Sunday, May 31, 2009

End of week update, and some odds and sods...


Sunday: Forgot -- I think it was a fail when we agged the Death House in Windy again.

Wednesday: Birthday for my roommate = did not attend Xarcabard farming.

24 PLD, 16 SAM (working on some other jobs), 64 DNC (woo hoo)


Couple of thoughts:

Lots of credit card fraud, it sounds like, at Square-Enix.

A lot of people probably didn't like that LM-17 action (and I think it could've been declared quite a bit differently), but Square-Enix has apparently lost enough money to credit card fraud and has decided to basically check everybody's cards, essentially.

... starting with the ones with previous chargebacks.

My main concern is whether they will end up finding that a lot of these were those same RMT fuckers who CONTINUE TO SPAM OUR TELLS.

What, does Square-Enix get a kickback from certain RMT and expel the rest???

Saturday, May 30, 2009

LM-17 mass action apparently did take place today -- for _credit cards_???

The timing on this looks a bit stupid.  I'd think it would be an action which would take place after the first of the month (as a natural "feature" of the monthly fee/registration server process)...

After I posted what amounted to a "WTF?" post (I was not involved with this, but puzzled by what did happen...), I go on to BluGartr to see if they came up with anything.

Apparently, Square-Enix must've done a massive examination of their credit card files and basically LM-17'd everyone who either has had excessive charge-backs or the like...


I can understand having a policy in place if you believe that there is reason to believe that a monthly fee payment will be refused by the player's card's bank.

(I can also understand a lot of extra scrutiny when most of the players are effectively paying triple fees this month (Monthly, ACP, Security Token/Mog Satchel).

But an LM-17, especially with how that has been drawn as misconduct?  (I guess you could say not having a valid card is misconduct, but...)

So that's why they are open extra time, to help players resolve this to get back in the game.


It sounds as if there has been significant credit-card related misconduct by players or others using unauthorized cards.

Sounds like Square-Enix has been getting bitten by quite a few chargebacks by people stealing others' credit cards or something -- heck, if they're stealing the gear from Square-Enix, why not just steal some poor schmuck's credit card and commit credit card fraud to be able to play??

But I reiterate what I said above:  I think a different "code" needs to be made for that -- an LM-17 implies a misconduct ban.  This should be closer to the non-payment codes or something.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Was there another large round of bannings this afternoon?

I'm not saying there was, but when I just logged into FFXI about 10 minutes ago, the lead message on the Info page before I entered FFXI (the one in the POL viewer before I select FFXI) was an extension of the hours of the Information Center today.

Interested, I clicked on the link and saw that they had extended the hours today 2 hours, for people who got LM-17 errors upon logging in.

I know it's about time for another STFU report, but this is not what they usually do (extend the hours on the Info Center) when the STFU bannings come out...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

OK, I know the Treasure Hunter Kupower is off...

But THIS is asinine!!

Rolanberry.  Doing the Goblins to get Rolanberry's drop after I only needed 2 to take out Batallia's drop for the daily ACP Goblin quest -- the 3 key items.



Update:  Dropped on Goblin #45!

Who in the Hell are we kidding here??

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"We cheat, we're proud of it, and fuck you for being so gimp!!" -- Some elite players

I'd say "many", but I remember that this has to be put on the TTTO.  :)

You know, the hubris and arrogance of the players in this game really doesn't surprise me.

The LEVELS of it, though, are getting to be quite annoying.

I mean, if I had a nickel for every time I hear "YOU GOT SO FUCKING GIMP GEAR, YOU AREN'T EVEN WORTHY TO BE ON MY GAME...  YOU A WEAK TARD, ME LEET...", my roommate wouldn't have to worry about the rent for the rest of the summer.

I get the impression that FFXI has become MtG ReDux -- to "win", you have to cheat.

It doesn't matter what kind of ethics you bring to the game -- it's all about "my gear is leet, yours sucks, and BluGartr is laughing at you for it".

(And someone did.  What they forget is that I might be the one healing their ass during Besieged when no one else will -- or can!!  Of course, the real funny thing:  His "title"??  Starcade.  *bow*)

(So much so that, when one player decided to tell me to my (online) face, basically, "I bot and SMN burn and I'm proud of it!", he got his ass reported to the Special Task Force, with information gleaned from his Blogger profile to come up with a name and an address (and an approximate home city) for the STFU to cross-reference.)

Do I expect anything done??  Consider the STFU's record...

But it is the only recourse available to me, and I just used it.

It just gets to me that it really appears that the more you cheat, the more "leet" you become.

Trust me, you don't want me to play like that.  That's Denial of Service-type talk.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I wonder if the official site will do an article on THIS...

I don't think so -- and that's why I mention it here.

Decided to go to the Wiki and update Leviathan's new winning streak (36), and noticed something.

This week will mark a first in the history of Vana'diel.

Siren has been undefeated in Besieged since Treasures of Aht Urhgan has been released.

Sometime this week (it'll take two more cycles for it to do it, so probably sometime either Friday or this upcoming weekend), Siren will become (barring disaster) the first server in the history of Vana'diel to win TWO THOUSAND Besieged battles.

It stands at 1,996 now.

-- We interrupt this blog post to bring you a special rant. --


-- And that's basically what I tell them before I blist and GM them.  (That one poster from BG was right -- they've really been upping the pressure during the Memorial Day Weekend.)

There's only one way to stop this.  No trial accounts on the main servers.  Trial accounts get their own server and an automatic transfer to the main servers once they shed trial status.

It took them, with 24 calls, precisely SIX MINUTES to send back the "multiple call -- thank you" post.

Now, returning you to your more peaceful blog post. --

Siren is only four wins from the magic 2,000.

I wonder if Square-Enix is going to give that server the props they deserve.  Probably not!

