Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Every so often, there is a gem that makes the grind worth continuing...

"Well, well, well...", as Sora Naegino would say...

Although Davy Jones pointed it out to me in comments on my blog, I had seen it on BluGartr yesterday -- though assisting my roommate (the surgery required is now on Thursday, and I can only hope she will have enough functional use of the right hand to type with and use a mouse when everything wears off for the six weeks her tendon will need to heal...) has come first, and cut down on my Net and in-game time greatly.

What I saw was this: China has now, as a matter of law, finally banned Real Money Trading (RMT) formally. The practice is believed to be 80-90% contained within Chinese perpetrators, so one has to wonder if this would finally end all the different spam tells we've been getting for the last six months or so.

(It might also explain that the price of such matters has now fallen to one-third of previous levels, but we'll see on that one.)

I have two things to say on that:

1) I will believe the ban is actually doing something when I see the ban is actually doing something.

The necessity of a direct move on the part of the Chinese government to ban RMT appears to state openly that the Chinese believe that the companies which own the proprietary virtual property involved (Square-Enix in the case of FFXI, etc.) had no legal recourse of their own, under Chinese law or the home law of the company involved, to end this bullshit.

Again, since this involves the seizure of control of virtual proprietary property of the relevant companies, this is theft, and should already be actionable under both local law and Chinese law.

On top of this, you have the possibility that the Chinese will just take their RMT situations completely on to the black market, and that nothing will change, per se. What this now gives, however, is that the STF with FFXI/FFXIV will now have the opportunity to take their concerns and their records and findings to the Chinese police directly for action under this law.

What will happen from there is another question...

and now, my second point, which should predictably raise some eyebrows:

2) In my opinion, and taking solely the players engaged in RMT and RMT farming into account: If this law actually ends up enforced and even eliminates a substantial portion of RMT, the number of characters in FFXI will HALVE.

It is my opinion that at least half of the characters who are involved in FFXI are RMT.

Evidence, you say: Let's look at three very important things in the Vana'diel Census:

(The first two are on page 1 of the Census report: http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/guide/development/census/09/index.html)

a) The distribution of logins. There appear to be a significant number of characters in the game ("simultaneous logins") going all the way from Japanese prime time well past midnight JP time.

It does not appear that the number of logins goes down to peak-US levels until about 2-3 AM JP time (which would be when Chinese prime time is ending).

b) The information given on the amount of time which is spent, on average, each day with the characters.

One thing which came out to me immediately is that the average time on for each character, year-over-year, fell 45 minutes on a daily average (or about 27%).

That is a tremendous fall, and would appear to indicate that either people are stopping play of FFXI entirely in massive numbers, or that the people who are playing FFXI no longer intend to actually have their characters logged in for that long.

Add to the fact that there is the (false) belief that the game is growing (based on the number of characters within FFXI), and something is definitely rotten in Rotterdam.

c) (And this one is from the second page on job levels: http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/guide/development/census/09/2.html)

Even with incentives for players to actually make it to level 5, at the least (Mog Bonanza 2008 being one of them), about 62.5% of the characters in the game are level 1.

Most people with mules have at least levelled them to some meaningful capacity (with stuff like MB 2008 mandating it), and it would only take a very minimal amount of time to do so.

That said, with a claimed 2,350,000 characters (http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/guide/development/census/09/11.html), this would indicate that approximately 1,470,000 characters have never been levelled past level 1.

Now, not every level 1 is RMT, but, when you consider that Square-Enix (and Allakazham) had just announced that FFXI had gone over the 2 million character mark on just April 22 of this year (http://www.playonline.com/pcd/topics/ff11us/0904/topics_all.html, scroll about a third of the way down), it would indicate that the number of characters in the game is experiencing explosive growth even though the game has lost a significant amount of income April-December 2008 over 2007 (http://www.jpbutton.com/?p=2122).

In this article, by whatever "units" they are using on the bar graph, the FFXI income fell from 91 to 69. These are not numbers I made up -- these are numbers Square-Enix provided in their own financial findings. (See the JP Button article referenced above.)

When you put all of these facts together, there can only come one conclusion: A MASSIVE number of the characters on the game right now are RMT, and any effort to really cut RMT out will force the bubble of the number of characters in the game to deflate like a popped balloon.

(One can also make a case that a certain number of players reliant on RMT to attain their remaining goals in the game (Mythics, Relics, what have you) might also leave. This is one reason I cannot rule out the very occasional 100-Byne or Jadeshell or Montiont in the Union System coming up in the late-July update.)

I am hopeful RMT can be smashed. But, with how organized they appear to be and how much they are willing to flaunt the law to begin with (on both sides of the pond), one has to wonder how many "teeth" this Chinese announcement will really have.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Craziest RL Week In Ages

WHM 28-29, not much else level-wise.

Sunday Dynamis: Overslept it -- see last week's.

Wednesday Dynamis: With our leader in class, we put together a Sandy run, and win it. I get complements for how I ran the lots.


