Has Square Enix Banned Logic?

Written by Scott "Thayos" Pesznecker and Bret "Elmer" Mayer.

Relax -- Final Fantasy XI will be just fine.

That's what the development team said two months ago, right after Square Enix announced the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XIV. Although the news was embraced across the MMO universe, many FFXI players voiced concern over how this would affect their game. The development team reacted quickly, saying they already had a year’s worth of updates all planned out, and that they had no intention of stopping after that.

But is everything OK in Vana'diel?

In the weeks following the announcement -- a time when Square Enix should have been reassuring its FFXI fanbase -- scores of players were suddenly banned from Vana'diel. They temporarily banned droves of players for selling gardened goods to NPCs. Then they started banning people who did so little as to change their billing information. Then, with their playerbase already in a frenzy, they changed their longtime billing rules with less than one day of notice.

Whether they’re trying to crush RMT or simply trying to make accounts more secure, the folks at Square Enix have dealt some serious collateral damage to their fans through this wave of hastily implemented security measures.

These gaffes by Square Enix could not have come at a worse time.

Many of these players were reinstated, but Square Enix never gave an official explanation as to why the bannings took place. Through conversation on various forums, players began to realize that most who had been banned had gardening mules on their accounts. Players suspect the bannings were an unintended result of Square Enix's patented "RMT-PWNER," an automated program designed to punish and ban RMT.

Then came the credit card bannings. Some players noticed they had been billed twice by Square Enix, and some said they were banned after attempting to correct the issue through their banks or financial institutions. Some players were reportedly banned for "irregular activity" on their credit cards; others banned for the same reason were not specifically told it was regarding their credit cards, leaving them to guess what exactly "irregular activity" means.

Given the nonsense of the previous two months, is it surprising that people freaked out when Square Enix announced a sudden change to the terms of service? And with just one day of notice?

Starting immediately, all North American Final Fantasy XI players must register their credit card with VerifiedByVisa or MasterCard SecureCode. However, there are many Final Fantasy XI players who might not possess their own credit cards. Furthermore, as many are discovering, their cards may not even be eligible for the service. What are players supposed to do? Square Enix has provided a bare minimum of explanation, and people across America are left scrambling and asking questions - a situation that is all too familiar.

Makes you wonder, will players be faced with similar hurdles in Final Fantasy XIV?

What is Square Enix trying to accomplish here?

There is a trend in Japanese business (and around the world) to become more and more internationalized. Square Enix has subsidiaries located in North America and Europe, recently acquired Eidos Interactive, and has also made a deal with French gaming company Ubisoft to distribute foreign games in Japan. They appear to have the savvy to play on the world stage, but do they have the cultural know-how required to support this diverse set of customers?

According to the most recent change to the terms of service, the answer to that question is a resounding "no". This new provision seems to only affect players in North America. While the change may reduce the number of credit card billing errors (and subsequent knee-jerk bannings), many players are growing weary of jumping through hoops to play a video game. Meanwhile, in Japan, a player can stroll into any number of convenience stores and throw down a little cash for electronic "Web Money" to fuel their account. There is no signature or ID required; you can buy it like any old bag of squid-flavored chips.

Perhaps Square Enix added the credit card verification requirement to reduce errors in its North American accounting process. Recently, Japanese companies have been pressured by their government to keep impeccable financial records. Financial reports, once compiled twice a year, are now required to be submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Tokyo Stock Exchange four times every fiscal period.

Regardless, improving overseas customer service should be a top priority, especially with the global launch of a new flagship title looming on the horizon. If Square Enix cares to improve its global image, then why are North American players being treated so differently than Japanese players? There seems to be a large difference here between the type of customer Square Enix may be used to in their home country versus those around the world - customers they never had to deal with in the intricate way an MMO demands.

The gardening bans didn't help in that department, either.

For years, SE has been methodically eradicating RMT from Vana'diel. Gil sellers used to camp every spawn point in sky, monopolize most NMs, manipulate the auction house, fish on every shoreline and mine 24 hours a day. Now, the RMT left in FFXI are just shadows of their former selves. Most players only really notice RMT when they get a /tell advertising a gil-selling site.

When looking at the big picture, Square Enix deserves praise for carrying on its relentless attack against RMT.

However, not one legitimate player should have been banned when SE decided to scorch the flowerpots of the gilsellers. The gardening bans were blind, careless and showed a complete lack of regard for the well-being of the playerbase. There's simply no valid reason why innocent players were carpet bombed in order to get at the RMT.

The people at Square Enix are trying to change. Premier sites such as Allakhazam are getting more attention. Fan Festivals are now regularly planned to occur in North America.

Still, there appears to be this lack of sensitivity to foreign players that has not caught up with the times and continues to cause these baffling situations. If the company hopes to maintain and grow its global MMO audience, then there are some basic truths that SE must embrace:

1. We want to hear from you. If you're going to ban legitimate players, they have a right to know the reason. Don't expect to be forgiven until you explain your actions.

2. We want to be heard. Players have made several suggestions over the years that would have significantly improved gameplay while also quelling the RMT and account security issues. By and large, we feel we've been ignored.

3. We will not tolerate being banned for no reason. Your terms of service may give you the right to do so, but to us, that's an unacceptable way to treat a longtime customer -- even if it's only temporary.

There's more, but that's a good start.

We're willing to cut SE a little bit of slack. They've shown that they're interested in better serving our needs. When players hear Tanaka joke about "meeting players halfway and partying in Hawaii for Fan Fest," or see Sage Sundi with a BlueGartr cap at the Developer's Panel, they cannot help but smile. It displays some humanity from the mysterious creators of Vana'diel and a connection with the players that transcends cultural boundaries and boosts our confidence in the product.

The recent gaffes are frustrating not only because they discourage us as customers, but because they severely undercut Square Enix's efforts to move forward as a global player in the MMO world. With their new MMO title scheduled to launch next year, these are mistakes they simply cannot afford to make.

Comments

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3-D Secure MUST be removed
# Sep 06 2009 at 4:43 PM Rating: Decent
16 posts
The verified by visa and mastercard securecode srequisite must be removed from all playonline games, apps.
This screw up a lot of people around the world, since not all banks are certified, plus as far as Visa people told me the program is new and not all banks now of it.
Please shout in Final Fantasy XI for this requeriment to be removed, also send comments to playonline on their page, only way to remove this crap, is to massive comments for it to be removed.
Stupid SE
# Sep 01 2009 at 7:45 AM Rating: Decent
11 posts
Very good article, thank you .

Even honest and loyal players against RMT are getting banned . I for one,a loyal player for 6 years or so, was banned a few weeks from now and they said I was a gardening RMT , which is total crap , coming from them. All of my friends know that too. So, if SE thinks that I will buy or even think about their new FFXI , then its not the case. I mean why hastle innocent people if they can't even tell between a RMT player and an honest player. SE is getting a pretty bad reputation right now , coming from me and all the innocent players.

Edited, Sep 1st 2009 7:03pm by AchilesOdin
on topics
# Aug 16 2009 at 8:10 AM Rating: Decent
17 posts
So, I came to read the forums to see if, after a 3 month hiatus and a major update, if there was any point in trying out FFXI again.

Apparently, there isn't.

On RMT 'cleansweep' bans: I had created Yuki on Sylph, and had moved to Remora at first migration when the server was created. I remember it as a blissful paradise, where items were actually affordable (10k for an Ice Staff that on Sylph was selling for 1.2 mil). I could actually spend my time playing the game - doing missions, hunting HNM, doing sky/dynamis, rather than spending my time in constant farm trying to afford the "basic" equipment needed to play at an endgame level.

Then came the 2nd migration and the RMT.

My paradise became a nightmare. 1.5mil to buy a stack of toolbags of shihei, 300k minimum for any kind of sushi because the RMT had complete control of wasabi...the economy was in a strangle hold. The only way to buy anything was to buy gil - and the RMT pyramid scheme was perfect; control the AH, use it to sell gil, people use the gil to buy from the AH, and you can sell that person back the very same gil you just sold him an hour ago because he just used it to buy from you. It was no longer about the fishbots or minebots, who sold most of the crap to vendors anyway, and then selling the gil to make a few bucks - it was complete domination of the game by the RMT.

SE finally stood up and did something about it, and I applaud them for that - but what they did didn't make sense fiscally as a company, nor did fix the problem for the playerbase as a whole. From a fiscal standpoint of a company, each one of those RMT accounts paid their monthly fees - which goes to the company. While what they were doing is deplorable, they were cutting off revenue.