Looking over the list, Lakshmi and CaitSith are battling it out tooth and nail for the 2nd and 3rd servers, Leviathan fairly safely ensconced in 4th.

On the other end, unless Fairy has gained one more loss, there is only one server in all of FFXI which has lost the Astral Candescence 50 times.

Take ONE guess.  (The Asura Disease is alive and well, and they can go piss on themselves for it.)  Asura has 52 losses as of May 12th, when they secured loss #52.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Update, and we now have at least one answer to the long list...

Not much this week, though I did get NIN to 37 so I could get /NIN and Ni on my endgame stuff.

Sunday Dynamis:  Did not go.  Took a few days in Anaheim to give my roommate some peace.  (And, dear God, does she need it.  Tuesday is the moment of truth for many of the people my friend works with in California...)

Wednesday Dynamis:  Windurst.  Lost.  Someone agged the Death House and we never recovered.  Sac pull failed and I was the first one they ate trying to get back to where we could try for the win.

NIN 37, not much else.


As I say, on occasion, I will visit BG to do some scouting for stuff to send to the STF.

I go there today, and I find the following:

Ladies and gentlemen, the hyper-XP Astral Flow system for SMN is illegal AND bannable, when it monopolizes a zone other players are trying to play!

The ruling was, effectively, zone monopolization.

For those who do not know, a common tactic to get characters to 75 very quickly is, once SMN is accessed, using Astral Flow and the Blood Pacts on massive groups of monsters pulled to one AoE area so that no one else has, really, any access to the mobs in those areas as long as the hyper-SMNs wish to power through at 15-20-moreK an hour.

Being a hardcore XPer to the point that no one else can play the zone has been a ban ever since "zone monopolization" was declared illegal.  So forgive me while I have negative amounts of sympathy for you.  Bye-bye...  Go join the RMT fucker scum, as far as I am concerned.

I think this was one that we had on the long list after the January 22 bannings.

Oh, and Sonomaa:  Perhaps Square-Enix never intended people to level _that_ quickly!  Perhaps things like Fields of Valor and Campaign are the only reasoned alternatives on the table.

Mistress Stowastiq:  It's not legal if it creates a monopolization situation.  This is why one can now easily say that the whole hyper-XP system which has been built to PL SMNs is illegal and bannable for zone monopolization.  If an action creates a monopolization situation, the action is not legal, even if the action, in and of itself, would be outside of that.


ROTFLMAO!!!!  I didn't even see this the first time...

If you read the posts on BluGartr, you see little "titles" for each poster (Melee Summoner, Salvage Bans, etc.).

The player who got his ass banned for zone monopolization -- his title??  Starcade.



Actually, stabmegently, I think SMN burning was exactly what he got banned for.  He used that (and apparently other) means to monopolize the zone to the point the other players complained, and, by the rules, out came the banhammer.

To the banned:  The whole game is subject to Square-Enix' interpretation, and I'm glad to see they're cracking down on the SMN mega-burners.

One less fucktard in Vana'diel.  We hope...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A couple strong highlights in a rather boring week...

Didn't get to play as much as I might otherwise like, but when I find out my friend helped raise almost $2,000 in an online Relay for Life event (HUZZAH!), I know that, when my friend is working, it's time for me to get out of the way.

As for what I was doing when I was in people's way in Vana'diel this week:

NIN 33 -- and a big highlight Thursday night as my ACP Level 30 Key drew the big prize:  Utsusemi: Ni -- and that's 450,000 gil I won't have to spend in about 3 levels.

I probably am about to lose my highest Campaign medal, but, until they get the next tier going or such, of what worth, really, is it??

Dynamis:  Wednesday:  Didn't go, didn't find out where or how it went.

Sunday:  Snow (Beaucedine).  Win.  And the BST drop as well, uncontested.  So now I have both my 75 jobs already scored in Snow, and I think DNC too.

This week?  Not sure.  Might actually take a trip, might not...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Well, that chase was fun while it lasted:

So, just so I could track everything, I decided to have a window open to take care of all the Mog Tablet finds in the first iteration on Leviathan.

Talking to some of the people on Leviathan at the Frontier Moogle spawn-point, there are those to say that all 11 will be found within the FIRST HOUR. (By 2 AM PDT Tuesday 5/12/09 -- quest starts at 1 AM PDT.)

(I’m thinking by about 6 AM.)

BOY WAS I WRONG. While I went from Qufim to Beaucedine and to the northern part of Batallia (the hidden part where the Goblin NM for ACP is found), here's what happened.

Within 5 minutes -- Behemoth’s Dominion and Ro’Maeve are gone

8 minutes, 25 seconds -- THREE MORE GONE -- S. Gustaberg, Cape Terrigan, Buburimu Peninsula. They all went at the same report -- the same as the first two.

11 minutes -- E Ronfaure and Valkurm fall.

14:42 -- La Thiene’s is found.

21 minutes -- Rolanberry and Yuntunga Jungle -- one left...

(This is where I begin to think the possibility exists that it might be in one of the hidden areas of, say, Batallia or Sauromogue (Rolanberry already had it's Tablet for this round found.))

And then, the bad news:

37 minutes -- North Gustaberg, and that’s all.

Elapsed time: 37:45.

So the question now: How many bots?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another week in Vana'diel finished...

And for my 100th post (including a few from a previous iteration of the blog):

31 NIN (goaling for 37 and Ni), about 80K in updated gear in a hole in my gear that I haven't filled in a while, and, really, not much else level-wise (working, between ACP runs, on my dagger skill to help NIN, THF, and DNC).

Sunday: Snow (Beaucedine). Won. A few drops. Nuttin for me.

Wednesday: Jeuno. Had to leave before it got too interesting. Sounds like we were going to get a win. Nuttin for me.


