Saturday, January 31, 2009

It finally quiets down a bit, so let's Week-in-Review before it starts up again...

Been a Hell of a week... I actually have gotten some time to play during all the flamage... :)

So, DRG 66, MNK 51 and then hit a wall on it (damn aggs for early-50's in Xarcabard), Adventuring Fellow limit break quest to 65...

Dynamis: Two Bastok runs, both wins (what has been the problem with getting Windy or Jeuno at the times we play? Two Sandy runs last week, two Bastok runs this week...

Nothing important on Wednesday. Got the DRG relic legs and a Wootz Ore along with the qualifying win on Sunday's run -- hoping to do Windy tomorrow.

The Asura Disease is exploding all over Leviathan's Besieged (oh, and to you motherfuckers who want me to leave: I couldn't anyway for another 30 days), and is becoming a real problem. What concept of Martial Law do you not get? Training candidates are NOT combatants and are to have evacuated already.

Other than that, pretty blase week.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

And now I see Campaign has gotten pockets of the Asura Disease too...

Salvage-dupe-free rant this time...

Was in Campaign last night, playing DRG to get that to 66, and started noticing something...

There were LONG waits between the last mob at the Fortification and the end of a Campaign (at minimum, a wave thereof...). So, I decided to start doing some investigation and found something interesting.

There were two players, at least (One of them was Gaxeguru -- the second I didn't /blist) who were intentionally holding mobs, unduly extending the Campaign battles for the sole purpose that their XP and Allied Notes were more important than the state of the Crystal War.

Here's a hint, bitches: When you extend the battle like that, you take up resources in a completely useless matter that could be allocated to other fronts of the Crystal War.

(Of course, I guess it should be made no secret that the real way you maximize your own XP is to basically let areas fall to the beastmen and build up points beating on the Fortifications once that happens.)

Or is that the point?

"Get a clue, morans..."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Part 9: If you laughed at what I said about what Square-Enix should do before...

... this is really going to knock your socks off.

I'm picking this up from the last post because of two comments about one of my major points about all this. Back to Robonosto again (at

"Of course, this doesn't stop idiots with no sense of proportion from riding SE's dick any chance they get. That SE should even pursue damages in court for duping in a video game to keep players "honest" is simply a farcical notion. Acting like SE is some poor besieged entity in a game rife with whining entitled players---most of whom, at the end of the day, despite crying about "intolerable" low drop rates in an endgame activity they voluntarily entered into, still waste their money on FFXI--is also a joke. SE and the "player community," you deserve one another."

(He does get credit for being an equal-opportunity flame-thrower, though. :) )

But I'm not doing this to ride Square-Enix' dick. I'm doing this because this bullshit has to stop, or there's no more FFXI. But that's not the point I wanted to pursue.

Let's add BinaryBeer to the equation (at

Responding to my comment of:

"Again, see the comment about fraud on the last post. The players committed an RMT-like fraud experience against Square-Enix — they should be lucky they aren’t being hauled off to court. Any of these people who is allowed to play again should thank their lucky stars that someone at Square-Enix dropped the ball, and be prepared to be heaped with more scorn (from all side) than I am. "

He at least had something to say this time:


im not sure if you are too young to understand this or not, but.. heres the thing about ANY big multi Million company:

they don’t give a shit about you"

Congratulations, shit-head. You got it COMPLETELY back-asswards.

I don't care if Square-Enix gives a shit about me other than my $12.95 a month, except that I expect and demand they police this game, with an iron fist as and when necessary.

And I expect them to condemn all parties who support and harbor the cheating garbage.

As Robonosto later claims:

"At the end of the day, SE can merely point to your monthly credit card statements, cheater or not, and simply say, "monthly fee." Money is the prime mover, although SE sometimes seems not to act like it is. "

Oh, so we're just supposed to let the assholes cheat because the game can't survive otherwise?

Please... You know my stand on this already. If there are so few legitimate players that the game requires cheating to survive and the cheaters to continue for the game to continue, it's time to shut down the game. Period.

But, again, that's not the point...

The two of you (and a whole lot of other people) LOL at the concept of Square-Enix suing cheating players. Let me make things perfectly clear:


Got it? Good.

I had a nice cathartic walk today. Thought about a couple things. Came to three conclusions:

1) Why Square-Enix isn't suing the living fuck out of RMT is beyond any sense of my personal comprehension.

Fine, have local legal offices in China and Thailand and Japan and the US and the EU. I'm coming, more and more, to the same conclusion about FFXI that I do about the anime industry (and why the latter will definitely die and the former might):

If you don't have the resources to properly prosecute violations of the law, you do not have the resources to continue.

What RMT is doing is, without the consent of Square-Enix, buying and selling trademarked proprietary property of Square-Enix -- if you don't believe me, read the all-caps again -- for real-life currency. That is fraud. That is the denial of the right of being the sole arbiter of who gets how much of what proprietary property.

The money damages which can be taken against RMT (as applicable under the laws of the state of California for American players, and other relevant local jurisdictions for other players) are known -- these are transactions with trails and the amount of money damage against Square-Enix (and applicable punitive damages, plus fees, plus a restraining order to keep the RMT players off the game for good) would be a good start to finally _end_ RMT and not just nip it.

2) The ONLY thing which prevents Square-Enix from pursuing civil damages against basically all cheaters (including the Salvage-dupers) is if and only if the money amount of damages cannot be determined.

Again, Square-Enix is the sole arbiter of how their proprietary property is used, vis-a-vis gameplay. Once the player decides to take an action which illegally abrogates that right of Square-Enix, the player has committed fraud and could well be sued for legal damages...

... if but only if the amount of damages for a violation could actually be determinable. This is different from my situation (that I could not sue them because they did me no real money damage) in that there is damage, there is clear fraud against the company and its use of trademarked property. Given that, if a money damage could be assigned to the theft and fraud of these items, then sue the lot of them.

Wait... I said not only "fraud" there, but "theft" too.

3) They really aren't going to like this one... It could even be a criminal charge.

Again, American players are governed under California law. California Penal Code section 484 (from

"484. (a) Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile characterand by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft. In determining the value of the property obtained, for the purposes of this section, the reasonable and fair market value shall be the test,and in determining the value of services received the contract price shall be the test. If there be no contract price, the reasonable and going wage for the service rendered shall govern."

If Square-Enix could determine a "reasonable and going" rate for the duplicated items, it could call for the arrest of all the (American) duping players under this section of the law under which American players are playing -- California law.

Again, that could be a very large if... No dispute there, but perhaps the ever-loving Fear of God needs to be put into a player-base which has acted for far too long (and to the grave detriment of the game with respect to gaining credibility and new players) with absolute impunity.

If that rate of the items exceeds $400, that's "grand theft", and a year in the pokey is possible. (S. 489 (b))

If it doesn't, it's petty theft: $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail... (S. 490)

This does not preclude the possibility that there might be a more specific computer proprietary data theft law, with much stiffer penalties. But, again, YOU OWN NOTHING YOU PLAY WITH (YOUR CHARACTER OR WHAT IS ON IT). If you take an action which allows you to gain items you are not entitled to, you are committing theft under California law.

Let's see that get laughed off.

Part 8, is it now? They continue to laugh and fiddle while Vana'diel burns.

Before I begin tonight's rants and raves, I do want to thank Steak of PFA for a somewhat sane e-mail (actually, more than "somewhat"), and I hope he got a somewhat sane response from me.

So, more shots across the bow from the Vana'diel-ian blogosphere, as I continue to learn why I don't trust the player-base...

I got several shots as to that I should act my 40. If I did that, I wouldn't be on FFXI. I'd be so beyond the game, it's not even funny.

But it did raise a point I wanted to address. It's clear I was raised in a different age than most of you -- dare I say, a better one.

When I was growing up, cheating to win meant you lost. The win was invalidated. In fact, most times, you ended up worse than losing. Ask the Really Rottens with "DOUBLE ZERO!!"...

(And the couple of times the Rottens won, they still got lampooned even though they won in spite of themselves.)

We used to be very optimistic and not only looked forward to the future, but did so with a smile on our face.

Both of those changed somewhere around 1990-1993... We stopped being taught, as kids, that cheating to win meant you lost even more than you would have by simply being defeated -- and the culture turned, as if on a dime...

