Puzzle Progression Broken (Maybe not what you think.)

As I understand it, the puzzle progression was meant to streamline the process of getting players ready to participate in the labs. And for several players this has been the case. But in its current state the puzzle progression is no longer serving its intended purpose, and has turned into easy extra credit assignment points for most people that are directed to eterna.

I’m now seeing people complete the progression in a day, which may be possible for a new player, but not probable.

It is now as easy as copy and paste. This is not a new development. I have been aware of this for some time, and there was a comment from another player about identical solutions being used for the tough puzzles.

I started viewing comments at the beginning of the progression, skipped the middle, and viewed comments for the last of the supercomputer puzzles. Most have at least one solution given, either in plain text or a screenshot. These are the puzzles with solutions given. This goes beyond sharing a solution with a friend, it is pure spoilage. To make my point, see how the conversation in the comments ends in most cases after the solution is given.

[Gene Synthesizer] Level 7 of 14
[Gene Synthesizer] Level 8 of 14  death112
[Gene Synthesizer] Level 9 of 14 
[Gene Synthesizer] Level 12 of 14
[Gene Synthesizer] Level 13 of 14
[Gene Synthesizer] Level 14 of 14
[Thermocycler] Level 1 of 11
[Thermocycler] Level 3 of 11
… … …

… … …

[Supercomputer] Level 7 of 18
[Supercomputer] Level 8 of 18  honeyily 
[Supercomputer] Level 9 of 18  honeylily dragoncendre
[Supercomputer] Level 10 of 18
[Supercomputer] Level 11 of 18 sidneylew
[Supercomputer] Level 12 of 18  hidro0110  sidneylew
[Supercomputer] Level 14 of 18  hidro0110  honeyily
[Supercomputer] Level 15 of 18 dragoncendre   
[Supercomputer] Level 16 of 18
[Supercomputer] Level 17 of 18 kwharton

I don’t have a problem with someone getting a walk-through in chat, if they have been stuck. Sometimes you do have to “see” how something works to understand it. 

Some may say that people who “cheat” and use the spoilers are not the ones we are looking for, I would disagree with that hypothetical person and say we don’t know who will be a good player until they invest some sweat into actually solving these puzzles. We are human and subject to temptation, we just need to remove the temptation to cheat. 

I’m not here to just complain about this, I am willing to help if I can. I have some extra time on my hands until August. I think we need an explicit rule about giving exact answers in the puzzle comments section. But for now I think we need to delete these “spoilers”.


I agree,  direct solving sequences have no business in the comments and should be deleted. Thanks!


Thanks for bringing this up. Hopefully we can discuss this at the developer meeting tomorrow - I definitely agree with your concern.

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I agree that being able to cut and paste a solution from the comments make these puzzles largely meaningless.

But at the same time some of those puzzles are ridiculously hard and solving them is necessary for accessing the lab puzzles, which are different in nature from the ‘inverse folding’ problems in the Puzzle progression series. I wonder how many potentially productive lab players have been put off by trying to make their way through the current test puzzles.

Thanks AndrewKae for bringing this to our attention. I had been aware that there were some solutions posted, but not to this extent. I also agree with spvincent’s point that the progression involves some ridiculously hard problems (initially meant as preparation for the A*B/C2 lab) that are mismatched with current lab challenges. Here is my proposal, also expressed to the dev team:

  1. delete the full solutions that are already there,
  2. include some text on the comment page asking players not to post full solutions,
  3. open up lab access earlier (which we have talked about doing, but as far as I know never done, for over a year)
  4. to make some modifications to some of the earlier progression puzzles, where people get lost and drop out (I have quantitative data on this + the comments themselves).

Then see how it goes for 4-6 months. If people continue to post full solutions, then we should lock comments (keeping the comments that are already there).

Let me know what you think.

I can fully agree with #1 and #2. I don’t have an opinion on the rest. Thanks for your reply.

All 4 seem fine to me although #2 may get ignored or overlooked (maybe putting the warning in bold 30pt type might help)