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Unrest in the Garden of Square Enix

The following editorial contains views that are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of Allakhazam.com

ZOMG Ceiling Cat It is remarkably difficult to open a discussion about the very subjective subject (heh) that is cheating and exploiting, so I decided that I would utilize the greatest essay introduction ever. If you are enrolled in university at the moment and you ever write an essay, I’d suggest you take the following thesis, change the words to fit your needs, and thusly reap the rewards of creating pure, undistilled academia. No need to thank me. Donations, however...

Ahem. To continue:

For millions (maybe billions) of years, man has pondered the meaning of cheating. But what is cheating? Webster’s dictionary defines cheating as “to practice fraud or trickery” and “to violate rules dishonestly”. An online dictionary further defines cheating as “an annual European species of brome grass widely naturalized in temperate regions”. Taking the above definitions, therefore, we may define cheating as a method of dishonestly violating rules to practice fraud or trickery involving a European species of grass.

Awesome.

European grass aside, this article was written mostly out of wedlock; born from the marriage of Square Enix’s recent bannings and my awkward desire to be ‘hip’ and ‘with it’ in my writing. For those who don’t know, on January 22nd, 2009, SE finally decided to bring divine punishment down upon hundreds of FFXI players who had exploited an in-game glitch to get 3x the loot in specific zones. While this wouldn’t have been so bad if all of the items in question were RA/EX (bind on pickup), a number of the dupable items could be sold (and were) for extravagant amounts of gil, mostly due to their rarity. Thus, not only did this duping trick allow players to get excessive amounts of RA/EX gear quicker than SE intended, but they profited an incredible amount in the process.

What was truly remarkable about this exploit, however, was the fact that it had not been fixed for at least two years after its discovery . That means that people who knew of this were able to keep it ‘on the down low’ for at least a quarter of FFXI’s life. That’s some pretty good ‘down low’ keeping; almost, if one considers it, too good. Nobody, not even SE, could be that blind.

The fact is, if there is anyone an MMO team needs to keep an eye on to prevent unforeseen exploitation, it’s the hardcore endgame community. Say what you will about the resourcefulness of more casual players, the fact is, nobody is more willing to devote their time, money and experience points to learn how to beat something, and then learn how to make it easier by any means necessary. Feel free to argue that it’s up to the player base to remain morally correct in the face of programming errors, but last time I checked, trusting your most ambitious demographic to ignore the opportunity to get ahead is like asking our banks to not crash the stock market.

Players may go ahead and believe that heavy moderation on key forums (not Allakhazam, obviously) was what kept this knowledge from the ears of developers, but if this was truly the case, then the FFXI playerbase has larger things to worry about than who’s getting how much gear. I cannot help but wonder if this is truly indicative of SE’s connection to the FFXI playing community. How can you allow hundreds of endgame guilds to exploit what was clearly a very significant glitch; but only begin to act after two years of exploitation? Perhaps SE is subscribing to a very laissez faire type of management, but that sort of approach will rapidly alienate your community. A video game may be the vision of the developers to create, but it is ultimately the players who play the game and participate in its creation.

This is ultimately what bothers me about the nature of these bannings; while I really don’t agree with how they TALK TO US SE were implemented, I’m still truly puzzled at why SE felt that permanent bans were necessary. In World of Warcraft, when several teams were caught exploiting the arena system to gain large numbers of arena points (and ridiculous amounts of gold from selling points), they stripped those characters of all arena gear and arena points. Prior to these bannings, there were very few, if any at all, documented permanent bans that resulted from careless exploitation of in-game glitches; even if you were caught utilizing third party programs (so you basically created an exploit), players were often slapped with a temporary ban and then left to ‘think about what they did.’ Now we have a case where players took advantage of a glitch they found, and permanent bans are issued. It just feels disproportionate.

In reality, there are only a few reasons why SE would implement such extreme measures:

1.) To compensate for their relative inaction over the course of two years, they decided that the perpetrators had ‘built up punishment,’ so to speak (so if I don’t punch you today, five years from now, I can break your leg).

2.) SE feels that being lied to is the ultimate offence, and this specific kind of dishonesty merits much more punishment than when individuals create custom tailored programs to take advantage of game mechanics.

3.) SE felt that the repercussions of triple drops have severely affected all of FFXI in such drastic ways that permanent bans were a necessary bandage. They will then implement a Mog Bonanza when they feel drop rates are too low.

4.) SE didn’t really know to what extent these individuals benefited, so they lazily banned them to ‘cover all the bases.’

5.) According to some, SE is actually a giant corporate Samurai, and therefore could not stand the dishonour, so they theoretically killed those who dishonoured them.

Or, finally, perhaps it’s this:

6.) Immediately after fixing this problem (and this was a problem they were well aware of, prior to fixing), the community backlash was so massive that SE felt that heavy-handed punishments were key to placating the witch burning community. Never mind that the company took two years to mete out these punishments (and stayed relatively silent on the matter during the time), and never mind that taking such actions were unprecedented; people wanted sacrifices, and so they got them.

I’d say temporarily ban everyone, strip them of all items that pertain to the glitch, reduce them down to 100k gil and then carefully monitor their logs over the next few months to ensure that they don’t suddenly ‘inherit’ 10,000 Alexandrites from a suspiciously named “LSMule” character.  That’s just me.

Either way, SE, you need to take this as a wakeup call if you ever needed one; establish some contacts in top endgame LSes, consult with the player community and show us that you’re not dozing at the wheel when it comes to listening to our needs. A company cannot blithely continue to develop expansions without understanding and working with its player base; otherwise situations like this happen. Part of what makes World of Warcraft so successful is its ability to listen to the needs of its largest player demographic. I’m certainly not saying that you need to spoon feed our players, but I would be much less critical if there was any demonstration of community outreach and if there were any attempts to understand (and alleviate) the problems of the average FFXI player. Otherwise controversial bans like these just feel like you’re panicking when you open the door to your cave and you discover a lynch mob waiting.

Christopher "Pwyff" Tom
Editor
Allakhazam.com

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Great Article, but Few problems.
# Feb 18 2009 at 5:16 AM Rating: Decent
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To my knowledge, the glitch was only known about since dec 07 - jan 08. It is still a little fuzzy on when the glitch became more widely known. And to be fair, it was more than likely discovered on accident, then people just ran with it.

