Reference two reports from JP Button from Elmer the Pointy, regarding comments made by Sage Sundi at the recent CESA Developers Conference.
First report: "POL Died For Your Sins": http://www.jpbutton.com/?p=3573
That one is rather brief, and sets up:
Second report: "STF and RMT: A Game of Cat and Mouse": http://www.jpbutton.com/?p=3613
Finally stating what I have said for quite some time on this blog, Sundi states openly (I think for the first time) that the RMT players (which, given some of the data we have received, I will claim are at least half the characters in all of Vana'diel) are criminals.
I have said, and continue to maintain, that the players behind RMT need to be jailed. All of them. Now. In fact, years ago. If an American player were to commit RMT, at minimum s/he would be subject to theft laws, and probably far more, given the information which the second article has stated Sundi has discussed at that conference.
Basically, Sundi, as put in the article which Elmer posted, identified five "eras" of RMT abuse.
First, The Era of Simple Cheats
In any such enterprise (legal or otherwise), it starts small. Basically, RMT could use "poshacks" (position hacks) to "warp" characters around or give them other illegal advantages in the game.
Square-Enix responded by adding chat log investigation and means to separate parts of the chat logs from other parts (separating talking from actions, etc.).
The RMT scum responded by going to the Second Era.
Second, The Era of Bots
It is no secret that Bots have taken over much of action of FFXI in Vana'diel, even to the point of endgame linkshells literally paying thousands of dollars and millions of gil for more advanced bots. (Which see the NASA bot discoveries, including some I put in this blog)
Sundi, as Elmer points out, talks about this era more in the realm of fishing bots. Basically, using bots in such a way that takes fishing and makes a ton of money on it. Sometimes involving being on literally 24/7, and others (as has been employed in later "eras") with massive numbers of characters being involved in the process.
Various countermeasures were employed, including fishing fatigue, level requirements, and those damn Goblin Bounty Hunters.
So the RMT scum took it up a notch!
Third Era: The Era of Illegal Access
(still presently going on, as evidenced by the continuing advisories for illegal access)
This is where things begin to get quite serious. RMT using phishing (and perhaps worse, which I'll get to in a second) to gain illegal access to the players' accounts, World Transferring them (in many cases), and stripping the characters blind.
Various countermeasures include the Security Token, continued advisories, a reported attempt to ban FFXI from the RMT hotbed of China entirely, and that Square-Enix is trying to work with law enforcement, as this now is computer hacking.
However, there is significant belief that, in fact, Square-Enix' own servers are being hacked for some of this information, especially as time has grown quite recent. This is the "Physical Hostile Takeover of Vana'diel" by RMT and illegal players I have been talking about. if these people are not forcibly removed from the Internet with the maximum force of law (which will require prison), forget about both FFXI and FFXIV -- because it is becoming more and more clear that, as a computer-expertise question, the scum are far ahead of Square-Enix in this game. The mouse is laughing at the cat.
(For one example, one of our newer Dynamis LS WHMs cannot play at this point, stripped naked and left in Mount Zhaylom (and God only knows on what server!!), and waiting for a rollback.)
Go on BluGartr to see how common this is getting. It is clear that the criminal scum are winning by a wide margin, and could basically compromise most any account (and, in many beliefs, the Security Token is NOT an issue to them!) they so chose to do. One person even said on the BG forum to basically forget about it, because "If they want to get your stuff, they will."
At that point, you're not playing anymore. You're just giving RMT more ammo to work with. Why continue?
But this is where the real declaration of war and the question of "Who really owns Vana'diel?" starts coming in. And, said clearly: Without eradicating this bullshit, Square-Enix should simply NOT BOTHER RELEASING FFXIV.
AND close down FFXI.
Want a good look as to why? Read the TTTO (and other places) and see how many people are leaving FFXI recently...
People are now seeing FF MMO's as a lost cause (note that I don't just say FFXI, which Square-Enix has clearly given up on). And, unless something is done to almost literally hang the fucking RMT scum by their toenails, it is.
But that wasn't even enough for the RMT...
Fourth Era: The Era of Cultivation
Basically, this is where the Gardening stuff took off. Though all across HELM, Gardening was one of the most visible means by which this was done. This is one of the reasons I truly believe half the characters in this game are RMT only.
The sheer number of characters which would be required to raise that much gil quickly is immense.
Square-Enix responded with the Gardening nerf, individual-IP bans, etc.
But then the RMT went even one step further than that:
Fifth Era: The Era of Chargebacks
Sage Sundi now does admit that the credit-card issues leading to the implementation of SafeSecure, etc., are RMT-related, as the RMT are now hacking for credit-card numbers, leading to all those charge-back issues that have ran over Vana'diel in 2009.
The fact is that, with information we now know, the RMT have gotten massive numbers of credit card numbers, and probably many right from the Square-Enix server.
This all leads to one very important truth:
The evidence appears to indicate that RMT has illegal access to much of Square-Enix' records, and can basically assault any player, any time it so chooses.
Square-Enix, either throw these fuckers in prison, or, as the joke would go: Shut Down Everything.