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Sage Sundi Speaks Out Against RMTFollow

#1 Sep 06 2009 at 9:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Sage Sundi had some harsh words for RMT during a recent presentation he gave at the CESA Developer's Conference. He also reiterated how the STF will directly watch over Final Fantasy XIV, utilizing tactics and technology they have developed during their years of battle against RMT in Final Fantasy XI.

Are you reassured by knowing Sundi and Special Task Force will be watching over Eorzea?
Do you feel they have effectively combated RMT activity in the past?

Read about his presentation here and feel free to post your reactions and opinions below.
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#2 Sep 06 2009 at 9:15 PM Rating: Good
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You know... I actually do feel somewhat relieved to hear this. For years I thought that they forgot about the players and the RMT situation... but as the new light dawns on the horizon, the darkness of the RMTs are not far behind. Hopefully this time around there will be some special changes that will prevent RMTs all together or at least the majority.
#3 Sep 06 2009 at 9:50 PM Rating: Decent
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Elmer wrote:
Are you reassured by knowing Sundi and Special Task Force will be watching over Eorzea?
Not in the least.
Elmer wrote:
Do you feel they have effectively combated RMT activity in the past?
Not really, considering how much of a revolving door their policy is.
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#4 Sep 06 2009 at 9:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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This year we were faced with some sudden, jarring changes in credit card policies and seemingly random bannings of legitimate players.


Square Enix should do everything in their power to ensure this doesn't happen. I've never been banned, but I'm pretty sure if I was, I'd be /fuming. SE should also get with the times and include the option of prepaid cards. I'd feel a whole lot safer using them, knowing my credit card information couldn't possibly be compromised.
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#5 Sep 06 2009 at 10:07 PM Rating: Good
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TheJollyjokers wrote:
Quote:
This year we were faced with some sudden, jarring changes in credit card policies and seemingly random bannings of legitimate players.


Square Enix should do everything in their power to ensure this doesn't happen. I've never been banned, but I'm pretty sure if I was, I'd be /fuming. SE should also get with the times and include the option of prepaid cards. I'd feel a whole lot safer using them, knowing my credit card information couldn't possibly be compromised.
Agreed, prepay cards are an excellent idea. I am and always have been very weary of identity theft. My sister was a victim of identity theft when she was 18 and got her first credit card, and still hasn't managed to recover from it almost 8 years later. So yeah, I only pay with game cards.
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#6 Sep 06 2009 at 10:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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I really hope that in their efforts to stop RMT, they dont become over zealous to the point where they begin hurting regular players more than RMT.
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#7 Sep 07 2009 at 12:51 AM Rating: Good
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That worries me rather than reassure me.. I'm already worried about when im going to be banned in ffxi because one of SE's autobots deems me rmt for making over 100k in a week, if this all starts happening in ffxiv from the start I can't see the game lasing long at all.
If SE actually learn something from xi and DON'T use the same autoban policies, then i would be a little happier. Nothing worse than trying to login one day to an account you have played for years totally legit to find out you have been banned, given no reason, and no possible way to argue your case.
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#8 Sep 07 2009 at 2:50 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Are you reassured by knowing Sundi and Special Task Force will be watching over Eorzea?

It's definitely a good thing that they acknowledge the issue. The first step to solve a problem is to admit there is a problem. FFXI's problem started when S-E acted too slow about RMT, waiting until inflation went through the roof, and then brought it back down where price dropped to about 10% of what it used to be. If S-E started early in FFXIV, things could significantly be better there. This is assuming that they are doing it right and not simply auto-ban with auto-program.

Quote:
Do you feel they have effectively combated RMT activity in the past?

I'm not 100% sure whether it's actually effective or not, but one thing for sure is that the RMT activity did get a beating from S-E. RMT used to be untouchable, then slowly but surely, they dwindled down. Price dropped, RMT not monopolizing certain areas anymore, and lately we've seen that RMT even resorted to strategy of buying gil from players (and also the fake GM /tell) that wouldn't have happened years ago. So S-E is heading to the right way, but at the same time, we can't ignore the improper bannings as well. That is a whole different problem that also need their attention and solution.
#9 Sep 07 2009 at 4:40 AM Rating: Good
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As long as they have an "appeal" system that allows you to dispute your banning....there were far too many unnecessary bannings in ffxi (not saying RMT, but others through random policy changes). And it seemed as though once you were banned, you were truly screwed.