I do believe you are coming down hard on SE though. It is not like they knew which people were doing the glitch and sat back and watched digging their own grave, no they had to investigate 1 years worth of logs on ALL SERVERS. This means that for close to 3 months people had a job of reading gamers talking to each other in the afflicted areas. You seem to be very articulate in your speech. So I will assume you are educated to an extent. Imagine reading the worst examples of the butchering of the english writing system looking for people to cheat. Now imagine what would happen if you found said person after reading his horrible grammar and spelling.

Just about everyone who was involved has received an online letter telling them they received an official warning. The more serious cases received a LM-17 message stating they needed to contact SE before being able to play again. IE Temp Ban. The most severe cases received an LM-11 which is a permanent ban.

It has been said that such mass bannings are a bad thing. I believe that it is a good thing. There have been several unsavory practices that people have used before. Some of which people said would never be policed because it would require closing out a large number of accounts. I believe that the bannings last month broke that state of mind. The "I am safe because 80% of the players do it" mentality. I would not be surprised if people started receiving warning letters for using windower.
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# Feb 06 2009 at 5:40 PM Rating: Decent
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i dont do salvage or hnm i dont have enough time to play to get going on it. Done sky, sea, and dynmamis faithfully for 3 years and am still trying to get stuff that never drops or your low man on the list to get it. Its no ones fault but SE if there drop rates where not so horrible off then people would not cheat to get stuff.!! take example dynamis ice eareas i have tanked dynamis on alexander server for nearly 3 years i got to the top of the pld list on my shell because i never missed had a 99% attendance rate was in line for surcoat and in 3 years only 2 surcoats drop 4 plds quit out of anger and i had to leave from the shell. To wait that long and come up empty handed is utter failure by SE there are many events and items that still have the worst drop rate in the game. long lines of people to get them it takes the fun out of the game and angers people to wait very long times to get what you want but it works for SE. The more you fail the more you play the more you play the more you pay it's a truly sick way to run a bussiness what ever happen to the customer is always right and here is a hint when you fight a big monster and it drops nothing but one wind crystal some programmer needs to get off his *** and fix kirin 7 out of 10 times it did that to me and its uncalled for considering the time invested to get to kirin and the fight. So when someone finds a loophole to get an item or items at a faster rate then i say more power to them its better then doing the same event til your a knumb mindless zombie hope for a drop that never drops and to the sick people that sit on there asses and do nothing to fix the drop rates **** THEM AND THERE STUPID GAME I HOPE THEY GET SUED!!!!!
p.s. wanna get even effect there stock send bad reports to the wall street journal it will drop there stock rates and then they will listed hit them where it hurts there wallet
Hmmm
# Feb 05 2009 at 4:24 PM Rating: Decent
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68 posts
I'm very surprised by the banning of the players personally. I mean to me it seems like SE never really listens to the player base. I've been playing this game since it was released on computer in NA and it wasn't until this last couple years they even fixed some of the common concerns and just basic game user interface problems that players have had in the game for a very long time.

Now they make a mistake in coding the game and people take advantage of it. Of course it's wrong, but people in life tend to take the shortest easiest route to their goals and dreams and if they can turn an easy profit on it they’re probably going to. Most people say it was wrong. Yeah it was, but how many of those same people not knowing then that the banhammer cometh would have done the same thing?

I'm not surprised by the actions of the players. I was much more surprised by the actions of SE. I personally didn't expect a perma-ban issued to so many players. Now is it fair or just? I wouldn't think so, but how do you fix two years of exploits and gear selling? They made 3~8mil gil off every piece they sold easily. It shouldn't have gone on that long in the first place.

I was in a Salvage LS and we never even knew about it. I wondered how some LS could be getting so much gear they are all upgraded and selling pieces so easily. I agree with the fact they should have had mystics, salvage gear, money, and any high end items dealing with money stripped from their accounts like relics acquired during those two years (which would have probably of been paid for with the gear selling money).

Funny thing is we talk like this is the past. I was told something very disturbing recently and I'm not sure if it's true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is. Apparently players can and still are using the exploit on Sandworms. So this probably won't be the end of this discussion or of these perma-bans if it’s found to be true. I’m surprised anyone would use it after what happened. I’ll just have to wait and see.
Hmmm
# Feb 10 2009 at 10:04 AM Rating: Decent
9 posts
I read the same thing, that people are still able to dupe on the sandworm. However, I know I'll be laughing at those who continue duping. They're just asking to be banned. lol
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# Feb 03 2009 at 3:55 PM Rating: Good
First let me do a reply:
Quote:
Anyone else notice that the people agreeing have very low post counts?

What does post count here in Allakhazam have to do with the bans? Or anything else in any game for that matter? I have been a member of Alla (on another nick) since July 2001 (when I played my first MMO...EQ) when my brother (who already had an account) told me about it. I have not always had premium access, but I would say about 90+% of the time I did/do. But that in no way has any bearing on my opinions or ideas. I read a LOT of posts but don't really make/answer many.

One other point mentioned above is programmers/companies focusing on End Gamers because they're the most loyal/supportive? I am no where near "End Game" in EQ and yet have been extremely loyal/supportive. The same here for Allakhazam. FFXI I actually played from the US launch until about 1-2 months before ToAU came out. I actually popped-in a couple of times in between before my current account (I forgot my old account info so started over). Have I been loyal? Maybe not 100% but I am back and have no plans to stop. And I have always supported SE in all things dealing with all of their games, not just FFXI or any FF, but all of them. But yes, a lot of companies do just that. Luckily there are some companies (SE for one) that don't seem to care if you're "Uber" or whatever.

Quick gaming background: July 2, 2001 EQ (and still active account). I have also played SWG, EVE, WoW, LotRO (beta tester), CoH/CoV, EQ2 and many others both free and pay-to-play. I have been a GM in 2 MMOs, but am not currently as I don't have active accounts with them and no plans to return (although in one case I have a permanent open GM spot if/when I do return). Needless to say I have vast experience in online gaming and their codes of conduct.