I'd have gotten more done in-game this week, but it seems as if the rest of the world wishes me homeless and my roommate dead, for some damned sick reason.

On top of what it seems almost every icon of our age dropping dead...

Monday: Roommate receives shipment from UPS. Roommate already sees that the boxes have been literally squashed, in some form, with holes in them on top of it. Shipment is 3/4 destroyed. Complaint has already been filed with the Better Business Bureau against UPS. Replacement from the company she got the order from should be forthcoming, as is some strong invective for a company my roommate has had previous problems with (UPS)!

Thursday: Receives new monitor, shipped from Federal Express. Damned glad she got a backup to replace the LCD we had to return: FedEx DROPPED THE DAMN THING AND DESTROYED IT! Replacement forthcoming this week.

Friday: Griefers at Net project. Roommate gets injured (requiring an overnight trip to the ER and minor surgery on Monday -- and lots of help from me!) in the frustration!

Saturday: While getting a prescription for said injury, roommate appeared, at first, to have a epithet thrown toward her. My friend is not happy about epithets of that kind.

Saturday night: Extent of damage is chronicled from Monday.

Look, Real Life: I care for my damned roommate, but enough is ENOUGH is _ENOUGH_! My friend has enough to deal with with her projects, charity work, and her own feelings not to have them stomped, kicked, gouged, scratched, etc. for some people's entertainment.

I mean, people are going to come after me, but for some of what I've done RL, I have deserved it, a little.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Thoughts on the 9th Vana'diel Census

1) Wasn't this supposed to be out, like, a month ago?

2) Login data:

Most logins in a representative April, 2009 week: Right around Japanese Midnight, which would seem to indicate that the bulk of players who _actually play_ are Japanese. There's a much smaller bump around US primetime (Japanese noon-ish), but the bulk of players do seem to be Japanese, with the predictable increase in logins once we hit the weekend.

Amount of time on? Almost 86%, less than 3 hours a day. But there's more to that, as we'll get to later. Average play time per character per day is down about 1/3 -- from about 3 hours a day, to about 2 (171 to 126 minutes).

3) Over sixty-two percent of all characters are level 1.

3 out of 5 characters, thence, are either new, mules, or some form of RMT.

Keep this in mind: I see this as a major take-home point.

4) Relic weapons:

There are 3,245 relics in the game.

5) Mythic weapons:

There are only 43 completed Mythics in the game. None of them are Polearms, Guns, or Axes.

Eight different Mythic weapons are currently absolutely unique in Vana'diel -- only one player has one of them.

6) Economics and the (questionable) legality of merc'ing (and especially what the mega-gillionaire do to get and spend their cash)...

I feared we'd have to visit this again, as I had a talk about this in-game several weeks back, and now I see it as a major situation within Vana'diel.

3/4 of all the players don't make 100,000 gil a week.

But for those few who claim to make upwards of 10 million gil, mercing (selling the right to gain exclusive items) becomes one major part of gil acquisition and income. "Other", which basically leaves the possibility of illegal conduct wide open, is another.

In fact, for the uber-gillionaires: Over 30% of the income they gain has no obviously identifiable source (not monsters, items, gardening, synthesis, mercing, etc.)... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM....

And when you get to how it's spent, once you get to the ridiculous levels, you find that similarly unidentifiable sources take up about a quarter of how mega-gillionaires spend their gil...


Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.

7) Expansion progress:

Zilart: About 80% are to the Ark Angel situation.

CoP: A little over 40% are done, a little over a third aren't started. Leaves very few for the Ouryu fight... (HINT!)

ToAU: About a quarter are finished. About a quarter just made sure they could get access to the area and the "benefits" of being a mercenary... All over the map otherwise.

Wings: Only about 1 character in 8 who has Wings access is caught up. About half have not even completed the first mission and quest set -- and most of the remainder are only on "Cait Sith".

(This would appear to indicate that most players believe the Wings mission storyline set is way too hard.)

8) They say they are working on something to deal with the RMT /tell advertisements. I'll believe it as I see it.


The take home point...

9) FFXI claims 2.34 million characters. If this is the case, then approximately 1,450,000 of these characters are level 1.

Someone please tell me how one can draw any other conclusion that the number of Dispose-a-Characters is a very significant fraction of this latter number (as in: Hundreds of Thousands of Dispose-a-Characters)...

Hoo boy...

Hey, I finally get a human being on the GM end...

For the first time in what must be at least 20 GM calls, I finally get a human being to talk about the damn RMT bullshit with -- I've been on about an hour, and have gotten TWO of these fuckers (in the middle of a Monday morning/early-afternoon!).

I think it was good to express to someone official my utter frustration with the flagrance and the garbage of this going on. I truly believe (as I told the GM):

1) The phishing that has been reported and cautioned to the players is probably being done by the same sites.

