Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Ten: #1 - Cheaters, Bans, and the Future of Square-Enix MMO's

Anyone who tells you that Final Fantasy XI was the same after January 22, 2009 as it was before does not know what he or she is talking about.

2009 is a year that FFXI basically finally threw in the towel on it's own future, and the Salvage bans were basically the final straw.

Then, on December the 24th, Square-Enix made an announcement which should have most of the remaining player-base holding it's collective breath. If (and I expect that, if it is possible to do so feasibly, they will) ban for App and NASA alone, conservative estimates state that the number banned could be an order of magnitude more than the January 22 bans.

Why is this the case? Because, in the eyes of almost every significant player in the game, the Terms of Service are a noose, within which you cannot play Final Fantasy XI.

But, to back up before I get to the future and some of the comments made on the Third Party Programs announcement:

The bans came as a surprise, as many of the players did not believe that Square-Enix would pull it off. I think one of the reasons is that they knew that losing this many of the high-end players would have a damaging effect on certain aspects of the game. (Several servers, most notably the abject piece-of-shit that always was Asura, may never recover...)

They also include as least one prominent podcaster, for which Square-Enix still refuses to take the requisite action against their podcast. Banned players needs to be gone, and as players, no just their characters.

Given that, I do believe that the banhammers for Third Party Programs are in the pipeline, but, knowing how many players are involved, and the probable effects, it's a matter of if they can implement the bans without taking the entire game down (which they should have done, anyway, if they can't). If they go ahead, and the bans are in any number close to what is being estimated, they will have to merge the servers to a number at least 1/3 less than what it is now, if not 2/3!

The thing is, the cheaters and their little friends have either been ramping up their cheating (with Third Party Programs, etc.) or quitting the game this year. Even if another set of banhammers does not fall, it's pretty clear that there's going to have to be some server consolidation anyway.

But this year, by most accounts, was a year that cheating and bans had a significant impact on FFXI, and, if Square-Enix wants any future MMO to be taken seriously, even more so in the year just beginning...

Don't believe me? Look at some of these things I've read on BG...

Wipers: "My thoughts are that they are going to ban the hell out of people to get them to quit FFXI to go to FFXIV."

Now, I have two problems with this:

1) Why would I, if I were a company of that ilk, want these fuckers on XIV? Why wouldn't I ban them all from ALL Square-Enix MMO's? One of my main things about XIV is that XIV will fail, and quickly, unless the botters and cheaters are not on it.

Bunkmonk said it perfectly: "Also, why would SE want to have their new playerbase for FFXIV be a shitload of cheaters from FFXI? Brilliant..."

And that's exactly what the player-base for XIV will be, under the present parameters.

2) Why would I, if I finally got an indication that Square-Enix was serious about all this, even want to continue playing any MMO Square-Enix has out?

Secondly, Stewie: "If you owned a company like SE would you throw away $1M a year when you barely do anything to make it?"

If you owned Square-Enix and understood that not doing so could constitute sue-able fraud...

I mean, seriously, Stewie, do you honestly believe that not acting on all this would not constitute the following definition of fraud from (through a blog I read, The Market Ticker):

"Fraud is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading."

On top of that, I could probably consider going after the cheaters for the same thing...

Onward to Kotomi: "Anyway, looking at the botting situation, I don't know why Square wastes their time. The FFXI community has too many smart people(amazing, I know) for there to never be botting. If you take down one, rest assured there's someone out there that will be developing another one.

Keep fighting the never ending."

I almost wish I had the code for the stick figure running around, because there's only one answer to Kotomi's comment if it is true: "SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING!" If fair gameplay under the rules as legally set in a binding document is not possible, shut it down.

SathFenrir with some nonsense: "And after getting banned most of them re-accomplished more in FFXI than most of the QQers

I'm fine with getting banned. I did a relic from scratch on a lv1 new character in 9 months, I've beat FFXI up, down, and sideways. Bring on FFXIV.

That being said, we're not getting banned, Maury deleted the list and it was not turned over as evidence. Seems some of you have problems reading."

First off, fuck you and the horse you rode in on, you cheating piece of shit.

If you don't get banned, your presence in the game indicates fraud on the part of Square-Enix.

But this is exactly the attitude I am talking about. The cheaters and RMT have functional control over the game because of their sheer numbers.

And if Maury didn't turn over the list, that's obstruction and another criminal offense.

The only way your bullshit could stand up is to basically say that Square-Enix' continued inaction previous to this cedes all claims to ownership of the gil, gear, etc. and so forth.

"Also, I'm no lawyer but Jack McCoy is, and he speaks through me. I believe federal statutes prevent the forced disclosure of material (exculpatory evidence) unless that evidence will be used as direct evidence in any civil or criminal legislation that may arise out of any plea taken or verdict passed down from the original legal violation."

And if you believe, Sath, that the Constitution of the United States of America is still "The Law of the Land", you're real fucking funny.

"What does that all mean for us? SE has no standing to hold us, users, criminally or civilly liable for any infractions that may have occurred in, or as a result of our enrollment in a MMORPG community. There are no existing federal or even civil precedents that would uphold any such ruling. As such, any agreement or clause that SE may have wanted to tie on to an agreement made with Maury would not be upheld legally, especially on appeal."

Then they have NO RIGHT to ownership of anything in said MMO. Do you see how motherfucking ridiculous your stand is, Sath??

Yabby: "I know this is being said way too much, but if they take out everyone that has used app thats most of the endgame that the salvage bans missed."

Here's the thing: Conservative estimates are saying you could literally empty out the number of people playing on any one time of at least 1/4 of the servers with the number of bans. My position is this: They want to ban the App/NASA people, for all the reasons I've talked about all year on this blog.

BUT: They have to figure out how they're going to pull that off without basically killing the rest of the game (unless that becomes the only option). This is why I believe there will be banhammers, and the only question is the amount of time it's going to take Square-Enix to figure out what to do with the remaining players, because this is going to make the Salvage bans look like a playground game.

Eanae with the next one: "I don't think you realize how many people bot. Claim bots, craft bots, fish bots. If they were serious about it, we're talking 3-4 servers worth of people easily. Think about it. At least one full ls per server plus other botters. Also, like it or not, windower and all the accesories like ap radar are equally against the rules as botting are. Everyone who thinks they're above botters, the tos doesn't discriminate. ALL third party apps are against the tos. Personally, I think people who ignore the fact that windower is against the rules too are the arrogant ones. I await them going on a crusade. I have my WoW account ready if I get banned."

Go to WoW, then.

I think you're underestimating the problem. You're talking probably most every American 75 on PC at minimum. (This is why I can't even be outside suspicion, and that's one of the things which really pisses me off about how bad FFXI has gotten in these regards.) I said it back in January and I say it now. If they can't or won't ban for Windower and all that, then their only option is to shut the game down as a fraudulent enterprise.

This is the problem, as Phraust notes:

"To the individuals saying "It's too late, they should have done ______ earlier." They're not X years behind, they're about a year ahead. This isn't "They should have done this back in 2004." This is "They're sending a clear message to the users of thier game in 2010." Also note, I doubt Nasa and App was even available in 2004... So saying they should have done something about about something that doesn't exist is kinda wierd. And coincidentally, they are doing something about something that doesn't exist RE: Bots in FFXIV."

They need a fair player-base for XIV, or XIV is dead before it even goes BETA. I would think there would be reverse-engineering and bots to kill the fair XIV experience before XIV is even released. Do you really think Square-Enix wants to take that chance?

(Of course, the cheater shitheads would counter: "Do they have any choice?")

I could go on; there's seven more pages or so, but you get the idea... We are, once again, in a real state of flux, and it's the cheating shitheads who've done it again.


Those are your two main questions as we start 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Ten: #2 - The Year of RMT

Basically, both of these will almost certainly be out on the 31st. I am about to begin an all-nighter, to culminate with "New Year's Eve in Whitegate", as we help the Japanese ring in 2010 at 7 AM PST.

Two groups had essentially material control over FFXI this year: The Cheaters and the RMT. This post will be about the latter. I'll go more in detail on the former in the next post.

RMT are criminal scum who must be jailed and eliminated from gaming. Period.

If, as Square-Enix puts it, they own everything in FFXI, then it is theft to sell as RMT and to buy from RMT with RM (Real Money).

