Friday, May 24, 2013

Next shoe drops at Square-Enix... US President out, Euro President to oversee both regions...

Can't say any of this shocks me.

Reading Anime News Network (via Polygon), and this comes up:

"Square Enix America president and CEO Mike Fischer officially left the company this month. Fischer declined to comment on his resignation other than to say he left on good terms. Square Enix announced plans to let go of Fischer last month after laying off half of its marketing staff and around 20 employees in accounting, IT, and events. He has moved on as vice president of digital music and video for Amazon in Japan. 

Square Enix Europe CEO Phil Rogers will be taking over Fischer's former position. Rogers will now supervise both the European and American divisions."

Just more to keep in mind as time goes on.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Video Games and The Law of Unintended Consequences

(There's FFXI material in this one, but only peripherally.)

An interesting (and perhaps, for some, ominous) story came out of Nintendo over the weekend.

Nintendo (on the surface, not surprisingly) has finally formally slammed the door on what is called the "Let's Play"-ers -- video gamers who use their expertise and/or personalities to gain money by streaming or uploading playing of certain video games to various video social media.

Basically, Nintendo has decided (in a move which has already largely ended most of the relevant Let's Play's of their content) to seize the videos, and, instead of taking them down, they get the ad revenue now by putting their own ads on -- effectively putting many of the Let's Play-ers out of business.

On the surface, not surprising at all.  Read the statement provided by Nintendo through Anime News Network on the subject:

"As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database. For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips. We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property."

OK, fine.  The game is the property of the IP-owner.

But what this decision means is, so is the gameplay.

In short, though I'm no lawyer, the statement is obvious:

An IP-owner of a video game not only owns the copyright to the code of the game and the trademarks, etc. of the distinguishable characters, but owns the copyright and rights to ALL GAMEPLAY of their intellectual property.

And, in fact, this is true on an a priori basis -- it's true BEFORE the material ever gets uploaded to YouTube/streamed on Twitch/what have you.  This basically means (and this will become more and more relevant in 8th-generation consoling) that the IP-holder of a game owns your gameplay.

Else, Nintendo would have no right to register their copyright material with YouTube and stop people from making money off of their gameplay.

Except, the gameplay itself is not the players' either!  It belongs to the IP-holder, as a condition of playing the game.

And, again, on an a priori basis -- no attempt to make money is necessary (though it is the issue here) for the IP-holder (in this case, Nintendo) to do this.

So what would this mean if it were extended?  The end of the charity streams?  The end of all IP-unauthorized tournaments, streamed or otherwise?

And THEN you get to an interesting FFXI issue...  Once again, on the Official Forums, one of the (S?)GMs has had to smack down (at least verbally) calls for people to use Parser, an illegal third-party program.

But if Square-Enix owns all gameplay to their intellectual property, would this not mean that, by extension and force, that all "third-party" programs become, by a matter of legal definition, first-party?

Does this mean Square-Enix technically (whether it wants to admit it or not) own Windower, etc.?

Something to keep in mind!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Uncennial (XIth) Anniversary Mog Bonanza Prizes up

Well, they just put up the XP ring and the Mog Bonanza for the Uncennial (eleventh) anniversary, which is today.

Uncennial Ring:  12 hours, double XP, 10 charges, each charge is eleven thousand one hundred eleven maximum bonus XP.

Mog Bonanza:

L6:  No wins at all at any level. 

The consolation prize has been changed to a throwing-ammo Bonanza Ball, minimum damage, just something to have.

L5:  Last number matches the L5 drawn. 

No deletions (entry slips, Ark Angel/Etc. Statues (none of the new Shadow Lord II and III statues though)).

Two additions:

Copse Candy.  Assume that's the new Leafkin costume item.

and Mog Bonanza Kupon O.  No, not that valuable.  If you win, you get to add to your Mog House (not Rent-a-Room, just the Mog House), if you got that musical instrument made over the holidays, either the Eastern or Western Adoulin music.

