Today's report will outline our actions conducted from December 14, 2007 to January 24, 2008 in dealing with players violating the user agreement, as well as details on the activities, results, and goals of the Special Task Force.
Click here for details on the Special Task Force's activities in dealing with players violating the FINAL FANTASY XI user agreement.
Warning about unauthorized access
As has been mentioned in previous Special Task Force reports, problems regarding third party access to players' account information have become more and more common. Even if ones account is compromised only once, all of that player's characters could be deleted and all gil and items lost.
Viewing suspicious web sites linked on gaming websites or blogs, as well as downloading files from these sites, is believed to be the main cause of this unauthorized access. A player's computer becomes infected with a Trojan horse or keylogger and before he realizes it, his PlayOnline ID and password have been stolen.
We are currently working on a method to restore edited account details and lost items, but there are a few preventative measures to help protect ones account. The following are a few such countermeasures that Windows users can use to protect against unauthorized access.
- Do not access websites with unknown or suspicious content.
- Do not download software from unknown or suspicious websites.
- Periodically perform Windows Updates and keep Windows updated to the latest version.
*Refer to Microsoft's official website for more detailed information.
- Periodically update your web browser to the latest version.
- Do not use external tools not approved by Square Enix under any circumstances.
- Always use the latest antivirus software and Internet security software.
In order to protect your data, please use the countermeasures listed above along with diligent management of your PlayOnline account.
We would also like to remind everyone that Square Enix will never reveal PlayOnline account details to third parties.
Special Task Force activities and future plans
Effective methods of dealing with problems such as illegal fishing have already been established. Because of this, criminals involved in RMT (*1) have moved to new methods of collecting gil with lower level characters, but the number of violators is gradually and continually decreasing.
The reason for this is that large amounts of gil cannot be made using any of these new methods. Also, even if a new character is made after the previous character was banned, the new character will most likely be banned before even being able to engage in active gil collection.
The Special Task Force uses the information provided by players to track specific characters and, once activities violating the FINAL FANTASY XI user agreement have been confirmed, the appropriate measures in dealing with the character are taken. We will continue our current course of action in dealing with violators with the help and cooperation of FINAL FANTASY XI's users.
The following tally details the condition of problems between December 14, 2007 and January 24, 2008. Each of these issues is discussed individually in the following section.
- Illegal fishing
In the span of one month, a total of 5,420 accounts were banned.
As was previously mentioned, characters that were once banned oftentimes reappear with new accounts, but due to the shortening of the intervals between bannings, the number of characters banned far exceeds the number of new characters they have created.
- Hunters (*2)
Hunters engaged in Notorious Monster monopolization for RMT have been mostly banned. Since this method of RMT requires high-level characters, the number of reports we've received from FINAL FANTASY XI players in regards to hunters monopolizing NMs has seriously decreased.
Reports regarding characters repeatedly selling mass amounts of items gathered from regular monsters for RMT have also decreased.
The Special Task Force is still looking into ways of dealing with hunters and their various means of making gil.
- Use of synthesis and auction houses for RMT (*3)
Through our investigations, we have discovered that over 200 accounts formed a single organization involved in RMT.
The Special Task Force is continuing to ban violators case by case and pursuing the dismantling of these large-scale organizations. Even if a character that was banned comes back with a new character, it is possible to swiftly ban this character again through the character's association with other characters involved in RMT.
"Real Money Trading." Selling game data for real money.
Characters who kill Notorious Monsters, clear quests, and obtain items over and over again with the sole purpose of gathering gil, which is then handed off to RMT groups.
*3. Use of synthesis and auction houses for RMT
Actions involving selling large quantities of in-game items for gil, which is then traded for real money.
Matters of concern within the community
In the following section, we will be explaining the Special Task Force's direction and plans in dealing with matters of concern within the community.
- I've seen characters warping in Southern San d'Oria [S].
It has been confirmed that there are characters using illegal methods of movement for some quests introduced in "Wings of the Goddess," but because the Special Task Force has been dealing with characters immediately after they have been discovered, this problem has not grown in size.
Characters using the same kind of illegal actions for "Treasures of Aht Urhgan" and earlier quests are, of course, being dealt with in the same manner.
- There are low-level characters warping while mining in areas with high-level monsters such as Mount Zhayolm.
Even lower level characters can use certain illegal methods to safely mine materials in Mount Zhayolm, Newton Movalpolos, and the Gusgen Mines. We have been receiving more reports regarding this issue recently. We have been dealing with the problem each time it comes up, but we have recently received a lot more information from eye witness accounts of these activities.
Because of this, we will be shortening the intervals between bannings just like we did in regards to illegal fishing.
- I've sent multiple reports regarding a character I believe is involved in illegal actions, but that character has still not been dealt with. Are my reports even being used in the Special Task Force's activities?
The Special Task Force reads each report provided by FINAL FANTASY XI players, looks into the problem, and appropriately deals with it. This, however, does not mean that simply because there are multiple reports regarding the same problem that we prioritize those reports over others.
After the reports have been read, they are divided into different categories and tallied. We use the tally results to confirm whether or not there are any new problems and look into how to deal with them. After starting our activities in dealing with a certain problem, we confirm whether or not our activities are having an effect. Once our activities have finished, if there are still a significant number of reports regarding the problem, we look into the problem once more and investigate whether we can use a more effective method of dealing with it.
Reporting to the Special Task Force
The Special Task Force relies on everyone's information regarding violations of the user agreement to help keep FINAL FANTASY XI an enjoyable environment, and we appreciate your continuing support and cooperation.
Report to Special Task Force