Today's report will outline our actions conducted from April 24, 2008 to May 27, 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.
Regarding unauthorized third-party access
On April 23, Square Enix's policy regarding unauthorized access was updated.
Before the changes to this policy were implemented, it took a considerable amount of time for items to be recovered. However, due to the changes made, we were able to reduce the time required starting from the time a report is received to the time relief measures have completed by about a week.
Additionally, we have also provided a larger selection of recovery points for players whose game data has been lost. In the previous policy, only certain items could be recovered, but with the new changes, game data is restored to its former state, shortening the amount of time necessary for relief measures and allowing us to adequately respond to most problems.
If your account has been accessed by unauthorized third parties and you have halted gameplay due to a loss of items or gil, please contact the Information Center after reading through the page on unauthorized access.
Click here for information on dealing with unauthorized access.
Special Task Force activities and future plans
We will start out today's report talking about account banning and gil confiscation. Because the tally period for April was shorter than March, the number of accounts banned and gil confiscated was lower, but there has been no change in the number of accounts banned each week. Since the beginning of May, we have been shortening the intervals between bannings even further.
As a result of the Special Task Force's activities, the efficiency of violators of the user agreement in collecting gil has been seriously hurt. We are continuing to ban said violators and will keep an eye out for characters involved in RMT(*1).
The following tally details the condition of problems between April 24, 2008 and May 27, 2008. Each of these issues is discussed individually in the following section.
- Illegal fishing
Violators of the user agreement involved in illegal fishing generally acquire new accounts shortly after being banned by the Special Task Force and then create new characters that immediately return to illegal fishing. It should also be noted that the most common report received by the Special Task Force is still in regards to characters fishing for long periods of time in the same location. Reports of characters involved in illegal fishing have mostly disappeared from Sea Serpent Grotto, but there are still reports about characters using unauthorized methods to fish in locations that players cannot normally move in areas such as Cape Terrigan, Valkurm Dunes, and the Buburimu Peninsula. Because of this, we have shortened the intervals between bannings even further to deal with these violators. We are also working with the FINAL FANTASY XI development team to implement measures that would disable fishing in locations that players cannot normally move.
- Hunters (*2)
The next problem that we received a significant number of reports about is the hunter. Due to the Special Task Force's activities over the past two years, the number of reports regarding certain groups of characters monopolizing Notorious Monsters for RMT has significantly decreased. However, on the other hand, reports about characters defeating regular monsters, selling the items won in battle for gil, and using that gil for RMT have been on the increase. The Special Task Force uses the information provided by FINAL FANTASY XI users to follow the gil trail from items won in combat to their destination and, if any involvement with RMT is confirmed, the characters involved are immediately banned.
- Use of tools that allow enhanced character movement (*3)
We have also received many reports about players using tools that allow enhanced character movement to beat quests. The Special Task Force is currently working with the development team to implement measures that would make the requirements for accepting a quest offer stricter for certain quests that are being used to make gil. Also, just as with illegal fishing, we have shortened the intervals between bannings to deal with players involved with tools that allow enhanced character movement.
"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: The use of unauthorized software to modify a characters movements.
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.
- In the middle of April, several quests such as "Say It with Flowers" had special countermeasures implemented to deal with violations of the user agreement. What exactly were these violations?
We discovered that there were some players who would use tools that allow enhanced character movement to collect multiple key items over and over again while progressing through the quest, and would then sell these items to NPCs for gil. Because of this, we performed emergency maintenance and made it impossible to sell the respective item to NPCs.
The Special Task Force investigates players such as those above who may be involved in RMT and bans them once their involvement has been confirmed. Reports provided by FINAL FANTASY XI users are very important in our investigations. If you discover any problems during gameplay, please provide information through the "Report to Special Task Force" mail form at the bottom of this report.
- I've heard that accounts that have been accessed by unauthorized third parties may be punished with disciplinary measures. How do you deal with this?
Characters from accounts that have been accessed by third parties do not only have their gil and items stolen but are also sometimes commandeered to be used as hunters. In such cases, the Special Task Force or GM team will ban the account for violating the user agreement.
If it is confirmed that the account has been accessed by an unauthorized third party, the disciplinary measures history for the time that the account was accessed will be erased. We do, however, request that you use preventative measures to safeguard your account so that it is not accessed by a third party. For details on preventative measures, please follow the unauthorized access link at the beginning of this report.
- I have seen suspicious groups of players leveling up. Aren't you going to deal with them?
There have been several reports of suspicious groups of players leveling up without progressing at all in any quests or missions. However, as mentioned in a previous Special Task Force report, leveling up is not a violation of the user agreement and, as such, we have no plans to take any action against such players.
On the other hand, because we are banning violators of the user agreement in shorter intervals than we had been, if any of the characters who had been leveling up engage in actions violating the user agreement, they will be immediately banned.
- There have been characters who may be involved in RMT raising the prices at auction houses. Aren't you going to deal with them?
If a character using the auction house is confirmed to be involved in RMT, the account will be swiftly dealt with. However, just as mentioned above in regards to suspicious groups leveling up, raising the prices of items at an auction house is not a violation of the user agreement and, as such, we have no plans to take any action against such players.
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
*Please contact the Square Enix Information Center by telephone or through the "Contract Help" e-mail support under Service & Support in regards to unauthorized access or other concerns regarding your account.
If you become aware of unauthorized access outside of the Information Center's hours of operation and possess multiple PlayOnline IDs, log in from another PlayOnline ID and contact a Game Master (GM). The GM will make the accessed account temporarily unavailable.
However, please note that a GM cannot perform account related actions such as changing one's password, so it will be necessary to contact the Information Center at another time.