Thursday, April 15, 2010

Extensions of comments on the previous post...

I have read at least a couple of responses to Kaeko's post (linked in previous blog post) referring to how I might react, and I want to react to them as well:

vedderffxi: "I find it delicious that you became friends with Starcade and helped him out with quite a few things in game. I'm awaiting his reaction to this news as well, could be interesting."

Without the deception he outlines, though, it doesn't happen.

"but at it's core, FFXI is a social game and no "lone wolf" is going to be able to progress very far without making friends or making concessions on their goals."

I've already made too many fucking "concessions" as it is! If this is truly a "social game", then get me banned from it before I do something the entire FFXI (and FFXIV) community may regret.

You are all but stating, face-up, about the rank necessity of cheating. Do you realize how sick that makes me? The "social game" nature of FFXI basically forces Square-Enix to become fucking enablers of the cheating and that you cannot play the game without it.

You know what, then? Fuck Vana'diel, in that case.

kindred_tari: (Probably from Leviathan) "Starcade was briefly on my server last year, and in that time managed to make quite the name for himself as well as cause mass amounts of drama during Besieged. With this huge reputation looming over him, as well as his often violent-riddled blog posts, one could make very easy assumptions about his personality in-game.

Surprisingly, he was never really like that in-game, and was actually fairly easy to get along with."

I don't think you saw much of the other drama that came about in-game other than Besieged. The only reason I'm "fairly easy to get along with" is that I don't see how bad people are plunging the daggers into my back on a fairly consistent basis.

Remember: I left Leviathan because Square-Enix was turning it's back on cheating vis-a-vis the Astral Burn bullshit. I may well return, but only so far as to see if my Dynamis LS might want me back or I might just go off, get banned from the game, and be the end of it.

The fact of it is that much of the worst of the material I see vis-a-vis FFXI is not in-game, but on shit like BG and all that kind of stuff (including that I think it was BG RMT ads which were propagating that damn virus I had to clean off...).

Kaeko responded to that: "There were times when I got really frustrated with the things Star was ranting about - for instance that PW cannot be beaten without 'cheating' (logging astral flow), even though beyond the first 1-2 kills, no one ever does that now. But over time, you just kind of learn to ignore those things - after all they are said more out of ignorance, not having seen the event, than anything else."

The problem with that being that a lot of this was not just said from stuff that was done (and, as I said, I must now question whether I am bannable, known or not), but also from stuff (and especially attitudes from all over the FFXI Net.

This isn't just a one-source situation. I mean, do you realize that, chances are, if you actually RMT-buy someone else's account, you're only really renting it until the "seller" decides to shit in your face and plead to a GM for it back?

The problem is that I truly see (in the attitudes of many of the endgame players, of which you were one of the few exceptions I've ever seen, much less encountered) that the whole matter is the advancement of the individual player at the expense of others around him or her -- if not the whole server. I don't think that Square-Enix, as an off-topic example, ever expected Campaign to be as sparsely done as it is.

"But to give him some credit, a large percentage of the players I met had similar ideas of "endgame" and everything it entails. "Endgame" players are often associated with shadiness and cheating (I'm not one to disagree considering how I ended up on Siren), but I feel that they try to dehumanize the endgame player as if we don't help others and have fun as well. I know that during my stay there, everyone thought I was really helpful with everything, but I was pretty selfish compared to what I used to do on Odin. "

As I told you when we were on Siren: Most don't -- and, in fact, I'll go further... I believe most players want to keep "endgame" as exclusive as possible, so they deliberately block or impede others' progress (which see: Campaign hoarding, bot-lotting, HNM-botting, etc etc and so forth...).

(to go the "MMO -> social" route: they want to keep the social circle as small as possible)

Much of that association comes from the abject necessity of multiple cheat devices (Windower, bots, exploits, what have you...) to even be welcome in that much of endgame. It's one of the reasons I believe that hypergame is the last real hope for FFXI, and, more and more, I begin to wonder if that wasn't a year or two too late.