Probably get the Eastern Adoulin music with this one.

L4:  Last two numbers match the L4 numbers drawn.

The two Kupons at this level at Homecoming were both removed (the +1 Seals for any Empyrean job and some of the Sea Torque drops).

The Mass Chalemie (BRD Instrument) and Abdhaljis' Honor (Legion) slots were also removed.

No other deletions -- still have a Black Belt item, Odin Statue, skill-up ring, and Ark Angel weapon to choose from.

In exchange for the four deletions, a new Mog Kupon has been added, as well as an item:

Kupon S2 will allow the winner to pick any ONE Simulacrum Skirmish piece (head of either zone, body, OR feet -- one piece) at level II.

The item is a Frayed Sack of Mortality +1.  My guess is that it contains Skirmish +1 stones, but I'm not 100% certain,

And that's probably what I'd pick, the Frayed Sack +1.

L3:  Most everything in this area got dumped from Homecoming.  Gil option still remains, same pari-mutuel percentages from Homecoming.  27% here.

Pretty much the only retentions were the Galley Kitchen and the Nomad Moogle Rod.  (WHY THE HELL IS THAT ROD L3???)

An actual demotion from L2 for Homecoming to L3 and an expansion:  Kupon Ny.  One piece of Neo-Nyzul Isle top gear, wider selection than Homecoming.

Another addition:  The Speed Belt, the saleable Haste +6% belt.  (About 8-10M gil.)

Kupon Sa is another addition:  One piece of Neo-Salvage +1 gear.

Kupon S5 has been added as well.  Same drill as S2, except at Maximum level (V).  One piece of statue, level V.

And the Frayed Sack M2 -- probably the +2 equivalent of whatever the M1 sack does for +1s.

Tough call with the expansion of Neo-Nyzul and Neo-Salvage and the like..  Have to think that one over.

L2:  23% gil option.

The Voidwatch stuff is gone.  The Neo-Nyzul was demoted to L3.

The four new choices:  The Delve Boss crafting items from the Delve bosses.  Probably worth a shit-ton once they become available...

Eek.  The Black Belt or the Shaper's Shawl, probably!

L1:  50% of the gil goes in this pool.

The Ridill and Sagasinger are gone.

From here, it's pretty much a ripoff with Delve and Skirmish around.  K-Club, D-Ring, 10K currency-piece, Relic/Mythic/Empyrean at 90, Ebisu...

One addition:  Kupon D.  Delve Boss Armor, from this update.  The six armor drops from the bosses.  Can we say off the F-ing charts?

Almost certainly a Delve Armor choice, once they peel me off the ceiling after getting L1...

One comment:  It's almost certain they are NOT expecting ANYBODY -- even CheaterGartr -- to clear the Boss Delve stuff any time soon, given this prize table.  (Otherwise, we'd have seen the weapons too.)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Matsui's latest Official Forums discussion on advancement through gear highlights why I'm pissed...

Matsui, in trying to placate the growing controversy on the effective uselessness of Relics, Mythics, and Empyreans at 99, just highlighted the main problem I have with the whole mess.

What he did was posted the general scope of the level of content in Adoulin content.

He posted not only what he believes to be current content levels, but also what is being planned for future updates...

What he wants people to look at is the level of gear (and of play) being above and beyond 99 -- hence, even beyond "hypergame", as I've called it.

So I'm going to rescale his chart a little bit, based on what I've seen in the 6-ish weeks since release:

Level 100-102 (T to a 99):  Regular monsters in Adoulin Start Areas:
Level 103-105:  Caves and second areas (Foret, Morimar...)
Level 100-104:  Colonization and Lair Reives (Present six areas -- Starter and cave/seconds)
Level 105:  Skirmish
Level 106:  Wildskeeper Reives
Level 105-108:  Colonization and Lair Reives in the next set of areas.
Level 110:  Delve NM's I II and III
Level 112:  Skirmish, new update.
Level 113:  Delve NM's IV and V
Level 116:  Wildskeeper Reives, new update
Level 119+:  Delve NM Boss

So the question is, is the point of entry the bayld gear (99), augmented (101 or so), or this cheater-led NNI and Legion gear that Matsui has probably put on his list somewhere around 105-106?