Now while this exploit has gone on for a long time, and maybe not everyone did deserve a perm ban, the point is the EULA/Rules/Code of Conduct for ALL MMOs states that if you are caught cheating/exploiting or helping someone to cheat, or conduct business with them, you are subject to have your account permanently banned. (If you don't believe me, try reading the small print (read every single line)) In fact any sort of aiding/abetting (abet: verb: to encourage, support, or countenance by aid or approval, usually in wrongdoing. i.e.: Yeah, get that etxra drop item for me!) is punishable by up to, and including, a permanent account ban.
Quote:
Personally I don't think there should have been any temp bans. They should have deleted every perpetrator and everyone who participated in the runs with people who were getting the items. They were all accessories to the cheating and by not filing a report your just as guilty as the people who were collecting the gear.

Well said!

Was SE sleeping on the job? Maybe, but it is their game to sleep on. Did they over-react? Maybe, but it is their game to over-react. Could they have investigated a bit more to determine different levels of punishment? Sure. But (you guessed it) it is their game to decide their rule enforcements as they please.

The bottom line is that in one way or another, everyone who was banned broke the rules. How long SE has known/not known about this is irrelevant. How bad did person A or B break the rules is irrelevant. All other factors have no bearing. You break the rules you face a possbile perm ban.

So for those of you who don't agree with SEs actions:
Cry yourself a river...build a bridge...and get over it!
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My 2 gil
# Feb 03 2009 at 4:45 PM Rating: Good
Sorry...I just had to reply to these:
Quote:
It's like you post a speed limit of 35 mph, however, u decide to not put law enforcement to enforce those speed limits. There are more accidents and whatnot on that road. Who's fault is it? Speeders? Yes to a degree but the laws need enforced if you want people to take it seriously. That's were it failed.

Really? So for anyone who breaks a law, it's not their fault unless someone is right there to catch them? Or at least to some degree? Especially if they can get away with it time and time again?
Breaking the law is wrong at any time, whether or not it is enforced actively, and it is 100% the fault of the law breaker.

Quote:
It was ridiculous to ban everyone. Temp ban, take their items, but seriously, you're taking friends away from people, and all of the self-righteous idiots are forgetting there are humans behind these characters, and this is a game. All you have to do is remove the benefit earned.

You're wrong...really wrong. I know there are humans behind the characters. And those humans violated the rules. If I had any friends violating the rules, they wouldn't be my friend for long.

Quote:
I know this happened a bit ago, but been wondering this probably stupid question but, If this exploit has been going on for the greater part of the past two years, why werent there more than 900 people banned/temp-banned? Does SE only keep a months/couple months/a years/etc worth of logs, and delete em how ever often that they couldnt hit everyone that abused it (or they too lazy to do that?)

Without violating any confidential info I have, they keep the logs for quite a while (more than 1 year) but the accounts banned...well, they had their reasons. Some were multple violators. They only banned the active accounts. The were many, many more not-currently-active accounts that were banned/deleted. And no, I am not officially speaking on behalf of, or for, SE. But, in gneneral, what you have heard about is only a small part of the overall action/investigation that took place.

Quote:
OP makes some good points that I fully agree with:
1) Permanent bannings were excessive for solely this offense. If someone already had a few strikes against them, then maybe.
2) RESTORATIVE JUSTICE (a logical and fair concept) would state that players lost the gear that they used the exploits to obtain.
However, cest la vie. Players should no that S-E governs by use of:
MARTIAL LAW AND EXCESSIVE FORCE
Rather than reason and fairness. Anyone who's ever had a run-in with a GM over a game issue knows this to be true.

Again, you don't know the full extent (no one posting here probably has any idea close to the truth of it all) of what actually went on. And you don't know every person that was banned. And all my run-in's with the GMs have not always been agreeable, but I have never been banned/warned form any MMO becaue I don't take part in any sort of rules/conduct violations, including glitches.

Quote:
i agree with this post. look at it as if this was real life. you steal something from a store and do it for 2 years then they decide to ban you from the store...the store would be the retards or idiots. if you found something that makes you money quick and no one says anything for 2 years why would you think its bad, or that someone is ever gonna stop you. SE just showed that for 2 years they didnt or couldnt control their own game. temporarily ban em take away all their gear they got from the glitch and straight up take away all their gil, check up on em every month or 2.

Again, its not that they didn't or couldn't control the game. This has been under investigation for a while. And even if they are idiots, that does not, in any way, excuse the actions taken by the rules breakers. Just because a thief doesn't get caught, may make the police or store seeem ignorant/stupid/dumb, but the thief is still the wrong doer.

Ok...I'm done now. As I stated in my actual post above, any rule breaking is wrong. Regardless of who it is or how long they get away with it. And even in todays society, if you help someone do something wrong, you are just as guilty as they are. Even if you just open a door for them. And also remember, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Except that all the people involved in the actual exploiting knew what they were doing was wrong.
"temporarily ban em take away all their gear they got from the glitch and straight up take away all their gil, check up on em every month or 2."
"2) RESTORATIVE JUSTICE (a logical and fair concept) would state that players lost the gear that they used the exploits to obtain."
What? These people were doing wrong and proftting from it. They didn't seem to be logical and fair in the prices they were charging or the actions they were taking.
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No pity.
# Feb 01 2009 at 10:08 AM Rating: Decent
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Okay, all cries of he/she cheated and deserved his/her punishment aside, consider, what would be a proper form of punishment?

Suggestion, one, strip of gear, gil and a temp ban. *no good, these people have high level crafts and probably mules with crafts, which would facilitate a rapid recovery of gil to re-equip these players.

Suggestion, two, roll back the characters to before the glitch was exploited and slap a temp ban on them. * again, no good, it would bring up a virtual paradox. If you roll back a character, then everything they obtained after the point to which they'd been rolled back would be removed from the game, no? Like, if I killed Roc and a friend got Dryad staff, and I got rolled back a day before that day, then, Roc was not killed by me and the Dryad staff could never have dropped, so, how would friend keep staff? would it cause hundreds of other players' games to crash due to item/inventory errors?