But, let's be frank, many of the largest-scale operations this year had to do with RMT:

-- The Gardening Nerf
-- Nerfing some NPC prices at some of the updates, which didn't please a lot of farmers
-- The Fishing Nerf (where a low-level fisher could only catch a very few fish before fatigue)
-- The credit-card SecureSafe, or whatever it's called (after it was revealed RMT has basically been able to hack into the Square-Enix servers and get credit card numbers)
-- The chat filters (which do not work at all, and may only have for upwards of a month)

and that's just a cursory list of stuff I was able to come up with off the top of my head.

RMT has basically had Square-Enix by the balls this year, and, short of jailing the lot, I can't see how they can be realistically stopped. (And, if you don't, one may have to re-evaluate who really owns the proprietary property in FFXI.)

If you played Final Fantasy XI at all this year, you were impacted by RMT. It's unavoidable.

I've gone off on them quite a bit over the course of the year, so, as I said yesterday, I am going to go a different direction and talk about (and probably go off on) an interesting Reddit poster I saw a link to his post recently (I think the link was found on BluGartr.).

About three weeks ago, a poster named GoldManSam (I'll truncate it to "Sam".) posted on Reddit as a "white IT dude working in China ... as a consultant for an MMO farm."

That, alone, makes me wonder how much Sam is in much more than just "IT consulting". We know, because it has been admitted, that RMT has the ability to hack into Square-Enix' servers and take credit card information (else several of the recent credit card actions would never have taken place).

So, a lot of people came to Sam with questions on and he answered more than a few of them...

Here's a sampling of some stuff from the "other side" of RMT:

I thought my network could have it's moments (the wireless is known to cut out on some occasions), but imagine playing on a 1 MB connection -- with THIRTY-NINE other people playing on it!

How profitable is RMT for the group Sam works with? Pay the grunts $1/hr, and the boss can make over $10,000/month! That's $120,000+ a year for theft, probably tax evasion, and probably a good deal of Internet crimes.

A usual RMTer is playing 3-8 accounts at once. The occasional 1 or 2, but at least 3 is the standard. Makes you wonder if, as I _do_ believe, that, if there ever were 2,350,000 characters on FFXI, that half of them were RMT. I stand behind that statement, especially given some of the other information...

1) There are multiple groups, and if they run into each other IRL, it can get physical! Deliberate cuts to competitors' power are not uncommon either.

2) What we see with all the RMT spam is basically only the end product (and you can imagine the number of dispose-a-characters required to do just the advertising!). As Sam points out, you have the farmers, who then hand the money (at least eventually) to bank characters, who then hand the money to the distributors, and that's where it can get in the hands of cheating fucktard players.

And the people you see advertising for the different RMT outfits may be nothing more than simply independent contractors.

3) To give you an idea of the number of people involved: A Wikipedia post on RMT has put the economic Real Money impact of RMT at at least $1B -- and there are some estimates that say there's $10 BILLION involved!

As I've implied in earlier RMT rants, bans are assumed as part of the operation. Just means to restart the mess...

I could go on, but the fact is that one has to ask a real question as to RMT and MMO's:

Without RMT, are there no MMO's?

Is this illegal shit required, not unlike the reports that the real-life banks were only really saved through laundered drug money??

That said: When are they going to criminally go after these illegal operations? Ban the players, ban the syndicates... I think banning China completely from FFXI would've been a good idea if it were more than just a silly rumor.

Later today: The Salvage Bans, the Cheaters, the 3PP Announcement, and the future of Square-Enix MMO's.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Ten: #3 - Does Square-Enix really give a damn?

So we now get to the second part of the Grand Four-Part End-of-Year Flame...

And this one is against the company who owns, makes, and runs the game.

Why? Because, frankly, my statement about considering legal action against Square-Enix for fraud vis-a-vis Final Fantasy XI still stands, even though matters of standing and damages will ensure that it probably never takes place.

But I will say bluntly that the economic, player-base, and company realities of the situation force me to believe that Square-Enix is unwilling to fulfill what I believe is a minimum standard of care for their game, and this impacts their ability to feasibly market an MMO at all, be it XI or XIV.

If you're going to make Terms of Service, you enforce them, especially if failure to do so basically renders the game asunder -- the weight of the cheaters, botters, RMT, etc. too great for the game to bear.

This is the situation I believe they are in now, and one of the reasons that I am not sure whether the December 24th 3rd Party Programs statement is a nothingburger or a sign of another major set of banhammers.

I do truly hope it's the latter (though doing so, as I will explain on Thursday, probably means shutting down the game, at least temporarily (Hint One: Conservative estimates are that these bans, should they occur, would hit an order of magnitude harder than the Salvage bans last January.)), but, given Square-Enix' record, I can't say for sure.

Let's take a look at some of the examples (other than the Salvage bans, which will get another good long look on Thursday) as to some of the negligence of Square-Enix:

1) Apathy, Pandemonium Warden, and Logging Hate

Just a couple of weeks after the Salvage bans, we see a post on Playonline lauding the first linkshell to successfully defeat the Tier V ZNM, Pandemonium Warden.

Upon further investigation, though, it's learned that the linkshell used a concept called "Logging Hate" to exploit both the process of logging out _AND_ the code of Pandemonium Warden to aid in their victory.

Basically, it was that the bulk of the linkshell would log out to avoid the massive Astral Flow which wipes the fighters in the final form of Pandemonium Warden.

Square-Enix appears to have pretty much black-letter law against that kind of thing in their Terms of Service.

From the new Knowledge Base, article 12652, on Square-Enix' Support Center website:



[Game Exploits]
Players who take advantage of in-game mechanics not intended as normal means of game play may have their account suspended and all items or experience obtained through those actions confiscated.

(end quote)

Of course, this does raise the question against most every commonly-used tactic among the playerbase as to whether that might qualify as a violation as well.

But, to get back to the specific question, I would think it clear that to use the in-game mechanic of logging out for any other purpose than leaving the game would qualify as an illegal offense of this rule.

Yet, the cheaters on Apathy get their win, gear, and validation (at least until the 3rd Party Program banhammers rain down -- for which I fully expect they'll be decimated, as will most all of the other major linkshells that the Salvage bans didn't get).

Why? Because Square-Enix is willing to defraud what legitimate players there are?

2) Astral Burn Parties

I believe there are certain policies which are completely inconsistent with the upholding of the rules of the game, and the non-application of one of them was the last straw for me remaining on that second piece-of-shit server, Leviathan.

We all know what Astral Burn Parties are (the massive powerlevelling of a bunch of summoners illegally Astral Burning every monster in the zone, with enough COR and puller support to get literally hundreds of monsters chained, driving out all other play within the zone.

If zone monopolization is illegal as a griefing tactic, then this has to be illegal. If not, then what IS a griefing tactic?

Seriously, because if it's legal because a GM says it's legal, then why the Salvage bans? The GMs knew about that shit for EIGHTEEN MONTHS! With that argument, why the 3rd Party Program statement, since that's been going on for years? One could even say that Square-Enix' inaction to take down the RMT sites, with this argument, makes RMT legal.

(To wit: The filters do no good -- I'll say it again... I actually same one just five minutes ago get their entire website name through cleanly, just in all-caps.)

3) The credit-card fiasco...

This could probably refer to two things in concert:

-- The phishing of credit-card information off of SE's servers by RMT and other thieves
-- The requirement (just a couple days before the end of a month) for all payments to be Secure-Safe or whatever that's called

One has to understand something:

RMT has functional control, at any time it so chooses, to seize your credit-card information.

This has been shown and proven, and why Square-Enix has not done anything about this (on both the server end (which is why I mention this today) and the RMT end (which is why I will hopefully mention this tomorrow) is an act of fraud toward the players.

4) If they're banned, why are they allowed to come back with a different character?

It's no real secret to anybody that most of the banned characters who wish to continue to play FFXI have a particular attitude -- that the cheating makes them superior, and that they will gladly pass up the gimps and get back to their "former glory"in no time flat (and to spit on Square-Enix and the gimps), because they know where the skeletons are buried.

Every account has a method of payment. If it's not a prepaid debit card, it has a name and an identification number (Social Security #, Tax ID # in Canada, etc.) behind it.

You get banned, they go into your file and find out the identification # behind that account and ban ALL cards based on that ID #.

