Thursday, December 24, 2009

I really didn't want to interrupt the Top Ten, but this is either a big Nothingburger, or the Shit is hitting the Fan...

Basically, saw this note in the TTTO through Pet Food Cheater:


Over a period of time, we have been monitoring an individual responsible for the creation, sale and distribution of 2 third party tools in violation of the rules of the FINAL FANTASY XI service and various state and federal laws. The tools were utilized by players and gil farmers to gain an unfair advantage over other players in a variety of ways. As a result of our investigation, we have taken appropriate action against the individual, have halted distribution of the programs and have disabled the servers used to run them.

We are in the process of investigating other third party tools originating in the U.S. and abroad and will take similar action against the creators and their customers when we are ready to do so. We have a zero-tolerance policy against any attempts to artificially manipulate FINAL FANTASY XI gameplay or the PlayOnline service. Usage of third-party tools will not be tolerated within the FINAL FANTASY XI community, and we will continue to ban user accounts for consumers of these products and will potentially take legal actions against those who create the tools.

We would like to remind players that, in addition to adversely affecting game balance, using third party tools or cheats can also have potential consequences that are not immediately obvious, as they often contain damaging viruses and Trojan horse programs, which may result in the transmission of account details.

We continually strive to create a fun and balanced environment for FINAL FANTASY XI, and we hope that our efforts ensure that our players continue to enjoy the experience.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding.

(end quote)

There's several huge notes about this:

1) They have actually taken the legal action (under Federal law) to shut down the servers and the PERSON BEHIND THEM.

Now, the real question (and someone has posited it on BG): Did he have to give names? If he did, TSHTF, and it's all over for literally THOUSANDS of characters and accounts. Basically all the big-name prominent American players (with very few exceptions, though one BG poster actually yipped that there was no one important left to ban, that SE had gotten them all in the first place!) have been using some forms of third-party software in one way or another, and the rest of us have been accused as such.

Fact is: Why not go after the players for theft under California law, since they are stealing from Square-Enix in the first place? (Which see my comments from ten or eleven months ago...)

2) They're looking at more. I gave some very strong language as to the first place they can look: WINDOWER. BAN IT! It should've been banned long ago, at bare maximum with the release of legal Windowed Mode.

If it kills FFXI because (theoretically) no one plays legally anymore, shut it down. Now. It would be the greatest Christmas present you could give to a potential (and largely Japanese!) FFXIV player-base to rip this off at the core.

Because of one thing:

If Square-Enix does not ban the third-party users and accounts, FFXIV will be reverse-engineered, at maximum, within the first month of release, to make fair gameplay irrelevant.

Moreover, I would put on the table the real plausibility that that reverse-engineering will be attempted during the beta phase -- BEFORE THE GAME EVEN STARTS.

I feel cheated, and repeatedly so, that my efforts to play the game fairly mean nothing, because players can basically load their PCs with illegal software and basically reverse-engineer FFXI to the point that players who play fairly are so far behind that they are not only scorned, but considered irrelevant.

I'll put a spoil-ar here: Cheating, RMT, and the resultant death of FFXI because of them are at least #1 and #2 on my Top Ten this year. The Salvage bans will probably be #1, so there's a real chance with some of this that it could be #'s 1, 2, and 3!

I will put it this simply: If Square-Enix is serious about this, the number of level 75 American players will be, at minimum, cut to 1/3 of it's present number. MINIMUM 1/3, and probably far below that.

But, it could also be one big fat nothingburger too. He doesn't give names and account names, or the like, and this could be just on the creator of the bots.

But I have a serious question:


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