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Permenant Ban is uncalled and unnacceptable

Discussion in 'FINAL FANTASY XI General Discussion' started by SephyGaruda, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. SephyGaruda

    SephyGaruda Guest

    Last week, hundreds of loyal players of the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI were told that their recent suspensions are now permanent bans from the game. At the surface, this event may seem no different from the other monthly occasions on which an upwards of 10,000 accounts are terminated. However, this type of large scale banning has generally been done as a means to combat the exchange of in-game currency for real-world currency, a problem that has plagued the game since its inception.

    What makes this particular banning different is that it is in reaction to a game flaw introduced and left in place for months by the games producers after its discovery and not real money trade or third-party program use (hacks). As an action against the most experienced, loyal, and accomplished players in the game, the event is likely to sound the death knell for the long running MMORPG, and perhaps the company itself.

    One of Final Fantasy’s most enjoyable and rewarding events is a battlefield called Salvage. For this event players are taken to a special area with all of their equipment and abilities restricted. Over the course of the event, players defeat monsters that can drop items that slowly remove these restrictions, increasing the power of the character.

    When Salvage was first introduced, the event was a mystery. The methods now known to allow rare and rewarding monsters to appear had to be figured out through methods of trial and error. The most advanced players had difficulty achieving success, lost in an area with no directions. When stressed players approached Square Enix for guidance, their pleas seemed to be overlooked. Eventually, after months of intent questioning and probing, Square Enix developers conceded that the event was more difficult than intended.

    In June 2007, sixth months later, SE adjusted the difficulty of Salvage by increasing the number of ways one could obtain these restriction-removing items. Shortly after these changes, another method to increase item rewards was uncovered. By executing a series of commands, items could be duplicated, similar to the already-implemented method of duplicating items within the area.

    Some within the select groups that had discovered this method showed concern. Four distinct players now report having called a Game Master (GM), the name of Square Enix's in-game support, calling attention to this manner as early as August of 2007. Each player claims that they were told that "The area is functioning as expected" or "We will investigate the matter" by the GM staff. One report even suggested that the GM staff claimed the development team was aware of the area's behavior and was not going to take any corrective measures.

    The terms of service states that players are forbidden to use cheats, exploits, or third-party programs. This message runs deep as many are glad to see third-party program users removed from the game. These same users, however, are having a different take on the recent banning.

    "Before, we have happy to see cheaters and RMT go. The game economy improved, prices dropped, and overall fairness was seemingly at the top of SE's agenda," one player on the Asura server who was not directly affected by the banning writes. "With this banning, we have seen a large portion game's top players shut down, ending friendships and coalitions within the players that have kept FFXI alive for so long."

    These opinions are not uncommon as many point to the terms of service as an inadequate justification for the banning.

    "The terms of service outlaws cheats, exploits, and third-party programs," a banned player on Garuda writes. "What it does not do is define what cheats and exploits are."

    When pointed to other strange elements of the game, this point seems more and more valid. In the same version update that modified Salvage, developers introduced Odin, one of the hardest boss monsters in the game. In order to defeat Odin, players are required to put themselves in a healing state or face instant death from a powerful attack. In fact, Final Fantasy XI is known for encouraging players to experiment with battle tactics that include forcing monsters into unnatural movement patterns that allow players to avoid any threatening attacks, defeating monsters that can only be slain with certain weapons, and overpowering enemies by the use of the same party commands used in Salvage to allow more than the allowed 18 players to face a single monster.

    After more than a thousand players were aware of the new method, suddenly Square Enix seemed to rapidly change direction. In November 2008, at the pressuring of what many describe as a "distinct but vocal minority" of the player base, Square Enix decided to shut down what they called a "programming error" in an emergency maintenance. Shortly after, again at the pressuring of players, they announced they would be investigating those who used the method within Salvage.

    Again, however, players called foul.

    "Many outside the few who had discovered the seemingly legitimate method were enraged because they were not privy to the method," said one player on the Phoenix server. "The Salvage process was essentially contained to the top players of the game. After all, they were the only ones generally intuitive enough to discover the inner workings of the area."