Suggestion, three, permanent ban. It's the only option that is easily executed. It may just be that SE has changed their penalty assessments and that many infractions that had previously only garnered a temporary ban will now be treated with more severe consequences. Or, it could be the sheer arrogance displayed by those who had exploited the glitch. It's like rubbing salt into a wound. The general attitude of the participants was ' yeah, well, we deserved the gear more than anyone else, and SE is too stupid to catch me'.
All things considered, it's a prime example of extreme stupidity catching up with the perpetrator.
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Stuff
# Feb 01 2009 at 3:21 AM Rating: Excellent
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359 posts
This is such crap the people who used this exploit obviously knew that they were exploiting this. The whole "well we were doing it for 2 years so we thought it was ok," is a BS cop out. If people actually thought this was legitimate they would have shared information. Instead they hid the exploit knowing full well that if it was found, it would be stopped and most likely people would be punished. So don't feed us this cry baby line about how you didn't know or that SE was entrapping you into this #$%@. Odds are they only found out about this exploit very recently and once they stopped it they had to investigate it as to who was guilty.

Now there are 2 things that bug me about SE's part in this. For one it's obvious they do not spend much time play testing before releasing to the public. It's a major issue given that they introduce things like these exploits and other ridiculously broken content that obviously has not been well thought out or tested.

Secondly the punishments have no real rhyme or reason to them. Some people duped multiple sets of Salvage gear, were given a 72 hr suspension, and were able to keep their duped gear. Where as some who only had a minor brush with this glitch were banned.

I definitely think that SE is totally out of touch with their customer base. No beta servers and no official forums is BS. It makes it very hard to believe that SE wants our input. SE needs to make a better effort to listen to the player base, we're the ones that pay for the game we should decide how it plays out for the most part.
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Stuff
# Feb 01 2009 at 2:20 PM Rating: Excellent
2 posts
OrsonBastokChampion wrote:
This is such crap the people who used this exploit obviously knew that they were exploiting this. The whole "well we were doing it for 2 years so we thought it was ok," is a BS cop out. If people actually thought this was legitimate they would have shared information. Instead they hid the exploit knowing full well that if it was found, it would be stopped and most likely people would be punished. So don't feed us this cry baby line about how you didn't know or that SE was entrapping you into this #$%@. Odds are they only found out about this exploit very recently and once they stopped it they had to investigate it as to who was guilty.

Now there are 2 things that bug me about SE's part in this. For one it's obvious they do not spend much time play testing before releasing to the public. It's a major issue given that they introduce things like these exploits and other ridiculously broken content that obviously has not been well thought out or tested.

Secondly the punishments have no real rhyme or reason to them. Some people duped multiple sets of Salvage gear, were given a 72 hr suspension, and were able to keep their duped gear. Where as some who only had a minor brush with this glitch were banned.

I definitely think that SE is totally out of touch with their customer base. No beta servers and no official forums is BS. It makes it very hard to believe that SE wants our input. SE needs to make a better effort to listen to the player base, we're the ones that pay for the game we should decide how it plays out for the most part.


I completely agree that SE needs to get in touch with the community. They think that telling us how they are punishing people is keeping in touch? We have no input in this game.
#kynesis, Posted: Jan 31 2009 at 10:35 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Entrapment is illegal
Respect
# Jan 31 2009 at 6:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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It all boils down for respect for rules and disrespect for it. From what I could gather, including this report at jpbutton.com http://www.jpbutton.com/?p=1746, most JP players welcomed the news. Many NA players who knew of the cheat, benefited from it in some way, or had nothing to do with it but otherwise felt compelled to have an opinion that was critical of SE and less so on the cheaters. Though I'd say the NA community is more split, perhaps 60% in favour 40% against the recent mass bannings that occurred.

I'm in favor of such punishment. The fact that SE missed the cheat for so long is a black mark against them, but to say it's somehow allowed because the loophole wasn't closed is no excuse in a case of tax evasion, and it won't be an excuse in these cases of cheating either.


Edited, Jan 31st 2009 6:56pm by Dekusutaa
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2 years is a long time
# Jan 31 2009 at 1:47 AM Rating: Decent
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Honestly, I don't think their behavior really reflects good customer service. If this was a few months after the exploit was found, then thats all fine. But this is 2 years. A large number of people probably played their entire gametime start to finish being able to exploit this with no reprecussions. Since SE waited so long for this, I think temp bans should have sufficed. This is the kind of thing where if you let people do it for so long people will think its ok to do.

Obviously SE didn't do anything illegal or break any contractual bounds, but I feel like this is very poor, lackluster customer service.

I think the most likely situation is that their tracking of exploiters was very poor over the last 2 years and they finally decided they needed to step it up, which I do have to say is a good thing, so this could be indicative of increasing customer service quality. Maybe.
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2 years is a long time
# Feb 02 2009 at 2:07 PM Rating: Good
4 posts

"This is the kind of thing where if you let people do it for so long people will think its ok to do"

omg are you freaking serious?!!!!
no wonders! so you need punishment to know whats good and whats not?
so if you are a killer, and do so for years and you didnt get caught
then that makes killing people ok? since noone punished you in all that time!!! really?
guess thats the difference with jp players and why they supported SE actions.
.
# Jan 30 2009 at 3:22 PM Rating: Good
40 posts
This had me thinking about something. Police, DEA, ATF and other agencies do sting/stakeout operations all the time when they don't have enough evidence against suspected individuals. Maybe this was SE's version of such an operation. Noting individuals willfully exploiting a circumstance and eventually building enough evidence against the individuals to take action against them.

Edited, Jan 30th 2009 6:23pm by NumberNinetyTwo
In Simplest Terms
# Jan 29 2009 at 10:02 PM Rating: Good
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126 posts
For those who say it came too late, well... There's a system used by some online gaming companies to catch cheaters. Once they discover an exploit, they patch it - they don't fix it, they set it to track the accounts of all who use the exploit and let it run a while. Once it's got a nice little list going, down comes the ban-hammer.

All rhetoric aside... People cheated. They got banned. That's really all there is to it; to SE I say good work.
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In Simplest Terms
# Feb 01 2009 at 2:26 PM Rating: Default
2 posts
Hecatoncheire wrote:
For those who say it came too late, well... There's a system used by some online gaming companies to catch cheaters. Once they discover an exploit, they patch it - they don't fix it, they set it to track the accounts of all who use the exploit and let it run a while. Once it's got a nice little list going, down comes the ban-hammer.