It was no longer "Electric Youth" -- it was "Nirvana" and their Teen Spirit.

It was no longer "Jem" -- it was "Beavis and Butthead".

And the best example I could find about how the kids were being taught differently was not an intentional one. Go with me on this...

I gave the example of "Scooby Doo's Laff-a-Lympics" and the "Really Rottens" from the 1970's. Now, I want to go to a more obscure childrens' show, "WMAC Masters", and how it ended.

The second season of Masters was basically built around the emergence of an illegal martial arts clan with one goal: Destroy the WMAC. I can't even spell the darn name (Djikido??), but their mark was a red dragon...

Various incidents marred the second season as the illegal clan attempted (and succeeded, on some levels) to disrupt WMAC competition. In fact, one of their own, illegally in the WMAC, actually got a championship match through his chicanery, tried to cheat his way to win the DragonStar Championship (the highest honor in Martial Arts, in that canon), but was ultimately defeated by a "face" (good guy) character.

The WMAC program basically talks about the positive points of martial arts and tosses in lessons on not using jokes to sabotage, the importance of family (one of the episodes includes one of the Masters with his son and a "Rite of Passage"), and the like.

As the noose tightened around the illegal group, their tactics changed. On what would turn out to be (unintentionally, due to low ratings...) the final episode of the storyline, the women's DragonStar Champion retired, and a three-way match ensued for the title. The retiring champion put the DragonStar into a(n apparently) safe holding cell for the winner, but, when the winner was decided, what came out was the symbol of the illegal clan -- they had stolen the DragonStar.

The last scene shows that the WMAC had suspended all competition and that the illegal clan, at least as a cliffhanger, had (temporarily) won and achieved their goal!

Problem was, that was the last episode of the storyline. There was no third season.

Now, can't blame them for the ratings and cancellation -- I take that more as a karmic thing as that, somewhere, we stopped caring about the tactics and only cared about the results.

Steroids and thuggery and ghetto actions have so dominated sports that I hardly even watch sports anymore. I've watched maybe 45 minutes of the entire NFL season this year, and have little interest in the Super Bowl.

Most stuff on television that would otherwise be positive and uplifting is now manipulated, rigged, and/or a complete testament to how evil we can get. Thanks, "Survivor". You too, "American Idol"... Mark Burnett and Simon Cowell should be jailed for federal offenses.

But, where am I getting off this: The people who play Final Fantasy XI come from a different cloth, because they basically decided that there is no real future in working together and actually playing by the rules. As long as they get what they want, regardless of the tactics required, they win and we (to coin the colloquialism) "have lost The Game".

We've gone from the age of Bruno Sammartino and only doing wrong when utterly provoked to the age of Jesse Ventura and "It's only cheating if you get caught."

That's what disgusts me -- we've gone down a road that, if we go to economic ruin, is going to suit these bastards completely.

Well, enough of that -- let's see the flamage from TTO and the cheater-supporters who partially make up the posts there:

1) A Bardlet's Tale: Etain takes his shot...

(as I work my way through a Troll Besieged)

People are so sad...

Particularly this guy.


Clearly all this banning drama has split the FFXI community apart once again. Some people feel that the cheaters should be drawn, quartered, and displayed in the town square so everyone can throw rotten tomatoes at them and others feel that the error is with SE, their complete inconsistency in disciplinary actions, and the sudden heavy-handedness of how they’ve dealt with all this.

Well, from what I have seen, it's about 10% the former and 90% the latter. You begin to wonder if that is the proportion of legit players to cheaters, too.

As for the rest of it, I think that's a matter that Square-Enix got woken up in the last 60 days as to how much the player-base cheats and believes it can get away with. What you saw on the 22nd, at least according to DJ Plaeskool, was retaliation.

Me personally? I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m glad SE did something about this, though it’s sad we’ve lost some pioneers in the mechanics of the game in the process. I don’t see a reason to completely ostracize people, however. Then again, despite what some people may think, I am a genuinely nice person, for the most part.

They weren't pioneers. They gave that up when they cheated, Etain. They gave all of that up.

I make no such illusions. I'm not that nice - I'm really not that easy to get along with. Especially when people just plain piss me off because they think they are bigger than the game (which see A-Fraud, Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, the innumerable steroid cheats, and most of the end-game contingent of FFXI).

You aren't bigger than Square-Enix, boys and girls. And it's far past time they show some of you cheating assholes who is boss round here.

What’s getting absurd, however, is how some self-important individuals keep piling their soapboxes higher and higher, feeling the need to continue to attack people who as of now are perma-banned and probably making them feel worse than they did in the first place when all this came to air. That’s just unnecessary and just plain obnoxious.

Why not?

Perhaps a bit of public humiliation and scorn and negation of their work and their position might not only serve to properly punish them, but might *gasp!* put a stop to it in the future?

Because if cheating isn't stopped, there is no more FFXI.

I’m not saying that either party here is right (or wrong, as I’ve lightly touched on in a previous post), but the further this drives the community apart, the sooner I think the glue that’s held FFXI together for so long will start to come undone. Which is sad, quite honestly.

I think we've already gone past that point, if the amount of cheating alleged is proven true.

I do, really. Because I wonder if the glue which had held FFXI together was really fraud, deceit, and enforced silence to keep someone from rightly blowing the whistle.

The fact is, there's very little keeping us together, when you look at our culture vs., say, Japanese culture.

That aside… assuming you read the link in the first sentence (of which, I am so sorry for making you read it!). Reread what you read, and then realize that the individual is supposedly 40 years old. That’s just… wow (see title of this post).

Hey, I warned you that I wasn't the most mature 40 -- and you didn't listen. Not my freaking fault.


God, this is going to get long. Second on the hit parade:

Robonosto of Fenrir says I have "Tears of a Clown": (

"Yet although SE certainly does not need to justify any bans or suspensions it metes out, the mere appearance of uneven application of "punishment" (regardless of the fact that punishment was unevenly applied) makes FFXI look even more of a joke than it already is."

You've already admitted the take-home point -- you see FFXI to be a joke. Remember, that's something the cheaters made it, not Square-Enix. In fact, frankly, the only inconsistency I have a problem with is that they should've all been tossed.

"And, anyone who thinks anyone at SE wasn't cognizant of the duping exploit at any time during the 18 or so months before the lead-up to patch-and-ban is an idiot. There is always some "snitch" who would report such a thing. I say snitch in the vein of someone who does the right thing mostly out of impure motives, like "seeing bitches get their comeuppance.""

And if you don't think I would've snitched on you, remember this one thing: The only place you don't snitch is where snitches die. I've been there.

I'll address the rest of his point, and Binarybeer's second lame attempt, in another post. Coming up as soon as I finish it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Since it's been referred to a number of times, I'll respond to Kaeko:

One of the most prominent players to be banned is Kaeko, and went into a very long discourse in the last post on this blog:

(That read will take a while. I'll wait.)

Anyhow, understand that I condemn Kaeko's actions and I don't think Kaeko has anything to say on it, but I'll respond to it, because I think it, like the first post of mine today, brings up some prescient points (and answers some questions that earlier comments of mine asked):

Whose "fault" is it?

To me, the rules make that an irrelevant question.

Since the rules prohibit a player from exploiting a known "bug" to gain an unfair game advantage, that such a "bug" exists does not give the player free reign to exploit it. Therefore, Kaeko, the blame lies entirely on the player, especially when the "bug" has been known and flagrantly abused by the community for 18 months.

So, Kaeko, though you are correct, it is not said strongly enough.

Was everyone guilty punished?

Addressed previously. Absolutely not. I don't think they're done, especially with the number, caliber, prestige, and levels of players impacted. Expect a second round real damn soon now.

Were punishments given fairly? Were the punishments too severe?

No. In fact, the more I read, the more I think all players involved should've been permabanned, not only as a retaliatory action to keep the players in line, but a further retailatory action once it became clear that the player-base came down soundly against Square-Enix.

I think some players got off lightly.

Again, see the comment about fraud on the last post. The players committed an RMT-like fraud experience against Square-Enix -- they should be lucky they aren't being hauled off to court. Any of these people who is allowed to play again should thank their lucky stars that someone at Square-Enix dropped the ball, and be prepared to be heaped with more scorn (from all side) than I am.