    The technique, which did not require the circumventing of game mechanics or third-party programs, was considered a highly illegal exploit by the game's developers and the accounts that could be "sold" to other online gamers for the upwards of $50,000 were essentially destroyed, ending years of accomplishments and game play for what was considering a "programming error".

    Now, many former Final Fantasy XI players sit, 16 months after the method was brought to the attention of the game's developers, without their accounts. Many point out that Square Enix has only dropping sales and a frustrated player base to look forward to as former players hope to be able to re-obtain their banned accounts and others look around and see their friends gone.

    It appears that when game developers suggested that players should "reach for the sky", they didn't mean it. Somehow, almost 1,000 people reached too high.
     
  2. Diomedes Artega

    Diomedes Artega Certifiable
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    So are you wanting comments, input or feedback, or what?

    For starters, no online account is going to sell for $50,000...I hate to tell you. Especially is this grief, stricken economy.

    Anyways, this is a link, for an article about an account that has sold for the most money in online gaming. What game is it you ask? Yes, that is right. It is WoW. Granted the link is not from an accredited source but you can find many links that will show what it sold for.

    http://www.sk-gaming.com/content/12498

    I have not played FFXI in some while, but yes Salvage was quite difficult. That said, I have a hard time believing all of this story.

    Based on the story, it sounds to me that people knew they were in an advantageous state.

    Anyhow, based on my own research just now, it seems the banning of the accounts was just and called for. Why you ask?

    http://www.warcry.com/news/view/88920-FFXI-the-Descent-of-the-Ban-Hammer

    They reviewed more than a years worth of logs with said players. So unfortunately, these people modeled behavior in terms of things that the FFXI staff found to be unscrupulous motives.

    I fortunately/unfortunately or what have you, side with the FFXI staff.

    As far as people who get banned in online games, they are responsible for their own actions. And guess what? At ALL times. That is why rules are written for harassment and other serious real life situations.

    Because all of the online game world has to be in an integral sense. What does that mean? Law and Order. Plain and simple.
     
  3. SephyGaruda

    SephyGaruda Guest

    I'm just trying to get the word out. That article was my first attempt and I'm just posting it around to see how it resonates. I'm trying to make it generic enough that you don't need to play FF to understand the main points of what happened.

    Based on feedback I've gotten from you and on other postings, I need to delve more into teh specific details to really make the point that point that
    1) It was unclear if this was a legitimate strategy or not
    2) When I called the GM about it, he told me it was odd, but the area is functioning normally. That lent further credability to the strategy, along with the fact taht SE took no action to change the behavior for an additional 15months after my conversation.
     
  4. Diomedes Artega

    Diomedes Artega Certifiable
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    I see, well fair enough. As far as the taking action part, it is quite clear why they didn't...at least in terms of some players they waited to ban.

    I had the opinion though, that perhaps you had a friend or friends who had partaken in said activities. My experience with online gaming is people aren't always who they put themselves out there as. That is even knowing and talking to people for months and months. It is difficult to know people's motives for things sometimes.

    I think in terms of a persuasive article, you need to provide cites and evidence to help document your claim. I try to be as objective as I can when it is called for and give my opinion in other forms the rest of the time.

    Based on what I found, knew and had read already, I substantiated my opinion. Which is basically that "they" knew what they were doing and hoped to not get caught, or didn't care.

    Sure based on what you said it took the SE Staff a long time to resolve the issue. Evidently in November of 2008 at the end of the month they did take action by performing an emergency maintenance to resolve the problem.

    Clearly it took a long time because the staff reviewed every log from the past year. Tells, Shouts, linkshell talk and what have you. Also right after the maintenance based on the article provided and the official maintenance posting, 550 players were immediately guilty and at fault.

    I think if one has an opinion, then you should state it when writing the article. I'm not sure which side you are on about this. Clearly you took what action you saw necessary or felt you were able to. This is fine and you weren't guilty of anything.

    As far as the players themselves, well there have been real life cases where the plaintiff has sued a game developer because of the action of banning their account. So I guess if a player is not guilty and really cares, that is the action they will take.

    http://www.kotaku.com.au/games/2008/08/shanda_bans_player_sued_for_causing_emotional_distress-2.html

    Is just one example of a player suing a company. They sued the developer for $1600.