And I didn't play as much as I'd probably like later in the week. Thursday and Friday, just a little tired of it.

Saturday afternoon, our fucking apartment-mates in the complex decided to fuck up the entire complex -- AGAIN. This happens about once every other week.

We live in a complex which was probably built in about 1950 or something. Without going into too much detail, there are circuit breakers for the different apartments (and, for the larger ones -- including mine and my roommate's -- several) if the power should ever be compromised.

These fucking dickheads decide that, when their power goes out, fuck the entire complex, we're just going to flip EVERY GODDAMNED SWITCH IN THE PLACE!!! Including ours, EVEN THOUGH OURS ARE CLEARLY MARKED.

Oh, fuck that at least two apartments damn near lost $2,000 computer systems apiece -- my roommate being one of them!! (The other was an apartment on the other side of the complex, NOWHERE NEAR the same breakers -- the fuckers just decide to fuck everybody by flipping every switch.)

This gets much worse (or my roommate loses her computer), I'm going to live on the streets again, because you don't fuck over someone who has absolutely nothing to lose, and the only person waiting for that person is now waiting in the next life.

Police raids in the area of my apartment complex to run out ne'er-do-wells have become at least a nightly occurrence. THIS IS NOT A FUCKING SLUM HOTEL. (And that doesn't even count the $200 ticket I've got for this bitch pig deciding he wanted to be smugger-than-thou and shoot his mouth off while I continue to make ends meet without having to rob a bank or something. He's lucky I'm not doing 3-5 right now... They probably are going to have to incarcerate me at the hearing for the ticket. So if I disappear for quite a while shortly after the 1st of July...)

I have to put up with so much shit to even help my friend pay her rent, knowing that, someday, one of us is going postal. It's the same goddamned thug-first attitude which has sunk endgame in FFXI (Kimiko did an outstanding piece on this -- "This is not advanced." ( It's the same goddamned thug attitude which bullies use to psychologically drive their victims psychotic.

(And it's now been clinically established as such too.)

When I get the occasional interruption on FFXI (which will happen), I'm more worried someone out in the complex is fucking around. If it's just a bork in the wireless -- no harm, no foul. You should see some of our Dynamis runs with people disconnecting.

But, keep it up world, and the cops better bring the guns out on at least one of us, if not both.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The game just _might_ get a little fun with this new twist...

How about a quest with some real decent rewards...


And how about even more awesome rewards for 11 lucky adventurers a week??

Got your attention?

Sounds like Square-Enix took all the creativity they should've put into ACP and put it into a new permanent cycling quest to kick off with the Anniversary Event starting on the 12th.

There are three phases to the quest:


The Mog Tablet quest will have 11 secretly-placed Mog Tablets set out throughout the original and Zilart zones in Vana'diel -- think of it as an extension of Fields of Valor, if you will.

The Tablets will be well-hidden so they cannot be chased by chocobo, but will be found by any adventurer getting close enough. It will appear, at least in the promotional material, as a "sparkle", similar to the Seed Afterglows in Fei'Yin and the stones in Delfkutt.

Only one Tablet will be in each zone. Only 11 zones will have Tablets.

Acquire a Tablet, turn it in, and you get two WONDERFUL prizes.

The first is an XP ring.

But not just ANY XP ring.

Think DOUBLE XP, for up to 24 play hours, up to 6000 XP bonus.

And you get 11 charges out of it. SIXTY-SIX THOUSAND bonus XP.

The second is an unannounced prize, but each zone will have a specific prize for the person turning in the Tablet from that zone.


The bonus for everyone on the server activates when all 11 Tablets are found on a server. For one week RL, 11 "Super Kupowers" on a list can be activated.

During normal play, 3 of those 11, randomly determined, will be in effect.

During the Anniversary Event, when this starts, ALL ELEVEN SCORE.

One makes all the Outpost Teleports FREE.

Three impact players under Signet. (a long overdue situation, with bonusses applying to Sigil and Sanction)
-- One allows for increased ability to gain battle skills.
-- One allows for Regen AND Refresh (usually, two separate effects).
-- The third allows for Gilfinder and Treasure Hunter to be in play for all characters under Signet.

One decreases the losses for failed synthesis.

Four impact the rate of drop of Treasure Caskets
-- Bastok area
-- San d' Oria area
-- Windurst area
-- Outlands/North area

One allows for teleports between the cities and the remote towns of Selbina and Mhuara.

And the last one allows characters with full HP and MP to move SIGNIFICANTLY faster.


Once the week's bonusses expire, a period of down-time, not announced, will ensue before the quest starts again with 11 new Tablets.




And imagine what it's going to be like when ALL ELEVEN of them get in play.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

And now the Japanese have questions for us...

And now it's our turn -- let's answer their questions from JP Button.

YMMV, these are mine...

1. Do foreign players have a lot of interest in joining social Japanese Linkshells? (Especially ones with only JP members) I ask because when I recruit for my shell in Japanese, I get a lot of tells from foreigners looking to join. Personally, I feel like even if they could understand my /shout, it still would be hard to keep up with regular conversation. They wouldn’t understand pop-culture references to old TV shows, for instance.

I don't think you could get me to join another social linkshell after the shit the last one put me through -- American or Japanese. However, I think it's clear that I probably would have little interest in a Japanese social linkshell because of the kanji which would probably be used (language barrier).

2. Parties that cycle in replacement members seem to be popular amongst foreigners, but a lot of times the party will just disband once the replacement arrives. Of course, there are times when the replacement is contacted before they get all the way there, but there are many instances when no one says anything. There are also many cases where inappropriate jobs are invited and the party can no longer function well.

To me, this is a big reason behind some of the negative images Japanese players have about foreign players. What do you think about this?