So, they decided to attack the symptoms of the problem. They started putting in code to search for bots, started monitoring RMT activities vs 'normal' player activity, and began mass banning of them. The economies roughly returned to the players, and the RMT were decimated. However, by only fixing the symptoms, they left the root of the problem: FFXI really doesn't have any 'legitimate' way of making money.

When I go out and hunt an NM, I sell the drop at the AH. Some other player bought it; where did he get the money to buy it? He went out and farmed wild onions for hours, selling them on the AH. Someone bought those onions...where did they get that money from? The truth of the FFXI economy is that there is a limited supply of money generated from the game to players, vs. the even rarer supply of items and high cost of NPC goods. Sure, there's an unlimited supply of say wild onions. But there's a finite supply of things like a venomous claw - after all, it takes 60 beastmen seals or 30 kindred seals just to get ahold of one - or an HNM that pops every 24 hours - and that's assuming it even drops and you win the drop. And then, since there's a high rate of failure during synthesis, when that claw breaks - you spent 500k on the claw, and now have no harness to sell to recoup the money. Not only that, but in what is supposed to be a co-operative play game, there's a LOT of people who don't get any part of the treasure. "YOYD" KSNM's, for example, you get 1 claw out of 6 orbs, you were needed to kill the mobs, but you weren't lucky enough to get the drop on your orb. Oh well, that's your roll of the dice - but that's the system for everything. It takes 18+ people to kill Kirin, but he's not going to drop more than 1 Osode - and let's not forget that he drops absolutly nothing for some of the jobs that are there. You have we'll say 24 people at a Kirin, and it drops 2-6 things. 1/12-1/4 of the group leaves happy, the rest "oh well, thanks for spending hours and hours getting these people their items, who will now probably not help you because they got what they wanted."

And then, let's not forget how much resources are pulled out of the game just to do the game's content. Every Dynamis that occurs removes 1 million gil from the server's active economy, because you buy the hourglass from an NPC. Yet if the dynamis group were to try to generate that 1 mil from the NPC's to pay for it, it would be ludicris - the NPC's in the game just simply don't generate that much money. So constantly more money is being stripped from the active economy than is being put into it. And with more dwindling population, and in fact people being afraid to try to farm money from NPC's because of the account bans - there's really no way for the money to re-enter the economy.

RMT is not a problem that was unique to FFXI - Vanilla WoW had its own RMT problem, and in fact, I would say it was probably on a much larger scale. While the game was full of instance material from the start, money was not easy to come by in Vanilla like it is in later WoW. Crafting items, green drops to disenchant, etc. were all being strangled by the RMT, and with a 50 gold repair bill needed to raid, that was catastrophic to the game. Blizzard, at least, decided to attack the cause, instead of the symptom. They simply made money easy to acquire. Time consuming at times, sure, but with Burning Crusade and Daily quests, there was virtually limitless cash flow. Yes, WoW has its RMT, and they're probably some of the worst, since they've been hacking websites to put keylogger codes to steal people's accounts to liquidate for money to sell - but in terms of the RMT presence, they have no control over the economy nor prevent players from actually playing the game. "Starter" endgame equipment can be purchased (the quality of equipment necessary to run dungeons, which gets you then the gear to run raids) for an easy enough fee, or is simply rewarded for completing quests. And before we bemoan the "easiness" of WoW, let's not forget that it composes a 10+mil playerbase, many of whom were one time fans of FFXI.

My point of this, on the RMT issue, is that unless SE starts to seriously start dealing with the causes, rather than the symptoms, then they will never be a serious contender in the MMO marketplace ever again. Rather than blindly zapping RMT accounts, they should be asking "why do people feel they need to buy gil in the first place?", and taking those answers to the developers to patch and improve the game.

On CC Security: I don't use "credit" cards. I have a bank debit card, which has only as much money as I actually have. I'm not going to put funky security crap on my bank card to play an online game - and why is this still the only online game that I can't go to my local video game store and buy time cards? Every other MMO on the market place today, I can walk into the store, put cash on the counter, and buy a time card to play.

The Playonline system is, in itself, quite antiquated, and they haven't updated it to stay current with the times - remember, this game came out in '02. When I think of how much has changed in the world, US economy, my own life and personal banking, it makes me seriously wonder how the playonline billing system is basicly the exact same as it was when I first came home and eagerly installed my brand new copy of FFXI. Of course, I'm a simple guy; I like to just be able to enter my CC number in the little boxes; most things ask me for those little numbers on the back now to verify that I physically have the card in my hand; and I expect they will bill my card for what they say they will do.

But, I deplore much of the FFXI community for not using their cards correctly that has made this situation in the first place. Just reading through the above posts, I see post after post about "I've been double billed, and I called my bank/credit card." And that is where you went terribly wrong. When FFXI bills incorrectly, you should call FFXI support FIRST. They can review their records and credit back your card.

When you call your bank/card issuer FIRST, they issue what is called a chargeback - they send the charge back to SE, who then has to prove that it was a legitimate charge, and there are multiple fees associated with the chargeback. I ran my own small business, and the worst thing to ever happen was when I would get chargebacks - the processing house would often hit me with $30 fees for every chargeback, and when you're hit with a $30 for a $15 bill - you're not only out the $15, because the CC took it back, you then have to pay double that in fees.

Now, while many of the double billing errors are SE's fault to begin with, their reaction in wanting security on the cards is not unjustified when you consider that we have acted improperly. We call our banks instead of the company, and the company is never given a chance to correct it. So now the company says "You have to put on a security to your card that says 'I am the one using this card, so you can't hold the company responsible if I'm a moron and can't use it right.'" That means that yes, a great number of us who were doing things correctly the whole time have to get it as well, because there are those of us who have not been using them correctly who have cost the company money. Knowing firsthand how much chargeback fees often cost, I can see why a company that is doing this on such a large scale as FFXI would want them to end; it's costing the company more than its worth to have the customers. For everyone 1 customer that calls their bank instead of FFXI support, SE needs to have 3 customers just to break even and cover the fees. Regardless of how long you've been a good standing customer, they need 3 of your for everyone 1 of the people costing them money, and the reality is there probably isn't that many anymore with the dwindling population of the game.

Also, let's remember that SE is a long-standing software company, that hasn't had to deal with global, revolving fees until this project. They would produce a physical product, sell it to a distributor, and that is the end of their part - they have their money and it's done. With a revolving fee system, you have a constant account maintenance that you've never had to deal with before. Again, I believe that SE's Playonline billing system is antiquated and needs a major overhaul - mainly that they need to set it up to prepay for the month instead of postpay - but we, as the customer, have to take responsibility for our own actions that have led them to this point.

Unfortunately, it is not worth it to a lot of people. In a couple of months I'll check the environment again and see if the FFXI climate has improved to make it a game worth playing again. But at this point, I feel like I'm just poking a dead bird with a stick - I can keep poking it over and over, but that doesn't change the fact that it's dead.

Yukihoshi,
Sylph -> Remora -> Leviathin -> Caitsith

Edited, Aug 16th 2009 12:29pm by yukihoshi
followup?
# Aug 10 2009 at 11:19 AM Rating: Good
14 posts
First of all, thank you for the article. It addressed current concerns as well as a good first step to get SE's attention into this. Since to this date they have not shown any response nor action, I was wondering if admins have planned a followup article. My suggestion would be to make the article more visible like with banners, etc within the forums and site.
the fututre
# Aug 10 2009 at 4:16 AM Rating: Decent
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actually my main concern was that i wanted to keep playing ffxi but it wasnt backwards compatible with my ps3. i worked on my character since the beginning of the game and sometimes dont want to play on the pc ( it takes alot of space) and now i hear that they are basically doing it over again with 14 (im guessing) along with fisxing the bad things about ffxi and keeping the good things about it. i really really hate saying good by to my guy on here but im not paying for 2 online games and since id rather play on my console i guess they (square enix) wins and im going to hop on board the new ff online game i hope i lie it
rip geosstrike
the fututre
# Aug 10 2009 at 4:16 AM Rating: Decent
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actually my main concern was that i wanted to keep playing ffxi but it wasnt backwards compatible with my ps3. i worked on my character since the beginning of the game and sometimes dont want to play on the pc ( it takes alot of space) and now i hear that they are basically doing it over again with 14 (im guessing) along with fisxing the bad things about ffxi and keeping the good things about it. i really really hate saying good by to my guy on here but im not paying for 2 online games and since id rather play on my console i guess they (square enix) wins and im going to hop on board the new ff online game i hope i lie it
rip geosstrike
Concerning actions by SE
# Aug 08 2009 at 11:06 PM Rating: Decent
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Thanks for the article. It highlights the concerns that have been raised in my mind by recent events going as far back as the 1/22 bannings. Unfortunately it does little to allay those concerns, but only SE can do that at this point.