This was part of the discussion I had with Edwyth this morning, as to "if you cheat once, does it make you a cheater" -- to wit, in part, I responded with the level of offense which would force you to be banned. Why any banned person is allowed to continue in this game is beyond me.

5) Why are civil and criminal charges not involved with much of this illegal activity?

And I'm talking people like bot creators like Maury _AND_ users of the bots and exploits.

The big question going around the endgame community since the 3rd Party Program announcement on the 24th is this:

Did Maury (the guy who made and sold App and NASA) have to give up the list of his characters, and did he do so (or destroy the list)?

If he destroyed the list, any deals made with Square-Enix should be nullified and additional criminal charges thrown in?

But, here's the thing: Does Square-Enix have the legal standing to defend it's ownership of all proprietary property on FFXI?

If it does not, it does not have ownership.

If it does, then why aren't they going after the end users too?


I could go on for megabytes, but that's just a small list.

I want to leave this rant with a take-home point I've made before:

I do NOT believe that Square-Enix wants to retain the present customer base for FFXIV.

I believe the current player-base will destroy FFXIV within a month or two. The game might still exist, but the current FF MMO players will KILL it with bots, cheating, exploits, work-arounds, griefing, and all the other bullshit that Square-Enix has allowed to go on for far too damned long.

The results? I'll get to that at #1.

As for tomorrow: RMT, and an interesting article I picked up in the last 10 days or so that might shed some light as to how these illegal fuckers work.

By Special Request: An Interesting Idea from The Elegant One

I'll get back to the Top Ten later today with a bit of rant vs. Square-Enix.

Before that, I have a little business to take care of, a "demand", as Edwyth put it, in response to my post yesterday.

It got Edwyth to thinking, and we had about a one-hour discussion in-game early this morning. And Edwyth demanded that I post about it, because people do read this blog.

(After reminding Edwyth of the probable reasons why (see yesterday's #4), it didn't matter...)

So we got to the subject of all the cheating and all the stuff going on. I gave my opinions on what I think might happen, and Edwyth came up with an interesting idea, and I hope I didn't forget it with a night of sleep.

Basically, anyone caught cheating would have two options.

They could leave the game, or go to the "Thunderdome Server".

The "Thunderdome Server", if I have Edwyth's understanding correctly, would be a server where "the authorities" would basically turn their backs on all the laws they set. (Kinda like what I think is about to happen in real life in a "Mad Max" scenario.)

You want to bot? Be my guest, but so is everyone else.

Want to use other 3rd Party Programs? Ditto.

Want to basically get it on and argue and the like, using every dirty word in the book?? You get the idea. (Edwyth would want a character on that server just to see the first day of shouts in Whitegate.)

I think I can see the idea -- it would allow the cheaters to actually play the game the way they so choose without (in theory) polluting the game experience of other players.

Certainly, there would be problems: I mean, I think that would be the most populated server by a country mile. I could see deliberate crashes of the server...

But it's an idea that Edwyth wanted me to put out there, so, there it is. Have a look at it. :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Top Ten - #4: If you think I'm not aware...

Let's get one thing straight right now.

I'm somewhat proud of having one of the most read blogs on Vana'diel.

I don't need to be told that I am considered Vana'diel's biggest running joke. I really don't. I'm fully aware of that fact.

I'm fully aware that most people consider me a joke, for any number of various and sundry reasons.

1) As I was talking to several people in the social linkshell I'm in, this game is all about the e-peen. It's all about not only getting the gear, and cheating your ass off in the process, but then telling everyone about it so that either they have to accept that they are inferior, or flee the game because there's no use playing it in a world we should be honored to be in and in the presence of these elite players.

As I will make no secret over the next four days: The next elite player that I see who isn't cheating will be the FIRST elite player I see who isn't cheating. There is great debate (which I will chime in more than a bit on over the course of the next four days here on the blog) as to what the Salvage bans (that, and player attitudes about cheating, will be #1, as I believe they will not only impact what is left of Vana'diel, but XIV as well) did to FFXI.

I think it's clear when you see attitudes like this gem from Yabby on BG:

"Man i don't know what your talking about. If you don't post on BG and all endgame shells know your name, you are a no body, You suck at the game, and when the important great players of the game get banned you sir will quit because you have nothing to live up to."

Or this one from Nynja:

"Enjoy your 1500$ ps2? Because thats all your PC is if you play without windower."

To whom I specifically say to fuck off and suck my dick.

Or this one from Silenka:

"tl;dr people who call windower an evil 3rd party program are either jealous because they're not on pc, or confused about exactly what windower plugins do. They also make me extremely cranky. All I can deduce is that they ENJOY playing in an inferior way like the guy above me. Work smarter, not harder. >.>"

(To wit I say that if I had that attitude, the only question would be whether I'd DDoS people like this or come to their house with a baseball bat and take out their computers entirely.)

Or the bitch on my server (forget if Leviathan or Siren) who insisted that the player didn't play with Windower, but the game was no fun without it...

The point is that these attitudes go all over the FFXI Net. This game, to them, is all about them, and they would much rather I not be here. I reiterate again:

The only reason I continue to play FFXI is because I know these shitheads want me gone.

That's it. That's all. And that leads me to the second point:

2) I am in full understanding that, as a social interaction game, FFXI has a lot of public pressure for the player-base to look the other way (and for Square-Enix to do the same (whoops, that's tomorrow's rant!!)) and not only allow cheating, but encourage it and require it.

I don't play this game for social interaction, though I will do it, but only when necessary to do so.

I specifically remember one player blasting me with words to the effect of: "Enjoy killing a lot of stuff alone..."

To which I could only reply: "WHAT DO YOU THINK I DO NOW, IDIOT??"

But, to my point: Because of the abject need to be "leet", the players basically demand the use of these illegal mechanisms to actually play the game. When I ask if these fuckers could kill a bee in Gustaberg without cheating, I am deathly serious...

Start reading these blogs. Listen to the podcasts. At least with a nudge and a wink (and, often, with far more than that), illegal tactics are the only way to play -- and, when someone speaks out about them, they're on a high horse.

I was wondering how I got that nosebleed. If it's on a high horse to demand you fuckers quit cheating, I am and proud of it, bitch.

But the thing is that I fully understand that, to be able to play this game at a level most players will accept, you must cheat -- and that's what angers me. I don't respect you, and if there were any real system of enforcement in this game, every elite North American linkshell in this game would be banned. Every last one of them -- because of what is required to be elite.

The public pressure to cheat demands it. You use Windower, you cheat. You use a bot, you cheat. That simple. And you need to be off the game and polluting some other game into a piece of shit, not dissimilar to what you've turned FFXI in to.

But I get that public pressure forces people to basically turn their backs on fair play.

3) I'm about the only person to speak as loud and long on this subject, so shaming me into silence (if not out of FFXI-existence completely) is a goal of these cunts.

It's basically Japanese-in-reverse, and, as I said during my Flamage series after the Salvage Bans, I really think it's because Americans enjoy being heel. They get off on being bad.

Bret Hart was right when he turned heel during the last year and a half of his (first) WWE run.

People enjoy not only stepping on people, but grinding their spiked heel into their head to finish them off and run them off.

Look, assholes, they've run me off of entire towns for being too dangerous to allow to live there. I've had more police investigations on me than the rest of you put together. I dare not go where you go, or I get on the Evening News -- again!

(And if you think that's e-thugging, you have no fucking clue who you are dealing with.)

But public shame is something I'm well familiar with and accept that. I did in high school when I publicized a significant set of suspensions on the basketball team (I was the person who called in the scores to the media and slipped that one in on the drunks and druggies who were turning my small-town Wisconsin high school into a shitfest...), and they called me into the principal's office for it. They asked if I did, and I told them I did, and the matter was ended.

I have no shame in exposing things for fraud, and trying to get them stopped.

And that basically gets to the take-home point for today:

Yes, I know that most of the people who read this blog see me as a fucking joke, but I say to consider the source -- a player-base whom, especially in America, has lost all right to feasibly play this game. So STFU, HAND, FOAD, and get off "my game".

Tomorrow: And Square-Enix shoulders much blame for this fraud too...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top Ten - #5 My Third Server -- Five Thoughts on Two Months on Siren

The last one merely about me. The rest are about FFXI in general, from the attitudes of the players, to those of RMT, to those of SE...

