Saturday, February 28, 2009

End of Week Odds and Sods...

Well, an interesting week in Vana'diel...

Sunday Dynamis:  Did not attend.  Over-slept.  Been various degrees of ill all week.

Wednesday Dynamis:  Sandy.  Win.  No other important stuff.  Put myself on AF (DRG) this week and THEN the damn Big Money drops.

Levels:  DRG 73, RDM 60, MNK 59, Sharlene 63

(2 more levels and Sharlene and I will have our little match...)

Threw down the Social Linkshell because of all the garbage going on.  If I wanted to hear half the crap on my former Social LS, I'd go listen to these little punks who want to punk out half of Riverside, because I hear it all the time from those idiots!

(And then we have it out during a Besieged too...  Assholes...)

Dropped about 600K on gear last night.  Mostly on a good DRG armor, though a Chivalrous Chain took up a nice amount for my 60+ melee jobs.

The Letter:  Having trouble finding where I want to put it -- I'd like it to go Sage Sundi-level, myself, but they aren't the most accessible people to find communication avenues to.

The April Update:  Yes, I saw it just before I went to bed Friday morning.  Looking forward to the expansion on Fields of Valor.  Not so much on Moblin Maze Mongers (until they can make it truly solo-able).

JP vs. NA:  Seen several discussions on that -- two on TTTO, another on the LBR forums.

Look, neither culture should be able to tolerate the other in game terms, because of the fact that their goals basically cannot co-exist.

I'll just say it like this:  The more Square-Enix can move their products toward Japanese-only markets, the more the possibility rises that they might have a future.  (Don't think FFXI in those terms, even though FFXI would be part of it, to start with -- think Rapture here.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This is obviously the Vana'diel people want...

Make no secret... I understand why people are laughing out loud at me...

I am dealing with a bunch of little boys who badly need to be slapped.

Sadly, this appears to be what FFXI is made of these days... A bunch of me-first little boys who say"Fuck the game, the rules, and everyone else but me."

I can't understand why that's the case, except if these people (as my roommate has suggested to me after reading only some of the Zulu drama -- and there's more to that now that I'll get to) openly desire the destruction of Vana'diel...

They'll get it. There's no reason to believe that there isn't a reconsideration of FFXI's immediate future going on. Note: 4:10 PM PST 2/25/09 -- no version update news yet.

The version update, if it comes with normal "hype period", is going to be at least 2 1/2 weeks behind schedule. But, since we've heard nothing (even a statement of delay), it starts to make you wonder...

Especially how much the game has seemed to further deteriorate in the last month:

-- I just quit my social LS after continually hearing more blatant garbage, this time over /shout in Besieged. You can tell where that went. A few more names I can add to the list of people who only need to come to Riverside, CA if they really want to find out how much I hide behind my computer...

-- Zulu's drama on Fenrir has apparently exploded, almost as predicted: Sounds as if, the first time a really desireable item dropped, the LS promptly imploded as the LS leader bogarted everyone.

Welcome to the state of present Vana'diel.

Even my roommate is now calling on me to quit the game. Not for the same reasons a lot of the cheating bitches are, but because she now believes they have effective ownership of FFXI, Square-Enix powerless to stop them.

If Square-Enix doesn't get off it's ass and starts doing something, something's going to get done for them.

Keep laughing. There will come a day the laughing will cease.

(Unless, of course, like my roommate asserts, your final goal is the destruction of Vana'diel.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

BG Zulu Drama Part 2: So what's the penalty for monopolizing an entire server's endgame??

Case in point #4,682 that Square-Enix had better get a lot of banhammers out or just pull the plug on a sham game...

I referred earlier to the BluGartr thread about an apparent RMT-ring possibility + major 3rd-party software allegations against Fenrir's Zulu Linkshell (who apparently had several members present, if not participatory, in last night's absolute farce against Pandemonium Warden).

So, I decided to get an even closer look at the thread, and it sounds like the deal is the following:

This is straight from "Pinky and the Brain", crossed with a dose of "Survivor".  They want to take over Fenrir.  As in, you don't play FFXI at all on Fenrir unless you bend over, suck our dicks, kiss our asses, and play our way.  Anything else, and you're out of endgame, which means you're either off Fenrir or out of FFXI entirely beyond a certain point.

The set-up:  This linkshell has apparently gained exclusive rights (paying upwards of hundreds of dollars, perhaps even thousands of dollars) to a claim-bot apparently called "NASA".  This is basically supposed to be a bot for "claiming against competition" (usually from other claimbots -- App, another illegal 3rd-party claimbot, apparently has approximately 5,500 users using it right now, as one example...), and is being primed for use by end-game RMT.  And it also makes itself essentially untrace-able by Square-Enix, effectively cock-blocking all remaining legitimate play off the server, should the cheaters choose to do so.

In fact, it would probably be safe to say that the end goal of the creators of this is to turn all end-game into RMT, where they control who, basically, can and cannot play Final Fantasy XI, for all realistic intent and purpose.

Mytiwar says it for me:  "Botting is already bad but paying that much to do it is bringing it to a whole new dimension imo."

Basically, this shit succeeds, and you're paying real money to ever see another major NM drop or anything real again.  Why would someone pay $2,000 (a reported price for this garbage) if they didn't intend to make that investment back several-fold...

Which see some of the RMT ads which basically run all over the place on FFXI sites and some of the monies involved.  (Apparently, the guy who ran the stream last night, Mojo, has sold two different characters of his for over $8,000 each, if his sig-line from BG is to be believed!)

There's a rumor on the board that an LS named Censura on Garuda already has the NASA bot, and basically now controls up to 80% of the NM claims against other claim-bot LS's camping NMs.

The fun really starts with Reyuma's page 3 post:  Basically stating information that the LS leader is going to fuck everyone else up the ass.  Believe me, if end-game goes completely RMT, you can bet that the leaders of these linkshells will defraud any and all they can sucker into the process.  Apparently, it sounds as if a lot of the players in on this crap have already been similarly cock-blocked by another LS on another server, and emigrated en masse to Fenrir.

(BTW, Reyuma, I reported this thread the first time I talked about it, and it's not even on my server.)

This is what FFXI is going to turn into unless Square-Enix castrates end-game as it is currently constructed.

Castrates it.

This is exactly what I've been talking about for the last month, now.  It's going pretty much exactly as I feared it would.  Players openly sabotaging other players' runs, botting and RMT running hand-in-hand and absolutely amok...

How much more of this are we as players (not to say Square-Enix) going to have to accept?

Square-Enix, fix your fucking game, shut it down, or I may have to start looking into some other options.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quick week-end update...

Another week of dancing in the fire:

72 DRG
57 MNK

Sunday Dynamis was another snow run.
Wednesday Dynamis was a Jeuno run.

Won both -- though Wednesday was one of those nights I should've just aborted.

Haven't been playing as much.  The player base is literally making me sick.

Oh... My... Lord...

I think I am about to witness the greatest comedy act in the history of Vana'diel...

This disorganized LS organization from Fenrir is not only attempting Pandemonium Warden, but streaming the entire attempt over the Web.  It's taken them nearly 4 hours to properly set up and get everyone there.  They can't get everybody to shut up and stay organized for more than five minutes at a time...

... and, if all reports are to be believed, a GM is already witnessing the fight.

(There's really only two ways to interpret this:  Either to ensure a fair fight, or expecting it won't be...)

Judging by all these things, I expect from pop to wipe will be about 20 minutes.  Tops.

The pop should be imminent (about an hour behind schedule, at least!!), it's 9:50 PM EST now.  (6:50 out here)

They're streaming this over UStream, and I saw about 15 minutes of a bunch of pigs oinking in the chat on UStream before I basically decided to pull up the stream (and, yes, I expect either a cheat or a very quick wipe) in a popup and watch for my own entertainment.

If what I've seen before the fight (on the UStream chat, in-game on Fenrir, and on BG) is any indication, my questions about anyone playing this game legitimately at all (or knowing how!!) just redoubled again.  Egh...

Now it's 10:00 PM Eastern, and still no PW pop.  Four hours now, Mojo???  I mean, if it's this elite of a fight, why didn't you spend about the last week to coordinate everything and get people to -- oh, I don't know -- research what PW does and try to formulate something beforehand???

I should have to pay a cover charge and minimum drinks.  This appears to be a massive embarrassment, one way or the other.

10:02 PM EDT:  Sounds like the pop should be imminent -- just setting up their meds for the 2-hour showdown with PW, in all its forms...

10:04 PM EDT:  Snoken has officially Rickrolled the attempt.  Saddest part:  He's got it macro'ed.

10:08 PM EDT:  Why people are dying to resident mobs while setting up for this is beyond my comprehension.  Why they are fighting the resident mobs at all, even more so.  Yeah, boredom boredom boredom...  But with even a modicum of organization, you'd be started and probably through the entire two hours.