I think you have to find other reasons for the negative images. :)

I mean, that comes close to a statement saying that you feel we don't know how to play. (You're right, but that's not a reason I would give for that statement.) I think the American players have some difficulty, if they are not in a "static" (consistent group) situation finding players that they are willing to trust and then, frankly, screw over when the time comes.

Hence, they'll take the best "fit" they can find, even if it isn't the perfect fit that the more precise players (some of which I believe you mention in the question) would have.

And, sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn't.

3) Why does it seem like many foreign players don’t bother to bring medicines and potions to Missions and BCs? Many Japanese players make sure to have Vile Elixirs, Hi-Potions and/or Reraise Earrings.

I, personally, will always ask if such things are needed. I always make sure to have my Sushi and Reraise Earrings for the Dynamis.

I think there are two reasons that players (at least the "elite" American ones) won't do this:

a) They think they know everything in the first place and find that a waste of time, preparation, and space.


b) They have several illegal third-party/add-on situations to give them an illegal advantage that Square-Enix never intended them to have.

Don't sell short either the arrogance or the illegal programs, as this makes a lot of these gamers feel essentially invincible, and then the rest of us have to shake our heads as to how the Hell they got to 75 without three forms of illegal conduct...

In Japan, the effort is important (which see many of the reactions listed in "Do Japanese players cheat?" on JP Button). In America, they don't care if they have to hack in server-side -- it's all about the winning, the loot, and getting one over on those who insist otherwise.

4. Sometimes I see foreign pick-up parties recruiting for members using Auto-Translate, but then when I join the party, all the conversation and battle planning is in English. I’ll ask for them to {Please use the Auto-Translate function.} but nobody ever does. If you are going to /shout for help with the Auto-Translator, why not use it in the party? It feels like I was tricked.

Again, I think it's arrogance. In my personal opinion, you HAVE been tricked.

The fact is that, if you want a party with more than the one language, or want to participate with a team event with more than one language, the Auto-Translate function is required. Social courtesy, getting the other people to know what you are talking about and get them to do what is needed, etc.

I will apologize if I can't get it out right, but the fact is that there is no excuse for this conduct, especially if you're basically luring foreigners in (which is necessary on some servers -- Leviathan could be considered one) and then spitting in their faces.

5. How many NA and EU players do Campaign? Any thoughts about the recent nerf to Fortifications?

Ahh, my main Merit Party until the combination of ACP, Dynamis, and the like have tied up most of my time.

Campaign really was a lot of fun, but I think the player attitudes (one of which, I believe, led to this nerf you speak of) have significantly damaged the experience. I said before that I truly believe that many of the American players would defect to the Beastmen Confederate if they were paid well enough.

The Fortification nerf is a great example of what happens. I can understand, if you're in a Beastmen-controlled zone, with no opponents but with an incoming or present army at the Fort, bang away on the Fort, get your XP, de-tag and re-tag, etc. and so forth.

What often happened, though, is that you'd have these oblivious leeches basically leeching off XP at the Fort while the rest of us are dying at the feet of the Beastmen -- and they didn't care. (Or, in many cases, weren't even there.)

Since that gets into possible AFK or even Bot situations, that's why Square-Enix nerfed it, and people know my stand: If you're going to be in Campaign and there are opponents, then you battle the opponents.

6) What equipment do you think has great stats but horrible looks?What equipment do you think has the best graphics?

Looks are not an issue to me with respect to equipment. (Though I do like most of the DRG AF2... ;) )

7. Outside of your normal party gear, is there any equipment that you go out of your way to get strictly for looks? What are your favorite pieces of casual equipment?

The issue does not come up when I play. (Even though I like the DRG AF2, snazzy color and all, it just does not come up.

Casual equipment? I kind of have a base set of gear to level up with that isn't really anything special.

8. I’m a Mithra, and I find that a lot of foreigners seem to be into Mithra fashion. They examine me and ask where I got my equipment and such. Do you think male players enjoy dressing up their Mithra in cute outfits?

I think many male players get off on their Mithra in cute or skimpy outfits. Typical otaku flavor.

Me?? Why do you think I picked my Adventuring Fellow to be a hume female?? There are many outfits in which Sharlene looks very nice.

But don't think I didn't feel that bite every once in a while.

9. I wonder if you calculate the XP/hr of parties, and if so, do you think that Skillchain/Magic Burst or Weaponskill spam produces the best results? Before parsing became widespread, Japanese players used to think Skillchain/Magic Burst was the best.

I don't, but I rarely party, and never, really, for XP anymore.

I think this is just another function of everything in the game becoming more and more robotic -- complete and down to bots and parsing everyone's damage to see which of the players has the longest e-peen. (Yeah, translate THAT...)

10. How come it seems like so many people don’t utilize Search Comments properly? Why don’t they write their camp location for others to see? Also, it’s strange to see so many people seeking without basic information written like available jobs and where they can access. Don’t you want an invite?

Most Americans feel they can do anything, anywhere, anytime.

Another function of what I view as typical American arrogance. I mean, they think they can be invited anywhere, or, at worst, leech off til they have to drop because they don't have the necessary access.

11. If you know you are going to be busy, how come you don’t alert people at the beginning of the party instead of surprising everyone at the last minute?

Personal -- pet -- peeve -- o' -- mine.

People who read this blog will probably know a pattern: On Wednesday nights, my Dynamis participation has to be cut short because my friend/roommate needs the undivided attention of our Net connection for certain projects she is doing. We've worked this out in advance. I'm surprised that I'm not called a pain in the ass for notifying people -- I'll usually give upwards of a half a dozen warnings before I gotta bolt. Common courtesy, especially in an event like Dynamis.