Edited, Aug 9th 2009 3:06am by Volkai
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Posted it to:
# Aug 07 2009 at 9:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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I know it's just yahoo, but I linked it here: Yahoo News.
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#ringthree, Posted: Aug 05 2009 at 8:10 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) This article is some of the most paranoid clap trap I have ever read.
This column is the only place that is lacking logic.
# Aug 06 2009 at 7:39 AM Rating: Excellent
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While you may say the column lacks logic, Ring, I don't see you providing any logic yourself. At least Elmer & Thaynos are speaking up when no one else is.
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This column is the only place that is lacking logic.
# Aug 05 2009 at 2:24 PM Rating: Good
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ringthree wrote:
I am an SE shill


Does Square Enix pay you by the word or by the paragraph?
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I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
not NA only
# Aug 05 2009 at 5:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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I want to add that these problems are not "NA only" ...

Since European people dont use Creditcards on a regular basis, the most of them dont even have one. When FFXI started i had the Problem myself > how shall i pay? I Dont have a CC...so i asked a friend which had one, and he was playing also.

One day, 4 years after i started, ALL Accounts which were payed by this card (11 Accounts total) became banned. For absolute no reason! This aint fair...
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3D Secure Payment
# Aug 04 2009 at 3:44 AM Rating: Decent
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the new credit card payment system, what so called 3D secure is nothing new. it been around for at least 5+ years.

it just not many people actually impletement this onto their payment system.
However few years ago, payment gateway have foce many on-line business to change to 3D-secure due to the launch of the chip and pin schema, introduces by the government.

So in uk, it is more like a force to impletement of the 3D-secure system. However to use the 3D-secure, you have to sign up for the verify by visa and that mastersecure things.

But the way it work in uk, is that, if your card is base issue in uk and have chip and pin function, then you are force to use verfiy by visa /master secure

if not for example, another country like china, then u can just use the credit card in the old fashion way.

Suppost to be increase security and act like enter pin for online-payment. however, if u read the team and condition, it is just a way for the bank to push blame on customer.

it is clearly state that, by using 3-D secure, it is the customer's responsible that it is really the owner of the card who make the transaction. any fraud or cost lost will be on owner's reponsbility.

its a way to push lost to customer with a nice way of saying it increase secuity and adding extra step to do it.

I'm not quiet sure what happen in north american, maybe they have just introduces chip and pin? maybe it is in a process of it, but... the schema on chip and pin are already try to push this method to other part of the world.
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# Aug 03 2009 at 7:19 PM Rating: Decent
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my name is Phillipe and i am a THF @ Titan

Have suffered each month with the 1 dollar thing and have to constantly update my CC info due to bank rejecting SE from recurrent payments.

Currently unable to play till bank update yets more info in my account so i can use the NEW payment system. The guys from my bank only hear from me due to SE. other than that i am quite a nice cooperative customer who tries not to take anyone's time unless really needed.

Way to go SE
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# Aug 03 2009 at 2:43 PM Rating: Good
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Theres probably been extremely poor communication between the Square Enix board of directors, the FFXI Developement Team, "the special task force" and playonline.

I havent played since the 2007 leak of "project rapture" but i remember playonline offices in LA,CA having an extremely well mannered and helpful support through their phone desk. The one time i had a credit card discrepancy they fixed the problem under 24 hours.

Square Enix has probably let go of some communicators between Japan, North America and Europe. So whenever asking for account specific documentation the support at your local office are probably as frustrated as you are.

If you dont know, or havent noticed already, PlayOnline has a "let them play, bill at the end of the month" method of billing for SOME accounts, or after your first month of subscribing they begin billing you in this method. If you can imagine, PlayOnline have lost out from players that dont properly cancel their FFXI play account or tell their bank to stop sending payments to PlayOnline. The new secure billing measures is most likely an over complicated counter to this issue. Furthermore with the recession much of the US is in, these new billing measures will help PlayOnline ensure you have credit to begin with.

Square Enix is atempting to become an international house. Like Nvidia(not their manufacturing partners), Sony(in general), Electronic Arts and Microsoft, once they have your money they can care less for real technical support and customer relations. Notice 3 of the above are partners with SE in FFXI?

Ive picked up on Aion in 2008, been subscribing with my Hong Kong based credit with no problems. However when i switched to my US based credit at the begining of 2009, a series of problems started occuring. "delcined transaction"-credit firm thought the charge was fraud, i was charged twice two months in arow-the Aion automatic billing system & creditors system had a hiccup in the international tranaction. Maybe things have changed or are being interfered with all the emergency amendments in US finance.


The bannings on gardening, that is unfortunate.

As far as the billing system goes, i dont believe SE is directly to blame, but a series of changes and events that have forced SE to take these measures in North America.
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Spreading the news
# Aug 03 2009 at 12:55 PM Rating: Good
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/sigh
# Aug 03 2009 at 10:19 AM Rating: Excellent
i've played this game 6 years. had a few chars, my char of 5 years that almost had a maats cap the right way not smn burn all jobs to 75 lol they do this update i didn't even change any info on my card and still doesn't work soo much for that. im not gonna go get a new card just to play a game. O well im done with SE and all mind games they play. they dont care about us they only see a $ sign...... good luck in this game.

Edited, Aug 3rd 2009 2:25pm by hadeshellbunny
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How localized is the problem?
# Aug 02 2009 at 2:31 PM Rating: Excellent
37 posts
Question: Have these credit-card related issues affected people outside North America?

From what I've read this appears not to be the case.

If this is true, perhaps a good place to start would be SE's NA operation, and any subsidiaries they contract out to for (particularly) mercantile services?

If there's a issue here -and all indications are that there is- then any investigation should focus on the source of the problem. Bringing in the Japanese parent company or its other international branches will only muddy the waters.
A little over the top.
# Aug 02 2009 at 7:19 AM Rating: Decent
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First, I'd like to thank Theyos and ElmerThePointy for writing this article, and, I sincerely hope that SE reps DO read this and take note. However, the saying, "you can't please all of the people, all of the time" comes to mind.

Someone posted before regarding the "witch hunting" mentality that pervades the FFXI player base. I'm going to play devil's advocate here, not because I feel what is happening is right, but, because, I, being in customer service myself, do grow tired of people constantly complaining of one thing, and then, when the company you work for tries to change policies to assuage these customers, then faces a barrage of complaints from the very SAME people that the policy change is unfair.

As with other mass bans, the gardening bans swept up legitimate players along with RMT. Is it acceptable? It seems, from previous mass bans, and the reaction of the general populace, that it SHOULD be acceptable. These bans ranged from price controlling on AH to what was termed "hunting" when people would farm the same item nonstop to sell to NPC's for gil. Overall, people accepted the loss of legitimate players as unfortunate casualties in SE's attempt to quell RMT activity. Why are the gardening bans any different? Is it just because there were a great many more people that took advantage of gardening than there were legit hunters/farmers? Another point: If people hadn't complained so much that RMT were gardening and npcing the products in the first place, the bans wouldn't have happened in the first place. No, you CAN'T have your cake and eat it too. So, find a list of everyone that posted a STF report regarding the train of mules to the fat Galkan NPC.

For the second part, the new security measure........I'm somewhat at a loss. I can understand why SE would do such a thing and why it targets one specific group, but, understanding it doesn't make it right.

Every day on just about every forum for FFXI there are people posting about how they've been "hacked". I've noticed that a majority of these people are in the US. What makes it laughable is that in most cases, the accounts weren't hacked in the first place, they were the result of misplaced trust and irresponsibility on the part of the original owner. Or, what seems to be an ever-increasing trend, people are giving away/selling their accounts only to call SE to say their account has been stolen and reclaiming their account and all gear that may have been lost on said account using the original information. I can well imagine that the restoration of an account is difficult with logs to review and financial records to track on a grand scale. I understand, SE THINKS it's all to better security, but it's total bs, since not all cards are covered. SE is willing to refund money to people who've purchased the game within the last 30 days, but, what of the thousands of players that have paid for services for years? SE seriously needs to rethink this thing, and should really reverse it before it's too late. As of this moment it's only affecting new accounts and those who are at the point where they need to update account information either due to card expiration or that they've changed banks etc., ah well, it was fun while it lasted.