10:10 PM ET:  Number of people watching:  Almost 1,000.

10:15 PM EDT:  Logging hate appears to be the order of the day here.  Blazedd announces that logging out at form #9 -- unless they truly are doing something administrative on it (doubt that seriously).  Watching closely, guys...  I want to know which GM is watching this...  Watchers:  Now over 1,000...

10:20 PM EDT:  POP!!  Game on!!!

First form appears to be a Chariot.

10:21 PM EDT:  At least one player has already used their two-hour.

10:24 PM EDT:  But PW is clobbering them!!

10:26 PM EDT:  All lamps down for form #1.

10:28 PM EDT:  I'm getting the Vince McMahon theme in my head, as PW is largely unclaimed and basically running roughshod everywhere.

10:29 PM EDT:  Bickering all over the place.  "You got...  NO CHANCE...   NO CHANCE IN HELL!!"

10:31 PM EDT:  Still on form #1 -- "Zombie holding" it while the entire fight recovers from being reamed.

10:32 PM EDT:  At least one player appears to be thisclose to getting thrown out of the fight by the leaders.

10:34 PM EDT:  PW form #1 at about 50%.  At this rate, they don't clear more than about 4 forms.

All my worst fears are being confirmed.  Does anybody know how to play this damn game without Windower, exploits, hacks, cheating, etc.?

10:37 PM EDT:  Reading BG:  Someone appears to be actively attempting to sabotage the attempt (first death of the DD party may have been a deliberate MPK from someone outside the LS).  And they're succeeding well.

10:40 PM EDT:  Yep.  It appears to be abject sabotage now.  Someone from outside the LS has decided to go into business for themselves with the abject role of killing this run, and it sounds like they've won.  PW is not going down here.

10:42 PM EDT:  "Blizzit:  Woot!  We win..."

And the run has been destroyed.  PW has DE-POPPED!!!



Congratulations, you dick-fucking cock-sucking motherfuckers.  You just destroyed how much work (whether or not the run was actually going to be legit - how long does it take one to get a Pandemonium Key?) - and four hours of set-up, so that you could cock-block their run and destroy their run, embarrass them on the Internet, and all that shit...

Unbelievable.  You are an absolute embarrassment to all of Vana'diel, you freaking idiots!!!  And you made them an absolute embarrassment to all of Vana'diel.

Something I once told my therapist applies here:  "I hope you motherfuckers are satisfied."

(I was thrown out of the session.)


10:58 PM EST:  Within 15 minutes of this sorry episode, the person who was asked to leave the fight (and was probably, at least partially, responsible for the sabotage) was reported on BG to be thrown off his or her HNM LS.  Fenrir players, avoid Katrinka.

11:04 PM EST:  Sounds like someone is going to be having some explaining to do . This run has been GM'ed, according to a leader of this aborted fight.  (Reported on BG)  Let's see:  MPK, Kill-stealing to cause the deliberate sabotage of a PW run...  Yeah, I'd say that's bannable.

Now I understand why people were thinking I was trolling to add to BG...

... and vice versa.

Seven pages before the mods locked it, eh?

FWIW, I have an account on BG, but never chose to post there.  Figure I probably would last about two weeks before I got banned, but...

Many of the "usual suspects" are on there -- in fact, I think that's part of why things have degenerated so badly.  TormentorMike is on there, so are a lot of other people from the comment pages.

But it does give me a chance to explain a few things which came up in the thread:

If "using game mechanics in manners not intended" is illegal and bannable, then logging hate IS illegal.  (Logging hate through sleeping the mob is similarly so.)

Logging out is an administrative function of the game.  It is no more a part of the game itself than logging in.  Logging out to gain an in-game advantage is not legal, and is an unfair advantage under Q12652.  Square-Enix' silence on this and similar subjects (especially since the January 22, 2009 bannings) leads to questioning every tactic in the game (even those as elementary as zoning hate and kiting).  I can no longer be 100% sure that the former is even legal.  The latter probably skates by (and only as such) since the monster has the opportunity to attack if the kiter is within its range.

Nothing, basically, is now beyond suspicion.  I mean, look how proud these jokers are about the release of the illegal third-party software Windower 4.0:

It really appears as if the game cannot be played without complete abrogation of the rules, isn't that right, Ringthree???

And that's kind of why I'm so pissed.  I feel spat upon and insulted for trying to play the game by the rules Square-Enix sets, knowing that, since I do, I will never see a Mythic Weapon or half the gear that you guys stroke your e-penii over.  I have learned a lot over the course of the last 90 days, none of it good.

Frankly, watching a lot of you in the Final Fantasy XI community literally makes me physically sick.

Oh, by the by, unless something else comes up in the next couple of days, the letter is done, as I said -- and I'm just trying to formulate who it gets sent to.  Once it gets sent, you guys see it too here on the blog.

Before I go to the rest of the thread about my post, here's my take on BG:

Many of them (though not all) are the same bunch of little children I speak of (those who are know who they are).  It specializes (and in a very exclusive manner) on high-level endgame.  The type of high-level endgame which I have had one other person already admit to me (and several others assert) that no one plays fairly.

But now I can see why Millionsknives (IIRC) said that I and BG fed off each other.  Because a lot of the more reasonable people on there (what few non-2chan/4chan-ers exist) actually do make some valid points about just what appears to be required to have a large enough e-peen for some of these punks to stroke.  But I never saw this thread until about 20 minutes ago, and decided to take a look just to see how much flamage these dorkusses could come up with...

So, diving in, asbestos suit on...

The Stig questions: Pretty soon doing anything in game will be illegal.

Don't be quite so flippant, Stig.  It's clear that much of endgame cannot function without Windower, illegal plug-ins, claimbots, RMT indications, and all sorts of abuses and exploits.  I will say this:  If Square-Enix wants to seriously continue this game (and it's no longer clear they do...), then everything will have to come into question.

I was not the first person to start questioning fundamental tactics of FFXI.  Square-Enix is going to have to be clear as to what is allowed and what is not.  If they refuse communication in this regard, the game is a sham.

Talint (who they thought it was at first) asserted:  "But I'm sure Starcade is going to appreciate the exposure, regardless of how stupid/insane/"QQing sandy vagina faggot" everyone here thinks he is."

Well, I can see why you'd say that, and I guess I at least am glad that people are reading and that this is going to be thrust into the forefront whether the cheating bitches like it or not.  Square-Enix will have to throw me out of FFXI to stop that.  Of course, doing that exposes their agenda, and, at that point, the game is really a sham.

(Oh, by the way, it's now February 21.  Where's the news about the March update?  You know, the one with the two new large summons you promised and the first mini-expansion?

Or is there not going to be a March update?  Get on the ball, SE...)

As for a lot of the cheating bitches, they disrespect me as much as I disrespect them.  They only respect the leet gear and the stroking of their e-penii.  That's it.  Nothing else matters to them.  And, to that end, all ends justify the means.  They respect nothing but a punch in the mouth (online or literal).

This is why I don't take this as just an in-game matter.  You're showing me who you really are.  And I don't like it.

Questionable decides to ask two points:  "Why are people like this clown so hung up on others and hung up on being fair or whatever? Are they getting WTFPWN in life so they want justice in a video game? Jesus Christ, I bet this guy thinks talking on the phone with a friend to communicate strategies on FFXI is "against the rules""

First:  I pay good money to play this game, and I demand it be adjudicated fairly.  If it is no longer possible to do it (see second point), then pull the plug.  If it basically comes down to losing one customer vs. losing a thousand, then you're at the point where the rules of the game are decided by mob vote.

That's anarchy, at that point.  That's no game.

Second point:  Not quite what the person said, but it raises a point I've heard:  More and more people (including some in my social LS) are now using voice chat/Ventrillo to do all their work for them.  (I refuse, not necessarily on rules questions, but because I can't really talk that loud with my friend sleeping in the next room at hours like this.)

Legal?  Maybe.  Does it render the rest of the rules unenforceable?  Quite probably.  (And then go back to where I pointed you here...)

Melios points out:  "Wait...this IS that guy who kept throwing tantrums during Besieged."

*Starcade takes a bow.*

Welcome to Vana'diel's Most Hated, starring Starcade.

Frankly, you guys would defect to the Beastmen (spoken for both Besieged and Campaign (we get to that later) if they bribed you well enough.  You don't care about anything but yourselves.  Therefore, you damage my play and the play of everyone who doesn't think as you do.  So those "tantrums" will continue, and, if you don't like it, then you can make sure that the Astral Candescence is never recovered and then see if you like it.

