Monday, March 16, 2009

Square-Enix, clean up your damned game. The RMT's even, now, have the upper hand...

I could go into length as to how pissed off I am at the people who run FFXI at this point, and the fraud they perpetrate (again, how much of that fraud they are directly responsible for is another matter, but...).

But today kinda finally tipped the scales on one thing as I am preparing to finally hit DRG 75 in a day or two.

RMT is winning.  The Special Task Force is losing.

How do I say this?

The efforts of a single RMT website, which will not be stated here for advertisement, to subvert what obviously was done at the last update to prevent players from using the POL message system -- they now take completely-disposable characters and spam advertisements through /tells to all the 75's they can find.

/blist doesn't work on them, GM's.  They're banned and replaced so quickly, it's not even funny.

Ignoring them doesn't either -- unless you simply want us to ignore all the rules violations which go on in the game.

Let's put it this way:  This was at least the sixth or seventh RMT tell from this website in the last month or so.

Square-Enix is losing -- RMT is winning, and I had something to say to the Special Task Force in the latest e-mail I sent to them:

This is getting REAL DAMNED STUPID!  They DON’T CARE about losing the characters.  Your company just got a six-figure judgement against some people illegally selling swords like ones in earlier Square-Enix games.

What RMT is doing is the illegal sale of proprietary licensed Square-Enix merchandise.

SHUT THEM DOWN.

CLEAN UP YOUR DAMN GAME!  (And not just the RMT, either…)

13 comments:

Kurai said...

I'd hardly go as far as to say that RMT are winning, they're certainly being damned annoying, but getting hit with /tells on occasion doesn't exactly undo/negate all the work that the STF has accomplished in the past few years.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

I respectfully disagree.

It is clear that, for all the work that the STF apparently tries to do, they are really only scratching the surface. As I've said time and again (more and more strongly each time), if the STF really wants to deal with RMT (not to mention the other issues which have polluted this game, even if they are only dealing with the issues to get ready for Rapture), the legal force of law is going to be required.

RMT needs to be treated as an illegal act with respect to the law and these sites shut down. Without that, these dispose-a-characters are going to continue to pollute the experience.

Perhaps, as one person told me last night, it's time to end the 14-day free trials.

Cori said...

As long as the ability to trade items to other players exists (even if Auction Houses or similar systems do not), then RMTs will always exist.

It's just as bad in any other game. SE has taken an overzealous position in dealing with them, destroying legitimate players' sources of income along with things commonly abused by RMT.

The economy on my server is currently in a peculiar type of deflationary spiral that was not present when I played this game in 2004 and was not present at all in WoW.

The December update reduced a lot of the NPC buy prices for certain easily-farmed items. I can understand the draw here because it disincentivizes farming these mobs for the RMT. But you're faced with some problems as well. Reducing NPC buy prices reduces the total amount of gil introduced into the system, but the total amount LEAVING the system has NOT been reduced.

Additionally, every RMT banned with millions or billions of gil is more gil leaving the economy, driving prices of "farmable" items down while highly desirable equipment remains at pre-deflationary prices. This is not a good situation.

Yes, five years ago prices were inflated out of proportion due to RMT activity, but at the same time, it was also MUCH EASIER for a legitimate player to afford decent equipment, even with those higher prices! On my old character (who did not even have a level 75 at all), I was never out of money, and short of crazy-expensive items such as kraken clubs, I could afford practically anything I wanted to, and could recoup the income easily simply by spending an afternoon farming o-kotes, f-kyahan or signas. Hell, back then even Synthesis Materials was actually a profitable method of farming. I still remember the first time I made 100k as a thirtysomething Red Mage farming blood in Pashhow. (I'd be lucky to get 22k now for the same stack of blood, which still takes the same 2 hours to farm.)

Now, thanks to SE's brilliant attempts to root out RMT, the value of synthesis materials (except for those that are not farmable) has plummeted. You might think this helps the crafters, but it really doesn't as skillup items are still generally sold at a loss on AH or a worse loss to an NPC.

Combine this with the typical RMT and impatient people tactic of flooding the market and undercutting, and you can see the problems.

RMTs will always exist, but the damage they do can be minimized by careful management. SE has not carefully managed the situation. They have overreacted badly.

Kurai said...

I'm sure a lot of people would love for these sites to be shut down, however, legally hunting down those sites wouldn't be very feasible as legal fees and international laws would probably tie SE up in courts for years and years, I'm not very well versed in legal stuff, but that's probably what would happen.

Scratching the surface or not, what other MMOs are there that even dedicate this much effort (if any) into taking on RMT? It may fall too little or not enough in your eyes, but from what I've heard, SE are pretty much the only ones who actively fight it.

David Miscavige said...

STF has clearly won. Starcade were you even playing this game when RMT had damn near taken over almost every HNM including sky, and on some servers ground HNM like behe?