2) That these sites have literally thousands of characters on each server -- we now know that the most flagrant (at least that I've seen) advertising site has power-levelling and account-buying motifs too.

They need to treat this as theft and SHUT THE WEBSITES DOWN. Otherwise, they win.

But it was good to actually talk to somebody -- I realize they can't always do that, especially with the amount of RMT spam that is coming across the servers (see 2) ), but it's good to finally express the damned concerns that I believe we have.

I mean, it's gotten so bad that a player actually suggested Square-Enix sell gil and the like for FFXIV, much to the chagrin of many.

Let me ask you: How many people (not characters) do you believe, out of the total number in the game, are RMT? I would think the answer is more than most might think...

More RMT and other drama...

Ahh, the more things are, the more things are exactly as you expect them to be.

I'm toodling through the TTTO, and happen upon one of Kimiko's latest. Aside from all the concern that the economy has placed on the Kimitaru, Kimiko makes this little mention at the end of that post -- that a player named Feiwong get off the server, because he's not welcome there.

The comment is linked to a cross-server warning on the bastard son-of-a-bitch.

How do I know he's a bastard son-of-a-bitch???

Because it's the same Feiwong I had blacklisted for:

a) RMT
b) being an idiot
c) shooting his mouth off
d) being one of the worst of the Asura disease types

... when I was still on Asura!!

So now he's on Siren, doing the same -- damn -- shit.

He almost certainly has purchased (RMT-purchased) multiple other aliases with endgame gear just to fuck off the entire lot. He's been run off of most of the LS's designing in endgame, but there's one real question:

Square-Enix, how in the fucking Hell is this PLAYER not banned??

Note my emphasis.

This guy has been so much of a fucking dickweed that he clearly has supplanted any challengers as Vana'diel's Most Hated. And if he's not that, he's on the list...

So then I click the link and it takes me to BluGartr and it's "WATCH OUT -- Server Change" forum -- a forum for players who, either through RMT or other assholery, have players warning of their presence.

The guy is even a scammer among the fucking RMT-like people on the MMORPG trading forums!

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ASSHOLE DOING ALLOWED IN MMORPG'S? I read the warning off this guy off of an RMT site, and he has more than THIRTY-FIVE e-mail addresses that he uses to scam the living fuck out of people.

You know, this reminds me of a discussion I had with my roommate after yet ANOTHER set of griefers decided to fuck with my friend's Net projects again...

Back in the day -- WAY back in the day -- if you fucked around with enough people, you could expect (and this did happen to me once) to get a visit, real-life, from one of the people you pissed off. It might very well end in a fight numerous times (though mine did not).

Someone's going to have to kick the shit out of him real-life. That's the only way he stops, is if he is stopped.

(I just sent a very strong, profanity-laced letter to the Special Task Force, demanding this fucker be put in jail RL...)


But then I began to read some of the other stuff on the warning forum, and basically saw another round of all the endgame-LS drama playing out over and over and OVER again.

Here's a hint: Most all of the endgame linkshells are nothing but gear whores. That's their entire purpose. They're either going to try to make themselves all this gear because they feel this makes them the shiznit, or they're RMT and going to sell either the gear or the character with the gear to the same type of people who take part in all this big money bullshit...)

Endgame gear accumulation is a very flawed process in FFXI. It usually takes so long, and so much resources, that it can never really be done without some degree of illegal, unethical, or immoral activity (or more than one of the above).

An example: If you were to compute, by gil, the amount of ancient currency which would be necessary to upgrade a relic weapon fully, you'd be looking at about 150-200 million gil.

The estimated amount of time that it is computed to attain this kind of currency is two real-life years -- or more!!

(Which is why one player having FOUR such completed relics (banned in the Salvage dupes) should've been a red flag.)

(This is one of the reasons I believe that Square-Enix is putting some ancient currency into the Campaign Union System.)

But the thing is, with rare exception, most of the people who put these shells together are doing it for only their own benefit.

Let me give you one example where that's not the case:

Yes, our LS leader tries to get stuff for himself too, but knows that there are very specific rules set up.

And, for the reference of the field, let me give some of them to you to the best of my knowledge (not the complete list, probably, but just to show you a system that works):

1) Regular Currency and Run Fee:

a) A LS member MAY be able to sponsor the run for 500,000 gil (and 125 points (which is basically 12 1/2 runs)) if a majority of the people on the run agree to allow it to happen. If this happens, then that sponsor gets all the regular currency for the run.

b) If no sponsor, then the 500,000 gil (cost of the Hourglass) is divided by the number of eligible players wishing to start the run, rounded for simplicity. Latecomers will probably have their gil (same fee, though reduced points after an hour) placed into the Linkshell Bank to reduce the cost of some future runs. Regular Currency is then not lotted on at all, given at random by the game, until 10 minutes remain in the run, at which point all Regular Currency is lotted.

c) The lotting only in the last 10 minutes also applies to Slime Juices, Infinity Cores, Relic Iron, and the like.

d) Wootz Ore is a special case. Anyone (forget if players on their first run with us can or not) can lot on these, but, once a player wins one Wootz Ore, they cannot lot on another for the rest of the run.