Besieged and Campaign are large-scale *TEAM* events.  Get that through your head and get out if you can't live with that.  Perhaps Square-Enix made a major mistake when they allowed skill-ups during Besieged - I have a feeling most of the idiocies would not want to even be there if they couldn't skill up.

My healing is capped at current RDM level.  Why?  I heal people in Besieged as RDM/SMN.
My dark magic is similarly capped.  Why?  I cast enfeebling spells on the Beastmen, the role of a Red Mage.
My enfeebling magic is similarly capped.  Why?  Ditto.

What a lot of you don't get is that the benefits you seek will come to you with victory, as well as without.

Okan contradicts himself, but makes my point:  "Nah, not cheating, but I'm 100% sure that isn't how the fight was designed to be fought."

The reason that I want them banned is exactly your second half of the statement.  Since it was not how the fight was designed to be fought, logging out was being used in a manner not intended.  Hence, it is cheating by Q12652.

And, in fact, to DAKPluto:  The fact that Pandemonium Warden is forced to delete players from the hate list after they log out and PW can't find them is the function of logging hate.  That's why they usually were out of the game for 2 minutes, to allow PW to wipe the hate list before logging back in and reforming.  So they clearly logged hate, exploiting the functions of PW, logging out, and the hate list by using the administrative function of logging out to gain an unfair game advantage.

Daedalus hits it square on the head:  "With such a stupid move as Astral Flow x8 (or however many lamps there are) I can see why people would do it. I'd endorse my LS doing it if I lead an LS that had a shot at PW like Apathy, but I do share the Bloggers feelings when comparing it to the recent bannings for exploiting the game. SE will ban 450 people permanently for duping Salvage drops, but then publicly declares Apathys win as legitimate. I do find that slightly concerning, mainly because, in the future, how are we supposed to tell whats illicit behavour and what isn't? 

How far can we push the rules?

I have said, and continue to maintain, that the Salvage bannings should be reversed if the Apathy "win" stands.

I'll take you one final step further:  The only reason I would even go after RMT is the illegal sale of Square-Enix proprietary virtual property.  As a game mechanic alone, if they're going to be this ambiguous about the rules and bullshit, then even RMT should be allowed to stand, except as a function of that everything in the game is Square-Enix' property to begin with.

drwaffles brings up a point:  "But yeah, if none of this effects you in any way then why the hell would you send them a complaint?"

You miss the point:  Can this game be played legitimately at all?  I'll let you stew on that one, as I've already commented on how I feel (and have felt since I got wind of the tip of the iceberg of illegal activities on FFXI, before I even started down this road about a month ago now).

Yugl has a point to add:   "By now SE knows about logging for hate and if they were adamant about people not logging out, they would have implemented a mechanism to prevent logging out from affecting the battle."

The only way they could do that, sadly, is to not wipe the hate list on such matters, which could get to the point that LS's could use that exploit to cock-block NM's and the like -- it was probably what Square-Enix wanted to do to address some of this, but they couldn't find a way that you players wouldn't rape the game further because of it.  Does that mean that the other exploit then becomes legal by default?

Fridell sums up the bitch community well:  "The guy who wrote this on his blog is a supreme super retarded idiot and needs to die."

Riverside, CA, then...  Bring your guts and whatever weapons you can spare.  Oh, and get in that line over there -- the one stretching to at least Los Angeles.  Some have waited over a decade for their shot.

I feel sorry for the Japanese players who try to play with honor and have to suffer you shit-heads.

Sho:  "Sad but true. I have a friend that doesn't do much in game, but can be semi mad at those who actually get things done endgame wise. I mean if you want to avoid endgame it's fine and all, but just need to realize you'll forever be sub-par vs those that go out and grind to get theirs."

The problem is that no one has to grind anymore.  No one wants to grind anymore.  This is why you have the Windower this and the exploit that and the claim-bot the other.  No one wants to play the game anymore -- just game the system.

TormentorMike is hilarious.  He basically exposes himself as an idiot by his name to begin with.  Then he tries to invalidate the whole discussion by posting that I'm a 59 RDM.

Two points:  If you take it that seriously that only 75's should be heard from, then, frankly, all non-75's should be gone, in your eyes.  Second, I find that laughable for another reason:  You try to invalidate it using my fourth highest job.

Nice, real nice.  Enjoy your permanent place on my blacklist.

(BTW, unless I get banned in the next, oh, two weeks, 75X2...)

Correction:  "People have no right to be pissed at a broken, unkillable mob finally dying. It's been repeatedly pointed out that 'in game mechanics' are bullshit. On hp% triggered Rape-gas can only be anticipated if you have windower telling you the mob's health%. Without it, people would still be wiping to Bahamut v2. No existing in-game mechanic lets you recover or prevent 9 simultaneous Astral Flows, and if there's some rubik's cube of emotes and ra/ex consumables that stops it nobody wants to figure it out because it's not fun."

First, if you can't handle a wipe or two, how the Hell did you get to The Wyrmking Descends in the first damned place?  Welcome to CoP.

Second:  So that gives you the right to rip up the rulebook, eh?  Because it's not fun otherwise.  That'd be kind of like "Let's go knock over the liquor store, because paying for the stuff...  It's not fun..."

Welcome to why Square-Enix is walking away from FFXI.  It's no longer fun for them to cater to idiots anymore, like it's player-base.

One more:  Max and soloing the Campaign mobs.

Same shit with Besieged, moron.  You'd probably suit up for the Beastmen Confederate if they paid you enough.  While you're off stroking yourself by maximizing your XP and Allied Notes, you're tying up the NPC resources which the Allied Forces of Altana could use to keep and take other zones.  Hence, come Sunday, we lose those zones they can't defend.  What, you want the Beastmen in Bastok like they used to be until SE came back a bit on Campaign?

Of course, you don't care...


*sigh*  That's enough for now.  But I do want to make clear that I never saw this thread on BG until this morning.  Hence, nothing I posted here was in direct response to that thread.  Have fun, I'm sure the laughter will be heard.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A couple of pieces of early Friday administrivia...

1) The letter is done.  The only reason it took so long is that a fair portion of it had to be rewritten after getting the news of Square-Enix and what they plan to do with Rapture...

2) I was happening across the TTTO today, and saw somebody posting about a little drama regarding the Zulu LS on Fenrir.  Let's give The StarOnion some love for blowing the whistle here:

Well, if what they are posting is right (and be on notice:  The Special Task Force has been notified (may have been before, but I just did) -- especially because the first post on that BluGartr thread (link can be found on the StarOnion blog -- as I said, let's give that blog some love for blowing the whistle) has supposed screenshots which apparently have both botting AND RMT implications.  If it's false, I've asked them to look into who posted it on BluGartr...), sounds like no one will be doing Zulu shortly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And the official call to remove me from the Tarutaru Times Online begins...

Should've seen it coming... And the guy (Millionsknives) has a point...


I do have a different agenda than the stated purpose of the TTO, and it wasn't my agenda when I joined it.

Over the course of the last three months, I have grown a very violent distaste for the player community -- its attitudes, its agenda, its modus operandi. I believe that the standard player of this game, rank and file, is disgusting.

As a result (and the fact that I don't believe I'm alone in those opinions), I believe that the player base has driven Square-Enix into the understanding that the game has no material future, and should be phased out as soon as is practical to do so. That's why I say that the game has officially died. The corpse is being left on a respirator because it still pays the bills nicely.

Oh, by the way, if you don't believe me, where's the news on the March update? We're at least two weeks late on that maneuver right now.

But, back to the point at hand...

He is correct that, on the top of the TTO, he says that the TTO:

"Bringing together, the FFXI Blogging Community"

He's also correct in saying that I want no part of the player community as it stands. (He references the post just previous.)

If the site administrator wants to throw me off the TTO, he or she is free to do so at any time he or she feasibly chooses. Doing so, keep in mind that most of my recent posts (whether the readers are for well or ill) are the most read in the TTO, or close to the top until the "recent posts" rankings scroll off once about 48 hours pass.

I do not believe that there can be a unified player-base, nor a unified blogging community, in FFXI. I believe that what you see in FFXI today is a bunch of elitist, me-first, cliquish children who never seem to have gotten out of high school, and finally found a place where they could exert the same kind of influence on others which was probably influenced on them when they were in high school.

I mean, if I had a dollar for every time I've heard "You have no place to talk if you haven't killed the HNM kings" or "You're so gimped. Shut the fuck up...", I could not only pay for FFXI for the rest of the year, but I could probably attend FanFest too.

No, I do not believe in a unified player base fan community. I do not believe in the impossible.

I believe that we, as players, have differing agendas. So much so that I believe that even Square-Enix has thrown in the towel, understanding that their vision for Vana'diel is now impossible as well.

If the TTO wants me out, that's their call. The only real way to prevent me from attempting to drive a wedge in the FFXI community is to expel me from the game itself.