All rhetoric aside... People cheated. They got banned. That's really all there is to it; to SE I say good work.


lol so why did they let the list run for 2 years? Most people who exploited this have probably come and gone in this amount of time. It's actually a smart idea to patch it and see who is exploiting but I think you are giving them too much credit in this case.
My comment...
# Jan 29 2009 at 2:55 PM Rating: Excellent
29 posts
Think of this situation:

There's a bank with an ATM machine that gives out extra money... so when you withdraw X dollars you actually get X+20... and the extra 20 does not come from your account.

Do you keep the money? Or give it back to the bank? Is it illegal (stealing)? you didn't ask for it... it just happened! It was just a glitch! Should you let someone know? Should you do it again?

Think about this further: For 2 years you've still withdrawn money from the bank. Sometimes doing more withdrawals than you should/need because you want the extra cash. Sometimes you show your friends what you can do and give them some cash too. You're livin large!

Another example:
Someone leaves to go to work but forgot to close their front door. Do you walk in and take what's in there? They left the door open so anything that's in the house is free for the taking! Or would that be stealing too?

I'm not a lawyer, but there is a Statute of Limitations (I think it's between 2-7 years depending on the type of act/crime/misdemeanor), where the bank has the right to file charges against you... even years after it was done. People who steal from banks generally do go to jail, regardless of the amount stolen.

Saying that is was "just a glitch" and is "SE's fault" they didn't do anything earlier is the worst argument. So SE had a glitch. They left the door wide open for those that were able to see it. Did SE make a mistake? yes -- definitely. Should people have capitalized on the mistake? No -- and those people that did dupe items are receiving the appropriate punishment.

This is an MMORPG, even a single person's action affects other players... like the prices on the AH or inflation, or the availablilty of NMs, XP camp areas, or even opening the doors in Garlaige Citadel. I'd like to think most people, even in game, have good intentions and are good people. Though people "cheat" in the real world, if caught they are usually punished in some way. I would expect no less in the virtual world we play in.

This isn't Contra where you do the up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A Start code for 30 lives, and finish the game with out problems alone on your own machine.
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Good Read!
# Jan 29 2009 at 12:09 PM Rating: Default
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I feel that the ban wave was a was to compensate for SE's incompetence. They should have just fixed the issue and moved on to things that are far more crippling to the player base. I remember reading all over the place about this "exploit" and moral debates on the subject. Maybe if everything in the game wasn't a complete and utter time sink or the fact that something to could multiple weeks to accomplish for 0 reward people wouldn't feel the need to try and cheat.

Just an example:

Dynamis; 6 months I have not seen 1 RDM or PUP pieces drop. How is this supposed to be fun for people that only have these jobs or only these jobs? There is many possible fixed to stop this frustration as in just turning Relic gear into blank catalysts you can transform into any gear for any job you want. Such as X monster drops Relic Hat, you can take this to a NPC and turn it into the Relic Hat of your choice for the job you want. Makes more scene, doesn't change how much AF2 is entering the community, everyone wins.

In a game where people openly state that they bot claims you know there is something wrong with game mechanics. Do you see punishment for that? No.

I still can't believe SE dosen't have any sort of official forum. That alone tells me that they do not care about the payers. I never understood why it was so difficult for SE to cater to the community.

Sorry to everyone that got banned :(
Good Read!
# Jan 30 2009 at 4:28 AM Rating: Decent
9 posts
I really have to agree with you. SE knew about this ban. It was posted all over BG forums, and people made GM calls over it. When a GM tells a person that things are "functioning as it should be" or that "it's a known issue," and SE isn't doing a thing about it, what are people going to think? They'd have to be utter fools to think that people wouldn't use the exploit if they left it in.

I just can't agree with how SE handled this. There was too much hit and miss with the banhammer. I personally know a young lady who's permabanned because her account was paid for by a guy who duped in Salvage and got the ban.

Yes, this is a very serious offense. Yes, the people should be punished. However, I still believe that players wouldn't be inclined to do this if the drop rates weren't so abysmal. Waiting and waiting for an NM to spawn from the archaic rampart, only to have it not drop anything, or to not see the NM spawn at all is just frustrating. There's a huge difference between a challenge and a waste of time. I just realize SE would realize they aren't guiltless.
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Rubbish.
# Jan 29 2009 at 11:56 AM Rating: Good
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Tzemesce wrote:
I'm a leader of a 45 member strong endgame shell on Ifrit, and none of us knew about the exploit. Whenever someone posted about the exploit on BG, the admins would immediately delete the post to keep the information from becoming public knowledge. More than likely the same thing happened over on KI.


This is not true:

This following post was made on 01-28-2008, 04:45PM Minnich of BG

http://www.bluegartrls.com/forum/ffxi...glitch.html

You can find all the info you need about it. This was done a YEAR ago! It is not hidden. Also, many other posts were made after. There may have been some before but I failed to find them on a quick google search.

I don't support or defend anyone. This is just for accuracy.

EDIT: Edit fuction is not working properly. When I edit my own post with the link it lets me edit the person I'm replying to's post. Double post? Idk how this will end up. I went back and tried to edit my post again lol

Quoted incorrectly.
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Rubbish.
# Jan 29 2009 at 10:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm not sure why your link is doing that. Try commenting again and paste it in one more time?
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Rubbish.
# Jan 30 2009 at 3:35 AM Rating: Excellent
http://www.bluegartrls.com/forum/ffxi-event-strategies/53781-salvage-glitch.html
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Rubbish.
# Jan 30 2009 at 9:44 PM Rating: Good
26 posts
And I quote from that same thread...

Quote:
Except they'd ban you if you figured out how to replicate it and did it secretly, if they found out.


Wizerd is a **** nostradomus!
objectification.
# Jan 29 2009 at 9:45 PM Rating: Excellent
*
237 posts
If they are kept a secret to prevent necessary actions to fix/patch the issue, thats one way to alleviate some of the subjectivity of exploits/cheats.