Here's a hint for #4: A little secret about me and how my blog is perceived...

So, anyway, as you well know, after a dispute (which still reigns, even with a Senior GM) about Astral Burning and zone monopolization finally put a festering situation past TSHTF-phase, I relocated for the second time, this time from Leviathan to the Besieged Champion of the World, Undefeated Siren.

Here's five thoughts on the last two months.

1) It's clear that I've been able to progress more cleanly (in most respects) than on either of my other two servers.

Two examples:

I was struggling to even get into Nyzul Isle on Leviathan, and, now, two months later, doing more than the occasional 20-run, and my Disc is up to 25. Finally got the Battle of Jeuno done, and helped Kimiko and a couple others get it.

Money-making is also a lot better here too -- Memory-farming is largely uncontested, and Radiants are 2-3 times the price they were on either of the other servers. A generous buyer of Sombers can get me 80-120K.

2) The fact that they are undefeated in Besieged is not lost on them, though some of the problems from other servers creep in, but only from time to time.

I think it's a matter of the culture, but I do see the occasional Asura Disease, but, unlike the other two servers, it doesn't seem like just one person yelling against it. I think this server will lose more than a bit of it's identity the day that the streak finally is ended.

Sadly, I do wonder if this server will end up with the same types of problems Leviathan had -- as time went on in 2009, it was clear that Leviathan was seriously deteriorating, to a state not unlike Asura. I hope that doesn't happen here, but there is the occasional "Fuck Besieged, I'm here to skill up..." or "I'm hiding to extend the Campaign Battle, fuck the Crystal War, the world revolves around my ass..." type.

3) The effects of FFXI's decline (to be discussed later in the list) are fully evident on Siren.

There are definitely times when Whitegate, not unlike other servers, gets way too quiet for one's own good. About 900 on Christmas afternoon (PST), and it's certainly gotten more than quiet at even peak times, as everyone basically holds their breath (for XIV? for the next big banhammer?? What???)...

4) I'm satisfied with the move. Although I had a steady Dynamis LS on Leviathan and don't now, the move was needed.

The fact is, if the game is not going to survive, and the company is turning it's back on the players (in more ways than one), then I could not remain on Leviathan. I'll get to this in much more detail through the entire top four, in many different facets of play, but if the environment is going to be so corrupt that fair play is not even plausible, then it's time to jump servers, if one can be found where it's, at the least, less corrupt.

Leviathan was no longer serving it's purpose, and was growing more corrupt by the day. Not quite as bad as Asura (or we might find out different if the next set of huge banhammers have Leviathan leading the day), but getting there fast, and an eject was needed.

5) Other than a few fewer cases of Asura Disease, what could be improved on Siren?

-- A few more people trying to progress in WotG missions, though, from the Census, that seems game-wide.

-- More people basically taking the Asura Disease-rs and sending them off to Asura, where the fuckers belong.

-- Not too many personal goals, maybe a couple more 75's before the game completely dies out, but the time frame involved puts that into question. Maybe Sky or Sea, but I think those who are in those zones don't want more people in those zones... :)

Anyway, til tomorrow...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top Ten - #6: Dynamis

Six points on my Dynamis experiences, mostly with Lengendary, in 2009 -- one each for each of the six zones I've played:

1) Sandy. My first Dynamis was in Sandy. My last Leviathan Dynamis was in Sandy. It was one of the easier cities, though not without it's issues -- that pull for the first NM was a bitch! But it was a good zone to get introduced to the whole mess with, and my main memory came from THE very last pull I ever had with Lengendary on Leviathan...

We had won, a few minutes left, and we were doing, IIRC, three pulls of post-win, and, on the last one, BST legs dropped! It was free lot, and I won a two-way to grab that. Two days later, the whole cheating fiasco and I was on Siren.

2) Bastok. Lots of goodness here. Got my first BST piece just before 2009 started, and several wootz ores afterward (still have most of them). A real fun zone, though the small extensions can make time an issue as the Quadavs get significantly harder as the zone goes on!

3) Windurst.

Or, as we all called it: "WHO'S IT GOING TO BE TODAY?"

Kiana's exasperated admission that, most days, some idiot was going to agg the Death House.

And, most days, someone did!

Not the easiest place to get gear, either! Definitely a step up, and perhaps the hardest of the First Four. Mostly that damned Death House, the bane of existence of many a Dynamis run...

Only zone I don't have a 100-piece from yet.

4) Jeuno.

Probably slightly easier than Windy (IMHO), but one of those "you'd better be on your toes" situations... Lots of AoE, lots of NM's, a very cramped opening, and, if you aren't paying attention, the whole run gets paralyzed or an Avatar will Astral Flow you to a wipe...

5) Beaucedine.

The first "advanced" zone, as you need the four previous ones to get to it. Different animal altogether (more running than fighting), and an interesting final boss, which always had time pressures (not from the run, but from the kiting of the four dragons who accompanied Angra Mainyu).

Time nuking was more important here than ever for us, but we never seemed to have many problems with Snow, as long as we had enough attendance to take a shot at winning.

6) Xarcabard.

Ice... was another matter.

Still don't have a Dynamis Lord win yet -- in fact, the closest I've ever gotten was (depending on how you call it) one where Lengendary got all 15 NM's (at the cost of a sanctimonious mage who thought he was the shit and could circumvent all the rules...) or the one Siren run I've done where we did the first three sets of three NM's easily, and then went to farm and basically got screwed up on bad pulls and the Wall of Eyes.

It's fun (and the music rules!), but, at some point, I'd like a little talk with Ying, Yang, and the Dynamis Lord. So would Lumiere...

So, let's see what I have acquired out of Dynamis (including two pieces from 2008):

DRG: 4/5 (all but head)
BST: 3/5 (body, legs, and I think hands)
DNC: 3/5 (head, legs, feet)
COR: 2/5 (head, feet -- both free lot)
MNK: 2/5 (legs, feet)
BRD: 1/5 (feet)

... and, with the exception of a couple of rules questions within the shell and that one asshole in Xarcabard about the NIN gear, we actually had a great and fair system, and hope to find one like that in Siren.

Top Ten - #7, as in 75's -- two more of them

Wah... Bah Humbug. This is for Friday. #6 is later today.

I tripled the number of my 75 jobs over the course of 2009, adding Dragoon and Dancer to my Beastmaster, and greatly diversifying my options if a 75 is needed for something.

I guess I first really got into Dragoon as I had just gotten the job in Sandy and went out to Ronfaure and saw just how good having little Lumiere at my side could be. It also, eventually, became the first job I ever max-merited and capped! And just reaming Maat in the solo fight was good to see.

As for Dancer, the role it can play in support (not to mention "death by a thousand cuts") allowed me to use it in any number of support roles, and, eventually, pushed it to 75, and a little talk with Laila is forthcoming.

Also, got /NIN past 37 (farming Ni), RDM to 66, MNK will be 63 before the ball drops. WHM is 40+, and farmed all the Tele-whore scrolls. SMN and SAM are past 30, etc.

So a good year on the levelling end.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And my letter to the STF on the NASA/App statement:

Well, well, well... You have some real decisions to make. As I said on my blog tonight (yep, Starcade from Siren again...): This is either going to be one big fat Nothingburger, or TSHTF. I am interested in your statement today (12/24) for several reasons: 1) If this guy was forced to give up the information as to who was using these bots, kiss the rest of (at least American) end-game goodbye you didn't take out on January 22nd. 2) If you truly have zero tolerance for third-party, take out Windower. NOW. And that'll pretty much take out a majority (by most surveys, this is not an exaggeration) of FFXI PC players. 3) Why are you not going after these players civilly and criminally? What they have done is at least theft in California, if not also civilly actionable as well. What am I saying here? You guys have some immediate decisions to make, and the first one is whether you just simply take this game down. I actually continue to suggest that you no longer have a fair player-base to keep the game going, and should take down FFXI. Cheating has become necessary (and, to a certain degree (whether you will ever admit it or not) sanctioned) to succeed in FFXI. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. You realize that if you don't ban most of the remaining prominent players, you stand to have FFXIV reverse-engineered and third-partied within days, if not during the Beta Test Phase. I do not envy you, but you let things go far too far. Either slam the door on the cheaters, or shut the game down. No Option Three.

I really didn't want to interrupt the Top Ten, but this is either a big Nothingburger, or the Shit is hitting the Fan...