"Overall, if there is 1 thing I would want people reading this to know about Starcade, it's to echo your sentiments. He's really a lot more mellow than he appears on his blog. I won't lie and say he wasn't awkward sometimes, but he's not a 24/7 ranting machine. He offers help quite often and if anyone on Siren is willing to give him a chance, he's definitely not a terrible guy."

I try not to be, because, as I have said to my roommate, they don't want the alternative. I liken myself to what Jim Cornette is now having to deal with: He made a death threat to one of his former associates that he now despises.

He's passionate, and really wants something better than what is going on now. Fact is, with what IS going on now, that's not possible.

It's like what someone has said as I've lost my anime fandom completely as much of current anime fades into child porn: If it isn't worth caring about, why be involved in the first damned place?

Well, that's about all I see for the moment. More, I assume, will come later.

18 comments:

Volkai said...

Hm. I'm disappointed.


If I had the time and inclination I could probably try and counter much of the negativity in these two latest posts, but from the impression of you I've gained from these posts (admittedly a limited impression) I suspect you would not be willing to listen to much of it.


But, if that is otherwise, perhaps we could converse elsewhere.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

Not half as disappointed as I am.

Understand what this does: This effectively taints everything I've done on Siren.

I may have little option but to do the unthinkable: Sic the STF on myself and see if I did anything (or had enough done for me to the same effect) to get suspended or banned.

Volkai said...

That's the thing. No, it does not taint what you've done. I'm pretty sure if you were doing something wrong, you would recognize it.

Don't let the revelation that you've associated with someone who has broken TOS in the past cause you to question your judgement.

vedderffxi said...

FYI, the 'lone wolf' comment wasn't necessarily targeted at you, but more or less to address Kaeko's observation that due to FFXI's age that it's harder and harder for new players to progress in the game.

I don't believe cheating to be necessary to progress in FFXI, in fact, I can't think of a single situation where cheating could assist someone in missions, assaults, or other linear aspects of the game. Maybe I'm naive, but I do try to do thing straight up so I don't go looking for ways to cheat or shortcut things.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

If you go back and read the statements I made surrounding the Salvage bans:

I said that, now, after reading what the Terms of Service actually says and the wide berth that the players are trying to take which would appear to be in violation of such, every major tactic used has to be in a degree of question.

In fact, that's a large part of Kaeko's post from back then, and he's right. And, if you remember my response, I could only come up with maybe one or two things I would agree were legal.

So, no, since the Terms of Service appear to make most common tactics illegal (unless Square-Enix deliberately turns their back), I couldn't feasibly say with any real certainty that something hadn't happened, with or without my knowledge.

The amount of abuse and illegal conduct in this game is utterly tremendous. I really don't think a lot of people get how much damage has really been done over the years in Vana'diel.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

That last one was to Volkai, this one is to vedderffxi:

I disagree, not to argue with you per se, but to point out the massive amount of abuse in the game, and then to apply the "social fabric of MMO's" reinforcing it, with the silence of Square-Enix to actually deal with major issues involving massive swaths of the player-base being the proverbial "icing on the cake".

Windower is the first main example. After a lot of thought, I finally had to ask myself if I am the only American 75 on PC who does NOT use Windower?

We know at least a third of the players still on the game do.

Then you get to all the different bots and the like, and their socially-applied necessity to play certain things on FFXI. And it's not just the HNM's, but the fact that those bots have all but locked legitimate players, for example, from the Mog Tablet situations.

Chocobo + Appradar usually means you can have a fair bead on exactly where the Tablets are, if you are in the range in which it can be used.

I could go on and on and on. The point being that illegal conduct, when applied to the social fabric of the game with Square-Enix' deliberate silence, appears to make cheating necessary to progress to any extent deemed meaningful. (Which see Kaeko's statement about how surprised he was as to how little actual progress my character had made when we first met.)

Volkai said...

Cheating is absolutely not necessary to make meaningful progress in FFXI at any rate.