But Kaeko does make a point: There is no real standard as to what is a bannable illegality and what is not. Windower, used by quite a bulk of the upper-level player-base, is a prime example often given.

If I were Square-Enix, there'd have been an announcement on that Tuesday when Windower and the Wings of the Goddess stuff was available: Windower has been bannable, and we've let it slide too long. It stops, or you stop. At _maximum_, Windower would've been bannable upon the release of legal Windowed Mode.

Square-Enix needs to enforce the rules, and be clear as to what gets what penalty. Be lucky I don't run FFXI, though. :)

They need to ban Windower and make it a bannable offense. The information it apparently gives can give a significant advantage that the game owners never intended (otherwise, it'd have been put in Windowed Mode). It's third-party software -- treat it's users like it is.

The problem with that is simple: I've heard estimates of half the players in the game using it.

And that's what gets me? Does no one in the game abide by the Terms of Service?

If so, you already have my answer. Shut it down.

Kaeko is correct: It is all about not getting caught. Los Guerreros again: "If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying." I mean, the TOS is the only thing which keeps order in the game. I mean, if we allow this duping and the like, why not allow RMT (as two examples of how the TOS keep order)?

Do they even need a reason to ban you?

No. Read this section of Kaeko's post again, it makes two things clear:

1) They can toss you for no reason at all. They could toss me tomorrow because they get too many people complaining to them about this blog, really -- should they elect to do so.

2) The very fact you have a character does not make it yours. It is, as everything on it, a proprietary virtual product owned by Square-Enix. Read that section of my last post again to see the ramifications of that.

What constitutes an exploit?

From the Playonline Q&A, which he quotes later:

"[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."

This means any action taken to exploit an in-game mechanic not in the manner intended is an exploit, and suspendable or bannable.

I think we now have our answer on Logging Hate, and Apathy better watch it's back. What Apathy did to defeat Pandemonium Warden is, at least, suspendable, if not bannable. "Logging Hate", by this definition, is not an illegitimate strategy, but an illegal exploit of Pandemonium Warden's code and the effects of logging out.

(Oh, that'll get the hate mail.)

So the answer to the question is "yes".

And he lists 25 other things (including Kraken-Dark-Zerg) which also could. I would take some issue with the including of Kraken-Dark-Zerg, because that's only a strategy which Square-Enix did not intend used -- it didn't actually use something which was not part of the game. Illegitimate, not illegal.

He actually goes through some of these, but let's take a look at the list as a whole:

- Using Windower period
- Using Windower plugins like Distance and TPParty
- Using "fillmode"

Third-party software. Should be bannable.

- Tricking KB via Kite Route into repeatedly eating Blizzard IVs, an 8 second cast spell (Apollyon NW Solo)
- Deaggroing LBC repeatedly by using a kite path based on tight turns during Bhaflau Remnants Solo
- Tricking Qiqirn Treasure Hunter 3F Arrapago Remnants into alternate kite path

It depends on whether that exploits a flaw in the code or whether it's just simply something the players have figured out. The former would be, the latter would probably not. This gets to Square-Enix' intent on all this.

- Using the "Warp" or "D/C" trick to get into Salvage Solo

Yes. Bannable.

- Trick Qiqirn Astrolger 2F Arrapagon Remnants into not Warping "as intended"

If he's supposed to warp and you use a mechanic in a way not intended, but only to stop him from warping, yes.

- Log off trick to spawn Poroggo Madame 1F Zhayolm Remnants

Notice a pattern? Anything using logging off or disconnecting, not to leave the game but to gain an unfair game advantage, would fall under this situation. Bannable.

- Poroggo NM Frog Song Charm trick
- Medusa "Tidal Gate" bypass trick (the wall has a gaping hole in it)
- Goblin Footprint

Unclear as to what these are.

- Using the "Wall of Justice" (AV Kill Method 1)

Addressed it later. One LS was already jailed for using that mid-fight. It's quite bannable.

- Holding AV and killing it's Wynavs until AV was glitched into doing nothing (AV Kill Method 2)

Bannable, on at least two different levels.

- Using 13 Dark Knights to Souleater gank AV (AV Kill Method 3)

Not unless you want to get to the point where the only legal play is Square-Enix' play -- this is different because it is another method used _within the scope of play_ (at least from all I've learned of it) and doesn't involve mechanisms not intended for use in that way.

- Logging out after sleeping a train to reset hate list (same as recent PW kill, but a more "Average-Joe" use)

See above. PW's defeaters were illegal. Bannable.

- The ??? Pop NM Claim Bug

If it's a bug, it's an exploit. Bannable.

- Dia'ing the Vanguard Eye in Dynamis-Glacier from the bottom of the cliff to back-train Hydras
- Nuking Time Statues in Dynamis-Glacier from cliffs
- Dynamis Windurst "falling off the bridge"

Here, the argument is using the following (as he discusses later) -- POL Q&A again:

"Q: What constitutes taking advantage of in-game mechanics not intended as normal means of game play?

A: Some examples would be: using the games' geometry to safely attack a monster without fear of being attacked,"

Note that this is somewhat different than kiting a monster (you can still be attacked for a while), and it could be argued that a person using the "high ground" to ranged attack could even be in violation. The rule actually would appear, in this case, to demand that the monster have the ability to attack you if other factors didn't apply like Sleep or such.

- Using LVL1 mules to cheese Moblin Maze Mongers for Mables

Not clear. It doesn't break a game mechanic in a way not intended, it would appear at first. In fact, they openly said that MMM was going to be one of those ways low-levelled players could get involved in the game.

- Sleepga mob dispersion trick (forces reposition of mobs - honestly don't know a real name for this)

I could see an argument that that would be an exploit.

- Offering to sell spare Homam drops for gil

Hmmm... Rare/Ex??

- Giving Ashira my account info to log me in due to server congestion oddities

Addressed as well. Any third-party use of an account is illegal. It is a bannable offense to use another person's account, or for another person's account to be used. That's one of the reasons you are seeing accounts banned as compromised.

- Selectively disbanding alliances and parties to make copies of items in certain instanced zones

How we got here in the first place...

The real question is: Can the rules be enforced, or have the cheaters won and the game has become, as I say in my label "unsalvageable"?

But what Kaeko says in the key: EVERYTHING is Square-Enix' call. They could technically, as discussed, make kiting or NIN tanking illegal tomorrow if they really wanted to and never intended for combat to be performed that way.

At the end of the day, it's not an "error in judgement", it's an invalidation of your entire work on FFXI and should be condemned, though. Basically, since Square-Enix owns your character, they can, for all intent and purpose, control how it is used -- you only rent it.

Part 7: I was going to leave it at that, but then I see another shot across the bow...

Go ahead, read that. I'll wait. In fact, I'll read it as I'm responding to it.

Before I do, I wasn't really even planning on doing the more flame-filled one tonight, until I went to TTO and saw: lolstarcade.

I knew this couldn't be good. Or could it be so bad that it was _really good_... :)

Well, only one way to find out, and then we'll take and lead into the other batch of flames I was actually planning to save because I wanted to try to keep Monday somewhat civil.

(I blame the motorcycle alarm.)

So, let's see what this... Binarybeer has to say on the subject (I think I can almost have written it for him, I think I know where he stands...

He first quotes the following comment I earlier made:

"In case you chose to forget, this was an 18-month situation that the player base concocted which abjectly destroyed game balance, was clearly against the rules, and could almost be construed as a degree of court-actionable fraud vs. Square-Enix or the players who actually (and I know this must shock you to believe some actually still do) play the game legitimately."

(Emphasis his.)

To wit, he responds:


The entire extent of his post. Wondrous and complete in his disregard for the truth of the statement, offering no acceptable counter-point except the pro-cheater ways and means of much of the (especially American) FFXI player-base.

Basically, I understand what's going on in the blogosphere -- truth by consensus. It's not a matter of whether you're right, it's a matter of having all the bodies behind you so you can be the one left when the other up and quits.

Nice try. To explain my comment which you totally could not answer, I wish to make another statement that I was planning to make tonight, was going to hold off, and then decided to after reading your tripe:

The only difference between the Salvage-dupers and RMT is that RMT actually gets RL money out of the transaction all of the time. The only Salvage-dupers who did were RMT on top of it.