I can understand if an emergency comes up which requires immediate logging off. That's one thing. But to pull this kind of stuff, especially as difficult as obtaining parties can be, in certain situations??

And then there's always, at least in my view, the threat of open sabotage -- that, basically, the sole idea of one or more of the people entering the situation (especially in pickup situations) is to blow the whole shot and make the people doing it look bad in so doing.

12. Honestly, the largest difference in thinking between Japanse and foreign players existsin the Merit party.You often say 5 DDs and a RDM is so good, but having a single, solitary healer is hardon the RDM.Japanese realize that healers can be in short supply, so we make sacrifices to lightentheir burden, like subbing a mage job, or using Utsusemi.I feel like many people don’t show proper respect to healers.

When we say JP ONLY, it isn’t always an issue of language,but the fact that we feel there are other dangers and demerits associated witha non-JP party, stemming from our different play-styles, that we wish to avoid.

This key difference in thinking, more than any race or language issue,is what really sets us apart as players. They are just looking to sit back, relaxand earn some decent XP.

Please feel free to provide your own insight and thoughts.

And, in my honest opinion, unless you know precisely what you are getting into, you SHOULD avoid the American player-base as much as is practiceable.

The Salvage bans are a great example as to why. I think that there are significant cultural differences in the play-styles (much more than in just FFXI -- take the concept of the World Cyber Games and see how well that kind of concept comes off here in the States. I can give you a hint from attending one when I used to live in San Francisco -- it doesn't work.), and getting involved with the wrong kind of people can endanger your future ability to participate in Final Fantasy XI.

As far as party makeups like 5 DD and a RDM... Has NO ONE basically considered the merits of a /DNC out there? /DNC is, for example, how I insist to play Dynamis. (For the moment, either BST/DNC if we're going Snow, or DRG/DNC otherwise.) I am somewhat surprised my Dynamis Linkshell leader hasn't asked for a few more weaponskills from me, but that person (probably because the character usually comes as a Dancer main) probably knows that, since healers can be in short supply, any backup healing (which is where most, if not all, my TP goes) and Erasing can do the party a lot of good.

Besides, it saves the RDM's MP for other things.

I think another part of the issue you talk about with JP-only is the fact that, outside of a very small friend-base, most American players don't respect just healers, they really don't respect anything which isn't to their direct and immediate benefit.

Hence, frankly, that's why you see the bulk of the Salvage bans NOT being from your side of the community.

Hence, frankly, that's why you see the Fortification nerf in Campaign.

Hence, frankly, that's why you see what I call "Asura Disease".


Bonus Question, for the tired and hungry from the last dissertation: ( :) )

What type of sushi do you like best?

Funny. I'm not a coffee person, tea person, beer person, or sushi person. I am sorry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some interesting questions proposed of the Japanese player base...

I can't say I'm friends with the JP Button crew -- and if I knew of their little April Fools' stunt, I'd have done something really stupid, like translate my entire first page to Japanese or something...

(For those who don't know, the JP Button crew, which basically now has allied with Fusionx of Pet Food Cheater, decided to mock my site (and my vitriol) with an April Fools prank of me "taking over" JP Button...)

But that is neither here nor there for this post.

I did find something interesting there, though, as they posted the 12 questions which American players (culled from several of the popular FFXI forums) wanted to ask their Japanese counterparts. Several are pertinent to basically anyone, and I'll answer (just for the record) for myself, even though I'm not Japanese.

(Questions are taken directly from the JP Button site.)

1) Does Square Enix communicate regularly with the Japanese-speaking community? Do you wish the Final Fantasy XI Development Team would communicate more openly with the players?

I sense they communicate a bit more with the Japanese (see Creator's Voice Z), but not to the extent that I think any part of the player base would like.

I think a significant part of that is a matter that the player base has earned a quite healthy dis-trust from the people who made and run FFXI. I think that has a lot to do with the amount of true communication that you see between the sides.

I think that the Dev Team would communicate more openly if they trusted the information not to be abused -- left, right, and up the center.

2) If you bought A Crystalline Prophecy, did you buy it for the story-line or the body piece? Either way, were you satisfied with your purchase?

I bought it as new content. Since we are, more than likely, finished forever with the large-scale expansions of the game, it's going to be situations like this which are going to provide new content for FFXI.

The problem is simple: I was dissatisfied with the purchase because the purchase was not the amount of new content which would be commensurate with a new (mini-)expansion costing a third of what a large-scale expansion would cost.

What I really fear, given other things I've seen in the game, is that you are essentially paying $9.99 for a daily grab at the goodie box in Lower Jeuno. As I said before, to get the better-augmented loot, it's like you have to pay Square-Enix for the privilege.

There is some decent stuff in there (the 30-level one for the first Seedspalls actually has an Utsusemi: Ni in the list), but that shouldn't be almost the equivalent of reverse-RMT, which is what Square-Enix is falling into.

The storyline was essentially non-existant, the battles far unbalanced point-to-point.

It turned the regular beastmen in several zones into bot-camping situations.

Sloppy planning, sloppy execution.

3) What do you think about the Tidal Talisman, Mog Satchel and other in-game items that come with merchandise? Would you like to see more, or do you feel they should be put directly into the game?

I think you're already, as I just said, bordering on reverse-RMT on the part of Square-Enix with regards to the likes of the Mog Satchel/Security Token and the Tidal Talisman/RL Jewelry motif.

I think, frankly, that if they're going to do this, they need to be honest about it and basically say "Yeah, we're going to make people pay to actually have better opportunities in the game...", which would probably degrade FFXI a step or two further toward those "free MMO's" which basically have people pay for the better gear therein.

I can't say I'm crazy with it either way. I think it's another example of the "$2 whore" which Square-Enix now believes FFXI is.