What is absolutely necessary to do so at decent rate, however, is a good linkshell. Finding one can be difficult, but not impossible.


I got my first 75, joined a Dynamis LS, got Xarc access, got past the Diabolos CoP fight, and got Sky (and got my Suppa) all on PS2.

I was able to do this because I've been in one good LS or another since I started. I've had another, a 'second main' character, on a different server, where I only knew one person, and didn't have a particularly active linkshell, and things were much, much more difficult there. Trust me, the community is the vital factor, not cheating.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

Well, Volkai, as I said in my posts, a lot of the linkshells, especially once you get to the HNM level (which is about all the social community will consider much of "progress" in the game, especially with the reducing server populations...), actively engage in much of this conduct.

I think the difference is that you are willing to separate the fact that you are working as a "good linkshell" (I think a good exercise for you, given the present makeup of FFXI, would be to sit down and try to figure out what constitutes a "good linkshell" without any illegal tactics or software -- good luck...), and the tactics such linkshell would use to take part in the stuff which would make them "good".

It's one of the reasons, given consideration, that I decided not only to return to Leviathan, but to one of the few Dynamis LS's I can honestly say that I _know_ isn't trying to screw people around.

Volkai said...

"I think the difference is that you are willing to separate the fact that you are working as a "good linkshell" (I think a good exercise for you, given the present makeup of FFXI, would be to sit down and try to figure out what constitutes a "good linkshell" without any illegal tactics or software -- good luck...), and the tactics such linkshell would use to take part in the stuff which would make them "good"."

Alright then. A good linkshell is, as far as I'm concerned, one where having fun is as much a priority as -- if not a higher priority than -- being successful. I don't play FFXI to win, I play to have fun.

As for tactics that don't involve cheating: Our puller has maps from experience of which statues pop what, which ones are time extensions, which restore HP or MP. He calls out over /l when he's pulling. Our main assist then picks a target, engages it, calls it out over /l, and the DDs use their /assist macro to lock onto it and take it down. BLMs sometimes time-nuke statues, basing when to start casting off a particular minute of the in-game clock (as called out by the BLM leader). WHMs and RDMs and BRDs do their thing like they always have.

None of this requires Windower. None of this requires 3rd-party programs.

We are very laid back about what we do and how we do it. The only time the LS gets particularly agitated as a whole is when we get zone-jacked repeatedly, which is not a common occurrence.



Once again: cheating is not vital, community is.

(As for HNM, fuck HNM. I'm here to play WITH other players, not AGAINST them, so there's no way in hell I'm going to waste 3+ hours a day every day competing with them to claim a dragon. This wouldn't change if claimbots had never existed. It's not my scene, it never has been, and until they become ??? pop NMs it never will be.)

Starcade, now from Siren said...

Volkai:

Alright then. A good linkshell is, as far as I'm concerned, one where having fun is as much a priority as -- if not a higher priority than -- being successful. I don't play FFXI to win, I play to have fun.

One of the things that I wanted to do with that list of comments from that botlist thread is to demonstrate that quite a number of players gain their sole enjoyment of FFXI through the intimidation, blocking, and humiliation of other players.

This is one of the things which makes people like Kaeko different than most players (and I said this to him when we talked about it when he was on Siren), and how I think you _try_ to be different in much the same manner.

The problem is that that doesn't always work, and the thing is that a lot of the conduct which these people use is blatantly and openly illegal, and they want to use it for the purpose that it is illegal.

It's like what we are learning about this Abyssite situation (and, once I finish all of your comments, I've got a conjecture a lot of people aren't going to like about it). They do it because they can and they do not believe Square-Enix is going to do anything about it (and, in most cases, they are (to my frustration) right!).

But, to them, it is not only about their advancement, but to do it at the expense of others. Again, the e-peen, if you will.