I will say that FFXI is one of the only MMO's that i don't get in game tells for gold or gil.
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#10 Sep 07 2009 at 5:50 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Quote:
Do you feel they have effectively combated RMT activity in the past?

I'm not 100% sure whether it's actually effective or not, but one thing for sure is that the RMT activity did get a beating from S-E. RMT used to be untouchable, then slowly but surely, they dwindled down. Price dropped, RMT not monopolizing certain areas anymore, and lately we've seen that RMT even resorted to strategy of buying gil from players (and also the fake GM /tell) that wouldn't have happened years ago. So S-E is heading to the right way, but at the same time, we can't ignore the improper bannings as well. That is a whole different problem that also need their attention and solution.
What kills me about them banning legitimate players is that identifying a real money trader isn't difficult. Most normal players can spot one from a mile away. And a lot of the time, it has nothing to do with auction house activity or where someone happens to farm. Just interacting with them is enough to give them away. It was especially easy in XI, as most of them spoke very little English, and what they did know was so poorly written it was almost illegible. I, in my 6 years of playing XI, have not once met an exception to that rule.


So why can't a GM just send a whisper or two beforehand, to properly identify what they're dealing with? Worst comes to worse, the RMT stop responding to said whispers. And then you ban them. But I bet you anything if a legit player gets one of those whispers, they aren't just going to scoff and ignore it. Sounds like a pretty simple screening process.

Edited, Sep 7th 2009 9:51am by Zackary
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#11 Sep 07 2009 at 6:05 AM Rating: Default
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Quote:
It was especially easy in XI, as most of them spoke very little English, and what they did know was so poorly written it was almost illegible. I, in my 6 years of playing XI, have not once met an exception to that rule.


Oooh Racial Profiling. Can't have any of that. It's like the airports. Every terrorist picture I've ever seen has been a muslim person, yet I've seen the airport guys pretty much strip search a poor 80 year old caucasion male going through the securty checkpoint and making it beep. i actually had to help the poor man get his shoes and belt back on because he was too frail to do it himself.

The Analogy, we are the 80 year old man and RMT are beady eye'd nervous middle eastern dude that waltzes right through security and isn't checked because that would be "racial profiling". We all know who's most likely to blow up the plane.
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#12 Sep 07 2009 at 6:18 AM Rating: Decent
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Dartagnann wrote:
Quote:
It was especially easy in XI, as most of them spoke very little English, and what they did know was so poorly written it was almost illegible. I, in my 6 years of playing XI, have not once met an exception to that rule.


Oooh Racial Profiling. Can't have any of that. It's like the airports. Every terrorist picture I've ever seen has been a muslim person, yet I've seen the airport guys pretty much strip search a poor 80 year old caucasion male going through the securty checkpoint and making it beep. i actually had to help the poor man get his shoes and belt back on because he was too frail to do it himself.

The Analogy, we are the 80 year old man and RMT are beady eye'd nervous middle eastern dude that waltzes right through security and isn't checked because that would be "racial profiling". We all know who's most likely to blow up the plane.
This analogy doesn't really work, for various reasons. I won't go into all of them, but since the servers will be based on region (As far as they've said anyway, this remains to be seen however.) there would be very little reason for anybody but English, and in some occasions Spanish speaking folks to inhabit servers meant for North America.


Of course, this goes out the window if they do international servers like they did in XI. Even so, it's not a bad start.

Edited, Sep 7th 2009 10:20am by Zackary
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#13 Sep 07 2009 at 10:40 AM Rating: Good
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As much as I hate RMT, I feel it would be better for 10 gilsellers to keep their accounts than one legitimate player get banned. Especially when all it takes to distinguish between the two is a little effort on SE's part.

So no, I am not reassured.
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#14 Sep 07 2009 at 10:56 AM Rating: Good
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I'm glad that they're at least trying, unlike in some games where GMs don't give a crap and are pretty much non-existant.

I once found a bot grinding on mobs and tried talking to him. He had every reason in the world to respond to me because he was a friend of mine (which doesn't matter to me. You break the rules you should get banned). I called a GM who took over an hour to respond. She stood there, barely speaking English to me, looked at the guy, and then left.

I had to file a formal complaint against the GM who I was eventually told will 'receive additional training'.
How much training do you need to identify and ban a bot?