4) Which battle systems do you enjoy the most? Do you like to steadily earn points towards an item like Einherjar and Campaign, or do you like taking a chance at drops like Salvage and Dynamis? Does getting zero drops after 50 Salvage runs frustrate you, or is that grinding a necessary part of the game?

Dynamis gets frustrating, yes -- Dynamis has been getting a bit more of a grind lately (I think the fact that I have 4/5 DRG and there are several other BST in the linkshell might have something to do with it.

I think the real frustration, though, lies in the fact that the relic weapons are just too damned impossible without some form of hijacking the process so you can get all the Big Money which goes toward it.

As for one over the other? I kinda like Campaign, because you can get into a team concept and earn points toward stuff. Dynamis has its moments, but can get a bit of a grind after a period of time.

5) What do you think of scheduling Dynamis on a website or calendar? Many high-level shells on various servers have their own ways on scheduling Dynamis together so as to avoid conflict. If there were a site available in English and Japanese, would you utilize it?

I think there does need to be a standardized method of scheduling Dynamis, before you start getting groups effectively "ninjar-ing" runs to block other groups from getting in.

What we do is we find out what's available when we go in -- but, sometimes, that results in being handed the last available zone. If there's some rotation, you can get some idea of what you want to do thereon before, say, 45 minutes before you're scheduled to go in.

So some sort of resource, which would probably have to be multi-lingual, should be implemented across all the servers of the game, if plausible.

6) When searching for a camping spot, how can we politely ask Japanese players which camp they are at? Using the Auto-Translate Function (e.g. {Camp} {location} {where?} ) often times fails to elicit a response.

I think a lot of that, bluntly, is distrust between the Japanese and American player communities (something I am surprised was not asked about!). I think that if either felt the other would not infringe, you'd see a lot more communication.

If one side or the other feels they are about to get pinched off or squeezed out, they're not going to say anything -- so, at least IMODO, it's a trust issue, not a mechanics issue.

7) Many foreign players feel that Game Masters lack a basic knowledge of the game, which leaves them unable to punish obvious cheaters or even answer simple game-related questions. How do you feel about the overall effectiveness of Game Masters? Do your experiences with Game Masters make you feel happy, or are you left frustrated and dissatisfied?

Largely frustrated, sadly. I think many of the rulings made by the GM's are made to take the easy way out and not actually have to deal with the situation at hand, be it RMT, cheating, or God knows what else.

Take the Salvage bans, for example. GM's were being notified -- and I think it's partially a matter that the GM's don't know about the game (at least what they are being asked about), and partly that I think they, in the name of getting the $12.95/month from each player, trust the players too much.

I do not believe in the concept of "Innocent until proven guilty". I think that if there's something which could go out of the ordinary, someone is going to exploit it (because such exploits are required to essentially become "elite" in FFXI), and it needs to be put down.

I think the GM's are too trusting of the players and don't take into account that many of the players involved in a lot of the stuff being called on are violating the Terms of Service.

Hence, I think they just take the easy way out, whenever possible.

8) What do you think Square Enix will “ninja fix” next? Feel free to speculate wildly.

That's a hard question to answer, though I do think that they might take a look into nerfing SAM a bit, probably downplaying some mage stuff, much to the chagrin of the Tarutaru, and probably make life a bit harder on all the players (perhaps, now that the pressure has died down a bit, nerfing the Seedspall drop rate, etc.)

Something I'd really like to see them ninja fix? Allow the Beastmen to take the cities in Campaign.

9) What songs or albums do you listen to while playing the game? What are your favorite snacks and drinks for adventuring in Vana’diel?

I might have my iTunes on, which has everything from Deborah Gibson to anime music.

I also have some music and AMV's from YouTube.

I also will watch soccer matches from

Snacks? Little Debbie snack cakes. Bologna sandwiches. And water/Powerade.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner of champions. :)

10) How do you feel about online friends? Do you treat them the same as real people with feelings and emotions, or do you view them as strangers behind the screen? Also, do you ever meet in person and become friends outside of the game?

I think anyone who can put up with me enough to call me a friend would be more than someone as a stranger behind a screen. I met my roommate online in 1998. I had a friend who suggested I move to California after my release whom I met online at least in 1993...

But the fact is, I have an earned and violent distrust in people. It's not pretty. So I don't have many friends, because I have a few too many stab-marks in my back over the years.

And that applies as much to FFXI as it does to RL.

11) This is a question for long-term Japanese players:The majority of foreign players have had the Rise of Zilart expansion from the beginning and have never known a Vana’diel without the Zilart areas. What was the game like before Zilart was added? Where did people level, and how were parties set up?

You might want to listen to the latest Limit Break Radio, the first "informal episode" about "The Way Things Were". As for me, I got into the game after Zilart had come out.

12) In one of the threads created for foreign players to post questions, there was a lot of debate about the play style of Japanese Corsairs. People felt they played the job too similarly to Bard, and the topic erupted into the merits of support CORs vs. damage dealing CORs. That said, are there any jobs in particular you feel that foreign players just can’t seem to play right in a party?

I'll expand the question beyond "foreign players".

I think the big problem is that we've gotten to the point that the number of meaningful jobs in the game isn't many more than about a half a dozen. And if you aren't THE certain job for a given situation, you won't see the final fight in ACP (RNG and SMN and the like) or CoP 4.2 (BLM and PLD), etc. and so forth.

The game has become too centralized on just a few jobs. (Don't even think of doing most endgame without being /NIN and with Ni -- that's one of the worst examples...)

So, that's the list and my answers thereto. Take it or leave it.

In before my blog, eh?? -- so Apathy did it again, eh?

Badkarma, huh... Yeah, that's about right...


For those who don't know what I'm talking about, it sounds like Apathy on Remora is up to it again.