For those who choose to be pro cheats/exploits I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate the fact that white collar criminals, political criminals, and Con artists, ****** men/women use the exact same reasoning to ***** you over lol

Sure one could say, "well thats real life, in video games its not as big a deal", but it'd be disingenuous/hypocritical to have such double standards. Not that they both deserve the exact same repercussions when dealt with, I'm just saying its not that difficult to recognize maleficence when you actually try.
lol...
# Jan 29 2009 at 2:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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3,144 posts
Quote:
IDK if SE does or not, but do they allow for character repeals based on the offense. Yes you say these people may be scumb, but some may have simply been followers or didnt know it was "Sentenceable by Death".


play with fire. Expect to get burned. An exploit is an exploit. It is clear as day that this shouldnt have been in the game. It CLEARLY states in the TOS that breaking the rules = your gonna get pwned. SE can do whatever they want with your account. Always expect the worst. Dont asume that you will only get a slap on the wrist.
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http://sizedd.freeforums.org/

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
re: I agree with lobi...
# Jan 29 2009 at 2:11 AM Rating: Good
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960 posts
I'm up at 4am reading this and just have this to say, I had no idea you could dupe items until this banning thing came up. My friends, lsmates, nyzul perma, none of us knew about this, that you can dupe items is a new one completely on me, of course I don't read BG, and elitists make me sick so I ignore them and anyone who takes them seriously. That said as a complete innocent who still plays after all these years because I don't break rules or take advantage of anything that looks too easy.

Shame on anyone who cheated or pays for Rare ex drops for that matter, there are no innocents caught up in this. Nobody said stay there you have no choice, these people made an effort, an extremely elaborate effort in some cases to cheat the system set in place. 900 people who deserved punishment were deprived of something that gives them joy, that is the cost of cheating, or breaking rules well done SE. The sad thing is those who were banned are doing the equivalent of Al Gore suing for recounts on a presidential election, it's disgraceful, and not a little pathetic.

It's time for the old regime to fall, and time for the endgame to evolve. I for one am excited for the challenge, I spend hours generating new gil to contribute to the game economy every day because there is nothing else to do before work and after. Lets do more of that and less complaining. There is a shortage of Dynamis currency on my server and i'm sure on others, lets rebuild and get some deserving people what they want for once.
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Hmmmmm?
# Jan 29 2009 at 1:03 AM Rating: Default
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You know I've been reading into this for a few days now and if I remember, about 2 years ago, SE said they found some bugs in some areas that could be abused in such a way as to cause an imbalanced increase of items that was not intended by SE or by the programers. I would have to say that maybe the reason SE did the bans is because they fixed the problem but may have made more problems in the process. But this last part is only speculation. Nothing more. So please don't read more into this.
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good riddance
# Jan 29 2009 at 12:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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I am on the side that, they cheated and therefore gambled with their so called accomplishments.

I have been doing Salvage since its inception and just 2 weeks ago finished my Full Skadi set. This was with the commitment of doing salvage anywhere from 5-7 days a week and missed 1 single run during that whole time period.

Seeing others so far ahead of where I was along the way and doing 1 maybe 2 runs a week looked fishy but I never heard of the Dupe until maybe a month ago now and just so happens that the person who told me about it was LM-17.

Say what you will about Morals in a video game but I stand much more proud of what Ive done today because it was all legit even though extremely frustrating much of the time due to ridiculously poor drop rates.
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# Jan 28 2009 at 11:10 PM Rating: Excellent
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Look, the people who used the exploit know it was wrong but chose to do it anyway. They also are paying the price for those actions. Also their is a huge public out cry to stop cheats like botting, gilfarming, and so forth. You can't ban one person for cheating and not the other. Breaking the rules is breaking the rules.

If you didn't want to lose your account you shouldn't have used the cheat. If you didn't use the cheat but knew that your LS was then maybe you should have followed your moral compass and left that LS for a more honest one.
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Great article
# Jan 28 2009 at 9:13 PM Rating: Good
I agree with Tamat. The bannings was harse but the cheaters got what they deserved.

I personally would like to see SE just have taken the gear/money away from them, temp ban then.
Great article
# Jan 28 2009 at 11:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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1,039 posts

I've read all the BG threads and the Alla threads, and have concluded that....

This is a horrible situation where there was just no right answer, and no right response.

It's an absolute Greek Tragedy.

On the one hand, the cheaters violated the TOS, hid the glitch for as long as they could, profited from it (and exploited innocents) by using the glitch to make Gil from duped items, seriously distorted the end-game economy and the Salvage drop rates for everyone, and generally had a non-trivial effect on the whole end-game.

On the other hand, the glitch was SE's fault, and they left it in place for far longer than any intelligently-run company has a right to do. And, while I do NOT buy the argument that people legitimately thought that this was an intended easter egg planted by the developers, it is the case that such an argument would be carefully considered as being possibly valid in a court of law.

The most tragic aspects of this are that many of the banned players were those who pioneer the new content for the rest of us; and, many of the banned players had NO NEED AT ALL to do this, because they already had more Gil than they knew what to do with, and they were so OCD about the game that they would have gotten their item anyway, without exploiting the glitch.

SE could have just temp-banned them. However, SE probably knew that many of them had multiple secondary accounts on other credit cards, where they muled their ill-gotten gains, and so if SE were merciful and only temp-banned them and stripped their Gil and items, they could restore all the non R/E gains from their secondary accounts.

It's just a sad and tragic situation for both sides.

If I were an SE executive in charge of this, it would have been very hard for me to decide what the right response was.

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Great article
# Jan 29 2009 at 9:46 AM Rating: Decent
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"On the other hand, the glitch was SE's fault, and they left it in place for far longer than any intelligently-run company has a right to do. And, while I do NOT buy the argument that people legitimately thought that this was an intended easter egg planted by the developers, it is the case that such an argument would be carefully considered as being possibly valid in a court of law."
I dissagree with that. If SE knew of the glitch long ago they would have done a patch on it right away. SE will not know every problem with the game on their own that is why they relie mostly on the gamers to report these glitches. SE knows if something like this will unbalance the game they will not leave alone and assume every one is going to be an honest player. No one reported this glitch to SE until someone either reported that something went wrong with their drops or made full intensions by doing the right thing and told them there was a glitch in the system.
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# Jan 28 2009 at 7:59 PM Rating: Good
I'd say to the owners and mods of alla that if you want answers, give sundi a call. Beyond that its all conjecture as to why SE did what they did, and we can say whatever we like; they know the truth.

Other than that, it's time to let this die already.
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Clarification :(
# Jan 28 2009 at 7:43 PM Rating: Excellent
A few days ago, I wrote an article that discussed the recent bannings, but most significantly, argued that SE was completely out of touch with its endgame playerbase. Now, while I do believe that I drew a logical conclusion, I also realize that some of my points were ambiguous, and for that, I apologize. What I will not apologize for, however, are my opinions.

