Friday, August 28, 2009

Storm clouds on the horizon with Square-Enix...

Well, last night, as I was doing some light Bard levelling (just something to do...), I decided to head over to BluGartr for the general amount of cheese that they tend to have over there.

What I got, instead, was two more examples that real storm clouds appear to be on the horizon.

First, the one several other TTTO posters have already begun to comment on.

If you're an American player, and you've had:

-- a very recent change to your credit card information (or a new account on the game, say the last two months or so)
-- problems with your credit card stuff with Square-Enix
-- or your card is about to expire


-- that your card that was on file with Square-Enix is not 3-D Secure Enabled with Visa or Mastercard

That card is no longer on file, effective immediately! You have until September 1 to get a 3-D Secure Enabled card on file, or you are done with Final Fantasy XI until you do.

They're sending e-mails to as many players as they can find who qualify, and you've seen several comments if you've been reading recent TTTO posts.

Let's make several things clear:

-- There is MASSIVE credit-card fraud going on with respect to Square-Enix right now, and I'd almost wish there would be some people who would come out and just say how much Square-Enix is getting absolutely fucked up the ass by credit-card fraud. It's probably the other reason (with the proposal that they wish to codify themselves with the Japanese gaming standards on such matters) that they are doing this.

-- It is clear that they are probably going through a significant re-examination of the present player-base -- which will lead up to my central point of all of this (which will either be posted in this post or in one immediately forthcoming).

-- Square-Enix made clear (in their last set of financial findings -- at least the ones which were posted to JP Button quite some time ago) that they are looking far past FFXI, especially in a financial sense.

I'll get to more thoughts on that when I give the second thing I found.

To utterly no one's surprise who has read my blog, there are now reports that, in fact, there have been accounts with the Security Token which have been compromised, locked out of POL, and stripped of most, if not all, relevant stuff within about 5 minutes.

They're not clear if it's simply a keylogger or if someone (probably RMT, since actual hacking of MMO accounts is, by most belief, non-prosecute-able) has actually been able to jump in on the Security Token technology itself, but it's clear that RMT and the people around them are probably about as ahead of the game as that "university" in Jamaica with the sprinters and the drug-testers.

(Side point: If ANYBODY believes Usain Bolt is clean, I've got swampland in Omaha, NE to sell you...)

It is more and more clear that people, intent on destroying FFXI's experience for as many people as possible by compromising and stealing accounts, are winning the destruction of FFXI on the player side. If, as one poster said, it is essentially to the point of "If they want to fuck you up, they will, and there's nothing you can really do about it...", then you aren't playing for yourself anymore -- you're playing for the RMT scum, if they see you as relevant enough to their profit margin to fuck your account up.


Of course, this all gets to a central thesis I've been talking about for quite some time.

Does anyone STILL want to believe that Final Fantasy XI is not, as an official going concern, dead??

Because I'm going to tell you one thing:

People are bitching (and rightly so) that Square-Enix' customer service and policies are completely foreign to any company who wants to retain the present customer base.

I've asked the question before on this blog, and will do so again:

What if Square-Enix DOES NOT WANT the present customer base?

Has anyone else really thought of the real possibility that Square-Enix has so little trust or regard for the present player base (especially that in America), that they want rid of it as much as they can before they basically wash their hands of FFXI to put FFXIV out as a completely new MMO experience with a completely new (and, probably, largely Japanese-centric) player base??

They don't trust you.

They don't want anything but your money to bridge them to FFXIV.

And it's time we just admit that that's the case.

They see you (correctly) as a bunch of cheating little whiners.


Anonymous said...

Eh I wouldn't put it so much that they want to pull out of America like that, as mentioned with blizzards difficult and tedious efforts to maintain WOW, even the original regional player base to most companies is just cows for the milking in terms of cash income.

Its like how the world runs.

Money First.
Diplomacy/Politics second.
Environment last.

Our world runs on these 3 steps, and so using that as a ref. A company's list wouldn't be that far off.

Ex. Square-Enix and Blizzard only care for our money first, then secondly they want to expand their efforts and power, something diplomacy does, just so the first tier brings in more. Lastly, if they ever get to it, they give into the environment/player base, but only if it increases Tier 1 and 2's output.


I'm actually starting to see MMORPGS as future deaths of most gaming companies. I mean people put time and effort into a MMO, its rare that when the next best thing comes out that they will want to move on without some form of taking what they worked for so far with them to the next.