Otherwise, the Salvage-dupers you and most of the people I've read support are no better than RMT and should be scorned the same way.

What I said in the comment was that the Salvage-dupers:

a) Destroyed game balance. They chose to commit the equivalent of hacking the drop rates for Salvage gear. What they did, by exploiting the code error, was no different than actually going in and changing the code. That's why the rule exists against exploiting code errors, and the players involved...

b) Broke the rules of the game as a result, and, in what he really must've LOL'ed at...

c) Committed what could almost be considered a court-actionable fraud against Square-Enix.

I said it. I meant it.

Here's my thesis: Square-Enix has an amount of proprietary virtual company property it allows its players to use in the game "Final Fantasy XI", in exchange for the "rent" of the monthly fee for their characters and their abidance by the rules Square-Enix sets.

Square-Enix, through these rules (which includes all the drop rates and such), sets the parameters under which they will allow the use of such proprietary virtual property by the players, and the parameters under which they can be gained.

In an RMT situation, the people are illegally selling proprietary virtual company property which still belongs to Square-Enix. That is why RMT is illegal. Square-Enix does not authorize the sale of such things unless they are part of promotional items (the Tidal Talisman, the FanFest/VanaFest items, etc.) that Square-Enix provides themselves. No one else has authorization to do that, certainly not a bunch of RMT people.

The Salvage-dupers are no better, the only difference is that non-RMT Salvage-dupers weren't getting real-life money for their affairs. The Salvage-dupers committed acts, and knowingly committed acts, which denied the legal rights of Square-Enix to control it's proprietary virtual property.

That is fraud. And the question then becomes if money damage becomes involved through that, and that is not implausible. So I contend that the Salvage-dupers definitely defrauded Square-Enix (just like RMT) and may have done so in a way that could be actionable in a court of law.

Oh, and to Binarybeer, this "douche" would like to ask you a personal question:

Who runs this game: You, or Square-Enix?

I'll try to keep this one flame-free, because there are some other things about this to discuss...

... as long as that freaking motorcycle alarm out there in front of our apartment doesn't go off with every damn raindrop. Good God, people, some moderation!!!


I hope that is the extent of the flamage in this particular post, because there have been some fairly legitimate points made during the entire Salvage-dupe hullaballoo that I seriously do think need to be addressed.

1) DJ Plaeskool -- one of the prominent musical minds in all of FFXI -- (you can hear some of his work on Radio XI) basically inferred that the mass bannings were retaliation by Square-Enix and a reassertion of their authority over the player base and over FFXI.

Not to say that he was inferring that it was a problem, but, for those who think it is:

The problem with that is... what?

I say "get off 'my game'" to the cheaters and those who support them -- but it's Square-Enix' baby and it's basically their call on what they will allow and what they won't.

I am disgusted as to the level of pro-cheater, pro-duper, anti-Square Enix stuff I see on this subject (and that doesn't even get to the stuff against me...). I mean, who really runs this game, you the player-base or Square-Enix?

Given the level of flagrance of the events of the last 18 months, I said before that I think a vote of no-confidence has been cast against Square-Enix by its players (or by enough of them that there has to be some level of very serious concern for the future of FFXI).

So an action to basically let the player-base know who is boss, especially one well within the realms of the power Square-Enix has, is quite in line. I'll expound on more of the specifics in another article, but let me put it this way: Who in the Hell does the player-base think it is?

Seriously. Who runs this show, you or them? I'm almost afraid to leave it there, but I will, because I have two other points I want to address...

2) Future bannings for misconduct. There have been several different takes on where this might lead, but I think all have one thing in common:

This is only the first batch. And, from there, there are the several different takes:

a) There's my take: That this is not the end of the Salvage dupe-bannings.

Keep in mind this was 18 months worth of flagrant abuse by most of the prominent end-game players who played Salvage. If you honestly believe only 950 or so players committed bannable or suspendable offenses in those 18 months, I already have some swampland in Antarctica for sale.

I think, if anything, the number, the prestige, and the levels of these players has opened some very serious eyes at Square-Enix and the Special Task Force. I would suspect that they've probably opened up a lot more Salvage logs than just the ones involving the players they've suspected. I'd be shocked if every Salvage log for the last 18 months is not eventually examined (and, no, I don't think they could do that in just 60 days -- not with all their other work too).

So I don't think this is but round one of the Salvage bannings.

b) There's the thought of "Is this going to mean that the people who Kraken-Dark-Zerged AV or the one linkshell who defeated PW are going to be next?"

The former? No. At least I don't think so. (Although there is word that the first linkshell to defeat AV (I'm not sure if the post I read (I think it was on BluGartr) said that it was the first overall or the first on a given server.) was basically wiped out due to the bannings -- about 2/3rds were, so it said.)

I think that was a matter of that Square-Enix was trying to adjust AV to a 2-hour fight. When they noticed something unusual had happened, but not outside the rules of the game, it was rectified, quickly.

The latter?? Oh yeah, I didn't discuss this one...

A linkshell has defeated Pandemonium Warden. Apathy (not sure what server) killed Pandemonium Warden approximately two weeks ago. With the 2-hour restriction.

It apparently now has only 10 forms you have to go through, and then the final form -- which took them about an hour to kill.

Here's the rub: They did it with something called "logging hate". When it spawns its 8 lamps (and all 9 avatars), apparently, it also hits Astral Flow -- I don't think I need to tell you what would happen if it got off the attack against a full alliance (it begins with "w" and rhymes with "cripe"...).

So, what happens, to my understanding: One person gets to the top of the hate list (Diagas the mess, not unlike what I do in a Besieged to help out from time to time), runs like crazy, and everyone else (deliberately) logs out!!

The one player remaining with hate dies. The other players are instructed not to return for 2 minutes -- since, according to the Wiki:

"If all individuals who have developed enmity die, Pandemonium Warden will return to his spawn point, with his train of lamps, and will not be aggressive to any non-combat action."

They raise the remaining player and wait til everyone gets full (because they have to do this three times (75%, 50%, 25%)), and then go in again.

It's clearly NOT a legitimate strategy (which see Kraken-Dark-Zerg with the "new" AV before the change).

Some have wondered rather plaintively whether the "logging hate" strategy might constitute a bannable offense... (over and above the possibility that some of the members of Apathy got banned (unknown at this time to me) for Salvage-dupes)

I was certain that it would not, at first. Now, I'm not so sure.

It's clear that they are trying to exploit the fact that PW basically sits and waits for someone to agg it. The question is: Does that count as an "exploit" of a "bug"? Or does that simply exploit something Square-Enix didn't intend (like the Kraken-Dark-Zergs)...

Is it simply not a legitimate strategy (if it can be fixed, it will be), or does it go illegal?

That call may end up to Square-Enix...

c) ... as will a lot of others. Don't think this hasn't opened the door to a re-examination of a number of other "cheats", "exploits", God-knows-what-else... Chances are, if you've found a "dirty little secret" that gives you an unfair advantage, you may be wishing to look over your shoulder.

3) Today (Monday morning PST) was the end of the 72-hour bannings. There is rumor that some of the 72h suspended got to keep their items.

Trust me... All I will say on this one is: If that's true, expect real trouble, Square-Enix.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flamage Part Six: And _HE'S_ the one who's laughing?

He wants to point out my blog post and laugh at it when he's the one who committed fraud, cheated, got his ass banned, etc.?

I've got a blunt question for the fan base...


Is that what you _want_??

If I were Square-Enix, I'd shut this damn game down because of the attitudes I'm reading.

I mean, who are you trying to kid?  YOU got banned.  YOU got nailed.  Don't expect any respect from the legitimate player-base, MogKnight.

Flamage Part Cinque: So I've Been Officially Called Out

(EDIT:  The color scheme's a little screwed up -- if you can't read it, lemme know and I'll get you the text someplace.  I've got Dynamis, and I'm too pissed off at the Cheating Brigade to fight the template further to fix it.

And the site that MogKnight blasts me a new one is:

If you got to here from TTO, catch MogKnight's post calling me out first.  I'll wait...

OK, MogKnight, you called me out??  Here's your answer...