Basically, saw this note in the TTTO through Pet Food Cheater:


Over a period of time, we have been monitoring an individual responsible for the creation, sale and distribution of 2 third party tools in violation of the rules of the FINAL FANTASY XI service and various state and federal laws. The tools were utilized by players and gil farmers to gain an unfair advantage over other players in a variety of ways. As a result of our investigation, we have taken appropriate action against the individual, have halted distribution of the programs and have disabled the servers used to run them.

We are in the process of investigating other third party tools originating in the U.S. and abroad and will take similar action against the creators and their customers when we are ready to do so. We have a zero-tolerance policy against any attempts to artificially manipulate FINAL FANTASY XI gameplay or the PlayOnline service. Usage of third-party tools will not be tolerated within the FINAL FANTASY XI community, and we will continue to ban user accounts for consumers of these products and will potentially take legal actions against those who create the tools.

We would like to remind players that, in addition to adversely affecting game balance, using third party tools or cheats can also have potential consequences that are not immediately obvious, as they often contain damaging viruses and Trojan horse programs, which may result in the transmission of account details.

We continually strive to create a fun and balanced environment for FINAL FANTASY XI, and we hope that our efforts ensure that our players continue to enjoy the experience.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding.

(end quote)

There's several huge notes about this:

1) They have actually taken the legal action (under Federal law) to shut down the servers and the PERSON BEHIND THEM.

Now, the real question (and someone has posited it on BG): Did he have to give names? If he did, TSHTF, and it's all over for literally THOUSANDS of characters and accounts. Basically all the big-name prominent American players (with very few exceptions, though one BG poster actually yipped that there was no one important left to ban, that SE had gotten them all in the first place!) have been using some forms of third-party software in one way or another, and the rest of us have been accused as such.

Fact is: Why not go after the players for theft under California law, since they are stealing from Square-Enix in the first place? (Which see my comments from ten or eleven months ago...)

2) They're looking at more. I gave some very strong language as to the first place they can look: WINDOWER. BAN IT! It should've been banned long ago, at bare maximum with the release of legal Windowed Mode.

If it kills FFXI because (theoretically) no one plays legally anymore, shut it down. Now. It would be the greatest Christmas present you could give to a potential (and largely Japanese!) FFXIV player-base to rip this off at the core.

Because of one thing:

If Square-Enix does not ban the third-party users and accounts, FFXIV will be reverse-engineered, at maximum, within the first month of release, to make fair gameplay irrelevant.

Moreover, I would put on the table the real plausibility that that reverse-engineering will be attempted during the beta phase -- BEFORE THE GAME EVEN STARTS.

I feel cheated, and repeatedly so, that my efforts to play the game fairly mean nothing, because players can basically load their PCs with illegal software and basically reverse-engineer FFXI to the point that players who play fairly are so far behind that they are not only scorned, but considered irrelevant.

I'll put a spoil-ar here: Cheating, RMT, and the resultant death of FFXI because of them are at least #1 and #2 on my Top Ten this year. The Salvage bans will probably be #1, so there's a real chance with some of this that it could be #'s 1, 2, and 3!

I will put it this simply: If Square-Enix is serious about this, the number of level 75 American players will be, at minimum, cut to 1/3 of it's present number. MINIMUM 1/3, and probably far below that.

But, it could also be one big fat nothingburger too. He doesn't give names and account names, or the like, and this could be just on the creator of the bots.

But I have a serious question:


Top Ten: #8 - 8 Reasons I Hate the Mini-Expansions

8) I paid $29.97 for the expansions. What did I end up paying for Wings of the Goddess?? And you're giving me a lot of these other things on the list, and NOT NEARLY an equivalent amount of content for the money.

(Related: Just a couple weeks after the release of Shantotto Ascension, Square-Enix starts selling the FFXI Ultimate Collection, including ALL the expansions, and the mini-expansions, for $19.99!! Sucker... Sucker... Sucker...)

7) And what do we get for this? Basically three small storylines that the better players in this game can complete in about a week apiece! That's not an expansion -- that's just throwing something in, calling it an expansion, and going from there...

6) Once again, Square-Enix spits all over solo players with these expansions. Fuck us for not trusting the rest of the cheating fucktards who have made this game the joke it is now. Not only do most of these battles require a full party, but it almost seems like some of them should require a freaking alliance!! (More on this... Oh, say... #1!)

5) King Cobra Clamp. 'Nuff said. I'm still stuck on that one. 0/4.

4) With the exclusion of Shantotto, the storylines SUCK. (At least what I've seen of them.)

3) The general "If you don't do the storylines when the rest of the game wants to (oh, say, 2.3 seconds from the release of the expansions), you can fuck ever seeing the ACP/MKdE/Shantotto gear, because you will be so far behind that no one will ever want to help you anyway."

It's basically the same with all the other storylines too, unless you luck in to someone else who's basically calumphing along... (WotG: Honor Under Fire, ToaU: Puppet in Peril, Never even really started RotZ...) But, as you'll see, it really comes into play here.

2) The fetch quests.

The fetch quests.

The MOTHERFUCKING fetch quests...

The first quest (and, at least in one case, the second!) was this motherfucking fetch quest where you had to compete with 6,372 other players in the same freaking zone to get a drop that sometimes was about 1/40!!!

And there should've been enough bitching and carrying on that Square-Enix should've seen the error of their ways (at the very least, they should've freaking known that #3 on my list applies!!).

So, what do they do?

Like the rest of the November Update, they cram Crafting down our throats and tack on the possibility that you might fail and have to start the ENTIRE FUCKING QUEST OVER...

I seriously and openly wonder if (and, if so, how many) people quit the game because of this garbage.

Not that the other end of the equation was any better...

1) Another common precept of Square-Enix: Unless you have elite friends or elite gear, fuck ever finishing any of them.

I have finished none of them, and probably will never finish any of them.

Let's see: The first one abjectly requires you to fight the piece of shit at a distance, and then sends clones after you to ensure you basically can't. DD? Go home.

The second one basically just rapes you seven ways from Tuesday, from what I've read...

And then there's the Double Shantottofication fight... One of those little bitches is bad enough -- TWO? So bad that the fetch quest to run this fight basically gives you Triple HP, MP, major magic resistance, and the like -- and it's STILL a bitch to win.

It's the same stuff I bitch about with Nyzul: It's almost as if they so demand that you have relic and mythic gear that you really don't need the gear you're winning!! Or, on the other hand, they know you're going to cheat your ass off anyway -- and expect you to!

A lot of the requisite requirements cannot be fairly obtained by normal human beings, so why playtest everything with it, almost demanding that enjoyment of the game requires you to have that kind of stuff? (And that's more than just these fucking mini-expansions...)

*sigh* And did I say "Fuck Christmas" yet? The Savior which is born to us this day is NOT named iPod!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top Ten: #9 - as in Nyzul Isle in all it's "glory"

First, an editorial comment about Real Life:

The next time they send eight fucking police officers (in full regalia) to pound on our apartment complex's apartment doors for "Neighborhood Outreach", I will no longer be living here, because my roommate will be DEAD.

They freaked her out to the point they almost had to shoot her today. She had the bat, and had to be talked out of going out there to bash police officers' heads in.

I know the Constitution is dead and all, and even the officer we were talking to admits this fucking shithole of a city is in about the year 1880 or so...

But it ends for my roommate if they pull that shit again. That's not a threat. That's a promise I don't like to have to deal with. I am fully prepared to go homeless again, but I am here til I am no longer needed.

And, given this: I don't think it's going to be much longer.

And, when that happens, it probably won't be long until I go back "home" again. The one true home I ever really had.


So, what's next on the hit parade for 2009?

Nyzul Isle. Got into it pretty mid- to late-year, as Kiana was trying to get some of us in Lengendary (this was before I left for Siren) into the Nyzul climb, but never really started to climb until I had moved to Siren.

Can't say it's been _that much_ fun, for all the reasons I've talked about here.

You get a good draw, you have a chance.

You don't, and you might as well just count seconds til you die at the hands of a Chariot leader or somesuch...

Not to say the potential rewards aren't there, and I've gotten pretty good at 16-20, and stand at 25 now. It's become my main impetus for getting Assault Rank points (about halfway through PFC right now) as well.