As for tactics that don't involve cheating: Our puller has maps from experience of which statues pop what, which ones are time extensions, which restore HP or MP. He calls out over /l when he's pulling. Our main assist then picks a target, engages it, calls it out over /l, and the DDs use their /assist macro to lock onto it and take it down. BLMs sometimes time-nuke statues, basing when to start casting off a particular minute of the in-game clock (as called out by the BLM leader). WHMs and RDMs and BRDs do their thing like they always have.

But the thing is that a lot of that still only gets you _so far_ (in Dynamis, for the example you gave).

(We did that over on Leviathan too.)

But the thing is that, to progress in the game above a certain level, you do need some degree of illegal conduct. I point you to the botlist thread and some of the questions some of the players on it asked about the right to even be able to access the content without a packet bot, etc.

(As for HNM, fuck HNM. I'm here to play WITH other players, not AGAINST them, so there's no way in hell I'm going to waste 3+ hours a day every day competing with them to claim a dragon. This wouldn't change if claimbots had never existed. It's not my scene, it never has been, and until they become ??? pop NMs it never will be.)

I agree wholeheartedly on making Kings pop NMs.

The thing is, you still have to understand that the great number of players in this game (especially as a higher and higher percentage of players are 75 (and eventually 75+)) ARE playing against you, and trying to smear your face into it on top of it.

The thing is that certain people are not welcome in a given "community", and my point is that I believe that, for the bulk of FFXI players, especially the higher you go, "gimps" are among that list.

And what do you need to do to not be "gimp"?

Volkai said...

"But the thing is that a lot of that still only gets you _so far_ (in Dynamis, for the example you gave)."
Ummm... it got us a full clear in Windurst Friday night with about 36 attending. It got us a Dynamis-Tav win last month (one win out of three attempts ever is not bad). A while back when attendance was low, it got us a win (though far from a full clear) of Windurst with only 18 people.

In the two years or so that I've been in my Dyna LS, we've lost (by which I mean suffered an unrecoverable wipe) maybe a handful of runs. We most certainly have a win rate of >90% overall, with Tavnazia and Xarcabard being the exceptions -- we usually farm AF instead of going for the full clear in Xarc, though that's changed recently with the increase in attendance, and Tavnazia is a zone we very rarely attempt, favoring other Dreamlands zones for relic accessories.


"...I wanted to ... demonstrate that quite a number of players gain their sole enjoyment of FFXI through the intimidation, blocking, and humiliation of other players."
OH yes, some do. They're dicks. I tend to steer clear of them. In fact, I don't think I've encountered one since I camped Charybdis. When they make certain avoidance not a reasonable option, the blacklist often comes into play. When they harass me, try to MPK me (or my party members), or poshack right in front of me, the GM Call function comes into play. That generally deals with the problem quite handily.

But I don't think it's anywhere near as large a portion of the player base as you seem to think. At least outside of Sea and HNM, it certainly isn't on Phoenix! (I don't have Sea access and as previously mentioned I avoid HNM hotspots.)

More often than not, the players I run into are not malicious, but simply self-interested. Or looking out for their own group/linkshell. I can respect that. I don't like it when it means, say, camping Valkurm Emperor is going to take nine days before I get a drop, or when it means that WHM over there won't toss me a Cure V in Campaign when I'm down to 200HP, but I can respect it. They're not obligated to help me out. It's nice if they do, but it's up to them.


"The thing is, you still have to understand that the great number of players in this game (especially as a higher and higher percentage of players are 75 (and eventually 75+)) ARE playing against you, and trying to smear your face into it on top of it."

Nope, you're wrong. It's as simple as that. They're too busy playing against each other at the HNM camps.


I'm rambling on again, so this is going to be split into two posts.

Volkai said...

"The thing is that certain people are not welcome in a given "community", and my point is that I believe that, for the bulk of FFXI players, especially the higher you go, "gimps" are among that list.

And what do you need to do to not be "gimp"?"