The double billing, imo, is small potatoes in comparison to, what amounts to, account fraud. I've a friend who's been playing since NA release, and, on several occasions has been double billed. All it took was a phone call to SE and the matter was quickly resolved by a refund, or the following month's fee being marked as paid.

The problem doesn't lie in the fact that SE has taken these actions, it's the manner in which such actions were taken. I would like to believe that they are trying to please the majority, but, they've taken it to an extreme. And anything taken to the extreme is bad for business. Under such conditions they cannot bend or make exceptions, and that inflexibility is what makes us all feel like we're getting the shaft.


Edited, Aug 2nd 2009 11:40am by SideSwiped
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Ten minutes.

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A little over the top.
# Aug 03 2009 at 4:27 AM Rating: Good
3 posts
First I'd like to thank Thayos and ElmerThePointy for their post. (I'd failed to thank you in my previous post...For Shame) Secondly I'd like to thank Sideswipe for putting in words (more to the point than I) the of the opinions that I also share. I never meant my to suggest that the majority of the community are witch hunting as stated in my post. My apologies if this was misconstrued.

Thanks again all of you for sharing your voices and opinions. :D
A WITCH, BURN HIM!
# Aug 02 2009 at 5:30 AM Rating: Excellent
3 posts
I too am just waiting for my banning to come. I work full time and love to come home and release tension from the day by hopping online and playing FFXI. I get maybe a couple hours at night and a few on the weekends when not spending time with my family. I got tired of spending most of my time lfp or trying to form them. Hated spending two hours lfp just to have to log for the night accomplishing nothing and started playing the solo route. Not working well soloing in the game I purchase a second account to start duel boxing. I’ve been playing for seven years now five of those as a duel boxer and now looking at being banned because I have two accounts on the same card.

SE, if I do become banned I will be done with any and all products you bring to market!

Although I’d like to vent all my frustration on SE they, in their defense, have made great strides in helping quash the RMT. Unfortunately in doing so have put a lot of legitimate players on the chopping block. They put these measures in place due to the out cries of the FFXI community. I feel as though the FFXI community is becoming something similar to a tribe of witch hunters. Whenever there is a claim that is missed or a lot that doesn’t go their way it’s obviously because someone is either an RMT or BOT. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel as if the majority of the communities are witch hunters but the ones that do feel that way I believe spend most of their playing time crying out to GM support to report someone that happened to get a drop they wanted and they must be a BOT or RMT.

Lately I’ve noticed not a week goes by where someone will see me duel boxing and make a /sh comment Hey, there goes so and so and he must be a BOT; we’ll let the GM’s sort it out. I’m not a BOT or an RMT, I just a person that loves playing the game and doesn’t have a lot of time to spend looking for parties to help gain xp. Am I wrong by duel boxing to help make the game more enjoyable or have I now too become one of the witches the town criers so vehemently protest? Is SE to burden the full brunt of the blame or do we need to maybe also take inventory or our actions as a whole in the FFXI community also?
Well written
# Aug 01 2009 at 11:03 PM Rating: Excellent
**
437 posts
Thank You for this post and the others like it I've made every attempted to notify SE of this article and the intent their customers are trying to express so they can not cast a blind eye to this I went to the offical website and went to contact us then to the email portion and went through each option and posted the link to this post. I've gm called to get more attention. I will post this article on every forum I can find. to include the na SE members page http://member.square-enix.com/na/ (even there the na players are getting shafted out of the virtual world for there avatars and guess who has the ability to play in that virtual world. This needs to get out.. We need to make a stand Im tired of being treated like crap by se and watching the jp players getting all the good.

Edited, Aug 2nd 2009 12:10am by Ruam

Edited, Aug 2nd 2009 12:12am by Ruam
"...It's most important constutuents, the fans"...haha
# Aug 01 2009 at 10:43 PM Rating: Good
Scholar
22 posts
I ran across this on SE website, got to love the last line

[quote]SQUARE ENIX CONTINUES TO EXPAND NORTH AMERICAN EXECUTIVE TEAM
Ami Blaire Joins as Vice President of Marketing
LOS ANGELES (June 19, 2009) — Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in North America, announced that it has strengthened its executive team with the addition of Ami Blaire as vice president of marketing.

Blaire now leads brand and marketing strategy for Square Enix and will also be responsible for the Square Enix Members site and online commerce. She will work to increase the presence of Square Enix in North America and emphasize community engagement to ensure that the company is meeting the needs of its most important constituents, the fans....[quote]


HaHaHa
damm you SE
# Aug 01 2009 at 6:03 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
>< with the mood i am in now cause of this i hope SE goes belly up.Nearly 900 euro on fees alone to SE over 4 years and you get a big F*** off but sorry for the inconvenience e mailed to you.With all the expansions plus the game that's almost 1K.WAKE UP SE stop punishing people who play you're games or we'll all bugger off to WoW AoC ever WAR is better than this damm system.All of them go in buy card enter code play for 1/2 months then repeat.
Very well written
# Aug 01 2009 at 3:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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337 posts
This was an excellently written editorial. I want to thank you and Elmer for taking the time for writing such a well thought out article. Hopefully it will bring some change for the better.
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How does that feel, SE?
# Aug 01 2009 at 3:09 PM Rating: Good
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492 posts
Oh ho ho! How does it feel now SE? Had you of spoken up earlier, you wouldn't have to deal with all this public humiliation! Although, judging by your complete and utter oblivious nature, this probably comes as a total shock that your players aren't happy! You better speak up soon, of its only going to get worse as this editorial spreads like wildfire. Maybe your new motto could be something like:

"Square Enix: Destroying our empire one step at a time"
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Disappointed in SE
# Aug 01 2009 at 2:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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87 posts
Apologes a bit confused a moment ago with where to post to comment on this.

I want to just express a huge thank you to this community for the way you all have handled this.

Thayos and ElmerThePointy thank you for taking the time and listening to our rants, looking through all the evidence we sent you, and getting together to write such a well thoughtout post. I can't believe how complete this article is.

I want to thank the entire community for your support and also thank those that don't support us yet take the time to voice their opinion to keep us in check with outselves when we go on our rants of insanity.

SE my linkshell has left FFXI because you have no respect nor regard to our 6 years of work. While some felt the game was designed to punish the general playerbase, we have always represented the latter in which we believe the "challenges" of the game were put in place to seperate the casual playerbase from the hardcore. FFXI will always be one of the hardest MMOs in comparison to WoW. The players here stayed in FFXI for the challenge.

Our linkshell won our first Dynamis-Windurst with 50 mins left on the timer, with 11 people playing 15 characters (dual-boxers <--- OH BUT YOU ARE RMT).

We/ve completed all assaults with 4 people (including all Tier 10's except King Goldemar 5). Multiple members solo'ed Despot in sky. We've beaten Kirin with 18 people under 1 hour without zerging. We camped for 25 days to get our Kraken club losing sleep, and sneaking out of work to pull it off.

We encouraged hard work and pushed our members to become more skilled to meet your challenges.

We've done it all we loved it. Best of all, we loved our server to death. Our linkshell answers to shouts in Jueno and Whitegate for help. We never collect gil for assisting our server-mates and spend countless hours teleporting and warping people for free as we believe this is how the game was meant to be played. We stop our xp parties to raise our neighboring competing xp parties. This could go on and on but I'm going to stop here...

All of this doesn't seem to matter to you. A ls with high integrity and you've coined us as RMTs, you've punished us for purchasing multiple accounts when we were showing just how much we love the game that we are willing to pay for accounts used as storage for future events. We've always "worked" hard so the rest of our member base would enjoy the game on the weekends to the fullest.

You've slapped us with this whole changed in credit card policy with all intents pointing to forcing us to quit.

Well you've won. We've left. Thank you William Bibsy for nothing. Thank you SE for your responses on the BBB hiding behind your hopless clause in your TOS.

It's time to seriously wake up. All of us were planning to play FF14 as a linkshell. Now... not a chance...

Edited, Aug 1st 2009 6:15pm by GummybearOdin
please re-name this thread...
# Aug 01 2009 at 10:58 AM Rating: Good
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782 posts
... and call it silence of the devs II. :)
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SE punishing you to play.
# Aug 01 2009 at 8:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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57 posts
I started playing FFXI 4 yrs ago because my 2 sons (who bought the game) gave it up as being a bad game. I did not understand until recently. They knew 4 years ago that SE was punishing its players to play. It finally dawned on me that...they were right!!!