I really wish most of the game dynamics were not play-tested on completely non-realistic character and equipment setups. Nyzul Isle is just another example.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Ten: #10 - As in Rank Ten (Bastok)

So I finally have decided to start up the good ol' Top Ten List from the home office in Riverside, California: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish -- 2009 in Vana'diel.

This isn't going to be an in-order list for all of them, especially the personal in-game stuff. The top few are, of course, going to be obvious and not just me...

The first one on the list -- #10, if you will -- came about largely by accident.

It was sometime over the course of the year, and I kinda fell into it by accident. One of those things that a couple or three people on Leviathan basically were at the same point (I think start of Rank 7) that I was at in the Bastok main storyline.

The going was fairly smooth, as we had some competent people running the thing and the wiki basically helping us out... Soon, we were face-to-face with Zeid and had our Bastokan flags!

It was actually rather nice to see out one of the nation storylines, but I'm too attached to my outpost warps to try either of the others. :)

But still, it was nice to actually see one of the strong points (until the mini-expansions) of Square-Enix play out, and thanks to those involved.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not much to update, but...

Basically mostly starting crafting Alchemy (which is far harder to level where I need it to go than Cooking), some levelling Ninjitsu magic, finally got Nyzul to 25 (and helped two other people who had been stuck on it a year in so doing, at least!!), helped Kimiko with the Battle of Jeuno...

Got two more L1 Merits on Dancers and farming in the promies for merit points and some memories to clean up some space.

So an interesting week -- also cleaning out some of the clutter getting ready for Temporary Effect: Storage or Inventory or Locker/Safe/Satchel Space -10 -- erm, Mog Bonanza...

Couple of other things:

-- Pending time on my end: I'm planning on doing another Top 10 list, this time "Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish (2009)". This year, I might be doing a post a day from Dec 22-31, but we'll see on that. No promises -- just a plan.

-- The Speed Gamers are wrapping up their holiday marathon for Ally's House, a charity which pays for children's cancer care for families who might not be able to afford it (because of the fucking insurance companies who are going to rape us while our "President" stands over there and laughs at us dying, but that's another rant off of FFXI!). They're doing Pokemon games in a "Gotta Catch Em All" Marathon until at least Monday afternoon sometime. Check them out at Current status as of posting this (~11:15 PM PST Sunday night): 407 (or so) of the 493 required Pokemon caught. Funds raised for Ally's House: $13,025.37 out of a $15,000 goal.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Boy am I glad that I have already kissed off XIV, because Square-Enix thinks we are real FUCKING STUPID!!!

Oh, wonderful...

So they have decided to do something straight out the realms of these "FREE FOREVER" MMO's you've seen all over the Internet to further scam their way into FFXIV!!

They now admit that they are effectively RMTing some of the better items.

From Elmer the Pointy through Ringthree:

“The basic model hasn't changed,” he said. “It's a monthly flat rate service with additional charges for items that users want to buy.
“For FFXI we didn't initially set up the item transaction model that well – although the demand for it was high. We thought that it would be a benefit for users, but that we wouldn't be able to charge.

“We soon learnt that there are a lot of people who want that kind of model, so we would like to introduce more pay-as-you-use items into the game. But there were too few items in FFXI – however we don't want to take it to the other extreme entirely for FFXIV."

What in the FUCKING HELL do you think you are trying to pull, Square-Enix??

OK, Ringthree, you can call it sarcasm, but understand that it is the same model that a lot of these "free" MMO's have been scamming the shit out of people with for a long time.

The fact is that they see that the pseudo-RMT model is what people apparently like, and the problem is that what draws them to that model is the (false!) premise that the game is (and playable-as-)free.

Because usually how a company even considers to make money off that model is that the only way you can feasibly play the game is to pay for the items which are effectively necessary (often, expansions in inventory, the better weapons and armor, etc. and so forth...) to succeed in the game.

The thing is that Square-Enix DOES have the right to RMT it's own stuff. The problem being that a lot of people are going to take that as justification of the RMT model outright, as many of these "free" MMO's have been having for years.

The problem is: How are you then going to justify (especially without taking the illegal RMT'ers to court, jailing them, and shutting them the fuck down) that the model of RMT (even if that is only part-way what you are doing) is not preferrable???

Explain that while I continue to kiss off XIV...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Very unbecoming of me, Mojojoe? Son, you ain't seen nothing yet!

After yet another round of "I want my skill-ups, so fuck the Astral Candesence!!":

Had a little discussion this afternoon with a person who either recognized my blog or recognized me as formerly of Leviathan.

Within five minutes, he told me to go back to the hole where I came from and I had blacklisted his ass.


I decided to tell him exactly what I thought of American gamers and American gaming.

They suck, and are detrimental to the gaming environment.

(Yeah, we're back to basically the post I made the evening of the Salvage bans, before I found out about them and all Hell literally broke loose across Vana'diel.)

And I don't think I need to go into intense detail as to my distaste for them, and my experiences why. I'll just cover a few with one sentence (or so) each and move forward...

-- I've witnessed gamer gang acts of violence among American gamers.

-- I know of tactics, like naming shame, that other gaming cultures use to keep the players in line. Yes, there are Japanese cheaters, who are then SHAMED... And I think one of the differences between our culture and theirs is that shame actually means something. I'd literally be dead in a Japanese family culture.

-- I've seen television programs where American gamers, in major-money tournaments, damn near start rumbles by getting in each others' faces and screaming about "pwnage" and about how big their dicks are with respect to their opponents' because they just scored on Madden.

-- The Salvage bans, and the notoriety of many of the players so banned.

If I had this type of an attitude, I'd commit DDoS attacks against other gamers to prevent their progress in the game. I know there are places I best not go, and the American attitude of gaming (cheating, "pwnage", and what not) is one of them.

Do I think myself superior? Remember, I don't consider you having an achievement of any sort if you cheat. This is what troubles me about Square-Enix' "We must maintain our cash flow for XIV, even if the player base is cheating their fucking asses off!" stand.

I do not play this (nor any other) game to make friends.

Again, for emphasis:

I do not play this (nor any other) game to make friends.

XI, now, is a backdrop to everything else I do online. It's "something to do" to keep me from doing things I know people would regret.

I see that the online beta applications for XIV are up. I give it basically about a month into the release before the game is sufficiently reverse-engineered that playing the game fairly will put you at such a disadvantage that the money is being wasted in continuing.

That's where we have been with XI for a long, long time. And the only reason I continue playing it is to spite the fucking cheaters who have taken it over.

XIV, because of the influence of American gaming, is an abject non-starter I am not interested in taking part in. Third-party software and bots will be forced on the community within 30 days of the release of the game.

I will be doing another Top Ten this year, and I already know the #1: The Salvage Bans and the Resultant Death of FFXI.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Could there be something positive in those Union chests?

Was there a Ninja update at some point?

I got back into doing Campaign earlier this week and I noticed that, more often than it used to, you could actually get some decent stuff in a solo or low-man Union chest, when it didn't used to be that way.

Now, yes, there is the occasional non-chest or Silk Thread/Silver Ore/Slug Eye chest. But it does seem that, with enough points, you can get some decent stuff, more likely than it used to be...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hint, Special Task Force: R M T i,s dog (dog=not) t|h|a|t sTUpid

I apologize in advance for the people who cannot read that title, but I do that to make a point.

Yesterday was my first good 7-hour FF11 session in quite some time. And it is clear that, using many of the methods I illustrate above, that the filters against RMT spam worked for about one month, but no longer.

I literally made about a GM call an hour for that entire run, and only one of those seven calls was not RMT/filter-evasion material.

These people are not stupid, Square-Enix -- they've figured out how to get one step ahead of your system.

1) Substitution strings: We know that many of the site names are in the filter, as is the word "bonus", which is often used in an RMT advertisement. So, often what they will do is what I did in the title above with the word "dog", except they will not use it for an entire word (because that word is in the filter), but for a portion of the word or the website name.

Another way I see this going down is something like this:

"Blog by Sierra Tango Alfa Romeo Charlie Alfa Delta Echo"

What did I just do? I spelled "STARCADE" in the NATO phonetic alphabet.


Anyway, what would stop RMT from doing the same thing?