Yes, I am on a high horse, but only if it's to be on a fucking high horse to actually expect the player base to have some goddamned respect for Square-Enix, the rest of the players in the game, and the rules thereof.  Now, in this day and age of what my roommate so correctly calls people needs to be "more hardcore than thou".

In case you chose to forget, this was an 18-month situation that the player base concocted which abjectly destroyed game balance, was clearly against the rules, and could almost be construed as a degree of court-actionable fraud vs. Square-Enix or the players who actually (and I know this must shock you to believe some actually still do) play the game legitimately.

(I mean, if you can actually establish that your account was banned through actions you truly didn't know about, I'd be getting in touch with Square-Enix to find out who did and sue the crap out of that/those player(s).  (And if someone ever tries that crap with me (and I expect someone will in the near future -- with the target I have on my back right now), I'll see that player or those players in court.)

You don't understand how much it frustrates me that Square-Enix seems to still have a game which is so slanted toward end-game and high levels and groups -- while we then find out that there are dirty little secrets all over the damn Internet (claim bots, third-party software, etc. etc.) that Square-Enix should lower the freaking boom on.

So, yeah, if it's a "high horse" to actually demand that the game I pay my $12.95 a month for is played fairly, get a ladder to get to me.

And then he has joined in on the pro-Chinchilla rant.

Let me put it this simply, and I can speak from experience:  Once you cross the line and do something illegal enough that it wipes out your ability to continue something, you lose _everything you worked for_ -- and, on top of that, if there are people who want to keep you around that situation, then they divorce themselves of all remaining credibility too.

The last couple of days have really made me wonder if the bulk of FFXI players aren't all just in at least one of these three camps:

-- Cheaters themselves.
-- People who would harbor cheaters.
-- People who encourage cheating.

Frankly, MogKnight, you're probably in all three of those camps.  PFA is in at least the last two of them as a whole.

And, frankly, that disgusts me.  How am I supposed to trust any player in this game with the way the most prominent players and representatives of this game carry themselves?  Answer me that question, MogKnight!  Answer me that question, PFA!!  How the fuck am I supposed to trust that I'm not getting in league with a bunch of thieving SOB's all over this game??

Now, anyone here can easily see that this is discrimination here.  He targeted Chinchilla directly in saying that he doesn’t want her to represent FFXI any more just because she got banned from the game because of something she has illegally done.  Yeah, again as I have reitterated so many times, we have accepted our actions and we have been banned because of it and as far as my case is, I’m not defending that we did was okay.  But, to go straight out of your way to make someone’s life feel like absolute SHIT.  It’s like going up to a black person and call him everything in the racial slurs book JUST to make them feel like the worst person in the world.  It’s like going to jail and calling some random person who you don’t even know that caused a small crime a dirty shit bag to society.  There’s no reason for you to do that, none at all except if you wanted to be like a horrible horrible person.  I think you should have been banned from life because you’re a terrible person.

And you have the balls to call it discrimination??  Hey, it's not my goddamned fault she's been banned and has no further place in Final Fantasy XI!!  It's not my goddamned fault she bawled to her freaking website and blog to gain sympathy and get people against Square-Enix.  The only "discrimination", I've already covered:  If I ever find out that some LBR person or Level Down/VP or even Ganiman has done it, they get both barrels too.

And then you play the fucking race-like card...

You want to go there?  Fine.

What you did was FRAUD.  Fraud against the company.  Fraud against the player base.  And that's fraud against me.  And I take that very fucking seriously.  The only reason, frankly, that I wouldn't consider suing the lot of you is that you don't do monetary damage to me personally.

But make no mistake:  What you did was open and knowing fraud in a manner of sacrificing game balance because you just -- had -- to -- have -- that -- kewl -- 1337 -- Salvage -- gear.  You defrauded Square-Enix out of their intellectual property.  You all but committed theft of same.

(And, oh, by the way:  There are more than a few people who believe I should've been locked up and the key thrown away in the past.  And there's days I openly wonder if they were _right_...)

So, let's see what else MogKnight has to say:

What?!  Oh, so you’re telling me that every time anyone does something wrong in our society, whatever it may be, it’s a horrible image to everyone else?  So, does that mean that when a human decides to do something that is “immoral” or not normal with society, they dirty the image that is human life?

If what they do is illegal and disrupts the balance of human life, yes -- they, in some way, do sully the image of "human life".  You seem to continue to choose to forget that this is not one action, but an 18-month "pattern of conduct" rampant in the end-game Salvage player base meant to circumvent, defraud, and steal from Square-Enix and the legitimate players (what few there may be).

You don't get it -- there's such a thing called "game balance".  What you and your cohorts and friends did was a deliberate attempt (especially as it became the Salvage community's "dirty little secret") to illegally turn the game in your favor because "WAH WAH WAH!!  We don't like the fucking drop rates!!!"

I'm sure you have the same question for me, but who the Hell do you think you are??  (That can go to the other 949 of you too...)

See, that’s my fucking problem with you.  I don’t give a shit about what you think but you’re really pushing buttons just to be a jackass.  You want to be all hig moral and shit, keep that shit to yourself, stop ridiculing others and stop being a shit bag.  No one wants to hear it, especially when you’re attacking people like that.  You are not a part of my life, stay out of it, stay out of my friend’s life and stay out of the life of people that do not matter to you.  If we’re infecting “your” FFXI life, good.  I hope it makes you quit the game for good because I’d rather SE get money from people that care about the game and the community that they don’t go out of their way to make other people feel like shit.

You have *GOT* to be kidding me, MogKnight.  Let me put it this strongly:

I don't want cheaters in my game, and:

1) the only reason that "no one wants to hear it" is if basically everyone else is cheating in some form or another (and there are those, as previously addressed, who believe that truly to be the case.

2)  if it's so "high moral and shit" to actually expect people follow the rules of a game I pay good money (and a lot of it, over five years) to actually abide by the rules, then I guess I have to take the "high moral and shit" road and basically try to state that there are more players in this damn game than just a few end-game cheaters who decide to spit all over the rest of us.

3) As I said somewhere yesterday, it is not "supporting SE" to give money to them and then stab them in the back because you don't like their fucking drop rates.  You'd rather have SE get money from a bunch of cheating people who will do whatever it takes (even cheat out of their ass) just because they don't like the drop rates or some other thing of the game?  I hope you either understand how ridiculous you sound, or you understand that that is the precise reason I have no problems being an asshole (or at least considered such) right now.

You don't fucking "care about the game".  You lost the privilege of being considered as such when you did this and got your ass banned.  YOU -- LOST -- THAT -- PRIVILEGE.  And NOTHING gets that back.  I should know.  I should know from a lot of experience because I can be such a freaking asshole.

But that does not change the facts at hand.  You, Chinchilla, and the other 950 or so are turning this game into a sick joke.  The "dirty little secret" and those who have exploited it have disgraced Final Fantasy XI.  And I'm not going to take that lying down.

And you better not judge me again.  As far as I’m concerned, this isn’t about my FFXI life.  This is about you harassing me and my friends and the actual decent people that make FFXI the greatest MMO of all fucking time.  The next time you open your mouth about me, it’s no longer about FFXI, it will be personal because you made this into a personal battle now.  It’s no longer about FFXI, it’s no longer about what’s lawfully right or wrong within SE’s ToS.  It’ll be about you and me and all of my friends and every single one of them that you decide to attack and pick on from your high horse of morality.

This is Mogknight.  I may no longer be here in Taru form but I will always fight for my friends, even if they have done wrong.  I, unlike you, will never forget their contributions to the world and how they contributed and helped me in my life, FFXI or real life.

Well, this is already a personal battle, because your actions basically indicated to me what kind of a person you are, and you've chosen to make it personal already.  I will freely respond to what I read about myself on the blogosphere if and when I choose to do so.

You want to shut me up?  Jail me or beat the shit out of me or put me out of commission permanently.  There's your three options.

The fact that you take this so personally is an indication that you don't care about the game -- you care about screwing around with your friends and, when you get caught and you get what's coming to you (the full nullification of all your work in FFXI, a deserved penalty even for first offense for that level of foul), you start screaming to the Heavens.

Fight for your friends if you choose to fight for them, but also understand that those friends and what you fight for _are_ indications of who you are and what you believe in.  That's why, when I got in enough trouble when I was younger, people openly told me they could no longer associate with me.  It impacted what people saw them to be too.