You can pretty much find HNM walking around unclaimed these days, why just the other day I found serket walking around garlaige and called in a friend to duo it.

STF have made a MAJOR difference in cutting down illegal activity by RMT to make this game more enjoyable for the players, but I guess for you that's not enough?

I think they've done a damn good job, 10/10.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

Cori:

As long as the ability to trade items to other players exists (even if Auction Houses or similar systems do not), then RMTs will always exist.

Then the RMTs will win.

There's a very simple solution to this, and I'm shocked people don't see it. It all goes back to the fact that everything in this game belongs to Square-Enix, even the stuff you have which you are allowed to play with.

These RMTs are stealing the product and selling Square-Enix proprietary merchandise for their own profit. That's theft, copyright/trademark infringement, and a host of other civil/criminal acts.

Without taking the RMTs to court and shutting them down and jailing them, RMT will consume the games and win them.

It's just as bad in any other game. SE has taken an overzealous position in dealing with them, destroying legitimate players' sources of income along with things commonly abused by RMT.

Of course, the entire concept of a "legitimate player" might be somewhat an oxymoron too, but that's another flamewar.

Fact is, as I said at the last update, it sounds as if Square-Enix wants to reduce the amount of gil in the system entirely (take a look at the ramifications of "Rare/Ex"ing" the new Augmented Gear, as another example for April). The time may come very soon where there is very little "gil-able" stuff out there -- perhaps, then, the only way to kill RMT is to turn the game into something resembling FFVIII (at least gil-wise).

But the fact is that RMT must be stopped at all cost, even at the inconvenience of other players -- otherwise, there won't be any way to get anything done in FFXI without either being or paying RMT.

The economy on my server is currently in a peculiar type of deflationary spiral that was not present when I played this game in 2004 and was not present at all in WoW.

The December update reduced a lot of the NPC buy prices for certain easily-farmed items. I can understand the draw here because it disincentivizes farming these mobs for the RMT. But you're faced with some problems as well. Reducing NPC buy prices reduces the total amount of gil introduced into the system, but the total amount LEAVING the system has NOT been reduced.


Don't you think that might be part of the intent, as well? I mean, perhaps one of the things that SE has figured out is that having so much gil in the system might _require_ players to commit RMT acts to be able to advance in the game...

Additionally, every RMT banned with millions or billions of gil is more gil leaving the economy, driving prices of "farmable" items down while highly desirable equipment remains at pre-deflationary prices. This is not a good situation.

This is because they also don't ban the other cheaters as well -- taking the other cheaters out of the game would take the desireable equipment out of play which they hold.

I think there might be another factor in play: Too many 75's from Campaign/Besieged/etc.

Yes, five years ago prices were inflated out of proportion due to RMT activity, but at the same time, it was also MUCH EASIER for a legitimate player to afford decent equipment, even with those higher prices! On my old character (who did not even have a level 75 at all), I was never out of money, and short of crazy-expensive items such as kraken clubs, I could afford practically anything I wanted to, and could recoup the income easily simply by spending an afternoon farming o-kotes, f-kyahan or signas. Hell, back then even Synthesis Materials was actually a profitable method of farming. I still remember the first time I made 100k as a thirtysomething Red Mage farming blood in Pashhow. (I'd be lucky to get 22k now for the same stack of blood, which still takes the same 2 hours to farm.)

I think the other factor is that RMT has, once again, taken over endgame. Look at all the botting and character sales and all this bullshit, and you get the point that you're basically back to where you were four years ago (which was, not coincidentally, about the time FFXI's population began to stagnate).

Without putting the legal force of law behind the efforts to expel RMT, they have no prayer but to put Band-Aids on sawed-off arms.

Now, thanks to SE's brilliant attempts to root out RMT, the value of synthesis materials (except for those that are not farmable) has plummeted. You might think this helps the crafters, but it really doesn't as skillup items are still generally sold at a loss on AH or a worse loss to an NPC.

Perhaps the benefit of skilling up should be -- skilling up??

RMTs will always exist, but the damage they do can be minimized by careful management. SE has not carefully managed the situation. They have overreacted badly.

I respectfully disagree -- until there can be no benefit to RMT, Square-Enix hasn't gone far enough.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

David:

STF has clearly won. Starcade were you even playing this game when RMT had damn near taken over almost every HNM including sky, and on some servers ground HNM like behe?

Ever read some of the reports on what's been done with respect to bots and the like?? You're still, basically, at that point -- there are linkshells (and RMT people creating the bots and such) expending thousands of dollars to effectively seize control of entire endgame environments.

You've -- gained -- nothing... RMT has basic control of everything it can feasibly control because there is no action taken by Square-Enix against the _companies_ which are RMT.

Square-Enix has only taken out the _individual_ RMT. They have done NOTHING to actually take out "corporate" RMT, if you will.

