There's A Bot To Help You Cheat HQ Trivia — But There's A Major Catch


Attention, HQties: There might be an easier way to hit that sweet, sweet jackpot. The only catch is that you have to be morally flexible to use it. There's an HQ Trivia Assistant Bot to cheat your way through the viral app. You know, if you (maybe, kind of) want to win without actually putting in the work. And it's "maybe, kind of" because the bot's developer claims he's never won a game. That isn't a great sell, but the technology behind it is actually interesting.

Mike Almond, a 33-year-old developer from Canada, created the HQ Trivia Assistant Bot. Though there are likely other bots popping up that help users hack the HQ Trivia game, Almond's is unique because his is the only one thus far that plugs into the "back end" of the game, aka the end the developers work on. As explained by the Daily Best tech editor, who spoke directly with Almond:

"HQ Trivia Assistant accesses the app’s API via a proxy connection with the user’s computer. It then pulls in and displays each question seconds before the host, Scott Rogowsky, announces it on screen and spits out a list of the answers with percentage points next to each, showing how likely each query is to be correct. The bot accomplishes these results by grabbing each question from the app’s transcript via its API, simultaneously searching the question via both Google and Yahoo search, then scraping the preview text on each link for words contained in each answer."

In other words, if you use the bot, it can read the questions before Scott announces them. It will then search for the answer online, and users will see a pop-up screen that suggests the best possible answer. However, it's not a perfect system, and, in a comment to the Daily Beast, the HQ Trivia company stated that they "expressly [reserve] the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated means or scripts. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void."

Almond created the bot for fun, and he admitted that he's yet to win a round of HQ Trivia while using it. Plus, when the Daily Beast team tested out the bot, they found a few issues. Most notably, for HQties unfamiliar with technology, the "assistant" could be more of a nuisance than a teammate. Time spent trying to figure out how to plug in a bot that boasted a 90 percent accuracy rate until it plummeted to 40 percent (once the Daily Beast mentioned it to the HQ Trivia developers) might be better spent brushing up on a few of your weaker categories. Why? Well, the HQ Trivia Assistant can be difficult to implement, isn't that good, and may result in your win being voided.

As Slate reports, "the bot can pull the query, enter the transcript, and suggest the correct answers even before the questions appear on most people’s screen". It has timing on its side, but not necessarily accuracy. Almond told the Daily Beast that his creation "works best as a tool to double check your gut response or to allow you to better guess on questions where you have no idea" of what the correct answer would be.

Its accuracy also fluctuates; while one user reported the bot got him to the 11th round of the game, the Daily Beast experienced flaws like the assistant suggesting Charlotte of Charlotte's Web was a dodo bird.

In the end, the HQ Trivia Assistant bot might be more than trouble than it's worth. If you're already a skilled player, and the daily jackpot is low, it might be in your best interest to just not mess around with it. But if you do choose to use the HQ Trivia Assistant, then you'll need a lot of luck and to be aware of the fact that it isn't a perfect system. The most reliable way to win HQ Trivia is, of course, just to brush up on your trivia.