2) Large Currency

a) A player may reserve the lot on the first Large Currency for a minimum of 125 points. If more than one person chooses to reserve, then bidding can ensue from there.

b) If no reservations remain: A player may only lot on Large Currency if this is not their first Dynamis run with the linkshell and has not declared an Artifact Armor to go after (whether the player has first priority or equal priority on it does not matter -- once the player declares, they are ineligible to lot for Large Currency for that run). (I lost a Jadeshell on that, even though I lost the bidding for BST AF in Dynamis-Windurst.)

c) I would presume the same 1 per run applies as for Wootz Ores.

3) Artifact Armor

a) 30 minutes before the run, the leader will begin to go down the list of every job which drops Artifact Armor in the Dynamis we are going in to.

A player may declare that they wish to lot for a given AF when the job they want comes up. They may do so by "raising their hand" (/) when asked for who is lotting for that job.

If one person declares the lot, then that person will receive the sole lotting rights for that AF, should it drop during the run and the person is on.

If more than one does, then one of two things happens:

i) If one or more players decides to attempt to gain first priority (which would work the same as if that player was the only one to get the first lot), they may choose to bid some of their points (2o minimum in the cities, 30(?) Northlands) and start a bidding on the first priority. The points are only "spent" if the AF drops.

ii) If no players attempts to so bid, then all players who declared will have equal priority to lot if the AF drops.

b) However, you may only declare for an AF if you have that job at:

i) Level 65 for the cities
ii) Level 74 for the Beaucedine zone
iii) a mandatory Level 75 for Xarcabard.

Violations will be penalized by the leader at sole discretion.

c) You may only declare for one AF per run. However, this does not stop you from gaining additional AF under d), below...

d) If there is no declaration, then the leader will declare any such non-declared AF which drop "Free Lot X+", where X is the minimum level you need to lot the item. The leader will then monitor the treasure pool to see if anyone has lotted. If needed, the number X will be dropped until someone does declare or the number would be so low that it's just declared Free Lot.

X starts at 65 in the cities, 74 in Beaucedine, and 75 in Xarcabard...

e) Relic Weapons are ALWAYS Free Lot, and Altana help you in upgrading them.


There are more rules, but this just gives you an idea of how a workable system can be built to avoid all this endgame drama bullshit.

We still have a little (someone doesn't like that we don't make more Northlands attempts, while newer people are still waiting to get more cities done, etc.), but it's not like some of this crap I keep reading about online.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another week in the books, and a very interesting one at the end...

Another week of out-of-game "The Stupid! It Burns!!" over...

So what happened with me in Vana'diel?

Other than the aforementioned Leviathan 2,000th Besieged win:

Sunday Dynamis: Xarcabard -- 11 NM's defeated -- 1 0r 2 real drops.

Wednesday Dynamis: Bastok -- we're getting good at that. Got a wootz, a number of small currency, an Infinity Core, and a free-lotted MNK AF!!!

WHM got to about 22 or 23.

BLU and RNG were taken from 10 to 13 in one overnight.

And that gets to the story of why I didn't make today's Dynamis:

Just about as I was about to turn it in for the night and head to bed about 3:30 AM PDT, I hear shouts in Bastok that an effort was being made to take Ronfaure (the area outside San d'Oria) for Bastok in the Conquest rankings, and that all the help which could be spared was needed.

So I grabbed my two lowest jobs and started levelling them, selling stacks and stacks of crystals and trading some extra equipment...

By the conquest tally at 8 AM: SUCCESS!!

And now I have the outpost warp for Ronfaure, which means I have all of them except for Al'Taieu, which I don't have access to at this time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I was about 15 minutes late for Dynamis last night...

... and I usually don't do this for any in-game stuff at all.

But last night was a historic moment, as of about 6:15 PM PDT.

Leviathan became the fourth server on FFXI to reach two thousand Besieged wins.

(And, this morning, we got #2,001.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Real Massive Trash: A Theory...

The RMT is continuing to run amok all over Vana'diel. I got a couple comments from ixthyse on my previous post, discussing further on the implications of the current state of the price of gil.

(I got another tell today, asking $19 for a million gil. It was $48 from a similar source in February.)

I've had various people question whether it is Supply Up or Demand Down.

If demand were down, eventually, they would give it up and go on to something else (an MMO which is more permissive to RMT, perhaps??).

Especially with the number of RMT tells that people are getting (and you can't think that these people can get to every prospective "customer" character with every RMT tell-er), you'd have to think that a massive number of characters would be required.

So, I got to thinking after I saw the comments by ixthyse, after he proposed that some of the explosion in Water Crystal prices is due to the necessity of Silent Oils for ACP 11 (he'd be right, but, unless you're going up twice anyway for the fight, why not just do as I did and use Dancer for Spectral Jig to save a few gil?)...