And here's one final thing, because it gives me the chance to address something I've seen several times in the blog-o-sphere from some of the people who have "lost years of work" and "lost real-life friendships":

Speaking generally, you should've thought about that before you got involved with something which got your account terminated.  You knew, going in, intentionally, that you were cheating and that, if caught, termination was probably the only real option.  That you chose not to consider the ramifications of that is far too common in today's Final Fantasy XI player (Hell, in today's "human being"...), and I have little sympathy for that.

You nullified that work when you cheated, MogKnight.  And Chin nullified the right to remain (as her position as a host of a Podcast Alliance show) a representative of the player base.

Speaking specifically, I have some news for you that might shock you:

I don't play Final Fantasy XI necessarily for the friendship factor or anything like that .

I probably won't see the end of most of these storylines because of that -- I solo probably more than most anyone else in the game.

Why?  Situations like this.  I don't trust the rank-and-file player.  I can't trust the rank-and-file player.

And, the worst part is:  People like Chin and MogKnight give me no reason to trust the rank-and-file player.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flamage Part Quatre: PFA don't like me now...

I didn't think they would take too kindly for me going broad-side on Chinchilla. I expect to be their next ROTFLMAOBBOWTF target the next time they tape.

And I got an e-mail from Fusionx stating they are not a Premiere Site, along that they find my demand comedic and that they will retain Chin. That's news to me -- but rest be assured that I will make sure that Square-Enix has a strong recommendation against any future consideration for that or any other preferred status or privileges.

They don't get it. The actions of Chinchilla, as well as the other relevant players (the only reason she's first among the Alliance is she's the first I've come across from there -- if Aneiro or Kallo or Juxta or Kixxi or ... are on the list and I discover them, they get both barrels too -- with probably similar results) spit all over the legitimate players they purport to represent. And if PFA wants to continue to keep her, they sanction this cheating, on the part of not only individual players, but the player-base they purport to represent.

And I do not accept that nor take it lightly. I've put five years of money in this game -- and the fact that I've put that much money into the game means that I take the demand seriously when I state that I demand that the game not only be fairly adjudicated, but fairly played.

When I hear of an exploit that the whole end-game community ROTFLMAOBBQWTF's at and abuses for 18 months, I damned well have a problem. And when people who basically are supposed to be prominent members of the community spit all over the concept of game balance, I REALLY damned well have a problem.

Keep laughing, PFA -- your laughs indicate that you sanction this bullshit.


EDIT: I decided I would add a little story to this about two people I used to look up to in real-life who angered me to such a degree that I actually have not only stopped listening to the radio station where they used to work, but contacted the Federal Communications Commission to see if KGO Radio could get its license pulled.

When I used to live in San Francisco, I used to look up to Bernie Ward, the "Lion of the Left". He had 18 hours of programming on the channel -- the 10-1 spot at night on weeknights and a Sunday ethics/religion show called "God Talk".

So it probably comes as no shock to a lot of people when, supposedly as part of research for a book (and, the more I think it, the more I question the "research" -- certainly in addition to the sanity of a clearly anti-Bush radio host in a day where our recently-departed Chimp-in-Chief probably kept a good deal of a media "enemies list"), he was caught trading child porn. Fired, plead guilty, now in prison -- thanks for nothing, Bernie...

And what finally finished me off of KGO for pretty much for good was when I lost my other favorite radio host on that channel, (Charles) Karel (Boulay). I actually met the guy several years before when he was a singer/performer. Riotously funny, openly gay, and not afraid to "go there".

Problem is, he "went there" way too far with an open mike. About a week or two before the recent national elections, last hour of his Saturday night show, during the national news, yet another story on "Joe the Plumber".

What is the first rule of radio? Always assume any microphone you talk into is live.

So when Karel howled into an apparently non-live mic: "I want Joe the Plumber motherfucking dead!", he basically killed his media career. That mic was live -- he was fired by the election. He, frankly, should be in jail himself -- I was put there for far less.

The point I'm making is that I hold the people and entities I care about to a much higher standard than the morass I hold very little regard for. That applies to RL as much as it applies to FFXI.

Flamage Part Trois: The player base does not understand the damage done...

First, a quick Weekend Update:

DRG 65, RDM 58, MNK probably 50 by the end of the night if this whole situation doesn't frustrate me.

Sunday Dynamis: Bastok -- no win.

Wednesday Dynamis: Only Sandy available -- win (my 3rd) -- almost got a Big Money, but was beaten on the lot by one other player.


Now, back to the carnage. This will cover other than Blue Gartr -- sounds like they will merit their own consideration.

Read the comment from MogKnight to my last post. And understand that I, in a very rare move, have no apology to make to him or anyone else for actually making them regret something they should have regretted ever wanting to do in the first place.

And then I go on Pet Food Alpha and I find out that one of the four hosts of the show has been terminated from the game, Chinchilla.

( -- she doesn't like it. As far as I am concerned, maybe the game needs more morality police...)

I will make the statements, some specifically about Chin, but they apply to any other prominent player so penalized:

You have no idea what kind of damage you do to the game and the like when you actually get caught like this. None.

I've already basically gotten the idea that the end-game crew on BluGartr has gone "QQ" -- apeshit that they got caught, many are either forced to or wanting to quit the game, and that this might be the end of FFXI.

I will say this without hesitation:

Any player who involved themselves in this cheat (or any such bannable misconduct) should be in no future position to represent FFXI and the player community in any capacity. And any Premiere Site which retains any such player expelled from the game for misconduct should be removed from such consideration with the utmost expediency.

Secondly, if this is going to be the "QQ" moment for much of the end-game, then, frankly, FFXI does not deserve to survive.

On the former comment, I plan on contacting PFA and making this statement unequivocal. I will contact Square-Enix and basically say it's either Chin goes or PFA's Premiere status goes.

I'll give her the show this announcement is made. But any more involvement after that, and I contact Square-Enix. The placement as a Premiere Site is a privilege -- in fact, something a lot of people don't get is that playing this game at all is a privilege. Any such privilege can, for cause, be taken away at any time.

(And if I find out that anyone from any of the other Radio XI Podcast Alliance situations are banned as well, you'll get edits to this post or additional posts.)

Why am I willing to go against one of the more prominent members of the Radio XI Podcast Alliance (one of the premiere fan community networks)?

Because of the second comment I just made.

One of three things will kill FFXI:

1) The real-life economy is such that the game becomes unsustainable for Square-Enix to continue.

2) There is such a vote of no-confidence in Square Enix by the player base that so many players leave that #1 results.

3) There is such a vote of no-confidence in the player base by Square-Enix that they essentially take their ball and go home.

After what I've seen the last 60 days, any of the three are now imminent. I don't think I need to go into the RL economy in a vacuum at this point -- you can find any degree of that information.

But the real problem appears to be that there is a real probability that condition #2 has existed for quite a long time. As I told MogKnight, this is not a single act. This is 18 months of misconduct all rolled up, and if you think these are the only 950 players involved, I've got swampland in Antarctica for sale, cheap.

And the justification of "WAAA!! We don't like the fucking drop rates!!" indicates to me an abject no-confidence in Square-Enix. The players have tried to forcibly seize control of Square-Enix' game, and Square-Enix has started to fight back.

Of course, bluntly, it is probably time for Square-Enix to expand the STF to two STFU's (Special Task Force Units)... One for RMT, one for non-RMT player misconduct, specializing end-game.

It is clear that many (most? ALL??) of the major end-game players in FFXI do not wish to play by the rules. And a lot of the players either are "questioning the morality police" or prepared to say that this is going to completely blow up FFXI.

In that case, let it implode and die and let all the wankers who want to screw around go play WoW for all I care.

And that brings me to the third possibility, and one I would not be as surprised as some to wonder about: What if it gets to the point that investigations like this turn up such wide-spread misconduct that, some day very soon in Japan, someone just doesn't walk in and propose shutting the whole mess down as a vote of no-confidence from Square-Enix to the players?

What happens if it comes down to the point that the top brass of Square-Enix and FFXI decide it's no longer worth it because nobody (or so few) is/are playing by the rules?