2) Punctuation insertions. Like the word "is" (i,s) and "that" (t|h|a|t). I've seen this on repeated occasions. It's not unlike many sites I go to, where obscene and unpleasant words are automatically censored, even if those words are part of other words ("grape", for example, for the latter case).

So they get around censoring website names by adding punctuation...

3) Spacing.

... and spacing. I saw an actual .cn Chinese RMT website get through the filters with both spacing and punctuation.

So why do I post this?


Your filters effectively worked for about a month, Square-Enix!

But they work no longer, for you think that the RMT (especially the organized Chinese RMT rings) are as stupid as you think most of us are.

So, I reiterate: Get Legal to shut down these websites for the theft and sale of Square-Enix proprietary property (as much as you would with a website doing the same with PHYSICAL S-E proprietary property (which see the lawsuits you won against some of the vendors from a few months ago.

Else, you will once again lose to RMT.

Edit: This post has been sent to the Special Task Force through the relevant Square-Enix website.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Haven't done a full update in a while...

Not much to update either:

RDM 66, SMN 31

Several more successful Nyzul 20 runs, but, out of all the times I've done 20, I've seen 2 drops and 1 we couldn't get due to time.

Biggest thing this week has been crafting, since they decided to basically force it on us with this Synergy stuff.

Started by getting Cooking from 0 to 30, or close.

Going to do Alchemy to 32 or 33, for Fewell production.

And Fishing is at 2 or 3 as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh yeah, fuck me for not cheating my ass off, isn't that right, Square-Enix with your Nyzul bullshit!!!!

Oh, I'm pissed again.

Square-Enix is apparently deciding that they don't want any more people getting to floor 100.

Sounds like they don't want us getting to floor 26 either!!

Just tried to do two Nyzul runs 21-25, and here's the fun part:

First run:

21: All-Dahak
22: Leader-Shielded Chariot (which wiped another attempt with a different group I was on last night)
23: All-Dahak
24: Family-Flayers - Time out

Second run:

21: All
22: Lamps-same time
23: Family-Flayers
24: All with an NM Wyvern thrown in for fun
25: Leader, but true-sight imps in the zone and we timeout before we kill it


You want me to dupe and cheat and RMT and all that shit just to be able to advance in this fucking Nyzul bullshit???

I fucking appreciate wasting my time with players you believe to be substandard -- that is, people without relics and mythics and all that shit.

I fucking appreciate seeing the same goddamned attitude in some of your playtesting and R&D that I see in the BluGartr children.

I fucking appreciate seeing real effort in this game come to NOTHING.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Synergy update today...

Haven't gotten a chance to play much at all in the last 7-10 days. (A couple Nyzul 20 runs on Wed., and that's about it, with the Net being real stupid -- sounds like it was a short and some corrosion (with a little splice-point thrown in)).

Sounds like today is the Synergy update. Interesting to see how it eventually goes, but I have to get this thing loaded first and hope everything holds up on my end.

We'll see on that. My friend is finally back to work tonight. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This week has sucked rocks

Not only the busted window, but:

-- Now 0/4 on the Mithra Fight in Kupo d'Etat. Got it down to 1%, but the bitch Clamped me before I could Icarus Wing and kill it for our party.

-- And now our Internet is semi-borked, keeping my roommate from working on her projects until Associated Tyranny and Terrible-ness feels like coming out here to fix a shorted-out phone line (when it rains (about twice a year) out here, there's a chance water gets into the phone lines... Now our DSL and phone lines are bleeding together, with predictable results!). My roommate has had these before, and it took her 20 minutes to convince the dorks at "Customer Service" (probably more people in India) what was going on...

-- Went to pick up some groceries for the roommate today. Bus was 20 minutes late, most of the pasta boxes were broken, got 2/3 of the pasta sauce wrong (another run tomorrow), bus home was disrupted by a guy who pushed his way through me off the bus (as I was carrying all my roommate's groceries), got a 10-pence piece instead of a quarter...

-- And this Christmas music is going off like a hypnotic mantra -- "MUST... BUY... EVERYTHING..." Look, I love a great gift just like the next guy, but we've gone far too far on this Christmas-as-shopping crap.


Monday, November 30, 2009

If I find out...

... one of you sorry-assed motherfuckers did come down and put something through my window last night, there will be Hell to pay.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Extensions from my remarks of earlier today...

Six hours later, and still pissed off!!

I'm now certain that run was sabotaged. I have 2-3 suspects, none of whom Moira...

I forgot we also had agged the Rampart and a Mousse as well.

So we agged no less than NINE unnecessary monsters in about seven minutes (counting time in the lobby!), and this cunt wants to scream at me for using the Fireflies, knowing this run is a dump???

FUCK YOU!!! Three are dead, a fourth is about to go, a fifth is reraised already, and I'm taking agg for trying to help out one of the dead.

There is no way you bluntly agg the entire zone unless you openly are desiring to sabotage the run. And this was supposed to be a SEMI-STEALTH floor, last I checked!!

What did Edward Elric once say?

"There's so many asses that I have to kick!!"

Someone just added their name to the "deck on sight" list.

Moira, show up near me, you're on the ground.

Shoot off your mouth at me like that again, doubly so.

I don't care if you do level 60 Nyzul runs in five minutes. I don't fucking care, twat!!

Shoot off your mouth to me, and it will be a fight.


So how did this monstrosity start?

Pickup 16-20 Nyzul group, blah blah blah.

We don't get one floor.

16 was a "specified enemy" Qiqirn floor with the added penalty of any detection by Archaic Gears was a 60-second penalty.

Within seven minutes: We have three of the six dead, a fourth is weakened but reraised, a fifth is about to die, and I'm drawing agg too. We've agged a Bomb King, THREE sets of gears (three minute penalty), a Hellion, two Bouncing Balls...

We've basically agged the entire fucking floor, and this bitch twat decides it wants to shoot it's mouth off and call us all newbs.

FUCK YOU. And if you don't like it, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Show up in Riverside, California and back it up.


I'd do a weekly update, but I am far too pissed off for it, and that's saying something.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

One addition to the list, and a very interesting Wed. night...

Because of an error in translation or posting, there is one additional addition to the Level 1 Mog Bonanza prizes:

The second Shadow Ring should be a Shadow Mantle (Another Dynamis Lord drop -- Rare/Ex Occasionally annuls damage from physical attacks, Darksday VIT +20, L75 All).


Got into a linkshell-based pickup Dynamis group last night, Xarcabard. My first Dynamis since I made the move over.

Interesting run, and, even though half the people hadn't been there more than twice, it looked like it was going to be a very productive run!

About an hour and a half in, we'd already gotten three of the five extensions and 9 of the 15 NM's needed to unlock the Dynamis Lord and his two dragon friends.

And then...

It all went to crap.

I think I understand what they were trying to do (maximize the number of subordinates to get more than the three drops (WAR, RDM, NIN) that they got).

The problem was was that they basically went on these suicide runs that basically got us all wiped, ending up twice. We didn't get the other 6 NM's, and I think the last suicide run was on that Wall of Eyes that is supposed to yield the final extension.

It really, to sound less than elegant about it, felt like about half a run that started real promising, but then went south.

I'll go with them again if they'll have me (all cost is basically absorbed by the shell, but so is all the currency -- it's a gear situation only) for Xarcabard. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Couple of things today -- mostly weird, but one decent one...

Start with the decent one...

Hooked up with Kimiko doing Campaign last night to start meriting DNC, and am now in CloakAndDagger, which I think Kimiko has mentioned a couple of times. :) I've already been warned that one person humps and another bites, so I'll keep the fists and polearm sharpened. :)

Here's the weird:

1) POL Maintenance yesterday, five hours worth, takes down EVERYTHING. Why? (I guess, short of actual physical server maintenance...)

2) They're bringing back Mog Bonanza, early this time. Whether this means they'll now do it twice or that they have something else planned for the next (final?) anniversary celebration...

Purchases Christmas Eve through mid-January, drawing end of January, redemption through mid-February.

45 days from creation to purchase eligibility. (Meaning you have about til Dec. 1 to buy any mules specifically for Mog Bonanza.)

Some changes to the prize list. (2009 info from the Wiki)

First, a little info:

The top gil prize for the last Mog Bonanza was about 85.7 million gil (pari-mutuel, down from the 100M flat prize from the 2008 event).