That's the problem.  If it's the latter, then, basically, our efforts at legitimate play are worth nothing.

At that point, legalize EVERYTHING.  Turn this game into WOW.

One law for everybody, or no law for anybody.

Anyone with an ear to the ground knows most every prominent EGLS/HNMLS player uses Windower and/or RMTs by selling gil.  If I, by not cheating, am now so far behind the loop that I can't catch up without not only cheating, but buying gil for the number of (sabotaged) runs I'd need, then I need to have a talk with Square-Enix' Legal Department.

As things stand now, I do not believe I will be able to complete even storyline Adoulin content without illegal software.  That should not be.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mr. Matsui, you're about one more bad move from a lawsuit...

One I would lose (which is why your predecessors didn't get one), but too much more of this belief that you are in the Suck Less BG-esque camp, and it won't matter to me whether I lose a civil lawsuit, because, frankly, it's either that or a criminal action the people around me who rely on me in Real Life (*gasp!* -- remember, Square-Enix, there is such a thing!!) cannot afford.

This "You Need Best-In-Slot Gear Or Don't Fucking Think of Doing Adoulin Content Without Windower, Scripts, and Other Illegal Bullshit" bullshit has to stop.

Or you will lose all of your remaining legitimate players.

Of course, listening to the North American side of things, do you have any legitimate players LEFT?  What have you got, about three menial players like that:  Me, Tohihroyu, and her boyfriend?

If it's not a gil-selling asshole who is more than happy to merc out illegally-gained wins (both his initial and the ones you're paying for) because he and his gear now control the content, it's a stupid motherfucker who basically won't take you at all because you don't suck cock, or will watch the entire alliance desert him if he takes me.  (Yep, had one earlier this week!)

What, you fuckers run or something behind our fucking backs?

Basically, finally started Delve content last night, got about 10K plasm in a farming group over several runs.

Quetzacotl, the bitch he is, probably tried to MPK us to sabotage one run, and we had to toss the cheating fucker Chromatics for leeching.

(And yes, you piece of shit, I'll more than happily say it to your face.  The problem is I've already got two strikes on my account with the game for my language, and I'm really getting to the point where it's either language or getting addresses.  Already got one guy's city and zip code, and have stored all that for safekeeping...)

So tonight, Perdurable Raptor in Morimar.  Not sure what his trick is, but we easily beat it if the fight is 30 minutes.

But no, it's 20, and I gotta go, Real Life calling!

You know, I'm already aware, Square-Enix, that your fucking "Note to the Players" "Get A Life Statement" is a fucking joke.  For the first time, I now believe the necessary level of gear to play content I desire to play is no longer legally possible.

To paraphrase what Hulk Hogan said to Vince Russo before he was fired by WCW, there's a reason your fucking company lost 13,000,000,000 yen last year.  (That's 13 BILLION -- now about $128M in a badly-devalued yen dropped 30% over the course of the last seven months.) 

You are catering to the wrong people, and doing it badly on top of it.

You are catering to a bunch of subhuman cretins, frankly with the wrong type of product.

The only reason you got the badly underperforming number of sales of Tomb Raider you did is because these shit-for-brains gamers in this country equate Lara Croft with Jiggle.

JRPGs will not sell well to the Call of Duty Fuck Everyone Over club.

Most of these guys basically badly need baseball bats to the skull.

I shouldn't have to bend my Real Life to this game.

At this point, frankly, we're back to where we were two years ago.

