is likely because he changes his game depending on what he's streaming. The moderation team also claims that Dream deleted the original files containing the settings of the run, but Polygon can't verify this claim. Dream has made the file public and it is available for anyone who is interested. Critics claim there are other ways to alter Minecraft drop rates, and they don't involve mods.
Because they wanted to verify modification dates, I was asked if it had been modified. It had been 10 days since the last modification. I also change the mods depending on which version I am on. (dream SMP is 1.13, speedrunning is 1.16, servers 1.8, etc.)
Although the video that caused all the commotion has only been online for a few days at this writing, the debate over the legitimacy of the run has been ongoing for several weeks. Dream posted a variety responses to the investigation, calling it clickbait and aiming to get views, given Dream's popularity and visibility. Dream claims that the investigation was so flawed that some of the moderation staff threatened to quit, but Geosquared tells Polygon this is not true.
He wrote on Twitter that "all moderators voted unanimously for our decision" and that no one was threatening to leave in protest. "From all we know, that is either unsubstantiated or complete hyperbole."
Thank you for your totally independent, 29 page "investigation" into whether 16th-place runners had "too much luck". This was then turned into a clickbait Youtube clip by a head moderator (which was quite shocking).
Although it is difficult to say without speaking with every member of the team, there was probably some consensus among moderators. The run is no longer listed in the world records page. Dream submitted other runs that could be verified in their entirety. Geosquared explained to Polygon why the team would spend so much effort disputing a run that was never voted the number one.
He wrote that "any run can be subjected to scrutiny of course, and in this case, after members of our community brought out the exceptional numbers, it would have been disingenuous to not look into it just as it wasn't the world record."
The speedrun's veracity raises questions about the engine that made Dream so successful. What does it mean that some of Dream's speedruns were faked?
Dream claims that this is a personal grudge. This is especially true considering he has legitimate runs that the team has verified. Then why fake a fifth-place video? While observers attempt to understand what's out, consensus seems to be skeptical. One viewer tried to simulate billions without running into the exact same odds as Dream.
But, on top of all that, speedrun mods and verifiers have trash talked me in the most unprofessional manner and allowed server members and mods to spread bs figures while responding with new people saying that "Dreams is under investigation". This applies to multiple mods as well as verifiers
There was also some controversy on social media. One mod had to tell viewers not to send Dream negativity about the research paper. He wrote, "Dream doesn't deserve hate." "Criticism is a good thing, but not hatred." Negativity is not justice and being vindictive will get us nowhere."
Dream also apologized for his response to the allegations. He wrote, "Although there are reasons to be upset, there is no reason to act like an infant." When I get intense criticism, I tend to act before my brain thinks.
Although there are attempts to make things work between the parties, the moderation group is firm in its findings.
The paper concludes that "the events observed on Dream's stream can not be modelled by any sensible, conventional probability distribution." "The likelihood of this happening is still very unlikely, even after accounting for biases."
Correction (Dec. 17, 2017) An earlier version of this article stated that the Minecraft speedrun moderation staff analyzed the odds in a single speedrun run by Dream. We have updated the article to reflect the fact that mods used data from multiple livestreams.