I’m sorry if I was construed as saying that SE ‘knew’ about the exploit. Re-reading the article, it does sound like it, and those lolcats certainly aren’t helping my case. The reason I came to this conclusion was because it was one of two conclusions offered to me from what was at hand.

Quote:
Players may go ahead and believe that heavy moderation on key forums . . . was what kept this knowledge from the ears of developers, but if this was truly the case, then the FFXI playerbase has larger things to worry about than who’s getting how much gear. I cannot help but wonder if this is truly indicative of SE’s connection to the FFXI playing community.


This is the paragraph, and the logic, that my opinions are coming from. The problem that I had (and still have) with SE is the fact that these bannings are indicative of a very troubling idea.

What we have is the concept that SE did not know about this exploit, at all, until their stated date of ‘November 2008.’ If we are to believe this, then you must acknowledge that we have a company who is not paying attention to its endgame playerbase. SE themselves said that they “investigated more than a year’s worth of logs throughout all areas,” which means that this exploit was used and known by endgame players at least more than a year ago. I’m going to great stakes and pains to not quote from other forums (BlueGartrLS in particular) because they’re about as reliable as Wikipedia, but I will state the fact that this was known by a portion of hardcore endgame FFXI players for more than a year in advance.

Not only that, but there were a number of players who openly flaunted on the BG forums that they were exploiting with fantastic profit.

One comment to my original article states that:

“Also players on BG bragging about their duping and calling SE "too stupid to find us" with their actual character names/servers listed on the posts in front of the entire FFXI community was basically slapping SE across the face with a glove and throwing it at their feet, daring them to do something about it.”

This is further proof. How can a playerbase believe they can get away with such a massive, game breaking exploit? Simple; when the presence of the law is not felt, or when it feels that the company does not pay attention to its communities.

In this regard, therefore, I will retract the lolcat that says that SE knew about this exploit when it first began. I did not mean to say that, and the lolcat was really just because I’m quite bad at finding pictures for my articles. What I meant to say, and what I still mean to say, is this:

Square Enix should have known about this exploit well before they allegedly ‘did.’ Not only that, but a situation like this is indicative of a company who is not completely connected to its community. For a company to discover an exploit that was being utilized by some of the most ‘notorious’ cheaters at least a year prior is disgraceful.

One of the best endgame LSes, NineInchNinjas, lost its leader because of these bannings. Feel free to argue that Minidragon (the leader) could also be considered ‘the biggest cheater’ ever, but there are no cheats that allow you to kill HNMs quickly, or complete an Einherjar T3 run fluidly, or organize a god-forsaken alliance through Dynamis time and time again. Now, when the leader of the most accomplished LS says this:

“Even despite all of the flaws, and SE going out of its way to alienate its player base.”

Then you know that you have a significant problem. I’m not comparing SE to Blizzard, but do you know why Blizzard listens to the best endgame guilds, and often hires developers from those guilds? Because these are their most loyal customers, and these are the people who know the game the best. For a company to ignore the opinions of the best North American endgame LS is truly indicative of a fractured community and a lack of communication within what I believe is the best MMO on the market.

For those who believe that I think that what SE did was ‘wrong.’

I do not believe that the motivations for the actions SE took were wrong, but I do believe that the punishment was heavy handed. In fact, I do applaud SE for acting on their principles and banning some of the most notorious cheaters in the game. I agree with their decision to take action, but I do not agree with the nature of their actions. This is my opinion.
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Clarification :(
# Jan 29 2009 at 3:01 PM Rating: Decent
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798 posts
Quote:
I’m not comparing SE to Blizzard, but do you know why Blizzard listens to the best endgame guilds, and often hires developers from those guilds? Because these are their most loyal customers, and these are the people who know the game the best.


I disagree with this philosophy, from a purely business perspective. Certainly the people who are at the top tier of endgame are loyal (I wouldn't go so far to say "most") and know the game best, but its not necessarily the best idea to cater solely to these people. Allowing these people to design your game is great if you only want perhaps 1000 hardcore people to play your game. If you want mass appeal, you might want to consider listening to those who are casual players but could be enticed to become "hardcore" given the opportunity. I'd wager that 90+% of the player base would love to take a crack at all the HNMs in the game. The reality is there are limitations on this. You might see only 1 or 2 King Behemoths a week for example, and at most only 1 alliance worth of people gets to try this mob. Beyond simply the number of attempts an entire server can get, you need to gather a competent group of players together with the right jobs and equipment for the task at hand. There is a fundamental problem with the game and it is this: If every one had equal skill, gear, etc, it still would be impossible for every person to attempt everything in the game even if they wanted to. Meaning it doesn't really matter if we all wanted to fight King Behemoth and were capable, because there just isn't enough of him to go around. Drop rates are such that people will always be back for multiple attempts. This is why many people avoid endgame activities, because they simply don't like the prospects of waiting hours for NMs to pop (assuming they pop in their play time), risk not getting claim, and risk not getting the desired drops. Add to that the conflict that can arise due to the desire for rare drops not being met.

Then take something like a relic weapon. Again, something that 90+% would love to earn. Think of all the 1st time dynamis people who celebrate when they get their level 1 relic weapon drop cause they don't understand how hard it is yet. It just isn't feasible however for everyone to get one. The currency drops just are too low. I think it would be interesting to calculate if every Dynamis were constantly occupied with a group, how much currency could be generated daily on a given server and then to figure up how long it would take to obtain a relic for every person on a server. Assuming you could get a relic every day or two in currency, it would still take you years to get everyone a relic. Again, this makes it so people don't even try. I am not saying everyone should get a relic weapon. I am saying everyone should have the opportunity to earn one, and a realistic opportunity. Only one person can sponsor a run at a time. You can't feasibly buy all your currency either, not if everyone was buying it.