Edit: Sounds like one change has already hit the table, probably because of me... As of today, registered members of the TTO can choose to hide any blogs they do not want to appear on the blog list when they are on TTO.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Someone actually, in semi-flaming me, has an intelligent take on how I do things...

So I shall respond to it here...

First, go read "lolPUP and Beyond", as Dantpup basically saw my blog, saw the flamage, and was motivated into writing a fairly decent discussion of his side of the issue...

He takes it as a question and answer form, going into what blogging is all about and the like...

Blogging is a form of expression, yes. And I express myself in a very vitriolic and very angry way at the people I disagree with. I can say that I am probably banned from more Internet sites, ISP's, campuses, sporting stadiums, and other places of business than most of my readers put together -- and that's the way it pretty much has to be. If you don't want to deal with me, then ban me and be done with it.

The way I express myself is actually held back a bit. I've said, frankly, that if people ever found out all the stuff I've been accused of, they'd never let me in another anime convention, as I'd be a threat to everyone there. There was actually one anime convention in the Bay Area (two years ago in San Jose) that I was so angry by the last day that I would have made the evening news if I had gotten my hands on the good ol' Saturday Night Special by Monday morning.

Why? I'm not safe around other people -- especially people I can't stand. I am probably not welcome in any of my previous hometowns, with the possible exception of where I took graduate school (and that's iffy).

So I'm here, at least one place where I know I can't ban myself. That means, if I get some idiots who decide they are more important than the game we play (and there are tons and tons of them in FFXI), I will express myself, and if they want me to STFU, then they're going to have to SMTFU in real life. That's the way I go.

I'm passionate about that which I care about -- otherwise there's no point in wasting time.

But the crux of what I want to get to is the statement Dantpup makes about how I do things and how it makes us look bad as a community.

Here's a news flash: I want the general public to view the FFXI fan community in an extremely negative light.

Understand what has happened in the last three weeks... Chances are, if you're an elite FFXI player (or regarded as such), you've basically been exposed as a cheater, whether you were involved in this kind of an action or not. As I said when I started the Flamage series, the odds of any 75 being legit in getting there are slim. I'd like to think I am, but I know someone is going to eventually have me examined against the Terms of Service.

Bring it on.

But the fact is that I have seen the level of play and the attitude of "I don't give a damn about anyone but myself, so screw you, your progress, and everything else -- I'm the center of Vana'diel."

I see it in Besieged. I see it in Campaign. I see it with the claim-botters. I see it with just about everything in Vana'diel.

You've got a core of players who don't give two whits about anything but their own selves, gear, and all that other garbage. They're junk, as far as I am concerned, and they've destroyed the Vana'dielian experience so badly that I believe that to be the main reason that Square-Enix has basically gone and finally stated that they really only care about FFXI anymore to get to Rapture.

They've officially declared FFXI to be expendable, and that Rapture will replace it. That is why I said the game is officially dead, and I stand behind that statement.

I find the core of FFXI players to be people and characters I want no part of. They've severely compromised the game experience on every conceivable level, and, facts being facts, the only reason I haven't deleted my Content ID's is that I don't want them to be the only ones left with Vana'diel. I want to spite their asses and spit in their virtual faces.

One thing I do not want is a positive view of a community which I already told Aneiro is not unified (you've got so many damn cliques in this game - read some of the comments about not even being in a position to talk unless you are "leet" like "us"...). I believe we have gotten to the point where the game appears to require cheating to succeed (be it Windower, be it duping, be it RMT, be it claim-botting, use of game mechanics illegally, what have you...).

But if Dantpup wants to criticize me for putting the community into a negative light, then, frankly, he needs to understand something... That's my intent. We've got a bunch of punk kids who think they're the shit. That's it. And they've overrun Vana'diel to the point that Square-Enix cannot grow FFXI anymore, and, hence, the game has no long-term future.

The problem is that it's hard to feel positive about FFXI if:

1) Cheating has basically become so accepted that the game is no longer legitimate.
2) The game experience has severely degraded (both P<->P and P->E, and the hardware too) over the last 18 months.
3) Square-Enix has officially declared the game to be expendable, and I believe that to be the result of the player base.

If we had a player base who gave a damn, played with honor, and played by the rules, I don't think the game would've stagnated by now to the point that Square-Enix would say that the time has come to declare that, some point in the foreseeable future, Rapture replaces FFXI.

Hence, I do want the player community to be seen in a negative light. If you hate me for that, so be it.

I do want to clarify one thing: I don't feed BluGartr -- they don't feed me. I do what I do for my reasons alone.

I don't want to be part of your "community". I don't trust the player base, like the player base, nor respect the player base. Individual players might get different consideration. But it's been harder to log on to the game knowing that no one who tries to play by the rules will be treated with anything but disrespect, at the end of the day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another week of playing in the flames...

Another week closer to Armageddon, and what has been done?

DRG 71 (Wyrm Brais now worn)
MNK 53

Dynamis: Sunday: Beaucedine and a Win Run (successful, 1/1), Xarcabard access gained, but we won't be doing Xarcabard for the foreseeable. Beaucedine is a strange animal in that regard -- definitely a different type of run than the four cities.

Wednesday: Got shoe-horned into another Bastok run (all other zones taken -- we had designs for either Jeuno or Windy). Had to get creative with the Mega Boss, but another win for us (I think that's 4/6 for complete runs for me, and none of them seem to go smoothly for some strange reason.) Another Wootz Ore for the collection (another 6-drop session), and another piece of good news in that I got another relic armor.

The bad news? It was Corsair. We got 3 Corsair drops, for some strange reason, and the last two went free-lot to anyone in the shell in the Dynamis who wanted it. So my level 10 Corsair has relic armor in the event that I ever decide to level it all the way out. Hmm...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Final Fantasy XI has officially died.

It's now just a matter of when Square-Enix pulls the plug on the corpse.

Yes, the game still profits, but it is now clear that Final Fantasy XI has, once and for all, died.

How did I come to this conclusion?

Kimiko (from /panic Button) commented to me this morning by saying that we now apparently have our answer vis-a-vis whether Square-Enix really cares about Final Fantasy XI.

(JP Button has the details at

It's not "dying", given the statements made here. Final Fantasy XI is dead. It's just taking up space in the apartment, paying the rent off of its legacy and "estate" until Square Enix can get Rapture up and running.

Several interesting things seem to be coming of this:

1) The online division is still turning a profit of somewhere north of $50,000,000/year. I am somewhat surprised that it appears as if Square-Enix can do Final Fantasy XI on only about $20,000,000/year, it seems, but that isn't the most disturbing part.

2) The information on the supplementary report, starting on page 9, is the real news:

They are officially in development of the game which will completely REPLACE FFXI.

It's over. The fears of the player base, when discussions began leaking out of Square-Enix' new MMO, Rapture, are true. Rapture is replacing Final Fantasy XI.

Corinth of JP Button says that the scenario probably is that they will continue to support FFXI until Rapture's release.


Why would they even care, at this point? Better, why should Square-Enix care?

The game has deteriorated badly in the last 18 months. The attitudes of the player base, even more so. Why not just set a relatively short, but with some fore-notice, time frame to end it gracefully before the game essentially descends into an online riot that only the 2chan and 4chan fuckers are going to want to keep playing?

If it's clear that they no longer desire to keep FFXI going, it would be better to end it short-to-medium term, sending the Dev Team toward Rapture full-time, than to string it out, have the game become even more a shit-hole than many of the players have already made it, and then Square-Enix will get nobody from FFXI to try out Rapture.

Of course, that might not matter... It's clear, now, to Square-Enix that any future real market share and future profit stream is going to have to come outside of FFXI -- FFXI has run its course. They're clear that they have to, now, find different revenue streams because Final Fantasy XI is not going to grow any further from the 500,000 players it has had the last three years (which is down from previous totals).

Then pull the damned plug. Now, if plausible. But before your experience degrades that every one of your players will take one look at the words "New Massively Multiplayer Online Game from Square-Enix" and not throw the article away without one more word...

But I am not as optimistic as Elmer: The game officially died when they decided to state to their investors that there was not only a game to replace it in development, but that they admitted that FFXI had run its course in the MMO marketplace.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Congratulations, idiots, you just lost your privilege of unmoderated commenting...

I knew I got some people's attention with how I've approached the last two weeks, after the January 22nd, 2009 bannings.

Now, it's clear that they can't forment a logical argument to deal with me, so they've decided to go the abject sabotage route.

Yesterday, a second "Starcade, now from Leviathan" began to post comments, basically masquerading as me and said how much I liked to suck dick and all that 2chan and 4chan shit.

OK. I'm down. I get it. And when it's like that, I can understand that.