2nd gil prize was 6.23 million gil. (2008 was flat 10M)

3rd gil prize was about 712K. (2008 was flat 1M)

Looking at the prize lists:

L5: One of the in-game Statues was added, the Shadow Lord. No other additions or deletions.

L4: One addition and one downgrade here: Yoichi's Sash (Einherjar/ANNM crafting drop, rarely available, about 100K on Siren AH -- downgraded from L3 last year) and Vilma's Ring (Drop from extremely rare Marlboro types in Yuhtunga Jungle -- Rare/Ex Ring +1 to INT, MND, and CHR, Converts 25 HP to MP L40 All).

L3: Gil % the same at 27% of all sales. One change to accomodate the move of Yoichi's Sash: Vampiric Claws (NM drop from Phomiuna Aqueducts Bat Trio -- Rare/Ex Hand-to-Hand Weapon, +8 DMG +60 Delay Additional Effect: HP Drain) Beaucedine Dynamis Armor an option again.

L2: Gil % the same at 23%. One Addition to the list: Birdman Cape (NM drop from two different ToAU NM's, at least one having no known pop method and the other a possible NM pop from a quest -- Back piece DEF 7, MP +30, CHR +9, Enhances Resist Paralyze L 69 Mages and PUP -- Rarity has made it impossible to determine value, may never have been dropped), Xarcabard Dynamis Armor an option here again.

L1: Gil % the same at half the sales. There's a Mog Coupon List addition, as a third Mog Coupon has been added. (Get to that in a second) One other Addition: Shadow Ring (Rare/Ex Dynamis Lord drop -- Occasionally annuls magic damage taken (I assume this to mean an occasional complete 100% reduction.), Enhances resistance vs. Death, On Darksdays: Magic Defense Bonus)

The new Mog Coupon List appears to be the Absolute Virtue Sin trades -- effectively, AV drops.

So, there you go. Salivate, Vana'diel. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

And the week ends...

And here's what has happened...

~ 30 SMN
~ 32 SAM

WotG: Finally finished Battle of Jeuno

Shantotto Ascension: Sisters in Arms (gathering Hexes for the final fight)

And, just about four minutes ago, before I logged off to get off the net Real Soon Now:

75 DNC!!!!!

75 #3.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Maybe not...

And then I finally get off the Battle of Jeuno!!!

Thanks to Ustav and Tulun, we trioed the Battle of Jeuno (took two tries, first didn't go so well to keep the NPCs together -- second was cake once we got the NPCs on the NM at basically full health).

So, onward on that noise...

I swear the Divine wants me to quit Final Fantasy XI...

Why do I say that today?

Two things, really...

1) The rumor in the TTTO that HNM LS's might be getting the opportunity to be most of the FFXIV beat testers.

Where do I begin with this? You show me an HNM LS who isn't cheating, and I'll question how committed they are to HNM's.

Between Windower, botting the claims, illegal tactics, blah blah blah...

And they're proposing Square-Enix is going to let THESE GUYS beta XIV?

What, so they can reverse-engineer that too???

2) Did a Nyzul run -- a 21-25 -- today. We're winning and they did win.

So I'm waiting at the Rune on a specific-enemy floor (24), the Rune comes up...

MY CONNECTION CUTS. I don't know what sick joke provoked Whatever Is In Charge to do that...

But there are days I swear God wants me out of Final Fantasy XI...

Hey, Big Guy Upstairs: I don't take hints too well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You bring that Asura Disease shit to Siren...

... and I will make you fucking regret it.

They will have to ban me at that point.

A wild week...

So, after all of that, let's see where we're at:

Shantotto Ascension: Fountain of Trouble, gathering the Saps for the next fight. (Finished that this morning.)

Got all the buffer back on DRG, and reestablished 75 BST, but did not get 75 DNC yet.

Did get to SAM 30 -- probably at least getting to 37 soon on that for any DRG/SAM possibilities.

Dynamis shell was broken -- not enough people to continue to justify the attempts, so I'm a Dynamis Free Agent again... Oh well.

Nyzul Isle: Got 11-15 clear and my first two Boss floor runs. One Behemoth, one Adamantoise. Both cleared, Denali dropped on the first one but could not be lotted on in time with two people dead (damn AoE!). But I now have by first boss floor access, so, once I get some tags back...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A VERY interesting Tuesday...

May not need to do Week in Review at this rate!

So, we begin back in Gusgen, just after the maintenance, and 16-20 people already fighting for all the drops.

But, at least at THAT number, I get three drops (a third in case of more breakage), and then change to my MNK 62 to farm some dark crystals to try again for the Fine Parchment.


Then, the moment of truth... Synthing everything together... Fingers and toes crossed...


So I'm out of that monstrosity.

The Avatar fights are interesting, if I don't goof around and lose 10K of my full buffer on my DRG to finish four of them and get caught by a couple of the new NMs. *grumble*

After that, it's Pankration/picture time, and I got the Blubber Eyes, the Royal Leech, and the Robber Crab.

And I notice something up top as I'm getting this done -- the Delta Sahagin who's usually behind the Ornamented Door. So I get some Steps up as /DNC and try to pull him down.

First try: Not good. Had EIGHT low-level Sahagin on my ass. Eventually dispatched them all with little incident.

Second try: Better, but no cigar. One higher-level opponent.

Third try: SUCCESS -- and the DRG Testimony drops!!!

So it's not only on the Gustav Tunnel NIN fight on Shantotto Ascension (tomorrow), but (more immediately) off to the Chamber of Oracles with my fully merited DRG.

Here's the entire fight:

Sleep to 100 TP with the Opo-opo.

Eat Sole Sushi.

Activate Blink Band.

Call Wyvern.

Proceed to the battle circle.

One hit.

Penta Thrust/Flame Breath for about 1,000 on Maat.

Maat Calls Wyvern after saying that'll hurt in the morning.

He hits me about two times. I decide to Jump and High Jump, and, a couple more hits later, a non-competitive fight ends.




:) A very interesting Tuesday indeed.

It isn't just me either...

All Worlds Emergency Maintenance for another hour yet as I wake up from yesterday's debacle!!

But I want to show you that it isn't just me with all this fetch-and-craft bullshit!

For example: Kimiko has blown 5 hours and 300,000 gil and is not pleased:

I seriously believe that Square-Enix gets off on this shit and on the misery of it's players. As I said several times (including both times I logged out): THIS SHIT IS UNPLAYABLE. I said earlier that I really felt that people might rage-quit this game over this garbage, and it sounds like one of the most popular bloggers might be close.

I can understand not wanting to fall into the "Monty Haul" trap (where the game just gives you everything). I get that. BUT THIS MUCH TIME FOR THE FIRST DAMN MISSION OF THE EXPANSION??? Make the lead-up to the last fight somewhat difficult -- I get that. But the FIRST mission?

Let's go over to BluGartr:

-- People are paying 100,000 gil for the drop items. No surprise there, but those who are selling like that can FUCK OFF AND DIE IN A FIRE. And if you need me to set it, tell me so I can!

-- Cesaria doesn't like it when things go boom.

-- There's a possible "feature" in this which makes me wonder if SE is actually FINALLY! doing something about Windower. There's a part in this expansion which crashes the game, apparently, if you're using Windower.

-- Tweedle's up to five fails and 500,000 gil...

Let's see what this maintenance has. They damn well need to adjust the drop rates and adjust the crafting bullshit. This is STUPID otherwise.

And now, after TWO MORE HOURS, three fails, and no progress...

That's two more hours wasted, because of this synthing bullshit.

That's NINE HOURS now. And when I get back on this morning, I fully expect the overcamping to be at the point of ridiculousness.




Monday, November 9, 2009


...and all I get is three synthed items of the five, and not even ready for the main synth to complete the FIRST GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING MISSION OF THE EXPANSION!!!!!

And now there's 45-55 people in Gusgen raping anything whose bones are showing.

Square-Enix, if you're really into getting players like me to rage-quit FFXI that badly, ban my ass for language or whatever and be fucking done with it!!!



If someone like ME can figure that shit out....

I can see people rage-quitting over the first Shantotto quest garbage...

So it's not ONLY a fetch quest, it's a synthing one as well.

And, of course, with synthing, stuff can break on a fail!

So you have to (with all the competition in place) fetch at least FIVE items and hope nothing breaks, and then synth the results (and REALLY hope nothing breaks on that one...).


You know what -- I've got better...