They both play multiple games, have multiple systems and have 10+ years of game playing behind them. (They are 26 and 21 yrs of age). They shake their head at my loyalty to FFXI.

"How can you play a game that punishes you in everything you do?" they ask.
"Wut?" was my reply...until now.

Leveling. If you die you LOSE experience.

You want a nice piece of gear that takes camping a NM. You camp for hours and hours and IF you get the claim...the item may not drop...

You merit a job. Then you decide to level another job and you have to drop, actually DROP, merits off abilities to be able to merit another (specific instances like capped weapons etc). That's 10,000 experience points per merit thrown away. I've lost 31 so far. 310,000 experience lost.

You fight a monster the the CHANCE of a drop that you use to fight another monster for the CHANCE of a drop. wtf is with THAT?!

My time is about over with FFXI. The new updates are luke warm at best and now the new content: pay extra $10 for 1 day of play and 1 piece of semi-situational gear.

I won't play FF14.

____________________________
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SE punishing you to play.
# Aug 01 2009 at 4:53 PM Rating: Decent
***
3,530 posts
Izzybella wrote:

My time is about over with FFXI. The new updates are luke warm at best and now the new content: pay extra $10 for 1 day of play and 1 piece of semi-situational gear.


First of all, the term "semi-situational" makes no sense: something is either full-time (you put it on and never take it off), situational (you put it on only for use in certain situations), or useless (you never put it on at all). You cannot have a "semi-situational" piece, as taking it off sometimes and using it others - by definition - makes the item in question a situational item.

Second of all, you'll be back. They always come back; see you on FFXI next month.
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SE punishing you to play.
# Aug 01 2009 at 10:41 AM Rating: Excellent
*
151 posts
Since I work for a large corporation and hear customer service issues nearly each day, I thought I'd post.

This is the 5-step method on how to lose customers:

1) change the way the customer pays without asking the customer for input

2) require the customer to use a payment method that the customer has no access to and cannot acquire easily (validation does not work on all cards)

3) create problems for the customer in his personal life (the $1.00 charge through sent fraud alerts to both my credit card company and the credit card at my bank; one card was suspended so I could not pay for lunch and on the second card, the bank refused to pay two charges)

4) require some customers to pay one way or face loss of service while other customers are unaffected (ps2 , xbox versus PC users; japan versus north america)

5) refuse service to customers who lose the ability to pay BECAUSE of a change that you (SE) made. (Because of the $1.00 charge, my SE monthly bill was not paid by the bank because the bank thought SE was fraudulently billing me.) Irony.


I honestly can't be more blunt. You don't install methods to refuse service to customers without getting input from the customers. This is one of the cardinal rules of business: your business depends on customers more than the customers depend on you.

SE punishing you to play.
# Aug 02 2009 at 3:04 PM Rating: Good
2 posts
Taurusrexx wrote:
Since I work for a large corporation and hear customer service issues nearly each day, I thought I'd post.

This is the 5-step method on how to lose customers:

1) change the way the customer pays without asking the customer for input

2) require the customer to use a payment method that the customer has no access to and cannot acquire easily (validation does not work on all cards)

3) create problems for the customer in his personal life (the $1.00 charge through sent fraud alerts to both my credit card company and the credit card at my bank; one card was suspended so I could not pay for lunch and on the second card, the bank refused to pay two charges)

4) require some customers to pay one way or face loss of service while other customers are unaffected (ps2 , xbox versus PC users; japan versus north america)

5) refuse service to customers who lose the ability to pay BECAUSE of a change that you (SE) made. (Because of the $1.00 charge, my SE monthly bill was not paid by the bank because the bank thought SE was fraudulently billing me.) Irony.


I honestly can't be more blunt. You don't install methods to refuse service to customers without getting input from the customers. This is one of the cardinal rules of business: your business depends on customers more than the customers depend on you.



I was wondering if anyone had this issue with the 1.00 thing.

I had an encounter with this. I was trying to sleep one morning when I get back to back calls ( I do not know the number but it was more then one) from credit card companies about fraudulent activity. this happen the next day where I answered one and the rep wanted to confirm these charges from square Enix. I told them the one charge was correct ( the monthly payment) but then he told me about a 1.00 charge and I said no thats not normal.

for those that do not know my story:
I have 3 accounts and all 3 are on different credit cards. that is why i think why I got so many calls. ( and the fact I did not pick them all up because I thought it was the same issue with one card)
This was right after I got banned on all 3 with the credit card bandwagon bannings. I got all 3 accounts back, i think 48 hours from noticing they got banned.My mule account gets banned 10 days later for acting like a mule acts like "RMT activities"
so my mule account is still banned with my 2 main accounts still functioning. I am shocked SE did not ban 80% of the player base for using windower yet ( note I do nothing wrong not even use this).

more detail about me if you want to know:
http://rambusblm.livejournal.com/32783.html

I just hope all this sinks into SE, it seems after 5 years they still do not get it that the GMs are useless past getting people unstuck.


Edited, Aug 2nd 2009 7:19pm by RambusBLM
SE punishing you to play.
# Aug 02 2009 at 2:52 PM Rating: Good
2 posts
double sorry

Edited, Aug 2nd 2009 7:10pm by RambusBLM
conspiracy theory
# Aug 01 2009 at 7:30 AM Rating: Excellent
13 posts
First off very well written.

The more I see SE doing this the more I think that SE wants enough of us to quit, or be banned, to warrant them shutting down the game. We all know they want to get rid of the PS2 holding them back. I do not seriously think this is a way to get rid of RMT because if you think about it they must be making a killing off the RMT accounts.
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eeeeeee
# Aug 01 2009 at 7:20 AM Rating: Decent
43 posts
i got billed twice so i called a GM in game and he said he will look into it and get back to me...so 2 hours pass i send him another /tell and he doesnt answer...i play for another 2 hours and still nothing. i logged on the next day and send a /tell to him again no answer....so i call another gm and he said he will look into it. so im getting pretty pissed off now so i tell the gm not to worry about it, your just tryin to scam my money anyways...muhahaha that same day the gm /tells me i dont have to pay for next month lmfao! it took talking about scamming money to finally get a REAL answer outa these gays. opps *guys*
but yeah once ff14 comes out im done, if they dont mess up more before that. goodbye queer enix
Thank you Thayos and Elmer.
# Aug 01 2009 at 6:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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3,772 posts
Without going into a long winded tl'dr post I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Thayos and Elmer, thank you. Your article is well written, brief and to the point, and touches base on all of the relevant matters at hand. While we may not have the representation we feel we deserve (I honestly get the feeling every post I make or thought I throw out means nothing to them anymore ; ;) a well written editorial is a welcome sight.

They said they were paying attention to us, they gave me hope after the gardening ban that their customer service to the NA clients would change. But it's been over a month now of dead silence from them, they haven't even acknowledged our plight. I feel like I've been let down and lied to. Thank you for the editorial, even if nothing comes of it. It needed to be said, and it was presented flawlessly.
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word of mouth
# Aug 01 2009 at 6:14 AM Rating: Excellent
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3,144 posts
Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement that any product can get. Unfortunately for SE there are 500k people out there and they all have experiences with Final Fantasy XI. How many of those are REALLY gonna be purchasing future SE products? I personally have vowed never to buy another SE product. So have many others.

While personal experiences wont stop everyone from purchasing other SE products - one has to ask the question "How many people will never buy SE again?". I think its safe to say that a very large amount of that 5000000 people will not. This also leads onto word of mouth. What person would honestly reccomend to a friend an inferior product? I know I wouldnt. And Its becoming more apparant that SE is an inferior company thats got no clue how its loyal customer base deserves to be treated.

I for one will NEVER reccomend ANY SE product to ANYONE that I know EVER again. I came to FF11 with great expectations because of this company that had made great games only to be let down. Even the game itself was seemingly slapped together and the coding errors and glitches are apparant in the earlier zones.