About 5 AM this morning, the other "Starcade, now from Leviathan" decided to declare war on the blog personally.

When you start deciding that you are going to post the N-word hundreds of times, in (apparently) "my" Google "identity", that crosses the line. I'm not afraid to say that I believe African-American hip-hop culture has gravely damaged this country, but I'm not going to go there. I can be considered racist. In fact, I've had African-Americans tell me that they understand the type of "racism" I have and appreciate that I talk about it in real terms.

But this wasn't that.

You want to openly start something -- I'm finishing it. Now!

What I had to delete was a deliberate attempt by someone masquerading as me to destroy not only this blog, but perhaps my entire Google account, and perhaps even further than that.

So, effective today, no more unmoderated comments. Comment Moderation is now to "Always". This means, effective immediately, all comments must be approved by the site moderator (me).

This does mean that all masqueraders of me (Oh, by the way, bitch, my profile is public -- yours is not. Consider yourself on notice for a criminal charge if I ever find out who you really are.) are on notice. This is your one warning. The next time I have to deal with that shit publicly, it's with the authorities, Google through the police. The shit ends.

If you really think you're that hot of shit, we can settle this face to face, but it won't be pretty. I'll be the one to do jail time then.

What this does not mean is that I'm only going to allow comments which agree with me on the site. That is not true. If you are willing to tell the world that you are an inane cheater who is counting on the inaction of Square-Enix because they openly do not give a shit about the future of game to enjoy Final Fantasy XI, chances are I'll approve the comment -- and THEN refute you, as I've been doing before. (And that's about 95%+ of the comments I've read and responded to.)

If you want to talk about FFXI, even if you wish to expose yourself as someone who doesn't care about anyone else but yourself, then by all means.

If you wish to sabotage this blog, then you are not welcome here and I will use any and all legal recourses to ensure that does not continue.

LBR Breaks Down the Bannings, Part IV

Let's see if I can get through the rest of this. We pick it up right at about the 90-minute mark.

We pick it up at the discussion of perhaps Square-Enix, in the name of regenerating interest in the game, re-releasing it to the public -- perhaps a hi-def version for high-end computers.

Again, this assumes that they want FFXI to continue, and that is a matter of some apparent question, given the attitudes and apparent limitations (hardware and economic) the game is running into, as previously discussed. The discussion of getting older players to tell their friends to join them in this kind of an effort relies completely that Square-Enix wants FFXI to continue.

We can't know that right now. There is zero confidence in the players for the FFXI brass -- and there may be only little more than zero the other way. This game can't continue under those circumstances.

Aneiro referred, then, to a site ( which charts the different populations of the different MMO's.

FFXI is still relatively stagnant at 2006 levels, and that's down from mid-2005. It is no higher than 5th in population now vs. the other games (WoW, Runescape, and the two Lineage titles all beat it, and another title appears close).

Under this environment, does Square really want to pull the plug? The opportunity Aneiro speaks of to reinvent FFXI is only valuable if Square-Enix really wants to continue, and there is not as much confidence of that belief as one would want.

Aneiro then hits it on the head: If Square-Enix wants FFXI to survive, it has to have long-term goals to make the game viable. Period. There's no other way to put it. Of course, now, you have to look at both clauses of that sentence...

Of course, there is one trap: If you go high-end, you might fall into the same trap that Rockstar has, in telling players they need a gaming computer (and a high-end one at that for 2009) to be good enough to play their game of GTA4. You do that, and you'll lose customers for your company.

I make no secret: I can play FFXI on this laptop, but it has limitations. I accept those limitations. If they try to make me update this computer, they're making me buy a new computer. At that point, they lose me as a customer, not just as a game, but as a company. And all the talk which ensues about updating for the new high-end computers and video cards and the like really makes me squeamish, after my experience with Rockstar (which is still going to get a complaint to the BBB once that comes to the top of my queue).

I think, in all the discussion about fan community and art and all that stuff, I do have an issue with Aneiro's belief that the fan community really wants to work with Square-Enix. They, in my mind (by reading a lot of their comments in many different fora) have one interest: themselves. They have no merit for Square Enix, no merit for each other -- they just feel that if you aren't as good as they are ("People who have never killed Kirin or have had trouble doing so have no place crying like little bitches..."), you aren't even worthy of being in their game.

(Another reason end-game needs to be seriously neutered.)

At the end of the day, they want to have Square-Enix communicate with them.

First off, prove you're worthy and not going to undercut them.

Second, do they even want to talk to you, or do they care less whether FFXI has a future? Communication shows you care, yes. But do -- they -- care?

Third, would one side even listen to the other at this point?

I think those are three really salient points. I don't think a lot of the community would help Square-Enix out (see above: whose interests are they operating for?). As I noted to Aneiro earlier in the Flamage series, there is NO unity in this community. None.

One great example is what they discussed next: Square-Enix' chasm between their Japanese operations and their American players. Why is the Japanese dev-blog not translated, except on rare occasion? Why not bring the Japanese heads out to say that some of this is patently unacceptable and brings the game down and the game into disrepute?

I would think that things like this make Square-Enix, as a Japanese construct, lose face -- and that is the most important thing to the Japanese.

And that basically gets to where the rest of the show appeared to go: Are they really interested in dealing with us at all? And, if not, why bother continuing? Your player-base is cheating your ass off, stagnant, and shows no real desire to work with you, nor you with them. So why, Square-Enix, do you bother, if it's clear that you don't regard us that well? (And, again, we don't really deserve it as a player base -- see the recent bannings as a great example of why!!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flamage Part 13: Revenge of the RMTs on Leviathan

This is not a quiet night to be an FFXI GM, and the Special Task Force is going to be busy.

They've received a number of calls about flagrant in-game RMT advertisement -- including one from me (and GM calls on top of them, including one from me...).

Am I particularly shocked? Not really. I mean, if the players are basically saying "We run the show...", you know where that has to lead...

Time to sue some asses, take some websites down, and go from there...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

LBR Breaks Down the Bannings, Part III

So, where were we when the Heavens opened yesterday?

Aneiro asks a real interesting question which might well be prescient to the entire "Flamage" series:  When we witness illegal behavior under the ToS, are we, as a result of the Salvage-dupe bannings, now obligated under the same ToS to report it, facing bannage ourselves if we fail to do so?

I'd almost wish that answer to be "yes".  I can understand the argument another in the round-table makes that that should not be the case, but, frankly, I'm at the point that, if you don't at least have some minimal idea of what is going on, you have no business being there -- whether it be Salvage or simply partying in the Dunes.

The next person basically mocks that a person in a BC who witnesses duping should warp out and call a GM and admonish the situation...  What else do you expect them to do?  And, say, it comes back later that that BC was part of a larger investigation...  How can you, later, claim innocence if you don't?

So I would have to say that if you witness any degree of illegal activity, you are obligated, under penalty of bannage, to report it -- else you leave yourself at the mercy of Square-Enix if they have to go back and look at everything.  Besides, blowing the whistle now might prevent it (something else my roommate and I talked about -- my roommate is a very smart person and thinks of things I don't think of all the time) from becoming a situation where the number of players banned increases by 1-2 orders of magnitude.

The person who questions is correct:  It does create the suspicion in each other -- and it has to. (Which see the earlier comment that no high-level player can now be seen as honest and legitimate anymore -- including me...)  I very nearly blew the whistle on my Salvage LS a couple weeks ago, just after the Salvage-dupe bans.  We ran Bastok, and must've gotten somewhere between six and eight Wootz Ores.  By the time it got to about #5 and #6, I was suspicious, and openly stated as such.  The only reason I didn't GM the mess is that I am not sure, end of the day, whether it is within statistical parameters for that number of ores to drop.  Otherwise, you bet your bottom dollar someone was going to get called.

I certainly wouldn't put it past a disgruntled-with-my-blog member of the LS to try to get me banned like that.

And then the possibility existing that different members of the STF might use different criteria for banning -- that's not acceptable.  It's one of the reasons I'm not sure there should've been different graduations of this situation, especially once the level of abuse became evident.  But any such breakdown of criteria should've been consistent.

But something then came up which was interesting:  I do believe, now, that there is no confidence from the players to Square-Enix.  (And probably very little from Square-Enix to the players.)  I'll give you one example from a comment to this blog I read today...  There are people who believe (at least, it's the only way their comment can be interpreted) that Square-Enix screws with the drop-rate (or at least can screw with the drop rate) for any player, any time, for any or no reason, at their own whim or for their own entertainment.

Who wants to play a game like that?  Who wants to believe such a game exists??  And, moreover, if that's the way the players view FFXI, why is Square-Enix even bothering?

It got, quickly, to another point:  If there was something which needed to be stopped, why doesn't Square-Enix come more up front?