If you're taking part in group activities, you need be be seen as contributing towards the group. If you're a Paladin who can't tank well enough, you need to do something different, or use different equipment, or... well, something to become able to tank well enough. Otherwise, you're not contributing to the group. If you're a Paladin who can't tank well enough and you refuse to change what you're doing or to even acknowledge that there is a problem, then you're gimp.

"What defines 'can't tank well enough'?", you may ask. Well... you tell me, and we'll see if we agree.


The short of it is, you don't need HNM drops, Sea torques, Kraken Clubs, Salvage armors, or any relic weapons to not be gimp. You need to have decent gear for your job and level, and far more importantly, you need to be able to perform the task you've joined a group to perform.

The definition of 'decent gear' here is that which is good enough to allow you to perform your task. If you can do that, your gear doesn't matter to me, and it shouldn't matter to anyone else. That goes for support jobs, too. (Mind you, that's a very strong if.)


I'm going to repeat that for emphasis.

If you are in a group event, and you can perform your assigned task effectively, nothing else about your character matters. Merits. Equipment. Support Job. None of it.

If you can't, you need to change some aspect so that you can.

If you can't, and refuse to change any aspect so that you could, then you're gimp.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

I think you misunderstood what I meant.

Dynamis is not very high on the royal totem pole of events for a lot of players (in fact, more and more, it is becoming an intermediate event, compared to the real big money of HNMs and the like).

It only gets you to the point where you can full-clear Dyna-Windy, but does that gain you any degree of acceptance that you know what you are doing, in the eyes of the players who believe they control Vana'diel because of their gear, their (supposed) "knowledge", etc.?

OH yes, some do. They're dicks. I tend to steer clear of them. In fact, I don't think I've encountered one since I camped Charybdis. When they make certain avoidance not a reasonable option, the blacklist often comes into play. When they harass me, try to MPK me (or my party members), or poshack right in front of me, the GM Call function comes into play. That generally deals with the problem quite handily.

It deals with the problem if the GM chooses to do so. Again, the sheer amount of misconduct in the game today makes me question whether the GMs would so choose, knowing what true enforcement of the rules probably mean (which see the economic discussions we've already had on the subject).

The problem is that I see their self-interest, in most respects, to be malicious. I've seen the effects of people not caring whether the Astral Candescence is kept, and counting on the JP players to bail them out. I've seen the effects of people hoarding Campaign mobs to the point where Allied NPC resources cannot be allocated to win more zones (especially with the requirements for the Stronghold BC's, etc.).

It's like they simply do not care about anyone other than themselves. That, in and of itself, I view as malicious.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

Your second:

The problem with your argument goes back to the social nature of MMO's that a number of people have talked about, and I believe is THE most harmful thing about FFXI.

What you say would be perfectly true in a context which could stay limited to your own group and the people you play with.

However, because of the grander nature of many events, that's not always the case.

I can't count the number of times people would like to run me out of Besieged for the simple fact that, since I'm not 75 when I do it, I have no place there.

The thing is that a lot of the stuff breaks out of your own circle (that we've talked about several times) and starts getting to these same "dicks" that we've discussed.

I think where you might differ from many is the definition of "effectiveness" -- some would say that you need to parse at a certain amount of damage so that you can get 15-20K/hour XP or GTFO.

But, again, can you limit your situation to the context of just your own group? I'm not sure you can, given some of the events in FFXI.

Volkai said...

"Dynamis is not very high on the royal totem pole of events for a lot of players (in fact, more and more, it is becoming an intermediate event, compared to the real big money of HNMs and the like)."

The 'royal totem pole' is an artificial construct made by and catering to players that need to stroke their egos. It has no relevance to me unless I allow it to, and I don't. It has relevance to those players because they allow it to. If it has relevance to you, that's due to your will.

I do Nyzul Isle (floor 80 so far), Dynamis (normal and Dreamlands), Einherjar, Sky, Assault, Campaign Ops, Campaign Battle, Besieged, 3man ENMs and BCNMs, and the rare ZNM.

I don't do Sea or Limbus (I'm still on Three Paths), Salvage (for now), HNM, SCNM, ISNM, or regular ZNM.