SE's inability to go back and correct mistakes will be their downfall.
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Quote a few months before the mass salvage banning:
couerlmaster wrote:
And stfu with the banstick, this is hardly traceable and so widespread throughout the EG community there's nothing SE can do w/o banning half the EG community on every server


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0O8qb58bHY
Lets hope this works
# Aug 01 2009 at 6:13 AM Rating: Good
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757 posts
I'm hoping this sends a red flag up to SE b/c if it doesn't and they don't respond, then it can only mean they don't care about their customers at all. I for one will not be buying FF 14 unless i see some apologies go out to the pple who have been banned for no reason and a damn good explanation from them.
Hi
# Aug 01 2009 at 5:44 AM Rating: Excellent
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2,448 posts
My name is Josh and I am a loyal FF11 customer. If you wish to see your loyal 7year+ FF11 players come to your new MMO Square, you had better listen to this article and stop being all talk and no action. Shape up because right now I am NOT buying or playing FF14 and will be telling all my friends to avoid it as well. I am the MMO guru of my social group and others like me throughout America will severely damage your sales if you ignore this poor excuse of what you call customer service. Please take this article seriously.



Thanks for the article, Thayos! Well written and politically correct for public embarassment is all SE really understands. =D
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# Aug 01 2009 at 5:14 AM Rating: Excellent
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Awesome write up, but only one tiny nit-pick. SE acquired Eidos, not Ubisoft.

Carry on guys, and hey Squenix! Pay attention to this! Your future in the MMO genre depends on it.

Edited, Aug 1st 2009 7:15am by Serielley
*two thumbs up*
# Aug 01 2009 at 5:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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You are correct, sir. The deal with UbiSoft was game distribution, but the acquisition was Eidos. Thanks for the correction!
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Feedback to SE
# Aug 01 2009 at 4:45 AM Rating: Excellent
Kudos to the writers of this article. I can only express my sincere hope it will somehow get through to SE and hit the right nerves there.

Let me start by saying that I acknowledge the fact that I'm addicted to this game (FFXI). This is why I would hate to be banned myself or (worse) to see any of my friends in game banned. This is also why I tolerate way more from SE than I normally would from any other game company or other business company. Should SE have pulled any of the above mentioned tricks in my first month of playing, I'm sure I would have immediately cancelled my account and never looked back.

But now I'm hooked. I still like the game a lot and I feel I have invested too much time and effort to just quit and start playing something else. Also, I have made friends in this game that (however I never met them in RL) I would hate to lose.

So I put up with all the crap SE keeps throwing at us. I don't agree with it, as a matter of fact I totally disagree with it, but I put up with it, for the sake of the game, the accomplishments realized and the friends made.

There is, however, a breaking point, a border that cannot be crossed... and I feel I have almost if not completely reached that point. I'm pretty sure if SE does ban me for any of the above (silly) reasons and doesn't rectify it asap, I will cancel my content ID and never look back at FFXI nor any of the other products SE seeks to market. I might even do this when my friends in game are banned. I can only hope SE starts to realize that by their inconsiderate actions of the last couple of months, their are starting to seriously hurt their own product, their own reputation and their established player base. The proverbial bucket is full, SE... we can't and we won't take any more of this BS.

A few points were I fell SE is totally wrong:

1) RMT counter measures. Sure RMT is against the TOS, it does annoy regular players and is something most of us, if not all of us, hate. Something has to be done, and it is a credit to SE for spending this much effort in to eradicating RMT activities.
However... banning somebody without any chance to justification, based on a set of random criteria (aka the gardening ban) is plain wrong. You can select a population of players to be suspect of RMT actions by this kind of automated 'search and destroy' processes, but then you have to evaluate each and every case for its legimity. If then found guilty, a temporary ban giving the person time to react and try to justify his/her actions should be implemented, and if no (satisfactory) justification can be given, a permanent ban can be issued.
Too much work, you say? Of course it is... thousands of accounts do turn up positive on the 'search and destroy' criteria. But why is that? Perhaps because of the free accounts SE is giving away in an effort to increase the game's popularity and to recrute even more loyal players. This very same process, however, opens up the door to RMT to create accounts (free of charge!) and to massively launch into wildgrass growing and selling. Even if their account is suspended after a month, they had the possibility to gain 4 full crops on 16 level 1 characters with 10 pots each (about 1-1.5 million gil)... with no expenses at all. Tackle the problem at the root, SE... prevent misuse of free accounts for RMT activity, rather than just mawing down thousands of accoutns each month, including hundreds of innocent, honest players.

2. Credit card banning. Rediculous! I have been registered to many international magazines (mostly IT related), international services (like CompuServe, international bulletin boards, ...) and of course internet service providers. I have had my share of troubles with billing problems. But never was I banned without notice because of it, not even when credit card information changed. If a problem arose in favor of the company, it would be notified and regulated on the next billing. If a problem in my favor occurred (like paying too much or double billing), the issue was always immediately regulated and a compensation was offered (like a month free registration for instance).

3. An issue not mentioned in the above text, but equally to the point is the mass banning a few months ago for 'misusing a bug in the system' (the duping thing in Nyzul Isle I believe). Banning somebody because he/she has been taking advantage of your mistake and stupidity, SE, is not acceptable! You fouled up, you take the blame! Of course, if you find out such a practice, you have to stop it. Prevent it from happening. Warn people not to do it anymore in the future, or they risk a ban. That is acceptable. But do warn them first. You can't just one day decide something that has been happening for a period of time to be an offence and ban people guilty of using it.
Where would you draw the line? Is buying something from AH then selling it to NPC for a bit of profit 'taking advantage of game faults'? Or HQ crafting and selling to NPC? Or for that matter, growing wildgrass and selling? NO! It is not (selling the gil earned with it for RL money is). So don't go banning people who are trying to make some gil in this game in a legit way. Leave them alone... focus on people selling and buying gil.

That's right... don't limit yourself to banning people selling gil. Tackle the ones buying gil as well. If you have strong evidence of somebody buying gil, ban him/her as well. After all, if nobody is still buying... RMT activity will eventually come to a stop as well.

In conclusion I would like to stress once more to SE what the consequences of their unfunded mass banning can be:
- people can see all their effort of years evaporate in a flash
- friends in game and friendships are torn apart
- linkshells can fall apart because key members have been banned

I don't approve RMT activities. I hated the RMT while they were still powerful and very active. However, right now, given the choice, I'd take RMT over the randomness of STF and the idiocy of SE's bannings any time.
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Bravo, bravo!
# Aug 01 2009 at 3:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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125 posts
Beautiful, beautiful writeup. I find it really sad that it will take movements exactly like this to get a gaming company to pay attention to the needs of the gamers.

I've been playing on and off ever since this game came out, and the entire time, I've always joked that this game was a lot like "The Simpsons" description of a Japanese game show. (The difference explained by the JP host of the gameshow The Simpsons went on was "In America, your gameshows reward intelligence. In Japan, we PUNISH IGNORANCE!") Early on, and very much displayed by the communities general lack of interest in helping anyone through the missions of the expansion "Chains of Promathia", it sort of rang true. I mean, seriously. CoP has a beautiful, very intriguing and overall enjoyable story so far (I've been stuck on 5-3 for about a year and a half now) but to get anyone to help with it is like asking them to pull their own teeth out with a pair of vice grips.

Why is that, you ask? Simple. CoP is almost punishing to play through. Hours on end to do one simple mission that requires you to fight a few bosses in a level cap zone. The hours part aside per mission, that doesn't sound all that bad...but good lord do they ever make it painful. (45 minute timer on 6-4 which includes the time you spend in CUTSCENES?! I'm not playing in CS'! Why is my timer counting down during lengthy CS'?!)Granted, they tried to fix it with the crappy exp bonuses you get for your hours of work helping the newer players (1500 exp for 2-4 hours work? COME ON.) the reduced difficulty of some of the NMs by allowing players to take any number of debilitating items into the battles with them, and the fact that you don't lose exp in the boss fights. This helped A LOT. However, it's nowhere near enough to get players to help other players because at times this expansion is not only an utterly miserable experience...it's not fun at all. Funny, isn't it? A game that's not fun? I want to meet the people who designed this one. I want to shake the writers hands, and then look at the level layout, monster designers, and the guy who thought level caps were smart and ask them what kind of crack they were on when they thought this was a good idea.