    I am sure aside from your claim, there was probably many other claims made by players. Instead of jumping the gun and immediately doing something, the game staff had to:

    1. Collect evidence through game logs.
    2. Determine motives or lack there of.
    3. Perform maintenance to correct the problem which then lead to
    4. Banning of 550 accounts immediately based on evidence.
    5. Temporarily suspending 400 other accounts based on the gathered evidence.
     
  5. Trish

    Trish Certifiable
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    Since they fixed the glitch, I suppose we can talk about it here. I'm curious to know the exact steps that had to be taken to duplicate items. It's easy for me to just take my usual stance "glitching is cheating", but how glitchy did they had to get? I feel the same about the group that "defeated" Pandemonium Warden. They didn't beat him, they cheated to win.

    I haven't had the pleasure (?) of Salvage yet. I saw my husband go in once and it looked fun and challenging. But I can't imagine anyone actually believing it would be easier to get items there than, say, dynamis, limbus, einherjar, etc.
     
  6. Diomedes Artega

    Diomedes Artega Certifiable
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    Salvage is a lot of fun. I liked it more than any of the other end game areas. Mostly due to the fact that I liked Treasures of Aht Urghan the most out of all of the expansions.

    lol, Obviously they must have gotten pretty "glitchy" as you put it hehe, in order to ban almost 600 people right off the bat. While not believable perhaps, however "they" did it, it must have been quite the circumstances. Meaning, with whatever means were used it must have been quite easier to cheat in that area.

    The other areas as it is they already had an appropriate difficulty rating in my book. Salvage could have been countered better by the developers having done better testing to know the difficulty rating. Just that they could have done a better job to adjust it in the first place.

    i.e. Okay we want this to be tougher than the other areas but it should be "x" tough. Not just very difficult to begin with and not have a clue about that.
     
  7. VDubbAz

    VDubbAz Guest

    Exploiting a glitch for several months, says it all.

    People cheer and feel so accomplished when they find a code issue and exploit that issue. These people did this several times over each week and violated the TOS. Now they are caught and seem flabbergasted there is a punishment incorporated to the situation. Maybe they should only ban them for as long as they exploited the code. Does it matter if the dev's, who are SLAMMED with work as it is, remove it right away or not? No. You, the user, are required to notify the technical support staff and avoid the situation. These people chose to cheat. I was beta tester and eventually GM in Ultima Online and I can tell you we have no sympathy for people who misuse the game for personal gains. This ruins the environment for everyone else who ISN'T using the exploit. It also creates a super inflated market for game items which in turn also hurts the standard NON-cheating player. So you can complain, whine, and moan all you like but the truth is they cheated and they got punished. If they didn't, they'd still be playing the game. Hades has lost entire linkshells due to the exploitation of this bug and I say good bye. People are leasing the ability to use SE property and they violated the legal agreement. So instead of just getting the word out why don't you keep your trap shut or find another "fair" game where cheaters aren't punished.
     
  8. Diomedes Artega

    Diomedes Artega Certifiable
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    I haven't played in a while now, but it seems that they had made it a part of a patch, that you had to reagree to the user agreement due to real life trading of game accounts.

    It really is only right though what they did. I mean every time you play anyhow, you have to click saying you agree to the user agreement.
     
  9. jamison

    jamison Guest

    Square Enix has the right to ban any account they choose to for whatever reason they wish. You and everyone else agreed to this when you accepted the Play Online Membership agreement.

    Section 3.2, subsection d says"

    "SEI MAY SUSPEND, TERMINATE, MODIFY, OR DELETE ANY PLAYONLINE ACCOUNT AT ANY TIME, WITH ANY REASON OR NO REASON, WITH OR WITHOUT NOTICE."

    This can be found at https://secure.playonline.com/supportus/rule_polmember.html

    Regardless of how anyone feels about the terminations of the accounts, SEI is 100% in their rights to boot accounts.

    Feel free to discuss this further, but keep it civil.