Say you have 80 million people. 60 million love your MMORPG, you create a new Game or MMORPG some time later, that 60 million still love the first one, the remainder 20million may find something they like in the second MMORPG, factor in growth of player base. Now you have 60 Million loving one game with no time or will to leave and join in with the 20 Million playing the second MMORPG. You've esentially dug a pitfall and pushed part of your player base in that pitfall and then moved on to dig other holes, even if they aren't MMORPGS, the normal games suffer cause no one has time to play those games cause of the obligations they have already in the MMORPG they play.

I'm on the way out. I picked up Lost Planet for the 360 over a year ago, I finally started playing it cause I have time now.

So with this said, in time a MMORPG that a company makes will basically segregate the player base and part of there profits.

MMORPGS are cash cows, and if kept updated, last a long time, but if you try to make anything else after it, who will be there to play it? You would need a devious and vicious self hurting plan.

That's where SE has come in, they know this world only to be bussiness and are playing a sick game of cut and cauterize with their player base save there future profits.

What they don't know is the damage it will do to there player base is to great. SE is like an abusive spouse we kept going back to throughout FFXI, we would be a fools after the divorcee to get remarried with another abusive spouse like FF14.

A saying I know that sums up what SE is doing to its player base is this, "Your cutting off your nose, in spite of your face."

Eldelphia said...

I'm not sure how widespread this whole verified card thing is over there. The impression I've got is that it's not nearly as prevalent in north america as it is in the UK. I've been 'verified by visa' for the last year or two at least. So it's absolutely no big deal to me... Giving people a few weeks to resolve it is pushing it.

They're moving to a new model for XIV as you've mentioned. They want to start out with a better shot at combatting RMT and they're getting the existing legitimate player base used to the idea that things aren't going to be as easy as they were.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

Eldelphia first:

My understanding is that they are picking up on it in the last couple years or so -- and now Square-Enix, as part of the MMO community (and probably more as part of the _Japanese_ MMO community), is complying.

The thing is, though, that, if you take a real look at what has happened over the last year (especially) in FFXI, it truly appears that, at some point (my guess: A few days before 1/22/09 and the Salvage bannings), Square-Enix threw in the towel on the current North American MMO player-base which plays FFXI.

You may think my last statement sounds snarky, but the fact is that I do begin to wonder how much positive appeal (other than our $12.95/mo) is actually being held of the North American FFXI player-base.

I say a couple notches asymptotic to zero (as in: real close to zero).

The fact is that I don't think they're just moving to a _game_ model in FFXIV -- I think they are also trying to _remake the playerbase_ into a more successful and promising experience for the maximum number of players.

Evicting the greater number of the current playerbase, especially in North America, is probably a goal they won't state publicly, but a goal nonetheless.

Think: At the last census, almost half the players are still level 1. I (with that and other information) choose to conclude that more than half of the current players are involved in RMT.

Do you really think Square-Enix wants that kind of environment for its players of FFXIV?

Didn't think so.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...


I think the problem with our disagreement on pulling out of America is a question I believe Square-Enix has asked itself privately:

As a Japanese company, how much face do we lose by just sitting back and allowing this to go on -- rather than just understanding that the playerbase needs to _be changed, rather than _change_?

You are most certainly correct that it is money first -- they need our money to make FFXIV.

But, since it probably is clear (to them, and privately at that) that that's all we are, they can be in position to no longer care for us as any other than their guinea pigs.

I think the only real problem with your argument is that the openly do desire a massive cut in the current playerbase.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they can afford to lose the NA market completely - even with the huge JP fanbase. I do think they're pushing us to shape up or get out.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

Eldelphia: This is not meant as a flame (since I agree with the premise, but do you really believe that the rank-and-file American playerbase (of most any gaming experience) would "shape up", in that regard?

I don't think so.

Katarzyna said...

To answer your question to me: Do you think Square-Enix really cares for our business anymore?

No, and I've been saying that for years. SE doesn't give a rat's ass whether we (the "foreigners") continue to play, as long as they keep their uptight JP audience happy.

People let SE walk all over them on a constant basis, and even defend them. (People like Ringthree on BG, who I've labeled that group of people as "SE Apologists") Maybe once they go over to 14 (as I'm sure they will, as with all sheep) and realize that nothing's changed, maybe then they will see that SE doesn't give a rat's ass about them, even if they do pay for multiple accounts.

Starcade, now from Leviathan said...

My point exactly.

As I've said, the only reason that I still play this has NOTHING to do with Square-Enix.