I was just farting around, when I saw recent updates to the Pandemonium Warden thread started in January which eventually resulted in Apathy's "win" (more like cheat) being reported and essentially lauded as legitimate, even though, by logging hate, it was clearly illegal, and should've gotten everyone who participated in the logging hate banned.

Well, it appears they have done it again. Apathy has made a at least a second Pandemonium Warden kill (and there's claims that they may have made upwards of six), and at least claims that this one was done without logging hate.

Taking out of consideration that those who participated in the logging hate in the first one should've had no right to let their characters continue, isn't it ironic (Alanis Morrisette) that it appears as if only one linkshell in all 20+ servers in the game has been able to down the big guy??

Just as a matter of investigation of outlying statistics, that would seem to indicate they've found another rather interesting method which might merit investigation. Of course, if this is like any other PW fight, the GM's are probably all over it like stink on shit now.

But it does make you wonder what those cheaters on Apathy are up to... They clearly appear to be above the law -- why not flaunt it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Congratulations, you fuckers went and did it!

I had a feeling that this was the griefers' intent in Leviathan, and they finally did it.

In the last 18 hours, the 500+-win winning streak of Leviathan in Besieged was ended by the Undead Swarm.


I had an interesting discussion in-game last night...

To the one griefer:

They better fucking come to take me away, at the rate things are going. A few more weeks of this...


Now, to much more interesting discussions:

I was farming in the Promyvions last night, and got a tell from a player on Leviathan named Hohenheim who had been reading this blog (with several of his friends), and they were talking about me behind my back.

No, this isn't quite to the level of grief that many desire, as it sparked a very interesting discussion.

And it started with his first question: Hohenheim asked if I've always been this pissed off about cheating, or whether it was something I started now?

To answer that more completely, I want to tell you a little story about a former passion of mine: Magic: the Gathering.


I not only dabbled in playing the game, but I followed, fairly religiously, the early months and years of professional Magic: the Gathering. (Yes, it exists, in the form of a multi-million dollar tour -- or at least it was as of the last I remember it.)

However, almost immediately upon it's inception, professional MtG was basically hit with a serious controversy. In it's second professional event, the final match of the tournament (Hovi vs. Mills -- I forget which player was involved in the foul) was terminated after a player committed a cheating offense (of some form I also forget without significant USENET research) for the second time in the tournament.

The rules of professional MtG, at this point, were ironclad in this case. For this foul, a repeat offense was expulsion from the tournament without prize. The player was going to have to forfeit a five-figure check because he could not abide by the rules of this tournament.

The players were prepared to revolt. I sat here, reading this, days after the fact, dumbfounded -- not only at the arrogance of the players, but that the Duelists' Convocation International (the sanctioning body -- essentially a marketing arm of the company who made and sold the game (Wizards of the Coast)) caved to them and altered the penalty to a penalty which would end the tournament, award the title to his opponent, but the guy still got his money.

I went postal. If the guy is already "on one yellow", and if he cannot abide by the rules and is about to be tossed from the tournament, stripped of over $10,000, and probably banned from pro Magic, he has but one recourse -- resign from the tournament, take your prize, and cut your losses. And for the players to throw a shit-fit because the DCI was actually going to have to enforce it's rules, and for the DCI to cave, was even worse.

(And, worse yet, at some point in the (IIRC, near) future, they made the rule that, essentially, allowed the Tournament Director or the DCI Director of Organized Play to abrogate any rule they found inconvenient.)

One of the worst-kept secrets, over the course of time, is that it became necessary to cheat to (consistently) win at Magic: the Gathering. This, basically, could take the form of illegally false-shuffling, adding cards to the deck, manipulating the ratings system, etc., etc., and so forth as reiterated.

The fact is that I could not, in any way, understand how players could create decks that, even when fully randomized, would be so efficient, especially decks which, when successfully activated, had, without recourse to the opponent, "lock conditions" in which people could "go off" and win the game as a construction of the deck.

I could understand that kind of stuff happening a percentage of the time, but not all of the time, unless these players were rampantly cheating, and their opponents being "fish" -- suckers -- who were oblivious to the process and, hence, irrelevant to the tournament.

So, I became a judge -- and that didn't go well. I did one qualifier tournament, and the person running the tournament publicly said that, if I continued as a judge, I would've killed competitive Magic: the Gathering in my (then) hometown of Milwaukee, WI.

Frankly and bluntly put, it was little sweat off my brow for him to say that, because, if the level of cheating I was witnessing in MtG was any indication, then competitive MtG had already been, functionally, destroyed.

(Additionally, it should've come as no surprise that, within a couple months, two top area players (and I believe they both fore-went a professional tournament to attend the Milwaukee event -- not wanting to attend "Pro Tour: Cursed Scroll") were banned from competitive Magic for rigging the ratings system...)

By this point, in trying to talk up my concerns to the judge community and to WotC, I got one sad impression: Wizards of the Coast and the Duelists' Convocation International were as corrupt as many of the top-level players of the day. Their ONLY concern was card sales.

Faced with the prospect that I was not going to be able to get through to a company who, bluntly, was willing to rig tournaments to allow people to cheat (as long as they didn't cheat "too much"), in the name of promoting these "elite" "gamers" (more like "gaming the system") so that people would buy cards by the box when the new expansions and series came out, in the guise that, with enough dedication, they could make that kind of money too.

What a fucking joke...

I resigned shortly thereafter. I was in jail within 60 days of that for the rest of the year and into 1999.

After a couple false starts of interest after my release, I quit Magic: the Gathering entirely within a couple years after, because it became evident that one had to cheat, steal, rob, connive, and thug their way to victory.

(Not unlike some of the gamers I've seen on ESPN when they show the elite Madden players and their "posses" basically getting in each other's face like a tournament game of Madden would be akin to a gang fight!!)