One of the major hypotheses out there (which ties in not only the runners in Bastok Mines NPCing God knows how much stuff -- and you've heard about this a lot if you've read up on some of this -- but also a massive infrastructure of characters, apparently) is a gardening scheme.

Basically, there are many hundreds of characters (probably on each server) who are gardening for Wildgrass, and, given the right situation, could yield upwards of five to six digits if their luck is right.

Multiply that by an explosive number of characters, and you can see why gil is now down to about $20-25 a million for these illegal fuckers.

So I got to thinking, as I said, and came up with the following situation:

These RMT schemes are hyper-sophisticated, and they have people with them who are alert to what Square-Enix is trying.

Instead of Square-Enix' one-tree approach (the RMT PWNER 1.337), these guys have TWO trees. One for the gil, and one for the farming of the gil. The RMT PWNER would have to go up one further level to basically find out where the people selling the gil got the gil, and, at least to this point, it does not sound like they have been successful.

For this is what I've been able to discern is the life of a Dispose-a-Character:

-- Dispose-a-Character is born, using the trial system. No credit card appears to be required -- for, if one were, that might be the source of such massive CC fraud that the entire payment system for FFXI might be kiboshed.

-- Dispose-a-Character receives necessary gardening materials from the previous Dispose-a-Character, who then completes their cycle.

-- Dispose-a-Character then continues the cycle of farming gil -- not only through gardening, but probably through other means as well.

-- Once Dispose-a-Character begins to run out of time on his/her trial account, Dispose-a-Character then hands their stuff off to the next Dispose-a-Character tier...

-- And then begins to advertise for the RMT, gets GM'ed, banned, etc.

Do you see how useless this is unless Square-Enix can smash this criminal enterprise, especially if hundreds of such characters are involved per server at any one time??

(This might also explain the bullshit over the "2,000,000 characters!!" claim that Square-Enix made a while back.)

It's time to go beyond banning the characters, but banning the people behind them (as I said back in January with the massive bannings!!!)...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Several various and sundry comments, including, as usual, "LOL Kallo"...

Several things came to forefront on today, Mog Bonanza Day (Rank 5 only -- took a Swarm invite for the trouble)...


Kallo decides to take people like me to task for my views regarding the relationship between FFXI and FFXIV in this little gem:

Kallo, let me put my position down, again, this strongly:

When they decided to start working on FFXIV, the Square-Enix Dev Team pretty much gave up on Vana'diel. This is not something which just started with the revelation that Rapture is Final Fantasy XIV...

(And does that one guy on G4 now sound prophetic in claiming exactly that in the video blurb which Aneiro flamed several months ago?)

The point is that there is a certain amount of energy which must be put in by Square-Enix to maintain and make this experience in Vana'diel good for all the players. Now (especially with the recent updates and what they are planning for the next one), all it appears they wish to do is to keep the customer base happy -- when most indications appear that they are NOT...

If you don't believe me, go back to when I really started realizing that Square-Enix might not be giving a damn about XI anymore: the January 22 bannings. In fact, go back to your very own network's program on those bannings, Kallo.

I can understand that this kind of a venture is a business, but it is BAD BUSINESS to neglect things like obvious RMT website rings (more comment on that in a bit...) and the like. One has to wonder how much they really do care anymore, except to try to get us to bite and put down the money for either advanced hardware or a PS3.


Speaking of RMT:

They're still spamming us. 2 yesterday. Another today. Probably more as I continue to be on today.

The first question I have is why they aren't going after the websites for this -- if they claim that they will and can go after the phishing websites (*cough*which I would venture a bet are largely one and the same!!*cough*).

I mean, I'll tell you right now: Especially with my stands against not only RMT as a criminal enterprise, but most of the top-level players as same, the only reason they probably haven't tried to hack my account is that they don't consider it worth it to do so!! Risk-reward...

These sites really can go after two things: Either the credit-card information on Square-Enix' files, or the gear and gil of the character to sell it off in RMT-land!

But it is clear that RMT continues unabated...

Which gets to point #2: The rapidly dropping price of RMT gil.

I mentioned this about a week or so ago when I pulled up one of the first reports I sent to the Special Task Force, when a million gil on this particular bunch of criminal bastards was selling (in February of 2009) for about $48.

The tell I got, from the same company, now has the price at $22.19.

I still think there's something really rotten in Rotterdam here. It's not like the real demand for RMT gil has gone down (though there are some who think that the effects of the RMT PWNER 1.337 have significantly cut down the number of buyers -- yeah, come back to me when the number of players using illegal third-party Windower software doesn't outnumber the number of legal Windowed Mode players by a factor of at least 3-1).

Something is going on here, and I have to wonder if it's one of two other things:

1) That the three sites advertising to players are, in fact, Square-Enix front operations to make a little extra cash and then ban them all on top of it.