Look into it further, and you get confused more and more. Why is it that only one group can play in Dynamis at a time, encouraging linkshells to cut each others throats and spoil each others fun? Why are some people doomed to spend a year and a half camping Mee Deggi and Argus before they get their drops, either due to factors such as terrible drop rates, to way too much competition because everyone's in the same boat. Why do some monsters take hours to kill? Why do some monsters only spawn once a day, upwards to once a week? Am I really expected to sit there for that long to possibly maybe have the slightest chance to claim these mobs? How come jobs like MNK have to pay endgame HNM linkshells for the Black Belt item drops anywhere from 500k-3 mil per item? I get BB should be a challenge to get...but if you only have a 75 MNK, you're likely not getting into one of these HNM linkshells. This makes it completely impossible to obtain these items through gameplay means. Unless you count KSNM99's...where it really makes more sense to use the KS' to farm money to pay the HNM LS' for the items, anyways. Why do you not just tell us how to beat things like Absolute Virtue, and why do you ban players who manage to think outside the box and come up with alternative ways to beat the monster, since we can't figure out your illogical puzzle to come up with the strategy to beat the thing? If you're not going to tell us, why are you punishing us when we finally manage to do it? This applies to Pandemonium Warden, as well.

Why do so many events and quests and items require us to beat, or come close to beating, stupidly difficult obstacles to overcome, such as CoP to unlock the Jeuno merchant to trade items for better items, or Sea. I would love to do these events, but I simply can't get anyone to help me through CoP, and I know damned well that I'm not the only one with this problem. Hell, I know I'm also not a minority.

Why do Black Mages have to solo to 75? Who thought this gem was a good idea? Why do you keep beefing up Samurai when other jobs go ignored FOR YEARS? Why do you make this game so frustratingly time consuming, and then stick a disclaimer at the start suggesting you don't want us to waste our lives playing this game for hours on end, and to go see family, friends, go to work, or go outside?

How come whenever I call a GM about being booted out of a JP pt, or just over seeing so many JP ONLY lines that I voice concerns about potential racism or something, the GM says "they just don't want to use the auto-translate", but when the situation is reversed I'm asked not to be so rude/offensive and allow diverse cultures into my pt? Heck, how come if you ask any EN player on the Ramuh server about GM's, the typical response is "they're useless, and will never help you...unless you're JP"? As far as I can tell, I'm paying just as much to play this game as they are, why am I not being given equitable treatment? (This bit may be just the server I'm on, I'm not sure)

But, and more to the point of the article, and to summarize what I've typed, WHY are you constantly punishing and making the players who are honest and completely innocent, jump through so many damned hoops just to play a game THAT WE HAVE TO PAY FOR MONTHLY?! Why are we being banned for no good reason? Do you HAVE a customer relations department, or are you just picking random people off the sidewalk from week to week?

This is a game. We pay you monthly to continue playing it. For the most part, it's a rewarding experience. Sometimes, though, I honestly think SE has forgotten, or never actually knew, that this is A GAME, and therefore SHOULD BE A TOTALLY ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE TO PLAY. I should not be made to suffer for weeks on end trying my hardest just to get a group to do one single mission, because the mission takes hours to complete. If it's going to take hours and hours to run through a huge map to get to a boss and fight it just to potentially lose, god, at least make it so I can do it BY MYSELF.

Remember when The boss to mission 5-2 was really hard? When the level cap was 50? I do. I also remember when he became a cakewalk because they raised the level cap to 75, so you could go fight him with 25 additional levels gained and turn him from horrible monster into total chump. You guys never made that fight a level cap...probably because it's a little over halfway through rank missions, and it gets harder as you go. That makes sense, I suppose.

So why are things like CoP capped most of the way through, to this day? If you actually want people to play through this, and enjoy the ride, offer better rewards to returning players, or just drop the damned level cap. It doesn't need to be there anymore. Enough people have suffered through it already, and will forever remember the challenge scarred on their brains. (Some still are scarred, and refuse to help with Promyvion - Vahzl, for instance...even though nowadays that mission isn't hard at all, since you can debilitate the bosses the entire fight with enough anima...they don't know that because they refuse to re-do it.) Even today, with ACP. Honestly guys, I think for that climb, once is enough. I know more than a fair number of players who won't fight that boss due to the climb they have to go through to get to it, especially since he can be really really really hard, and they've gone 0/7 on him and just gave up.

Really...is this your vision for FF11? A giant massive headache of frustration? Remember when this game was even more stupidly punishing, how few subscribers you got compared to other MMOs? I always loved this game for the challenge, but as I get older and work more and more, with an erratic schedule I might add, the time consumption it requires is ridiculous...and a lot of my friends knew that in 2004. That's why they won't play it. They tell me it's just too punishing.

Why is a game punishing over enjoyable? I'm a fan of challenge, don't get me wrong...but seriously guys, what the hell.
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[75 MNK|75 PLD|60 THF|40 BLM] (37 WAR/37 NIN/37 SAM/32 DNC/37 RDM)
ZM16 / CoP 5-3 / ToAU 22 / WotG 4 / ACP Boss
-- Ramuh Server --
Proactive
# Aug 01 2009 at 2:21 AM Rating: Excellent
Scholar
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928 posts
I just decided to become proactive. I cancelled My content Id. It's been a good 4 years. But sometimes you just have to know when to fold. Then again could be what they want.
Well said.
# Aug 01 2009 at 1:37 AM Rating: Good
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517 posts
Bravo. Very well written. I really hope this helps in the effort to figure out just exactly what is going on, so that it can hopefully be addressed and made right for everyone.
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ArTwoKay wrote:
Long before the Crystal War, the Galka Raogrimm was wandering the streets of Jeuno and happened to stumble into the Marble Bridge Tavern on Behemoth Baked Bean Burrito day.

One hour later, the Shu'meyo Cataclysm was born.


Vyren wrote:
I lost it when Trion started thrusting at me.
Attention Square Enix!
# Aug 01 2009 at 1:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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1,822 posts
Thank you for this writeup. As a person who has been playing Final Fantasy XI Online for coming on six years now, as well as leading and participating in every aspect of the game, including every part of End Game, there are a few things I would like to point out to Square Enix themselves.

There's a motto that one of the worlds richest corporations uses and that's "The Customer Is Always Right". Now, logically, this is not always true, and you cannot always meet the demands. But if you can, and it is within your power without giving off a large negative effect, it should be done.

For some time, it seems Square Enix has not listened to the Player Base. At least the English Speaking player base, for the most part. There are things we have been begging, and asking for, for many years, that are completely within reason, completely within logic, that could undergo some easy changes to make the game experience overall better for the community. All Square Enix has to do is listen.

I've wondered if they have human relations, and quality control personal some times. People who's job is to seek out the information, and relay it back to Square Enix. There are many commonly agreed upon issues that the very largest majority of players have wanted to see for a long time. Yet it is always shrugged off or ignored. This is bad business practice sadly, and leads to your consumers giving up your game, or going to others.

Your consumers voice must be heard, and you must do all in your power to please the majority.

More so than all this, is some of the issues we've been having with Customer Support, and a players rights. Everything from what GM's are able and not able to do, to the Auto-Bannings that have been coming in large waves lately, taking out many innocent victims. I think it is funny, that it is legal, and not against the terms of service to actually threaten to kill some one over the chat logs in Final Fantasy XI online, yet innocent people can do the most minor things that place them under suspicion leading to a automatic ban, when they have done nothing wrong. (And yes, you can ask any game master. It has happened to me, and several of my frends. You can threaten bodily harm to one in the real world, over the chat logs of Final Fantasy XI online and get away scotch free).

I think if anything, Square Enix should allow their game masters a little more leniency on how they handle nefarious and malevolent players in the world of Vana Diel. So many people get harassed daily, so many people are done wrong, threatened, and there is nothing done about it. Yet at the same time, there are many people being banned, for no good reason whatsoever, with no explanation as to what they did wrong.

There was even an issue not long ago, where the new job ability implemented for Ninja known as "Yonin" was not working correctly. It was in a very minor way, that was hard to even notice. It was not expending ninja tools while in use, however, you aren't usually looking at your inventory when fighting and the like, so it's hard to even know what's going on. What's more, is people didn't know this wasn't a intended design. Nothing stated that it wasn't suppose to be a 100% reduce in the ninja tools you used. There were no announcements, there was nothing letting people know they were doing anything wrong, yet when some one confronted a GM, as seen in this thread, they were threatened to possibly be banned. How horrible can you get?

When you ban people, in large quantities, without informing them what happened, or what's going on, when they all know they've done nothing wrong, and they come together as a community, well... This gives a company like Square Enix a very bad reputation very quickly. Word gets out, and around, and as some one who loves Square Enix, I don't want to see them get a bad reputation, or thought of in a ill manner.

I think Square Enix needs to be in better communication with it's Player Base. There should be Quality Control people from each region, in fact there should be several, who seek out the information, listen to the players, and relay it to Square Enix. It would be nice to hear back from Square Enix on such issues as well. Better Communication would show they respect us, and are willing to heed our wishes and cry outs.