Those who chose to dupe the game are symptoms of the problem. They saw a way to circumvent low drops rates and hours of repetition, and they jumped on it. They were wrong however because doing so allowed them to gain a leg up on everyone else for gear and their duplication of Alexandrite had potentially large effects on everyone via unbalancing the economy in favor of the dupers. SE doesn't alienate anyone through the bannings. SE makes the game, they are in charge, not those who choose to exploit bugs for unfair advantages. If anything, SE reaffirms that there are rules and that cheaters like Minidragon get caught. He openly admitted to botting in his farewell post. I don't care how good he is at the game and organizing people, were he good enough he wouldn't have needed to bot. SE alienates their player base by creating a game where you grind your way up to 75, building your character so that you can attempt these challenging things in endgame, only to find out that you face some major obstacles that you can't necessarily overcome even if you wanted. Basically everyone who gets a relic or regularly gets to fight HNMs, they are the lucky minority.
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"innocent players"
# Jan 28 2009 at 7:40 PM Rating: Excellent
Thief's Knife
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Mistress Melphina wrote:
Some of the people who got banned were selling salvage drops to people who didn't know they were being duped, and those innocents got banned as well. To make matters worse, the quantities of gil they charged would make you cringe. People were paying 10 million gil to get banned without even knowing it. Now where's the justice in that?



If someone told me "ok now log out after you enter and stay on a mule and we'll /tell you when to log back on and lot" this would set off alarm bells that they were doing something shady. My first thought would have be that they were using POS hacks or something.

The people who got banned for buying duped Rare/Ex items must have bought them in one of two ways.

1. They were told to log out and stay on a mule waiting for a /tell to log on on their main and lot.

2. They were right there and saw the item duping and chose to buy the item anyway.

In either case they should have known better than to take part in something that was so blatantly shady.
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Final Fantasy XI 12-14-11 Update wrote:
Adjust the resolution of menus.
The main screen resolution for "FINAL FANTASY XI" is dependent on the "Overlay Graphics Resolution" setting.
If the Overlay Graphics Resolution is set higher than the Menu Resolution, menus will be automatically resized.


I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
I agree with lobi...
# Jan 28 2009 at 6:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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As much as it is a rare occasion I'm in agreement with lobi on this one as to the way the punishment was given. The people who got perma bans weren't just duping items in salvage, they were people associated with monopolizing all of end game. Here are a few fun facts that may not first come to light.

The people who got banned not only got themselves banned, but innocents as well. It is not an uncommon practice for end game shells to sell rare/ex drops for large quantities of gil if they don't need them. Prime examples include black belt items, pixie earrings, and Neptunal abjuration heads + Aquarian hands. There are also a few people who sell sky drops. Some of the people who got banned were selling salvage drops to people who didn't know they were being duped, and those innocents got banned as well. To make matters worse, the quantities of gil they charged would make you cringe. People were paying 10 million gil to get banned without even knowing it. Now where's the justice in that?

Furthermore the sandworm and einherjar item duping went far beyond what many realized. There were linkshells with hundrerds of millions of gil from these items that should not have existed. This had a severe effect on the prices of high demand end game items, most notably dynamis currency. Dynamis currency bottomed out about a year and a half ago at 5k per byne, and 7k each per shell and bronze. Today they have risen back up to 9-10k per byne and 12-13k per bronze and shell, and the reason is that end game shells exploiting this glitch with unlimted cash flow kept buying up all the currency to feed their own shells relics. Supply and demand dictates that if it keeps getting bought you raise prices, if it continues you keep them high. I have been trying to self fund my mandau for years, and despite the cost of dynamis getting cut in half the prices of coins almost doubled. Everything else in the economy that a standard player such as myself would use to make money continued to become less worthwhile while those who kept duping items just became more powerful. Many of those relics that were banned were attained through funds of duped items, and because of that they deserved to be flushed. Their owners never worked for them anyway.

There were people on BG forms bragging that they made 22 million gil off of duping ancient torques (this just one person alone), others claimed even higher profit margins. This money stayed within the shell alone, and no normal player could utilize this type of farming. They were abusing something nobody else could use because they didn't know about it, and profited unjustly. The repercussions on end game desired buyable items within the economy were as damaging as the gil exploit the rmt found in 2005, but this time only a select few benefitted "those in the know". The elitist attitude "those who deserved to know about it knew, those who didn't didn't" was all over the place, they were superior to us. They had their unlimited gil and didn't have to farm, didn't have to interact, and got a free ride to all the good stuff whereas the rest of us got stuck with the bottom of the barrel.

Finally the low droprates are only now being addressed because it has been brought to light. Salvage drop rates HAVE BEEN too low for 2 years, but people who abused this exploit brought items into the game that never should have been and thus making it appear drop rates were ok. Maybe if they hadn't been doing this for the past 2 years the drop rates would have been fixed long ago and we could all have benefitted by now, rather than just now having s-e consider fixing something that has been busted for 2 years.

I have no sympathy for this, they got what they had coming to them. This was selfish greed, and the sad part is they took a lot of legitamite players down with them who bought the dirty goods as well. They can stay out of my game, good riddance.

Edited, Jan 28th 2009 9:19pm by Melphina
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#Fumikuu, Posted: Jan 28 2009 at 6:37 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Holy crap an admin that agrees with the accused?. I must say I am floored and appreciate your minority opinion. I too agree with waht you said. The main reason I think the perm bans were wrong was because they claimed innocent people. As a company the worst thing you can do is have colloterial damage. The second reason is how long it actually took them. If they responded in a week I can understand. However imo you cant leave peiople out there for 2 years and say well get two years worth of money from them then ban them. That's just wrong.
I agree with lobi...
# Jan 28 2009 at 7:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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Fumikuu wrote:
H I think the perm bans were wrong was because they claimed innocent people.


There are only innocent men on death row.
____________________________
Final Fantasy XI 12-14-11 Update wrote:
Adjust the resolution of menus.
The main screen resolution for "FINAL FANTASY XI" is dependent on the "Overlay Graphics Resolution" setting.
If the Overlay Graphics Resolution is set higher than the Menu Resolution, menus will be automatically resized.


I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
socks
# Jan 28 2009 at 6:06 PM Rating: Good
Thief's Knife
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15,054 posts
Anyone else notice that the people agreeing have very low post counts?
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Final Fantasy XI 12-14-11 Update wrote:
Adjust the resolution of menus.
The main screen resolution for "FINAL FANTASY XI" is dependent on the "Overlay Graphics Resolution" setting.
If the Overlay Graphics Resolution is set higher than the Menu Resolution, menus will be automatically resized.


I thought of it first:

http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=130073657654872218#20
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