2) That some massive new means for this particular company to farm egregious amounts of gil has been discovered and not nerfed yet.

My bet is still on #2.


Decided on my next levelling project, and started it last night.

Levelling WHM to tele-whore/subjob level (38-40 ish).

It now stands at 17, and, once I finish the required daily stuff, it's back to the Fields of Valor (especially that the daily Kulili fights to level DNC to a reasoned level aren't draining my tabs seriously!) to get it to 20 and beyond. This won't be a short thing -- took me a month or so to actually get my NIN to subjob level after I started it.

But just something interesting to work on some stuff and farm some tabs and AH stuff.


Since when did some of these stacks of crystals go for 4K now?? RMT??? Probably, from what I've heard...

Monday, June 15, 2009

In enhancing Campaign, Square-Enix admits what I've known all along...

So, Square-Enix finally had it's July update Campaign teaser today.

Shadowrealm-Northlands is confirmed.

Apparently, _TWO_ more levels of medals and gear will be put out with the next update (including the three cities' body pieces).

And, then, the admission by Square-Enix of what I basically knew all along: The player-base would defect to the Beastmen Confederate if they were given enough to do so.

The "Union" System.

Not that the concept is bad at all. Speak to a Campaign Arbiter while under the influence of an Allied Tag, choose to join the Union for this Campaign battle, and you're in.

As the battle proceeds, you must participate sufficiently in the battle to gain the ability to access the spoils of the Union System -- a coffer will drop (or multiple ones, not unlike Treasure Caskets and ANNM's) which will contain:

-- Dynamis currency (!!!)
-- Synthesis materials
-- and the "spoils of vanquished Beastmen Confederate captains

Basically, bribing the living shit out of the players to actually play Campaign again.

How bad has it gotten? Since the Fortification nerf, the number of people choosing to be in Campaign has dropped precipitously.

Last week:

Bastok: 3 zones.
San d'Oria: 4
Windurst: 1 (Yes, battles in Windurst Waters (S) last week on Leviathan.)
Beastmen: 13

A bit more back to normal this week (6-4-4-7), but that gives you an idea of what's been going on.

I don't expect them to throw 100-Bynes and Jadeshells and Silverpieces around that often, but I do suspect that the spoils will be major enough to make it "worth it" for people to actually take part in the battles. (I would be interested to see what actually constitutes "sufficient participation"...)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A relatively interesting week...

Sunday Dynamis: Snow. Win. Nice.

Wednesday: Looked like I was going to be able to do the whole thing (shift switch for my roommate's project), and then, the moment I get home, my roommate's monitor is on it's death-bed. For the third week in a row, a last-minute errand cuts me off of Wednesday Dynamis. Unlike our first attempt, this monitor is working like a charm for my roommate.

I make it up to Kiana by briefly helping him skill up in The Boyahda Tree last night.

For the humor-impaired:

1) If you think that, if that happens this Wednesday, that I won't do it again, please read the Note to Players that you cursor past trying to get in the game (what I call the "Get a Life" message). My roommate is that damned important to me, and, if something needs to be done, it needs to be done.

2) If you don't like that, kiss my ass.

42 NIN, NIN AF1 -- thought those were daggers (they're katanas!), just short of 63 RDM...

2 DRG L1 Merits and retaking my highest Campaign medal after almost losing the second-highest one because I basically had not Campaigned since about the release of ACP.


Several different odds and sods, the first being something that is really pissing me off RL:

President Uncle Tom Obama, BITE MY FUCKING ASS AND STOP LYING TO US. Too many people invested their last hope in your ass for you to spit all over them and treat them like stepping stones. Equality for all or equality for none!!

(We all know how that's going to work out, especially as California goes BK in about two months.)

Back to FFXI:

Elitesttothemax (more an explanation of Kimiko's post, rather than flaming you): The joke is not funny. The reason the joke is not funny is because we see it all the fucking time in Vana'diel. You aren't worth anything in this game, to most of the "elites" -- most of whom cheat their asses off -- if you don't do exactly as the original post you made tried to parody.

That elitism would be a joke if the parody actually wasn't the modus operandi of much of the elite FFXI cheater-base.

The intent of the joke is there -- the problem is that there are too many people in FFXI (*cough*BluGartr*cough*) whose sole job is to do exactly what you do to feel superior to all the gimps out there.

As I said before, I EARNED my gear. I didn't steal it from Square-Enix.

Phishing warning: Happens from time to time, but you do begin to wonder if the people involved are trying to skim the credit card information, or the prize gear or whatever...

They're saying they are planning to go after the websites and the like. OK, but do the RMT bullshit too. One has to wonder if they're involved in this as well. The Dispose-a-Character RMT Tell Bullshit continues unabated -- JAIL THESE FUCKERS RL!

This (Upcoming) Week: Leviathan becomes the 4th FFXI server to reach 2000 Besieged wins. I take 63 RDM. Perhaps 65 DNC.