Frankly, because the players don't give a fuck what Square-Enix thinks until they can no longer log in the game because they got LM-17'd or LM-11'd.  Sorry, them's facts.

Especially with the opinions which I have heard (on a number of different areas, including BluGartr, other blogs, comments to this blog, e-mails, etc.), I have to take serious issue with Aneiro on the next thing he said:  I do think that many players who took part in this illegal activity did it to openly spit on the game balance, because they thought the drop-rates sucked, because they didn't like what Square-Enix was doing, or for any other or no reason.  I do believe that many players have no qualms about dishonoring Square-Enix or the other players and spit at anyone who basically calls them on their shit.  I do firmly believe that there are many players who have no qualms of getting their 1337 gear and not caring one shit about legitimacy.

Then, it got to the question of Square-Enix connecting with the community came up, to which I have one question for the field:

Does Square-Enix trust the player base enough to communicate with the player base, or has it gotten so bad that it's just taking our $12.95/month without further regard to the player base?

I don't think they should trust the player base to that extent, but I wonder if that's why they don't get involved in more of the forums and the like.

I really do have to wonder (and will ask in the letter, coming soon...):  What do they really think of us?  Do they actually hold us in as much contempt as I believe our actions as a player base do merit?  It would appear that is possible.

I do begin to wonder if the lines of communication are not as much as they could be because they do not regard us well.  We certainly, as a player base, don't deserve to be regarded well by Square-Enix, given our conduct.

Frankly, and this extends to several minutes of discussion as to relations between Community and Premiere Sites with Square-Enix, I don't think they regard the fans well, and see our out-of-control nature as part of the reason FFXI is getting waxed by WoW.

I mean, there's a rumor out there that the Sandworm BC is still dupe-able, but people are scared to talk about it, lest they get banned.  Fact is, Square-Enix doesn't and shouldn't trust you -- they don't trust BluGartr or many of the other sites.  Do it in channels, or see the first comment to this part...

I mean, yes, as one of them said, the best advertising is that the company sees what you do and works with you.  But then someone (I think it was Sonomaa, off of a heated discussion on his LS...) may just have come up with the trillion-gil question:

With the same team essentially working on their new MMO, Rapture -- with maintaining FFXI, could Square-Enix deliberately be killing FFXI so that they can shed the limitations (which see the PS2 and the XLax CrashBox 360) of the present game?

I mean, consider:  The game's not going to the PS3.  With FFXIII not til 2010, one has to wonder if there's going to be a PS3 in 2010, as badly as the PS3 is going.  The only thing PS3 has going for it, and the only reason it's made it this long, is because of the fact that it's an inexpensive Blu-Ray situation.  Other than that, it has nothing to offer.

The PS2, if not already obsolete, is about to go there.  Sections of the game are abjectly unplayable on the XLax...  I mean, think about it...  Could they just be throwing up their hands and saying that they'll keep FFXI going as long as the players are willing to put up with this, but, having their druthers, they'd rather be working on Rapture full-time?  It's a fascinating question and might explain a lot of the silence and duplicity...

Take a look at reality:  Square-Enix is doing as badly as they've done in five years.  They've probably chosen the wrong platforms, clearly have an unworkable player base for their MMO...  What's to say they aren't thinking of hitting "Eject" once things get beyond economic feasibility?  FFXI is no longer the top dog at Square-Enix.  Let's get that down right now.

It also gets to the question of economics vs. ethics.  I would like to ask one question of the field in that regard:  There is no way at present that I could recommend FFXI to a new MMO player.  None at all.  If you do not have an ethical game, what "new blood" is going to come into an unethical game like FFXI, especially at end-game??

My position is clear:  If they don't care, then end it.  If it's no longer economically viable to continue, then end it.  And if they don't take steps to demand the players play within the rules (yes, dictatorship), then those players need to be gone and then the first two sentences still apply.  I'd be disappointed if FFXI were terminated on February 28th, but, given the choice between an unethical sham game (which FFXI either has been or is being exposed as, little by little) and losing FFXI completely, I'd rather lose it all than wonder continually why I am even bothering playing by the rules.

OK, I'll cut part III here at about the 90-minute mark.  Some very interesting points here...

Monday, February 9, 2009

LBR Breaks Down the Bannings, Part II

As the commenters continue to fiddle while Vana'diel burns, we go back to the panel discussion from Limit Break Radio about the Salvage dupe bannings:

We pick it up at the discussion that Square-Enix clearly knew about the Salvage dupings for quite some time, and why come down so harsh now?

I go back to what DJ Plaeskool said in the comments to Chinchilla's article on PFA: This was retaliation for trying to wrest control of the game illegally from the owners. I've read comment after comment that basically says: "We rule the game, we can hax to haz whatever the Hell we want..."

My genuine hope is that this is the start of a lot of bannings (10,000 would be a good start, given what I've been reading from the cheater community.) to clean up the game.

But Square-Enix knew -- for a long time. All I can suppose is that they didn't realize (or, worse, chose not to realize) how serious this truly was. If that's the case, why do you think WoW is kicking FFXI's ass to the point that Square-Enix now has its lowest Japanese stock price in five years?

The person then goes to the point of calling the Salvage drops unfair.

First (as I've said numerous times): This gives you the right to essentially hack the game? So, the moment you don't like that you got your 1337 kewl Lord-over-everyone-else gear, you can basically hack the game's integrity

Second: Perhaps you need to read this interview ( It's an interview that the people who made Salvage had around the end of 2006. Yes, things have changed, but there are legal things within the game that can turn the tide. (Treasure Hunter?)

If you don't like the drop rates (and this even goes to those who fail to get what they want after 100-200 runs -- fucking wah to you), then GO DO SOMETHING ELSE. Leave Salvage.

An interesting side-light came up: There is apparently discussion in BluGartr which basically says you can still dupe in Sandworm, even though it's BCNM was one of the areas which was under the November emergency maintenance. Perhaps laying the trap for another set of bans?

We can now place the taping of this episode at after the reporting of Pandemonium Warden's "defeat". Then, someone just goes off on Square-Enix and their handling of PW: One of the premiere linkshells in the entire game (of all worlds) basically walked out of FFXI and right into WoW because of how badly PW was (supposedly) mucked -- that it was so unkillable that it wasn't worth playing FFXI anymore.

I don't understand one simple thing: Why doesn't the player community just walk away from all the things they don't like and render them so unworkable that Square-Enix must either fix them or remove them from FFXI??

And this gets us to logging hate and Pandemonium Warden. I've already addressed this in numerous comments and in several posts. It's illegal, but one of the roundtable basically put it like this: Astral Flow is a one-hit kill, and logging off is the only way possible to circumvent it.

What, you can't run like Hell at that point? Get out of its radius or bite the big one??

You see, if this is true, shut down ZNM's. All of them. Now.

Reason?? You have now raised the exact place that I said that Square-Enix dare not go. You have, then, said that certain exploits are allowed (in fact, for certain ends, required) and certain are not. You have created a mob which cannot be killed within the Terms of Service at all. I've said on the wiki that I felt that people should just stop playing PW because it was not ever meant to be killed with present knowledge. This takes that to another level -- it can't be killed at all, except under danger of getting suspended or banned.

That's just asking to have your game completely discredited. Aneiro was right on the mark when he talked about the tie-ins between the PW-logout exploit and the dupers.

As far as I am concerned, you cannot, in any way, ban the Salvage dupers and then allow the PW exploit. If you are actually going to validate this "win", then you have to reverse all bannings and suspensions from January 22, 2009.

But then we get to the real question: What is wrong with the communication between the players and Square-Enix? One has to wonder how much Square-Enix even really respects the players... Could they harbor the exact same distrust and resentment I do?? It's possible -- but then why continue FFXI? That gets to the "vote of no-confidence by Square-Enix" discussion from back when I started this.

And then we get back to "What might get their attention and force Square-Enix' hand?" I think the answer is simple, and I intend to start doing it: Public embarrassment of the company, not unlike the announcement of the 18-hour Pandemonium Warden failure. In fact, as I said in Part I, I listened to the first part of this discussion, and basically figured out that what probably got Square-Enix on the ball for these bannings is because of the fact that someone went to a prominent gaming site with lots of advertising and respected in the community, and blew the whistle publicly outside of FFXI. This would be a move which might damage Square-Enix' ability to gain new players, especially when they are getting their asses kicked by WoW because you can't level a job in FFXI to 75 in one week.

What if the outside world knew that half the players in the game were using illegal third-party software with doubly-illegal third-party plug-ins to circumvent the intended means of gaining information (or gaining more than they would otherwise ever be able to)?