Sorry to say that, but all the promise you had in this game went away with the barriers you set to entry.  Between making all the work on Relics, Mythics, and Empyreans irrelevant and then making the entry fights to the new material basically unwinnable without cheats, you've taken all the promise of the 99 cap and blown it to shreds.

Congratulations, and may you reap the whirlwind.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Has Matsui screwed the pooch?

As of tomorrow, all field NM fights with Delve NMs die in 20 minutes.

This basically means no more Key Items for the rank and file of players, perhaps leaving Delve to the fucking BluGartr cheaters.

Listen, if the BG fuckers are right and you are truly telling us to "SUCK LESS", then please run the rest of us off your fucking game because you have no clue what you're doing.

You are effectively REQUIRING illegal conduct to play any kind of material in Adoulin save menial start-farming and slave-labor, effectively.

You'd have to be Windower-ing and far more just to have any degree of an idea what's going on to kill these assholes in 20 minutes.

And that's part of the problem:  If you're telling us we shouldn't even be ATTEMPTING this material, have the honesty to come and say so.

The problem is:  The only people who WOULD be worthy have no right to be in this fucking game.  Cheaters, every last fucking one of them, at least on the North American side.

If you're going to make this game that stratified piece of shit that this game was at 75, where cheating was effectively required for meaningful progress, then count me out.  And ban me for Game Disruption By Being Too Gimp (which would be actionable under 3.2, especially if this is Matsui's idea of the future of Final Fantasy XI...)

Give us some fucking reason to abide by the rules, or we won't.  And that'll include making a few bucks on the side!!  Wake up, or have your game put to sleep -- for good!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Major banning has been rumored to have taken place, but to heck if I can find out more...

Been talking to my "agents in the field" the last several days, where references have been made to a nearly-6,000 player ban (probably related to the recent Fell Cleave notice posted on the website), but the devil if I can actually find anywhere that is confirming it.

That said, I cannot be surprised.

And what has not surprised me even more is that responses to the notice have been completely and utterly wrong.
The Fell Cleave parties are illegal, even outside the scope of RMT involvement.  There are two problems with the belief that the Fell Cleave parties are legal for legitimate players.  (For the record, I believe the previous statement the North American Community Team has made to the contrary has been overridden -- it no longer is in force, as of April 25th.)   The first is found in KB12522, the concept of Absentee Play:

"Basically, absentee play means that the player leaves the controller unattended for a long period of time while the character is doing something. The player needs to be able to react to anything that happens to the character during the game. If characters can be made to do things like mine or fish while the player is away, the game will be thrown out of balance. Players who have been engaging in absentee play will be reprimanded by the GMs. If you leave your game for any period of time, be sure to turn off any macros you have running. Please not that macros provided with FINAL FANTASY XI, such as AutoRun and /follow are NOT considered absentee play."

Even though the character is doing nothing, the player is still receiving the benefit of someone else doing something for them.

The concept, then, becomes even more crystallized in the User Agreement, Section 2.2:

"2.2  Real Money Trading, Farming and Power-Leveling.  You may not sell, purchase or exchange for real-world money or value any in-game currency, accounts, characters, in-game services, or in-game virtual items.  You may not play the Game for the purpose of acquiring virtual items or advancement in game play on behalf of a third-party or for the purpose of selling any virtual assets to a third party for real-world money, specifically including “gold-farming” and power-leveling services."

I'll bring out the relevant part for those who may not see where I'm going:

"You may not play the Game for the purpose of acquiring virtual items or advancement in game play on behalf of a third-party..."

What this means is very simple:

The act of playing the game to advance the other players in a Fell Cleave party (or ANY such XP-acclereative situation) is illegal in and of itself. 

This does raise the possibility that Power Levelling in and of itself might not even be legal, outside any compensation.  But payment/compensation to advance in this manner most certainly is.

So why do I feel the need to bring this up again today?