Monday, June 8, 2009

So, late July for the next update, eh???

Sounds like we're going from quarterly to tri-ennial updates now.

Basically, mostly standard fare, but the combination of one announcement ("new areas") and one of the pictures I saw in the fluff-fest which is always Square-Enix' first round of update announcements appears to indicate that Shadowrealm: Northlands zones are coming in the next update.

Heaven help the adventurers who wish to take part in that...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

End of week, and something I noticed...

So, another week in Vana'diel come and gone:

Sunday Dynamis:  Windurst.  Win.  A fairly decent one too.

Wednesday Dynamis:  Did not attend (errands for roommate plus a rare thunderstorm -- our complex's electrical system is not that well built to stand up to lightning, and I am (quite correctly!!) ordered off the electrical grid when it happens -- unplugging everything so we don't get a surge if the grid takes a direct hit).

(Which someone in Fontana, just north of us, did -- and died as a result.)

They went to Sandy, win is assumed.

Been seeing some of the Dynamis/End Game LS Drama lately.  Too much of it even on our shell, and even more on the TTTO, which you can read going over there.  As I said online today during another bout of it:  I can understand the frustration with the grind coming from that you don't get a drop for quite a while.  I'm down with that.

But this is another team event.  Do one's part, and the rewards (of various kinds) will come.

NIN 39 (basically using it to start farming some tabs so I don't run out using Kulili to level DNC to at least 65).

Didn't play that much this week, for various reasons -- did get back into FF X-2 International -- Rikku's got legs and she knows how to be delicious with them!!  (And Paine and Yuna aren't half bad either...)


But I noticed something in the continuing Onslaught of the RMT:

The prices for gil.

The reports we've been getting have had the cost of gil about half of what it was about 3-4 months ago.

This would indicate supply is up.

This would indicate, given the two updates this week dealing (first one partially, second one completely -- even involving a two-hour cessation of play!) with the acquisition of gil through improper manners, that RMT now have several additional exploits at their disposal.

It is time to treat RMT as the criminal offense it is and PROSECUTE IT!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The RMT continue to overrun the place, I see...

Got a nap in the evening after doing errands for the roommate, and decided to try to get on for a little late-night FFXI before I went back to bed.

All-Worlds Emergency Maintenance.  Two-hour full-game shutdown.

That's unusual, especially for Japanese prime-time.

But, now that we're back up, here's the reason:

"An issue where gil could be obtained using an improper method has been resolved."

Essentially, RMT created this All-Worlds Maintenance.

And, here's the kicker:  This isn't the first RMT-led Update this week!!  This is, in fact, the second such update (the June 1 one had other things too, but another issue of improper gil was addressed) in five days.

And I would bet any amount of money that, within about 20 minutes of the restart, I have just witnessed three characters whom I believe will be involved in RMT (3 level 1 warriors in the Bastok Mines, who will go nameless until they do involve themselves in RMT, which I expect won't be long).

Face it:  There is ONE solution -- ONE SOLUTION -- and I've said it and others have too.

Get the trial accounts off the main servers and on their own damn server.  They get an automatic push to the main server once they start paying.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Did I just give a nudge to Square-Enix there???

(And, if not, this allows me to make a post I should've made last week -- as a follow-up to a previous post I made on the blog...)

Congratulations to Siren server on it's 2000+ win winning streak.

And, YES -- though a few days late -- Square-Enix did put it on the official site!

I like how they closed it, and I will emphasize what I believe to be the take-home point:

"We would like to offer our heartiest congratulations to all the denizens of Siren World, and wish good fortune to those in all worlds who do their part in the frenetic defense of the Imperial Capital, Al Zahbi."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FarceFraud XIV: I should have to pay for this kind of comedy.

So, Square-Enix finally got to talk about it's new baby, Rapture -- Final Fantasy XIV Online.

And, from all I've read on the questions and answers, this is going to be a big fat NO SALE for me right now.

#1  PC = NO SALE

FFXI has turned into one big cheat, fraud, bot-fest which is no fun to play, and has no real merit to play, now, unless you basically either give in and cheat (hoping that your number doesn't come up at Square-Enix), or resign yourself to be the runt of the litter in the eyes of the player-base.

As I said yesterday when, given the information on the trailer, I thought the game was PS3-only, this game needs (if it is, in any way, going to be robust) to be on a system on which the players cannot get in and start mucking around with seven claim-bots, five versions of Windower, and God knows what other shit the player base has basically done to make FFXI a sluggish grind of a joke where you're the joke if you're not cheating your fucking ass off.

On top of this, the chances that my current system is going to be able to run FFXIV is about the chances of me getting a date with [insert sexy female superstar here].  They're going to pull the same fucking bullshit that Rockstar did with GTAIV, and that's going to mean that I would have to buy a new computer just to suck their dicks.

On both these bases, no chance I buy FFXIV unless I hear of major changes.  Change One:  Get it off the damn PC so the bot-festers and the video/sound-card manufacturers aren't the only ones to benefit.