What if the outside world knew what Aneiro spoke of shortly thereafter, that Square-Enix decides to be silent about the criteria for bans vs. suspensions vs. warnings vis-a-vis January 22nd because of the players holding them to those criteria in the future... (*Ahem...* You've been seeing this anyway in places like this. Consider the number of people in BluGartr who are completely hosed with the PW "defeat" as well... Again, ban Apathy or reverse the January 22nd bannings and suspensions... They're already in an inconsistency on that end)? The problem with coming out and speaking on this being a detriment to the game because of the players holding them to those words is already happening -- that horse is out of the barn.

(You could even go to the "some people are allowed to use exploits while others are not." motif too, at that point.)

Why would you, if you were considering entering an MMORPG, play FFXI right now if you had no assurances that the game was legitimately being policed, nor that the players gave a damn about the rules until they all QQ after being banned?

(The only reason I'm still playing FFXI is because it's Final Fantasy and I don't want to quit because of the cheating bastards, because they win another player who gives a damn about legitimacy leaving the game.)

I don't think Square-Enix has the fundamental understanding of how close they come to running a sham game here -- just taking our $12.95 a month and having us think the rules are enforced because they throw out the occasional Rafael Palmeiro (one player who got banned on January 22nd had four completed relics) with all the minor-leaguers (the RMT's you hear lumped in every month).

Someone, in the discussion of that the number of downloads of FFXI (through services like Direct2Drive) is going down in the rankings said that part of it might be that the players who might enter have no one to look up to when Square-Enix bans several hundred of the top level players.

Well, why should they be looked up to? They fucking cheated, in case you didn't check. You might even get to the discussion that part of the reason that people aren't coming in to the game in sufficient numbers is that people are finding that it is necessary to cheat to succeed -- and, as I said, the moment that happens, there's no more FFXI, for this very reason. New players won't enter a sham game. And if a linkshell basically cannot function without it's cheating leadership, na na na-na hey-hey-hey goodbye.

Actually, Aneiro brings up a point, in trying to slam Square-Enix, that should be made public and policy: Square-Enix has very high expectations of its player-base, and, when those expectations are not met, they can, with or without exposition of cause, take away your privilege of having an account on the game. I think that is a very reasonable expectation and should, in fact, be demanded of more people in more games. If the games cannot be upheld (economically or otherwise) with this level of expectations, then the games cannot continue.

Then we get to the point of "how many of the temporary bans were, in fact, permanents?". Let's remember, a 72-hour ban is not necessarily a 72-hour ban. That's the last step before banning a person for good. I still think, bluntly, anyone who knew of the duping and used it (at minimum) should be banned.

Are there going to be more bannings? I'd say once a month for the foreseeable. Give this about two more weeks, and I expect another bunch to go down (perhaps not as many and not as prominent) for misconduct. They have to. There's no way they could have gone through even all the Salvage-dupes in 60 days. And what really gets to the problem is that they pretty much have to say how many more get banned for misconduct. That might not be a good thing in your eyes, Aneiro, and you might think they have a deterrent here.

What deterrent? There's no fucking deterrent. There's no deterrent to any action without some degree of force behind it. There's no deterrent to robbing me on the street if I can't kick your ass or call the police and have them jail you. There's no deterrent to any of this without the banhammers in FFXI.

Well, with that, there's a storm brewing, and not one in the game. I gotta get off the computer.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flamage (well, there is some...) Part 12: LBR Breaks Down the Bannings, Part I

Well, LBR did, with quite a nice amount of speed for them, their LM-17 1/22/09 Limit Breaking News show.  Two and a half hours of it.  I've got that on my PSP MP3 player, and will give comments as I come across them.  One post on this will get WAY too long, so I'll break it down into parts.

Fusionx, about 7 minutes in:  How is it "extremist" to demand that the people who represent the player-base actually legally play the damned game?  How is it "extremist" to demand that those people admitted as banned from the game are removed from all positions of representation?  How is it "extremist" to demand that the game be adjudicated according to the rules, and that those in violation be removed?  I would really like to know.

Oh, by the way, I'll be writing that letter to Square-Enix, and I'll post it here when it's finished and sent -- the only further delay would be finding the proper e-mail addresses for community liaisons and the like at Square-Enix.  Hopefully, between the Flamage series, playing FFXI, and some other projects that a lot of this Duper-illegality junk has pushed back, I can get it done next week.

And, as far as "If you don't want Chin on the site, don't listen to us, we don't care..."  Then I don't want you doing FFXI podcasts, Fusionx!  

Let me put it to you this strongly...  From all the stuff I've read in the last 2 weeks, it really appears as if the player-base has a lot of skeletons in their closet which they don't want Square-Enix to find out about.  Seems to me like you'd much rather see a lot of this left alone.  The more I read from the more players, I begin to wonder if any of you play this game legitimately.

I find your stand utterly fucking reprehensible, but no real surprise given your previous e-mail to me and your vested interest in Chinchilla being more important to you than the legitimacy of the game you purport to represent.  You can expect that letter as soon as I finish it and can get the proper e-mail addresses.

My roommate and I disagree on several subjects (in that she believes Square-Enix could be more responsive to the players and their concerns, for one).  But one thing, if I heard her correctly when we talked on the subject:  The cheaters have nothing to say on the subject.

(Oh, and, by the by, that is the last I will be listening to your programs too, but I want more than that.  I want you (as a podcast) sanctioned.  You want to do this "for you"?  Fine.  No benefits from Square-Enix or from the Podcast Alliance or whatever...)

Elmer (just afterward):  If you aren't in a position to say "Get the Hell out of here!" to the cheaters, then, especially as the person behind JP Button, what position are you in to say anything on the Salvage-dupe subject??

Sorry if that is arrogant to you, but what other conclusion do you wish to draw?  If you aren't cheating and you wish to have a fair and just game, then you want the cheaters the Hell out of there, with no compromise in the situation.

Sonomaa's (from BluGartr) opening statement (after Elmer's):  What you disagree with is exactly right -- the players who did this exactly are on the same level as the gil-farming companies.  I've said this several times.  Square-Enix has ultimate right in determining the manner and amount of their virtual property that they wish to distribute to the players who pay their monthly fees to rent it.  That's it.  Realistically, you could end up discussing the possibility of charging the American players with theft under California law, as I stated before.  But, yes, they are on the same level as the gil-farmers.

There is a point of concern you brought up, and it is valid:  Why'd they wait?  It's clear they knew.  It's exactly the situation I discussed with a commenter in one of the previous articles:  This is clearly a situation that they knew and that was reported, and it was widely known that it was there.  So the question is:  why didn't they do it a year ago?  Didn't they take the tremendous amount of cheating among the high-level players seriously at all?  (This was also something my roommate and I talked about.)

Oh, by the way, anyone who got banned when they didn't know it should be pursuing court cases against the parties who pulled the dupes, and asking Square-Enix for the logs.  That's how you deal with that.  They may not be able to act against Square-Enix, but they certainly have action against those who got them banned without their knowledge, necessarily.

Hyrist:  This might actually finally answer Sonomaa's question as to what got Square-Enix' attention -- not unlike the Pandemonium Warden 18-hour fight, it sounds as if the matter of fact is that someone blew the whistle and publicly began to proclaim it outside the FFXI community.  What this would mean is that this would make Square-Enix look bad in the one realm that they probably take even more seriously than their current players:  Potential future players.

Perhaps if we blow the whistle on a lot of this stuff far and wide and shine the outside world's light of day on what really goes on in Vana'diel, something will get done about it.

Hyrist, Aneiro, and DavyJones (an LBR forum admin) talked about a very interesting point (we're now about 15 minutes in):  The silence from Square-Enix.  That can be taken from several viewpoints:

1) My original viewpoint:  They're just beginning to blow the lid off of massive end-game cheating, and they aren't close to being done banning yet.  I think they need to come out and very publicly condemn the player-base across the board.  I think they really need to understand that, because a lot of the players simply want to be given kewl 1337 shit to lord over everyone else, they need to stomp hard, and if a few eggs get broken to make an omelette...

2) Another viewpoint:  Are we getting to the point of a sham game here?  Are we getting to the point of Major League Baseball, where you essentially have (or at least had) to be under the influence of performance-enhancing steroids to make it?  Are we getting to the point of many professional wrestling storylines, where certain characters are now able to get away with whatever they want, because they have the "juice" or "stroke" from the official channels to make it so?  Are we getting to the point that the game is simply a sham because there is not enough ability to enforce the rules at all, making them effectively null and void?

That's two -- I'm sure you can come up with more.