Something most certainly needs to be done about the way the English Player Base has been treated lately, from the automatic bannings, to the small announcement almost hidden in the Playonline Website giving players no more than a days warning that their credit cards might not work anymore, and forcing many people to actually have to quit.

A company should always be making things EASIER on their consumer, not harder. And even if they tell us that it is for our own good, that argument only goes so far, when dealing with knowledgeable adults, who know what's going on, and can speak out about it. The consensus is in, and people are in a outrage. Something needs to be done to calm this outrage.

To top it all off, this is happening in a time closing in on Square Enix's next MMORPG "Final Fantasy XIV Online". When things like this go on in their current MMORPG, word gets out about how things are handled by Square Enix, and could greatly effect Final Fantasy XIV online. I personally don't want to see this happen. If you don't believe me, just check out this thread discussing that very matter.

On a site where we generally worship everything Square Enix does, seeing the masses insult them while being rated to "Excellent" for it, you know something terrible must be wrong. Below I will make a small compilation of threads Square Enix should read over, to see how their players are feeling lately. These are just a few, of many, and many, that are not hard to find here in this day and time.

Please, hear our cries out to you Square Enix. Try communicating with us as well, and try listening to our feedback some times. We would like to feel, as if our opinion mattered to you.

The Main, Most Important thread discussing this very issue and topic.

Thread #1 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Thread #2 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Thread #3 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Thread #4 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Thread #5 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Thread #6 (Square Enix, Please Read!)


Thread #7 (Square Enix, Please Read!)



Thread #8 (Square Enix, Please Read!)


Thread #9 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Thread #10 (Square Enix, Please Read!)

Edited, Aug 1st 2009 2:34am by EndlessJourney
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Long Live Vana Diel.
Absolutely Pathetic Customer Service
# Aug 01 2009 at 12:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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1,101 posts
"Has Square Enix Banned Logic?"

Probably. I mean, they've banned everything else.

No, but fantastic article. I just think it's absolutely pathetic it will take this, and maybe a news report to get SE to have a response to it's actual fanbase.
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Well written
# Jul 31 2009 at 11:51 PM Rating: Excellent
Sage
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2,074 posts
I would like to say i felt this piece is very well written i was banned Yesterday (July 31) When i woke up. I was emailed it was a Credit card ban. Now I have to call in to SE tomorrow and hopefully fix this, my form of online security is Pre paid cards because a hacker cant charge more then i place on the card so if they did get the card, guess what, they cant get more then the XXX amount i put on the card.

Now i have been playing FFXI since 3 months after PC release i bought the game on my birthday as my own present (July 26th is my birthday). I will admit I am a SE fan boy, I started with SNES FF3(6) and traded my N64 for a PS1 to own FF7 when it first came out. I have bought every FF incarnation that has ever been brought out and tried at least every SE game I could get my hands on (Including some imports).

SE Has gone through many incarnations and I have never dismissed them til now. SE is the reason i have perked my interest in Anime, and Japanese culture, and so in my spare time i have been learning that as my 2nd language. (I'm 28 now and i began studying the language when i was 27).

Now I understand billing errors I work for a major US cable company, I hear customers problems every day, and for the betterment of company image I will try hard to correct errors, and leave that customer feeling satisfied with us. From the posts i have see, the pasted scripts. I feel SE honestly doesn't care, or at least needs to hire a new Support team. It makes them look bad, and their practices (Both CSR and the company) are hurting the image of SE. It's to the point where I'm considering calling a translation service and conference calling Japanese POL support, just to see if they can change, or have more power there.

But Overall I think the Alla mods have this right, someone needs to show SE this is not acceptable behavior for ANY company. If i would lease a car and in the contract it said, " We retain the right to repo your car for any reason " would anyone sign that? Wake up one morning and try to go to work only to find your car is gone with a note that said " We repo'ed it because We felt like it".
Now I understand why a clause like that is in there, but still, to point to it as an excuse, because you have no better answer, is well childish.

I leave with a quick quote that I feel pertains to this situation its not proverbial its just something I stumbled across in research.

“Don't be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don't make the same mistake twice.” ~ Akio Morita (Sony Chair 76-94)

Edited, Aug 1st 2009 2:58am by BeanX
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This needs to be on various news websites.
# Aug 01 2009 at 6:08 AM Rating: Excellent
Nice, if only we could get this article published with various subsidiaries of the news such as 1up.com, Kotaku and such. That way more people will read it, see how SE are handling the game and refuse to try out FFXIV due to fear they might repeat themselves with all this bullsh*t they're pulling.
This needs to be on various news websites.
# Aug 01 2009 at 9:48 AM Rating: Good
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3,165 posts
DymlosAileronBahamut wrote:
Nice, if only we could get this article published with various subsidiaries of the news such as 1up.com, Kotaku and such. That way more people will read it, see how SE are handling the game and refuse to try out FFXIV due to fear they might repeat themselves with all this bullsh*t they're pulling.


This, and include IGN for the hell of it. Posting it on Allakhazam is a great start, and it's a well-written editorial. Once word of this gets around to other sites, and S-E gets bad publicity (akin to Pandemonium Warden) they'll have no choice but to listen.
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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
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This needs to be on various news websites.
# Aug 01 2009 at 12:20 PM Rating: Good
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102 posts
Good news, then, as this has gotten onto N4G: http://www.n4g.com/News-369813.aspx . It's at 100 degrees at the time I wrote this, so get that temp up.

Thing is, SE has been doing some major things that defy logic on all areas, and have been silent on all areas, too (where the hell is the PS3 version of The Last Remenant. Hell, where the hell is ANY PS3 support that SE is supposed to be giving, and why is the 360 getting all sorts of exclusive love from them but they say they want to be multiplatform).

I don't know if I got a card ban yet or not (I do have a Huntington Bank debit card and the money DID go through (don't know if that's a GOOD sign), though my card isn't eligible for the Verified thing. I DO have a Paypal card, too, but I don't know how that COULD end up), and I'm afraid to find out.

Thing is, FFXI hasn't been a place of too much logic. They make the game harder and more drawn out than it has to be, and the monsters end up being overpowered while they continue to "nerf" anything that might give the player even the least bit of an advantage (the free Carby nerf, for one. Why COULDN'T they leave at least THAT in and make it into a sort of neat trick one could do), and no way to counter anything the mobs could be able to do or to prevent them from doing anything.

Then the cut-throat way some people have to do their business in the game. No game should have people stab others in the back just for a drop, or have others "compromise" for things. Like the whole thing with the Erase spell: a BCNM drop that's not guaranteed that SO important for a WHM to get, yet got too damn expensive for some people to get, and so others wanted the scroll to sell at the AH, so it became a mad dash to get it for everyone when people KNEW that a WHM should lot for it because of the sheer importance of the spell at the time they can get it (some ptys downright REFUSED to let the WHM have it if they needed it and made the money (not guaranteed as some WHM's skipped the spell because of how inflated the spell became even though it was so important that some ptys skipped on inviting WHMs that didn't have the spell)).

The main problem becomes this: gil is harder to earn than it has to be in this game. If they had EVERY monster drop some gil (depending on the strength and difficulty of the mob, like every RPG in history has done), and not have the player need to jump through hoops just to earn ONE gil, then the RMTs wouldn't have shown up in the way they did.

There might be some light at the end of this tunnel, however, as SE plans to hold a press conference at GamesCon later this month, and they could possibly (and hopefully) address SOME of these concerns. Not holding my breath (remember about TLR), but I heard some good things are likely to come from this, so keep your fingers crossed.
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[link="http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/profile.xml?50645"]Casto[/link]

Casto: 61 WHM/30 BLM
How does it feel, SE?
# Aug 01 2009 at 3:10 PM Rating: Good
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492 posts
Oh ho ho! How does it feel now SE? Had you of spoken up earlier, you wouldn't have to deal with all this public humiliation! Although, judging by your complete and utter oblivious nature, this probably comes as a total shock that your players aren't happy! You better speak up soon, or its only going to get worse as this editorial spreads like wildfire. Maybe your new motto could be something along the lines of:

"Square Enix: Destroying our empire one step at a time"

Edited, Aug 1st 2009 7:11pm by lolrockboy
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Rinsui wrote:
Yep. Every netbook with an atom processor nowadays plays WoW.
Hell, I am sure with some tweaking it would run on an iphone.
Or even on the LCD display of my microwave.
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