Special Task Force Report (12/24/2008)

Today's report will outline our actions over the past year in dealing with players violating the user agreement, as well as the Special Task Force's plans for the future.

See below for details on the Special Task Force's activities in dealing with players violating the FINAL FANTASY XI user agreement.

The Future of the Special Task Force

The Special Task Force was established in October 2006 as a team specializing in dealing with RMT activities with the ultimate goal of keeping Vana'diel safe.

At the very beginning, much of the STF's activities were akin to stumbling in the dark, and finding violators was somewhat difficult. Over time, we received quite a few e-mails with opinions, requests, and questions about the Special Task Force, many of them wanting to know specifically what we were doing. We wanted to share the results of our work with those interested as well, so in June 2007, we started publishing the monthly Special Task Force Report.

From that point up until the present, we have been announcing our future plans and the results of our activities every month. Because of our hard work, we believe that the Special Task Force and its activities have become quite well known to FINAL FANTASY XI's players. For these reasons, this report will be the last Special Task Force Report under the current format. Starting next month, we will be using a simpler format to report the results of our activities.

However, there will be no changes in the scale or content of the Special Task Force's activities. We will continue to work on the elimination of those involved in RMT in order to keep Vana'diel safe.

We will also continue to accept reports from FINAL FANTASY XI's players regarding violators of the user agreement and other such matters. We would like to thank everyone for their help and cooperation.

Summary of 2008 STF Activities

- Accounts and Gil
From December 14, 2007 to December 24, 2008, a total of 30.8billion gil was frozen and a total of 88870 accounts were banned.

Comparing this year's results with last year's, one can see that there have been more accounts banned this year, but less gil has been frozen.
The reason for this is that the development team and business team have been able to work as a single unit, implementing system-side regulations and continuously banning violators of the user agreement. As a result of these actions, it has become extremely difficult for a single character to work for long periods of time and make large amounts of gil. Players involved in RMT have been forced to take methods where they use multiple characters to work for short periods of time to make small amounts of gil.
It can also be said that this is due to the amount of gil in circulation decreasing and the scale of the RMT market growing smaller.

- Future Activities and Plans
"Introduction of New Tools"
As a result of our continuous bannings, the time period from gil accumulation to gil selling has been gradually shortening.
Because it could prove very difficult to view the tens and hundreds of thousands of lines of logged data manually, we have developed some new tools to introduce into the game.

(1)RMT-PWNER V1.337
This is a tool that makes it possible for us to understand the entire flow of gil from collectors to buyers in an instant.
For example, if we enter a character into the RMT-PWNER who we have determined is involved in RMT activities through reports received from FINAL FANTASY XI players and through our own investigations, the tool will act according to the image below.

(2)The Gilded Tomb
This is a tool that bans specific characters the moment that they possess over a certain amount of gil.
This is used on characters who surface on the RMT-PWNER's correlation chart who are thought to potentially become gil mules. They will be banned once they satisfy certain criteria.

- Strengthening of Activities against Illegal Fishing
As a result of our countermeasures against fishing in high-level areas and fishing using third-party tools, we discovered that the majority of RMT's activities are focused on making money through the accumulation of moat carps and coral fragments.

After the introduction of the 14-Day Free Trial, these cases became much more striking and players involved in RMT moved to these less risky ways of making gil. The Special Task Force then looked into what method would be the most likely to force RMTs to give up illegal fishing for good.

From our investigations, we decided that it would be best to string these players along until they have accumulated a considerable number of items and then hit them hard, maximizing the damage done. We changed the timing of the bannings in November and had the following results:

November: 391,225 moat carp and 49 Lu Shang's fishing rods seized
December: 24,367 moat carp and zero Lu Shang's fishing rods seized

As one can see, in November, we seized a considerable number of Lu Shang's fishing rods from the illegal fishers and in December, we seized all of the moat carp before the fishers could obtain any new Lu Shang's fishing rods.

In the December version update, some of the fishing restrictions changed. Fishing fatigue was greatly increased for the first 2 weeks after character creation, as well as for characters under level 20.

Because these measures also have an effect on players engaged in healthy gameplay, we continuously ran tests with the prerequisite that we would continue to change the design in order to reduce the burden on normal players.
We made fishing easier under conditions for items necessary for quests such as the ripped cap and the fat greedie through the December version update. We plan to adjust further when necessary.

This is a feature that automatically jails characters involved in illegal activities.
Up until now, we had investigated the logs of characters involved in illegal activities and then dealt with them the next day, but considering that RMT activities recently take place in a 24-hour period, we introduced this feature to immediately deal with the characters.

After testing the auto-jailer and confirming multiple times that the function will not interfere with regular gameplay, we set it up in all Worlds at December 17.

(4)One-time Password
This is something we are planning on introducing to make logins even more secure.
Because we are continuing our activities against unauthorized access, the situation has calmed down, but we are making the appropriate preparations so that FINAL FANTASY XI players can enjoy the game more safely. Once the details on one-time passwords have been decided, we will be making an announcement on the FINAL FANTASY XI official site.

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 "Contact Us" 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.