I consider this a very real possibility. And, given a lot of the comments I've been reading the last 24 hours, I almost am beginning to wonder if that isn't a consideration high in the skies of Squeenix.

And all I have to say is that it is the player base's fault for acting like a bunch of entitled 12 year-olds who won't play unless they are Monty Haul-ed everything.

You do not understand the damage done when ~1,000 high level players, many with prominent end-game or community positions, are banned or dumped for an obvious known exploit that is so known, that the moment it is discovered that the exploit is being used or was used, there's only one alternative: Narc the mess out, notify Square-Enix, and get the thing fixed -- and LEAVE ANY EXPLOIT RUN IMMEDIATELY.

Any other result leaves you open for an investigation and a ban or suspension. And if you later find out that the exploit was used on the run, you report it then and prepare to forfeit any and all items gained.

But I read some of the comments to Chin's article and am utterly flabbergasted at just the abject arrogance of a player base who feels they are fucking entitled to be Monty Haul-ed on.

You have no idea -- NONE -- as to the damage done. There are people who are already putting the date of my 40th birthday (January 22, 2009) as the day FFXI died. You know what? In that case, let it die.

Oh, one more comment: I'm now beginning to wonder if the reason that you (the player base) haven't come up with a workable Absolute Virtue or Pandemonium Warden strategy is because you haven't meaningfully legally beaten an end-game monster since you joined end-game!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flamage Part Deux: The Salvage Ban-Hammers Start

I was just about to settle into a quiet Friday evening Promy run when I just got tired of FFXI (see the first rant of the night), and decided to go do some RL business.

I decided to take one more check of the Tarutaru Times Online to see if their RSS service had picked up said rant. It had not, but I had another surprise on my hands:

The first round of Salvage exploit ban-hammers has hit the table: 400 suspended, another 550 banned.

Sounds like this happened on the 22nd -- although I have to disagree on one central point:

This is a start. They are nowhere near the end of this if they think 950 bans and suspensions are going to be the extent of this. This was an 18-month known exploit that most of the endgame community knew about and took part in. Any player who got Salvage gear in the last 18 months should be investigated.

Increase this by an order of magnitude, and we may have something.

And if you want my personal opinion as to that you would claim that you got it clean: I would firmly tell you that, in my belief, the odds are against you.

For those few who still do not know, it's as if my blog has come full circle. For 18 months, the Salvage endgame community knew of an exploit to allow them to circumvent what they felt were harshly unfair drop rates for Salvage gear and items by taking the maximum 6-person party and splitting it up into a three-party alliance, on which the gear and items would duplicate.

That's illegal. And I said when I started this blog, every player (I don't care if the total is every player who played Salvage the last 18 months.) who used this exploit should be suspended at minimum. If there's any evidence that it was knowingly used, bye-bye account.

I saw quite a number of blog posts on this subject on the TTO, with click-counts unheard of in the time I've known the TTO to be in existence. Some "highlights":

1) Commenter Staren on (Kimiko's Panic Motion):

"I cant say they didnt deserve it but it is still shocking to see the names of the people we’ve lost. I dont think anyone cleanly follows the ToS agreement as there are millions who use the real windower but most of them are not using it to get everyone gear thats supposed to be hard to get."

(Emphasis mine.)

I'll address the "big names" part of that in a moment. (It appears as if several major TTO bloggers are among the cheating bastards.)

The comment I bolded, though, is far more damning. A story:

The night before FanFest, I was on VanaChat (the chat of Vanadiel Profiles), and the talk turned to the Salvage exploit and what might be done. I had one player, straight-faced and straight-out, give me the following belief:

Half the players on Final Fantasy XI cheat.

I will say this unequivocably: If it's that many, then I have one thing to say to Square-Enix: Shut the whole goddamned game down. Now.

I pay my $12.95/mo and uphold the TOS to the best of my ability and knowledge. No illegal Windower, no even some of the third-party spell-timer stuff you see on the pictures on some of these blogs. NOTHING.

And what do I get for it? Shit and shit on by a player base which doesn't give a damn. I have lost all remaining respect for the player base on Final Fantasy XI, as a whole player base. (Individual players may be another matter, but the player base as a whole -- gone.)

It really seems to me as if the players are actually trying to act against Square-Enix so that they go into business for themselves (some literally -- I've heard more and more stories of people buying and selling characters on these blogs and message boards and the like...).

There is no remaining game balance in many sections of FFXI -- it's probably some of the reasons they've had to do things for lower-level and solo players.

2) (Lord Wafik on Asura -- one of the people who doesn't know at this point whether he is suspended or banned...)

"Blahblahblah we all know about the dupe issue, we know it’s wrong to do this and that, but a warning would have been more better instead of throwing everyone straight into a ban. Especially 2 months after the incident, especially when SE knew about the incident for 1.5 years and didn’t do anything about it till it became widespread amongst NA players."

Like you felt you had the fucking right?

Frankly, I'd not only have banned all of you, I'd have closed Salvage. Yes, I would have terminated the entire game mechanic as completely imbalanced beyond repair.
Your entitlement attitude is exactly the reason that this kind of stuff actually made me consider, for a moment or two and for the first time, actually terminating my FFXI account on my own.

The only thing you are right on is that these bans should've come 18 months ago. But they're here now, and they will devastate the endgame community, by everything I've read on it.


I almost think the name of this blog is appropriate, given the stand here: "You Are Not Your Fucking O's-Kote."

"Just want to get down on anyone that duped, got banned, when they previously said they were so fucking scary smart for duping and are now whining that it is SE's fault that they fucking did it.

To those people.







Preach on. The real interesting thing is going to come on about Sunday when the 72-hour ban period comes off and we start finding out what's really been done.

I really think Square has to start taking some very serious examinations as to the nature of the game and to see if any high-level or endgame players really are acting in concert with the TOS at all!! I think the future of FFXI is in danger -- if the STF doesn't get some real indications that they can get control of the player base and force enough of them to play fair, cheaters WILL kill FFXI, and they will do so (with the help of the economy) very soon (think within 2009).

The players are acting with absolute impunity. They don't care. It's that damned simple. Maybe Anakin Skywalker was right: People need to be made to 'care'.

4. (Vedder from Cerebrus)

"Perusing forum posts about these bannings has revealed quite a few well known and well geared players were hit. The top two guys on the achievements list got it: There are also a number of prominent forumgoers who look to have been taken down... mutliple relic holders, d-ring holders, AV item holders too.

It's just crazy.I don't personally take a lot of glee in this news, mostly because I haven't heard of anyone from Cerberus getting hit yet, so things will be same ol' around here. I think permanent bans for people that utilized this exploit, but didn't have any previous offenses, is pretty harsh. However, with the way the rules are written and the fact that SE needs to be consistent, I guess I can understand why people are "getting got"."

I take absolute glee in this news, and, given some of the stuff already said, it sounds as if they could probably do 10 times this amount of players if they really did a thorough investigation.

A couple of your comments basically indicate my concern that no mega-high player is actually getting there legitimately: First, for those who do not know, the FFXI Auction House website ( has come up with an Achievement system not unlike XBox's achievement system. It sounds as if the top two players (the two most decorated players in that system who used have both been banned, as well as has much of the top-level community.

I think a real question going forward has to be: Can Square-Enix justifiably maintain any degree of game balance without basically being forced either to shut down FFXI as a cheaters' paradise, or, as a last resort which will decimate the fanbase, reset everyone?

Second comment: To the level of crime committed, a first-offense ban is absolutely appropo. Think of the possible RMT ramifications and how much a character with one piece of (duped) Salvage gear would be worth more than the same character with all levels, skills, and all other things intact without that piece of duped gear. Take the monetary difference, divide it by $35, and multiply that by a million gil. That is the level of problem here.

5) Mogknight loses all his credibility.

"I played with the fire and I got burned. Can’t say I saw this coming and I can’t say I didn’t deserve it either. I lost a lot of things, quite a bit of things from the four years I’ve played this game. And yeah, this is probably the worst way to go out really. I was a bit emo about it earlier today (who wouldn’t really?) but I’m not gonna try to defend myself or push trying to get unbanned or anything like that, everything is written there in black ink."

Good-bye, MogKnight, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

This was one of the most prominent TTO contributors, and it really makes me wonder how few people actually play this game clean. We may soon find out. My statement from above stands: If so few people play this game clean, Squeenix should shut the damn thing down.