Actually, DavyJones brings up a point salient to the Pandemonium Warden-Apathy argument:  DavyJones brings up how obvious an act of disbanding (outside of the sole intent of disbanding, which is to break up a party at the end of its usefulness) should be with respect to such an isolated situation as Salvage.  Here's the problem:  What makes that any different than logging out to avoid being attacked by Pandemonium Warden?  The act of disbanding to exploit the duping cheat is no different than the act of logging out to avoid being attacked once the puller of PW, etc., is killed after PW throws Astral Flow.  Both are uses of game mechanics in manners not intended which create an unfair advantage (one through a coding flaw, the other through exploiting the mechanisms of the monster involved), a bannable offense under the rules.

From there, about the 18:30 mark, the discussion begins, with the first round being about whether Square-Enix knew about all this.

My roommate does not like to have her intelligence insulted.  It took her only a few posts to realize that they had to have known.  Come on...  They had to have.

The kicker, then, becomes:  Why now?  Why so harsh??  I said, at the beginning of all this, that I felt the penalties were light - all players involved who knew should've been banned with great prejudice, and there's no reason to believe that there aren't more bans coming, for this and other exploits!

But the key question is why they took so long, and I think I may have come up with the answer above after what I heard from Hyrist.  Someone went quite public in a manner which would've damaged Square-Enix from gaining future players.

You can make the argument that that should not be -- but they already have our $12.95 a month.  If they can't at least make up for attrition with new players, though, they can't sustain the game.

About at 21:40, an interesting question came up vis-a-vis withholding the information:  Do you want it to get "worse" by spreading it further after you've reported it?  Or are you more interested in retaining the "dirty little secret", because you control the game and not Square-Enix, since they need you to pay them enough money to keep going...

And that is about the first 22 minutes.  2 more hours of it to go, when I get around to it...

Well, I have been playing between the flamage again this week...

Fairly important week, too...

Dynamis:  Got a Windurst win on Sunday, and a Jeuno win on Wednesday.  Snow access has been acquired, and we're looking at making a run there come tomorrow.  We'll see, based on availability.

Levels:  Gotten hardcore into Campaigning my DRG to 75 (68 now, probably 69 by the end of tonight).  One more Besieged that I choose to play will probably get my RDM to 59.

Not much else.  Did a Copycat set with a pickup group and got some Destroyers for later.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flamage Part 11: How many of you even play the game, and not the system...

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  I swear I must be in the middle of Bizarro World here.

I look to the blog and see 11 comments to last night's report to the Special Task Force (demanding an investigation of the Apathy-Remora "win" over Pandemonium Warden, a clear violation of the Terms of Service...)

I responded to most of them, but you might want a look at the comment list yourself, because I don't care to dignify most of these with recopying them here.  But I did want to raise several points which probably should be raised, and all I can say is:  Given what I've heard from these jokers, "Be afraid, be very afraid."

Hogie48 agrees with that it may not have been what Square-Enix intended, but thinks I have a burr up my ass.

He's right on both counts, and the reason (as I said) that I have a burr up my ass is that it appears as if the player-base does not give two damns about actually playing the game with any sense of honor, integrity, or anything else.

Which see a number of these other comments, like this one:

"Idiots who have never even killed Kirin or struggled to do so should not be able to Q.Q like little bitches." -- Brandon

Brandon, then stop me from "Q.Q"-ing, bitch.

Not only that, Brandon, but (as I said in my comment) it would appear to me as if you are all but admitting that the game is unplayable (to you, and to many others) without cheating the system -- that you cannot beat Kirin without violating the rules.  At that point, I would then go back to what I said to Square-Enix:  What exploits are allowed, and what are not?  This is why you don't want to go there:  because it appears that there are many players who cannot play Final Fantasy XI without cheating like that.

And I have to say to them (including you, Brandon, it sounds like from what you are saying):  Go screw around with World of Warcraft.

Maxxthepenguin missed the point of the entire last two weeks when he claimed that Square-Enix could've coded logging out so as not to reset hate, but they didn't.

This would, in fact, constitute a third charge against Apathy, unless you openly wish to state that you don't believe the Salvage-dupers should've been banned - that it was all Square-Enix' fault, as usual...  Right, Maxx??

Xx asks why I have to "be like that"...  Answer:  Because of people like you.

Next comment basically gets to a heart of the matter.

Raen Ryong basically says I'm jealous that someone else has PW drops and I don't.

There is an old truism that many people live by, that the "ends justify the means".  That it doesn't matter what tactics you use, as long as you "win".

Raen:  You are a fucking bastard, and are exposed as such.  I am not jealous as to the PW drops they got, and, not only that, but I would like to believe I demand that any items dropped in the game are won fairly.  You, sir, don't seem to give a shit about fairness, the rules, or integrity.  So I ask you whether you play the game, or game the system...

I go back to the comment I heard someone (and I wish I had at least the nick this person used) on VanaChat the Friday night of FanFest when he/she said half the players in the game cheat.  I reiterate my stand:  Given that, the game has no future and should have no future.  And if people like Raen are going to claim it's all about the drops, all about the status, all about "1337 pwnage!!11111!!111!11!11", then you, like most American gamers, suck.

To Titanss:  No, you don't cross my mind, and I wonder if you have a mind for anything _to_ cross...

Robert clarifies the apparent strategy in his comment, but misses one key point here:

It doesn't matter one whit whether the logging out is necessary or simply a matter "to be safe".  That is _irrelevant to the discussion_.  The fact is they committed an act to gain an unfair advantage which was outside the one stated purpose of logging out:  To leave Final Fantasy XI.  Any purpose within the game itself, outside of departure (which could, essentially, mean any purpose within the game), constitutes a breach of the rules.

And then he asks what I have to consider one of the most ridiculous questions I've ever heard on the Internet:  He asks if I was one of the Salvage-dupers...

I'm not insulted by the question itself, but more of the insult of my intelligence.  The question itself is actually an off-shoot of something I said earlier:  The actions of the Salvage-dupers bring into question the integrity of every high-level player in the game, _including me_.

But how anyone who could read this blog come up with that question with any degree of intelligence is beyond my personal level of comprehension.

Onward to Stephanie:  So when you accidentally agg something which will kill you and cannot zone, she gives two options:

a) Sleep it and log out.
b) Take it like a man and die.

(Of course, she fails to understand the possibility of sleeping it and running and hope it triggers the anti-MPK situation, but that might even be a violation of the rules.)

The answer is simple:  You get a dirt nap.  Get raised or home-pointed.  Again, there is ONE purpose to logging out -- to leave.  Any other action can be stated as a breach of the rules and actionable as such.

Maybe it's time for Square-Enix to get real nasty and turn Garlaige Citadel into Garlaige Shit-a-del again, because it can no longer assume the players are going to play honestly.  You are not allowed to leave the game just because you got an inconvenient pull.  I got one today in Jugner in the Shadowrealm as I was running back from triggering the questionnaire in Dancers in Distress (one of the new WotG missions)...  I ate my 2400-point drop like a man.  Got another one farming in the promies today.  Ate that one too, with frustration.

If you always have to win, it doesn't make the victory worth anything.  If you aren't willing to actually work within the system, the win becomes a cheat.  Perhaps that's why people can't play fairly anymore:  We've become so used, as gamers, as needing this cheat or that hack or the other exploit that we truly can't play the game anymore.

Stephanie:  The Salvage-dupes were "standard game knowledge" -- a "dirty little secret" the end-gamers had (even though my roommate is correct that it could not have been completely absent any knowledge by Square-Enix...) to exploit the shitty drop rates.

Logging out for any other purpose than leaving the game (if for five minutes or five years) is NOT using the game mechanic as intended, and using it for an advantage in-game is ILLEGAL.

Brent:  The answer to your first question has been addressed above several times:  Since the action is outside the purpose of the game mechanic:  Yes, they should be punished, and banned if that's what it calls for.  They broke the rules by manipulating a game mechanic to create an unfair advantage (that one commenter has said they may not have even needed!!!).

If you can't get that clear, then I question how many such things you've exploited over the course of time.

And then you flame the salvage-dupers, and then praise Apathy for "Players adapt, and that's what they did."??  You're trying to have it both ways, and I'm not falling for that garbage.  One or the other -- you can't praise these guys and dump on the dupers.  They're essentially the same thing -- why does one abuse and the other "adapt"?

Logging to clear hate is an unfair advantage and an exploit of PW's code on top of it (that clearing all hate from PW stops all attacks from it until new hate is instituted).

ineedproof123456 only can count to 6, but basically gives a nice demonstration of administrative double-talk.  They let this stand, he should almost go to work for Square-Enix.

Paul is trying to rewrite history, I fear, so I will spare him the further embarrassment.


Several things are becoming quite clear:

1) Much of the player-base does not know how to kill anything above a worm fairly.
2) The ends, clearly, justify the means for most of these jokers.
and 3) The only reason I'm still playing FFXI is to spite these idiots.  I clearly cannot enjoy the game with them around, but I'll still be there to be a thorn in their sides.