You can pretty much find HNM walking around unclaimed these days, why just the other day I found serket walking around garlaige and called in a friend to duo it.

Only because no one botted the damn thing first, or found it worth enough money to do so. If they did, you'd never see an HNM again.

STF have made a MAJOR difference in cutting down illegal activity by RMT to make this game more enjoyable for the players, but I guess for you that's not enough?

NOPE. Because they have not done nearly enough.

2 or 3 out of 10 at best. Jail these fuckers, and then we talk.

Then go after all the other cheaters too...

odannyboy123 said...

You just don't get it. Games like this have tons of RMT and always will. Hell Diablo II is one of the kings of RMT and it is still loved and kicking and updated. SE actually takes steps towards getting rid of RMT and controlling it, though at the expense of the legit player base sometimes. Yeah there's the legal infringement, but the costs of locating people for court (even if the RMT was located in a participative country, good luck dealing with China) isn't worth it. Since this is the internet I will leave you with an insult, quit being a manchild and remember your dead mother is a whore.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

odannyboy123: The only reason that RMT games still exist is because the companies make the mistake of thinking it worth it to realistically continue them.

It's not unlike the anime industry, which has been completely killed by a "fanbase" unwilling to pay one fat dime for the product.

The fact is, really, the scope and amount of RMT involved really do make one question whether one has to be involved with RMT to do anything realistically in FFXI...

Makes me wonder if you almost would (as a player) prefer RMT be legal and be done with it...

David Miscavige said...

"Makes me wonder if you almost would (as a player) prefer RMT be legal and be done with it..."

Didn't they do that in Everquest?

ixthyse said...

Problem with taking legal action on the RMT is that many of the gil farming operations are based in places like Thailand and China, two countries whose courts would laugh at Square Enix's terms of service and tell them to go home.

I'm sure if SE could pin down an RMT in a place where their terms of service would actually hold jurisdiction they'd take it to them, unfortunately due to gift visa cards and the 14 day trial there is nothing forcing the RMT to give their real life credentials to create an account, and IP traces can't be trusted since they'll usually drop off in the sources general area, rather than a specific location, and further they can be easily rerouted manually.

This is one topic where I agree with you wholeheartedly, the RMT need to be dealt with. We differ in our opinions on SE though, I think they've done a bangup job these past couple years and are really doing all they can, especially when you put their efforts alongside those of other MMOs

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

David:

"Makes me wonder if you almost would (as a player) prefer RMT be legal and be done with it..."

Didn't they do that in Everquest?


Not clear, but understand the ramifications of such a step...

We are basically at the point that any serious participation in endgame requires illegal acts (and not just acts illegal to FFXI, but acts which should get players sued, arrested, and jailed) -- allowing RMT, as a statement of policy by Square-Enix, would be the final nail in the coffin for any legitimate play of any online Square-Enix product, now (FFXI) or in the future (Rapture).

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

ixthyse:

Problem with taking legal action on the RMT is that many of the gil farming operations are based in places like Thailand and China, two countries whose courts would laugh at Square Enix's terms of service and tell them to go home.

Then don't allow them to play -- in fact, wasn't there, somewhat recently, an effort by Square-Enix to broadly ban the Chinese from FFXI for this very reason?

The moment that the Terms of Service become unenforceable, there's no game anymore. If what you say is true, then Square-Enix should just make RMT legal and be done with it, law ramifications be damned, since they cannot enforce the sale of their proprietary virtual product.

You see, this is what people do not get: Every item in the game is proprietary virtual product owned by Square-Enix. Every bit of "Starcade" on Leviathan is owned by Square-Enix. Every piece of gear, every gil, everything -- owned by Square-Enix.

If they cannot enforce the material theft of their product (which is not only RMT, but all the other illegalities too), then they're fucked and everyone knows it.

I'm sure if SE could pin down an RMT in a place where their terms of service would actually hold jurisdiction they'd take it to them, unfortunately due to gift visa cards and the 14 day trial there is nothing forcing the RMT to give their real life credentials to create an account, and IP traces can't be trusted since they'll usually drop off in the sources general area, rather than a specific location, and further they can be easily rerouted manually.

Then it's, as I said a month ago, time to pull the plug.

The easiest solution is to basically end the giving out of the 14-day accounts, since, really, it doesn't seem to have the positive impact on player population that one would want it to have.

Also, why can't Square-Enix require a _traceable_ payment option?

This is one topic where I agree with you wholeheartedly, the RMT need to be dealt with. We differ in our opinions on SE though, I think they've done a bangup job these past couple years and are really doing all they can, especially when you put their efforts alongside those of other MMOs...

I used to think that way too - the problem being that, especially if what you are saying is correct, there's no real benefit in stopping RMT at all.

And, from there, it's only a baby step or two to basically saying that RMT is necessary to even play the game at all.