And GMs who just don't exist, allowing RMTs to run around shouting
<--*~BUY GIL 10.00 USD = 100,000g www.retardedwebsitehere.com LOWEST PRICE ANYWHERE~*-->
for weeks before something happens.

So, I have to say that I'm glad that they are at least trying.

Did anyone else notice that SE is advertising to hire more people to detect fraud associated with FFXI, on their website?

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#15 Sep 07 2009 at 12:59 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm stoked that they are taking a firm start on RTM It would help reduce the inflation of the in game currency and keep it down. I've never personally had trouble with any of the policies that were created, but then again I never made crazy amounts of money to get get possibly flagged as a RTM but it is comforting to know they are taking step to protect you and your information, lol I was always one broke *** rdm but it was cool cuz yall couldn't live without your refresh fix. RDM refresh ***** FTW!
#16 Sep 07 2009 at 3:19 PM Rating: Decent
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I think it is quite telling of how they plan on eliminating RMT from FFXIV.... They don't. It will be the same sad cycle of playing "catch up" that they have done for years now.

Instead of designing the game with RMT prevention in mind, they just plan on dedicating a whole team of people to monitor scripts and log parsers in the attempt to eliminate "potential" RMT, then some office has to play clean up when it turns out that %25 of the banned accounts turn out to be actual players. It is a cowardly and lazy way of dealing with the issue that in the end requires a tremendous amount of human resources and services to maintain.

If I had my way, I'd separate servers by region (Asia, Europe/North America) and say it was because of Localization / Licensing issues, then just ban every Chinese Subnet that ever existed from being able to access any server other than Asian region. It is a tough choice to make, but it is the right one. Zack's argument applies quite well, "Why do you need to traverse the pacific rim to play on North American servers, when you have a server dedicated to your region next door and you don't even speak the language?" Many other MMOs have done that to much success.

The other option takes more thought, more ingenuity and more thinking out of the box. Something that Square has always been praised for, but seems to have shed away in place of complacency recently. Why not actually look at the game mechanics and design them in a way that prevents RMT from even profiting from the game at all? Make Gil somewhat meaningless. Make progression in the game possible without having to amass millions of it. Make leveling enjoyable and possible without a group. Make trading Gil something that should never happen. Redefine the mechanism behind the AH or simply eliminate it in place of a more advanced searchable Bazaar system. Make crafting based on items only purchasable using a currency that cannot be traded or only by farming the mats on your own. There are millions of ways to redesign how the existing often exploited systems of economics will work this time around.

Honestly, there are only two variables that exist within a MMO that promote RMT and secondary Markets. Virtual currency and level progression. Well they eliminated "levels" so it will be interesting to see how RMT offer to "Powerlevel" you now. All that is left is Virtual Currency, if you work out how to make that something that does not dominate so much of the game as it did in FFXI, there won't be any RMT at all.

Just to provide you with an early indication of how bad this could be, simply google "FFXIV Gil". I already see domain names dedicated to the sale of it and we do not even have a release date yet.

Edited, Sep 7th 2009 6:23pm by patient
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#17 Sep 07 2009 at 5:14 PM Rating: Good
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There's alot of ways to design a game in an Anti-RMT way. It's really not too out of the box, alot of companies
have been really looking into it the past 3 years or so. I think XI was largely designed in such an RMT friendly way because it pre-dates alot of the Anti-RMT design discoveries. You don't necessarily have to resort to devaluing Gil...or banning China.

Having Instances, for instance, tends to cut down on RMT behavior. Loot rules that discourage rewarding people who don't participate in the battle. Restricting access to certain areas via storyline progression, key item, or timed lockout.

Heck, simply applying a little soulbinding is a severe kick to RMT's pants.
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#18 Sep 07 2009 at 6:23 PM Rating: Decent
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So, basically, we can expect more random bans, bad customer service, and the whole "what? There's no problem" mentality to continue.

If there is one word I'd use to describe how I feel it is NOT reassured.
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#19 Sep 07 2009 at 6:34 PM Rating: Good
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patient wrote:
Just to provide you with an early indication of how bad this could be, simply google "FFXIV Gil". I already see domain names dedicated to the sale of it and we do not even have a release date yet.
Holy ****, you're right. I didn't think to do that. Really depressing.
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#20 Sep 07 2009 at 6:35 PM Rating: Decent
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Zemzelette wrote:

Restricting access to certain areas via storyline progression, key item, or timed lockout.


