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.


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3-D Secure MUST be removed
# Sep 06 2009 at 4:43 PM Rating: Decent
The verified by visa and mastercard securecode srequisite must be removed from all playonline games, apps.
This ***** 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
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
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.

Sylph -> Remora -> Leviathin -> Caitsith

Edited, Aug 16th 2009 12:29pm by yukihoshi
# Aug 10 2009 at 11:19 AM Rating: Good
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
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
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
340 posts
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
"Don't take life too seriously, you can't get out of it alive." -Bugs Bunny

to be actually enjoying the game
Posted it to:
# Aug 07 2009 at 9:11 AM Rating: Excellent
36 posts
I know it's just yahoo, but I linked it here: Yahoo News.
#REDACTED, 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
510 posts
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.
This column is the only place that is lacking logic.
# Aug 05 2009 at 2:24 PM Rating: Good
Thief's Knife
15,054 posts
ringthree wrote:
I am an SE shill

Does Square Enix pay you by the word or by the paragraph?
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:

not NA only
# Aug 05 2009 at 5:13 AM Rating: Excellent
56 posts
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...
3D Secure Payment
# Aug 04 2009 at 3:44 AM Rating: Decent
242 posts
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.
Making it Short and just adding my Voice to this Manifesto
# Aug 03 2009 at 7:19 PM Rating: Decent
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
# Aug 03 2009 at 2:43 PM Rating: Good
212 posts
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.
Spreading the news
# Aug 03 2009 at 12:55 PM Rating: Good
I placed it on 1up check it out...http://www.1up.com/boards/posts/list/41865.page#1618117
# 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
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
121 posts
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
A little over the top.
# Aug 03 2009 at 4:27 AM Rating: Good
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
# Aug 02 2009 at 5:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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
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
22 posts
I ran across this on SE website, got to love the last line

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]

damm you SE
# Aug 01 2009 at 6:03 PM Rating: Decent
>< 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
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.
How does that feel, SE?
# Aug 01 2009 at 3:09 PM Rating: Good
493 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"
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.
Disappointed in SE
# Aug 01 2009 at 2:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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
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