If someone wants me to leave Beseiged or Campaign Battle, that's their problem. They can have a spot on my /blacklist if they want it. They can't force me out, that's not the way the game is made and there are no 3rd-party tools to allow doing so that won't get you banned faster than you can say "Terms Of Service".

"It deals with the problem if the GM chooses to do so. Again, the sheer amount of misconduct in the game today makes me question whether the GMs would so choose, knowing what true enforcement of the rules probably mean (which see the economic discussions we've already had on the subject)."

Generally the GMs deal with the problems I bring to them. When they can't, they can't. When they can, (and they usually can,) they do.

It might help that I make per-infraction GM Calls when it comes to something like MPK.

As for true enforcement of the rules -- malicious players drive other players away by creating a negative experience. Thus it is in the best interest of the company to ban them just as it is in the best interest of the company to ban as few players as it can.

"It's like they simply do not care about anyone other than themselves. That, in and of itself, I view as malicious."

I must regrettably strike down your views in this matter as wholly wrong.

Malice: desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness. -- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/malice

Apathy and self-interest are not malice, though at times the end result may be the same.

Volkai said...

"The problem with your argument goes back to the social nature of MMO's that a number of people have talked about, and I believe is THE most harmful thing about FFXI."

I strongly disagree... and really I have to wonder. If you think the social nature of MMOs is the most harmful, why do you play an MMO? There are plenty non-MMO multiplayer and singleplayer games out there.

And that's not a way of saying "please leave" so don't misinterpret it that way. I don't do subtext.

"I think where you might differ from many is the definition of "effectiveness" -- some would say that you need to parse at a certain amount of damage so that you can get 15-20K/hour XP or GTFO."

Well if someone's going to kick me out of their meripo, or ditch my meripo, because it's not up to their expectations, so be it. I can't be bothered to care about it.

"But, again, can you limit your situation to the context of just your own group? I'm not sure you can, given some of the events in FFXI."

I can. Nobody but me determines which events I take part in, no single piece of gear is so vital to me that I can't avoid any given event, no event outside of Campaign Battle or Besieged is done by only one Linkshell out of the entire community -- and nobody but an SE employee or myself can prevent me from taking part in either of those.

If I didn't want to do Dynamis, I could do Salvage for a Morg body to replace not getting a relic body on Blue Mage. If I wanted to do neither, I could go solo up the gil for a Royal Cloak -- or I could work on my Clothcraft and make one for myself.

Trial of the Magians does this for weapons now. Don't want to camp Charybdis? You can solo your way to a (lower-DMG) Antea. Want be an optimal solo WHM without shelling out for Mjollnir? Hey there's Culacula which has the same DMG and only two more Delay. It's not AS GOOD but it is a Reasonable Alternative.

No item, player, or group is unreplaceable and that is a wonderful thing.

Starcade, now from Siren said...

Volkai: I think you forget about one thing, about a lot of this:

Many people, especially the "trolls" like those in the NY Times Mag article I linked some months back, gain their enjoyment of this kind of stuff from making themselves (appear?) superior to those they wish to denigrate.

I mean, my view of online life changed forever the day that I heard of the people cheering one person to an online-streamed suicide.

And that's just one example...

As for why I'm still here: I started here because it's Final Fantasy (after starting with VII and the like, XIV will be the first numerical FF I _refuse to play_).

If I had truly believed the MM part of MMO to be that important, I'd have quit on my 40th birthday, the day of the Salvage bans, because the game would not be worth it to continue after seeing what is necessary, in the eyes of many (and, as server populations drop, a higher percentage) of the MM, to continue.

Volkai said...

You read too much BluGartr. HNM people aren't the majority of the player base. Stop thinking they are.

The people that got banned were a tiny fragment of the population. One in five hundred. Less than 1%.

Ditch the fixation, play to enjoy yourself.

If what you're trying to oppose it players who try to denegrate others, the best way to do it is by having fun and ignoring their existence.