I'm sorry, but, as I've said before, I've lost what little remaining respect I had for the player base over the course of the last couple of months. So don't expect any sympathy if you get exposed as a cheater. You lose all your cred and all of what you gained, not unlike Charles van Doren in the late 1950's when a rigged stint on "Twenty-One" got him a gig on the Today Show.

6) (Eyven of CaitSith)

"Of course all the FFXI community is talking about the bannings of Salvage duppers at the moment. It's been entertaining to read all the QQing in BG. The comments that have said how FFXI will be dieing (!!!) now with all those HQ endgamers gone have been the best laugh. Hate to break this to you, but this game doesn't revolve around you. You broke the rules and knew the risks, now face the consequences like a (wo)man and stop whining."

Preach on. In fact, tell them to STFU and GTFO would be even better. (This is going to be one very long post. I'll deal with the BG threads in a separate post.)

Here's the problem with simply discarding their thoughts, though: There is a real possibility that they might end up being right that this might kill FFXI. Consider two things:

a) What if we end up finding out that, in fact, basically none of the end-game community plays clean at all? The vote of no-confidence at Square-Enix would probably result in the game being terminated on their end.

b) What if so many players leave the game, not willing to play by Square-Enix' rules, that the RL economy does not allow them to continue the game? An MMORPG of this level is NOT cheap.

Both of these results are very plausible. I'm not even sure you can have full confidence that any 75 (including me!) is completely legit at this point. Send all flames to the comments section.

7) (Aikiz of Alexander)

"It doesn't matter now that we were in competing shells. That we shit talked back and forth. Botted on top of each other. Gossipped. Made fun of. Name called. 1.22.09 is the day that Square-Enix decided to HOLOCAUST the upper tier of their fanbase for duping Salvage/Nyzul/Sandworm drops through what was a 'secret' exploit. The LM11 and LM17 bans were issued in the early hours of 1.22.09 effectively taking out some of the most famous, well geared, and respected players of the game.

The moral legality of what these players did is much debated. Though they broke terms of services, there is still the debate of whether what they did was justifiable. Some were second offenses. Some were firsts. Some got lucky with a temp. Others are permanenty. Personally, good for them that they fucked this game the way that its fucked us. Yeah fuck you remnants for NEVER FUCKING POPPING ANYTHING."

No. There's a reason for their pop rate. They want some degree of game balance across the game. There is such a freaking thing as "game balance".

Until you get that, the very future of FFXI is endangered. If you don't like it, leave. If enough people leave, the game is over. At that point, Square-Enix' work will have essentially been proven wasted on a player base which did not deserve it. Period.

Why do you think they've been having trouble with getting new players and losing ground to WoW, for freaking God's sake?

I mean, if we're going that route, what's to say they didn't try the same garbage with Up In Arms with the Kraken Club drops? Under Observation with the Peacock Charm or Utsusemi: Ni?? You have NO RIGHT -- NONE -- to even suggest cheating as a circumventing justification because you don't like the fucking drop rates.

You don't like it? Leave. At minimum, don't play Salvage. You are shitting all over this game for what few players might be playing legit...

8) (Dantaro of Alexander)

I'm not going to quote it, but it was a list of all the players known banned from posting in different places about it. The list contained just half of the 950 players involved.

At that point, 91 Relics (I'm assuming weapons) were removed, and 2 Mythic Weapons tossed.

12 Linkshells have had their leaders stripped.

The highest-ban/suspension server at that point: Shouldn't surprise you in the least...


The more I was on it, the more I felt that place was growing into an absolute piece of shit. This is just more evidence.

Valefor is a close second.

Well, that's all I've seen on TTO. If I really am up to it (trying also to finish at least half of a remaining project before the world goes completely to Hell), I'll dive into the real shit-storm, BlueGartr...

But I have one final comment:

Cheating WILL kill FFXI if not stopped.

Given the comments and the scope I've heard over the last couple of months, it is not implausible to believe it may already HAVE KILLED it.

If you can't play clean, do not play.

Whee, I get to flame people some more...

Tonight's Besieged on Leviathan did not go well.

And I _know_ I made some enemies tonight.

Why?? Because Leviathan's players are getting Asura Disease. That malady that causes players to decide to go into business for themselves during Besieged and get parties and do all that shit, and when people decide to try to get the group on task...

"It's just a game..."

"No one plays like that... You won't get far with that attitude..."

"Your family would be proud if you found a high cliff and jumped off..."

(To which I openly dared the last idiot to send me off the nearest one...)

Look... My position is clear. If I'm here, I'm here to win the damn Besieged. If I want to be in business for myself, I can just go continue to level my freaking Monk, which nearly has gotten FOUR levels this week through Fields of Valor-Beaucedine and my Adventuring Fellow. I can go Campaign if I want to go into business for myself and fast-track my Dragoon (now at 65 and lottable) to 75 or my Dancer to 65!

Yeah, I /blisted about a dozen people after that noise, and doubly so after I found out the guy who started it openly admitted he didn't care whether we kept the Astral Candescence or not, because he never plays in Aht Urhgan (other than Besieged -- I only rarely do), and he (like more than a few people I'm more than honked at right now) just take Besieged as one big skill up party.

Take that shit to Asura, for all I care, then!! Go into business for yourself over there!!!

I almost wish Squeenix would do the same thing to Besieged they did to Campaign -- no skill ups.

Of course, just saying what I've said here probably is going to draw flames.

What I'm about to tell you will draw ten times more, especially from the jingoistic USA crowd...

American -- gamers -- suck.

I've had that attitude from the early days of my playing FF11, long before I started playing it regularly (as I have in the last year). It's one of the reasons that I took the recommendations of a couple players to join a more Japanese-centric server (Leviathan) very seriously.

I'm going to tell you two stories of things I observed while I used to live in San Francisco to help make my point.

First: There used to be a gaming/computer center in the middle of downtown (wrong place for it, IMHO) which decided to hold a Counter-Strike tournament. Bunch of teams, including some pretty good ones in Northern Cali at the time, came. The center had a bit of a meeting room off to one side of the bathroom and the main gaming computer room.

A few days before the event, I had actually seen articles on Counter-Strike gangs -- real gangs, just organized around team Counter-Strike events. The concept was laughed off by the owner of the center.

The team local to the center and a team called "Red" got into it. Words were exchanged, and everyone was in that room. I looked in just to keep an eye as to what was going on, and one of the "Red" people just walked over, without a word, and slowly closed the door, as if to say "You do NOT want a part of this."

30 seconds later, as I walked away, screams of "FIGHT!" were heard. One of the local players got his shoulder broken. At least one Red player, if not two, attacked the owner of the center. Blood all over the place.

"Red" was, I maintain to this day, one of those gangs. I didn't know of that beforehand. The tournament was called off, and the center closed a couple months later, probably another casualty between the economy and parents concerned (and rightly so!) as to what and who was going on down there.

Second, I was an attendee at the World Cyber Games a number of years back when it was in San Francisco. I did some of the advertising seminars ("Motherboard audio sucks!" ;) ), attended some of the events (including actually meeting, and getting my ass kicked in Unreal by, Fata1ity), but I noticed something:

It's probably rather common knowledge that, in Asia (esp. Korea and probably, to a lesser extent, Japan) that pro gamers actually are a very respected, idolized, and _honorable_ lot. The WCG are basically the Olympics of pro gaming. There are medals and there is prize money, but this is about a lot more than all that. For example, the motto of the San Francisco event was "Beyond the Game".

Nary an outside spectator to be found. No one cared. Why?

Because American gamers -- the attitude that they purport as a culture (not necessarily all individuals, but the culture) is all about "ME!!", "pwnage", "1337", and what can I get for myself???

Back to Final Fantasy 11 now: Square-Enix wants to build this as a cooperative venture. Fine -- but don't expect me to get involved with people who decide when they want to be cooperative or when they don't. They can take that and go find the highest cliff themselves for all it matters to me.

Me?? If I can't find enough people who won't dick around and play for themselves, then I guess I won't get to everything the game has to offer which needs groups -- and, frankly, I probably wouldn't anyway, given the attitudes I've seen.

Dear God, I hope this disease isn't catching.