I don't think you were around for FFXI: Early Years. RMT were pushing through to gain sky and sea access. Any kind of restriction can and will be gotten around by them. This is why most MMOs adapted the 'Payshop' route, which sells just about everything but the respective game's currency, THAT is what cuts down "illegal" RMT. There have been many designs that can curve it but in the end if it's an MMORPG, there will be RMT.

They coexist.

#21 Sep 07 2009 at 7:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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I played from launch to about late 2005, and for a couple of months after Aht Urhgan was released, and a little bit more after... I was the most active during the huge RMT spike. I was on what I believe was one of the heavier hit servers (Bismark). Prices were just through the roof on everything. Personally I was a crafter and made my gil that way. The inflation on just about everything was pure bliss for people like me, but I could never keep up with campers who could get like 15Mil a shot for camping some yugado in the castle.

I noticed that after I quit and then visited later prices had dropped significantly. Items like SH had gone down from like 12 Mil to around 200Kish or so. The drop was so drastic that if I had sold everything I had at the time and then came back I'd probably be set for the entire game. I really did not hear about too many cases of legitamte players being banned, I guess that was after. However, I have a story...

For a while I was camping the worm in korrokola tunnel. I was pretty good at it, getting at least half the kills each hour. Well while there I noticed that there was a gil seller. Personally I'm not really good at spotting gil seller tendancies outside of random invites and bad gear, but I knew this one was one just because I've heard of her. So for a few hours shes successfuly claimed every worm spawn and happened to be at the right spot each time. I don't have to tell you that this would be very rare. So I call a GM and well they actually did something. A few minutes later I notice she's no longer in the game.

Flash forward a month later and i'm in a totally different zone. I see her running around, probably doing the same thing I was. I called a GM about it and he was like "Well we just banned her from that one zone because that's the one she was abusing". and im thining "What kind of punishment is that? She should be friggen banned."

It's not like I think the people who RMT are evil, actually the friendly ones are well....friendly. But I know that poor in game markets is a big reason why a lot of MMOs lose appeal. Look at Lineage.

So in the end, I'm happy they are taking more steps to rid the game of RMT, but honestly they have to be smarter then what they did 5 years ago.
#22 Sep 07 2009 at 8:16 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
utilizing tactics and technology they have developed during their years of battle against RMT in Final Fantasy XI.


Not the chicken again.

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#23 Sep 07 2009 at 8:31 PM Rating: Excellent
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I don't think you were around for FFXI: Early Years. RMT were pushing through to gain sky and sea access. Any kind of restriction can and will be gotten around by them. This is why most MMOs adapted the 'Payshop' route, which sells just about everything but the respective game's currency, THAT is what cuts down "illegal" RMT. There have been many designs that can curve it but in the end if it's an MMORPG, there will be RMT.

They coexist.


FFXI: The Early Years is about the only time I was around.

I didn't think this had to be said, but:
There is no surefire answer that solves the entire problem, rather, it's a combination of factors that attempts to control the situation. Else, everyone would've adopted the surefire answer by now.

Micro-transactions is indeed another method to combat RMT. It's effective in it's own way, however, legalizing RMT both doesn't completely get rid of illegal RMT, and can sometimes adopt the more annoying aspects of it. For example: Instead of an annoying tell, there's that gaudy flashing banner everytime you log in. They are, after all, both following basic business practices, they both have to advertise to get your attention in order to make money. It's just that one is sanctioned by the company, and the other is not. It's true, legal RMT will never do something as heinous as steal your account. But they're capable of their own unique sins, like charging for features that are normally freely offered by the status quo.

I agree, in any honest business there will be a black market.
But that doesn't mean we have to resort to drastic measures or surrender to despair. WoW produces nearly 70% of RMT trafficking. And yet, playing the game you wouldn't know it. Clever game design and excellent customer service keeps the customer from feeling the negative repercussions of RMT. It has a minor effect on the economy, it doesn't effect endgame, and issues where they come in conflict with players such as stolen accounts is resolved quickly and efficiently.

RMT still exsists in WoW, but as a true Black Market, a thing skulking in the shadows at the edge of our periphery vision. As it **** well should.

Edited, Sep 8th 2009 1:28am by Zemzelette
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