2.  FFXIV != FFXI Redux??  I'll believe that when I see it.

First question out of the mouth was about the similarities between FFXIV and FFXI.

Basically, Square-Enix decided to state that there was little similarity, except in the races.

3.  No plans to stop FFXI in the near future?

Then how about improving the damn game so that it doesn't come off as a two-dollar whore with a venereal disease??!?!?!???

4.  Another one year of content planned for FFXI???

Yeah, that'd be the amount of shelf-life it has left, even by their numbers (even if, by mine, the shelf-life had left the game about the point they admitted most of the prominent players were cheating fuck-tards).  If Rapture/FFXIV comes out Q4 2009, that'd be about right for one more year of content, and a few more months, and then the shutdown either at the launch of XIV or shortly thereafter when it's clear (not that they don't know already) that there is no sustainable model for two games...

Hell, there isn't a sustainable model for one, at this point.

5.  FFXIV = FF + WoW  Yep, they're selling out on top of it.

They finally admit that they have no real clue as to the MMORPG market.  Sounds to me as if they're going to have to really re-tool their thinking processes -- claiming to "aim for the casual player".

Good in theory, but the casual player already has WoW.  And not many of the FFXI people are interested in FFXIV, if recent surveys are an indication.  So now they're going to, several years behind the curve, try to foist in on WoW??

And what happens once you get to the top level in a week?  That's one of the main draws of WoW:  In one intensive gameplay week, you can get to the top level (or at least you _could_ when it was 70).

That's not Final Fantasy to begin with.

6.  Feedback from FFXI users??  Hahahahahahahahahahahaha....

Why would you get feedback from people you cannot (and should not) intrinsically trust?

Worldwide launch, four languages, yeah yeah...

And this "marketing research"...  I'd love to talk to the researchers and give them some of the experiences I've had here.  You won't want to hear those, Square-Enix...

7.  "How can we make the best Final Fantasy game available?  An MMO!!!"

WHAT -- THE -- FUCK?????????

Did I just hear that right??

This is the quote from the LiveBlog from G4 TV:


"Our plan from the beginning was to make the best Final Fantasy game available.  That is our vision for XIV.  Then we though, how can we make the best FF game and we came to the conclusion that it would be an MMORPG."

Essentially, Square-Enix believes the way to make the best Final Fantasy game, going forward, is an MMO.  After all the bullshit in turning FFXI into a $2 whore with herpes...

Look, I don't play video games to associate with other people.  I don't even play fighting games to associate with others.  In fact, sometimes, I have to physically block the coin slot to keep others from getting in on my game to "impress me" with how "leet" they are!

If that were my interest, there's Second Life for that.

(ESPECIALLY with the types of people I've encountered in Vana'diel!)

This is the company that makes classics like VII and X and underrated gems like X-2 and XII, and now they're basically claiming the best way forward for the franchise (before they even release XIII!) is a MMO.

Unbelievable.  Just -- fucking -- unbelievable.

8.  "The Growth and the Development of the Character"


Epic -- fail.

You don't get it, Square-Enix, and you won't get it.

Most of the people who are paying to leech your system to death are trying to subvert that process in every way conceivable.

To actually promote "the growth and the development of the character", you must first achieve a robust system which the players cannot exploit.

Come back to me when you do that for Final Fantasy ELEVEN, much less Fourteen.

No transfers, etc.  That's obvious...

9.  Why should I join FFXIV?  Oh, the world and story...

Just like the same bullcrap you tried with Vana'diel...

Same ol' shit...
Same ol' shit...
Same ol' shit...


And that was basically it about a 35-minute session which was all about FFXIV.

*cha-ching*  The cash register reads "NO SALE".

Good grief, Square-Enix, are you that short on creative ideas, money, and wherewithal to do anything anymore?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Does anyone still want to dispute that FFXI is dead?

... especially now that Square-Enix has, in fact, given a successor, a platform, and a time-frame??

And doubly especially because it's actually going to be Final Fantasy Fourteen???

Yes, they announced it today at E3.

They kinda slipped it in as a trailer, but Square-Enix has announced that, in 2010, they will release Final Fantasy XIV Online.

The biggest part of it??  PS3 ONLY.

PS3-exclusive FFXIV.  And I don't think I need to speculate too much as to why...  The game cannot be rendered robust in a PC-environment (thanks to the botters and the RMT people), and the XLax can't handle it.

So, I'll leave the question up there in the subject line...

ON EDIT:  Saw the trailer.

It's basically FFXI for the PS3, it looks like.  About the only real draw Square-Enix can give for this is that this is going to remove a lot of the PC bullshit from the process.

SECOND EDIT:  I got a few notes saying that they are planning to put XIV on Windows, according to the official site.  Let's just say that that, at least IMODO, would be the biggest mistake they could make.

And all they have to do is take one look at Vana'diel.