It appears as if one of the most popular (deemed to be not RMT) Fell Cleave announcers either has a friend or has been forced to make an alt.

I'm talking about you, Mandragora, and Mandragoras too.

Already reported the latter last night, and made it clear I did.

You should've heard the shitstorm.

I have been threatened with "backlash".

Unless this piece of shit and his cheating cohorts want to find my address and come on down (and they better be damn well armed if they do, because someone's leaving in a hearse or Coroner's van if that comes down), they can't "backlash" me.

This game is becoming perilously close to a criminal enterprise -- in that criminal acts on the part of the playerbase, in conjunction with a blind eye turned by a desperate-for-cash Square-Enix, basically dictate play.

That day needed to stop with the Salvage bans four years ago.

Frankly, at least 80% of the North American players need to fucking go, and go yesterday.  If that shuts down the game, bye-bye to an illegal criminal enterprise, because even the money Square-Enix gets from it, then, is dirty cash. 

You want to "backlash" me, boys and girls?  You either better get the cops or better be ready to get your hands dirty.

You are the type of motherfuckers that make American gaming and gamers look like the jokes they are.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

At The Precipice: The Obsole-tion of Gear

Square-Enix may finally have jammed their ass in it one time too many with this Delve content, and the rewards thereof.

They, correctly, note that this is the greatest gear Vana'diel has ever seen!!

Too bad it is so far above anything else the game has ever seen, that Square-Enix now has a very prescient problem...

One Tohihroyu talks about in another Final Fantasy XI forum:

"First my ToM scythe gets beaten by an AH scythe, now my relic I worked my butt off with my friend (and worked on 2 of his with him includeing trials and fighting the NM's to get the Test & Fragment) is getting beaten by 3 fucking scythes! the only upside being Apoc has haste aftermath and the very nice drain effect."

That "friend" being me -- my Mandau (now 80 and on the last trial to 85), and my Gungnir (now 90).

It's now clear from a later Official Forums post from Matsui that I'm going to have to get them to 99 before we can even talk about what efforts WILL be made to improve them.

Here's the problem:

Gungnir at 99:  DMG 159 Delay 492 ACC +40 Geirskogul (which is not the world's greatest relic WS -- Drakesbane is better, and that's why Tohi and her friends helped me finish off Nyzul just a few weeks ago, to which I basically got Drakesbane after about two hours of spiders in Abyssea).

Here are two polearms that were in the new update.  One is purchase-able with Delve "currency".  The other is probably a Delve HNM drop.

Ophidian Trident:  DMG 181 Delay 396...


So you spend upwards of 18,000 Ancient Currency units and 100M gil on top of it to get the Gungnir to 99.  You now have a weapon in the game (and this is the weapon which is probably purchase-able from the NPC!) that is 22 more damage AND almost 100 less Delay.  FOR A POLEARM!!!

That 396 Delay is comparable to the very low end of Polearms, and the DMG blows the Relic (and the Mythic and Empyrean) out the freaking door!

AND it has +8 DEX, VIT, and ACC.  OK, so 32 less ACC than the Gungnir, but STILL...

And then we get to this piece of ridiculousness, which is almost certainly a Delve HNM drop:

The Upukirex.

The Delay is 492 and ACC + 40, just like the 99 Gungnir.

But wait...  STR +13, Attack +25, a 2% increase in Critical Hits...

And the damage is only ...  266.

Before this update, the Gungnir 99 (and the Empyrean Rhonogomiant at 99) had the highest damage, ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN fewer points worth.

How about MAB +50-+70 on the staves?

How about this for a headpiece:  DEF 80 STR and VIT +20 Accuracy and Attack +25  Store TP +4 and we'll throw in 7% Haste...

What are you trying to do, Square-Enix?

You really put your entire enterprise on the precipice.  Allow only the Windower/bot elitists these things, and no one else will play.

More than a few people are already quitting, coming from the Official Forums.

Oh my word...  Just...  No...