What was the point of that entire story? The answer to Hohenheim's question: Cheating has always been a problem with me. Part of the reason is that if I held myself to the same standard many of you hold, I would be taking active measures to Denial of Service your connections to Final Fantasy XI. I'd boot your asses right off the game. There would be NO limits.

And that also comes from something that I felt Hohenheim was saying in much of our discussion last night: I got the impression that Hohenheim was basically saying that the players could completely nullify the Terms of Service (the rules of the game, as it were) through mass action to ensure that, if the ToS were upheld, there would be no FFXI.

My position stands: If that's the case, close down FFXI. Now.

The worst part of this is I truly believe we are going down the road that Square-Enix is basically going WotC on us, and basically stating that nothing matters, at the end of the day, as long as they get their money.

You want more opportunities at decent gear? $9.99 every 3 months for the rest of the year.

You want a real expansion of your inventory?? $9.99, in the guise of a "Security Token" that most any intelligent person knows is useless to the process, since much tampering actually can go server-side, if the people really want to steal characters and what-not.

And who knows what else they're going to try in the name of Tidal Talismans and all that crap.

Basically, FFXI is Square-Enix' $2 whore, pimped out to us with no meaning or ramifications whatsoever.

I got the impression that Hohenheim was saying, end of the day, that the ToS was meaningless, since there was no real-life force behind it. A ban means NOTHING at the end of the day.

I've made it clear: RMT is theft. Duping is theft. Any action which gains an unfair advantage and results in the acquisition of gear or the like in the game is theft.

This is true for the one simple concept: YOU OWN NOTHING OF YOUR CHARACTER.

Square-Enix has the exclusive rights to allow you to play the game, how to gain your equipment and items, etc. and so forth.

The fact is that the actions you commit when you cheat are civil and criminal illegalities -- and, for what it's worth, need to be prosecuted as same.

Of course, then the argument comes down as to thinking that the players, through their mass illegality, either nullify the ToS or close down the game.

At that point, why is RMT even illegal? I would strongly assert that the majority of players who play this game with any real frequency would want the ability to make RL money through the game.

Why is 3rd-party software illegal? Estimates are that half the players in the game use Windower.

Why is there even a Special Task Force, who is powerless to deal, in reality, with the issues at hand? If most of RMT are Chinese, and they have no legal power to go into China and shut them down, do they really, then, have the right to go after RMT at all, since any real action against RMT would be, at best, superficial and selective?

Again, it gets back to the question I asked earlier: Of what benefit is it for me to play by the rules in any realistic capacity?

But last night was a meaningful and interesting discussion, and it gave me the opportunity to talk about not only how long I've railed against cheating, but when cheating becomes essentially so institutional that it becomes part of the corporate business nature of the game involved.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weekend update, and some random thoughts...

So, another week in Vana'diel... Bleh...

My arms hurt from helping my roommate out yesterday (and if you think for one second I wouldn't do it again tomorrow, you're crazy -- but if that bitch bus driver we got yesterday really wants to start something, I'll end up in prison. That's twice in three weeks the assholes running Riverside, CA have made me want to go to prison by either punching out a cop or a bus driver -- I don't think I'm making it through the summer without handcuffs)...

And that says nothing for FanFest, should I get that far... Although it sounds like the Swine Flu pandemic is going to cancel most of my travel plans for most of the summer...)

That said, in game:

Sunday Dynamis: San d'Oria. Kiana, our fearless leader, had video card problems and could not make the run. We did, however, have a backup main assist and hierarchy, and made it through quite nicely.

Wednesday Dynamis: Bastok, for the first time in a little while. Full moon seemed to help with the drops while it was in effect, but I had to leave because of roommate's projects before I could grab any wootz or anything like that (I already have my two 65+ job relics from Bastok.)

62 RDM, 28 NIN (heading for /NIN at 37). 2nd Spirit Link merit on DRG (6th L1 total).

Kiana has been running side marble-farming runs to Moblin Maze Mongers I've been taking part in.

When the stuff hasn't been overfarmed, been cycling the ACP Key quests.


Some random thoughts over the web of Vana'diel and FFXI:

-- I stopped listening to Pet Food Cheater after the assholes decided that Chinchilla was more important than taking any degree of a stand against cheating. I also am gravely disappointed that PFC got a spot on this farcical Podcast Tour which basically is not much more (at least on first glance) than a bunch of ego-stroking on the part of not only PFC, LBR, and HSSS, but on Square-Enix' end too.

I may decide to listen and to post a blog post on my thoughts on the Community Site episode that SE did with Pet Food Cheater this week. That is if I can stomach PFC without wanting to put my fist through my computer (or Fusionx!).

I stand by my earlier assertions: This is nothing more than a PR move to basically stroke egos of a company that doesn't really care about the player base. (And is even more scorned by it!) I think they refuse to see the real problems in Vana'diel and realize that they need to either take Vana'diel seriously or blow it up.

I stopped having fun in this game months ago. FFXI only serves as a backdrop to other things I do on the Internet, just to pass time so I don't bust heads RL. I only remain in this game to spite the cheaters and thugs which populate it.

-- Why the bastards don't just legalize RMT and be done with it, at this point, is beyond me. Got another tell from that same damn website this week. I almost am at the point to ask one simple question...

Square-Enix, why the fuck should I play by the rules, since it is to my grave detriment, in this game, to do so?

I mean, I started to think of something during the Wednesday Dynamis... Why hasn't someone figured out a way to tamper with the lot system, especially with the importance it has in the advancement of characters through endgame?

-- I think Sinval has given up trying to look for a CoP 4.2 group... Of course, he'd almost have to pay a PLD a pretty gil for even attempting it anymore.

I'll think of more later...