Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004

Title: 1293

October 2004


Title: 1293

October 6, 2004
12:01 AM

I’d like to take a few minutes to address the issue put forth in today’s comic – Gil selling. Not just relating to IGE in specific, but I will take a bit to discuss my problems there as well. (Note: If you don’t play any MMORPG’s, you probably don’t care about any of this. This ain’t for you.)

Let me start off by saying that yes, I remember letting IGE advertise with us a while back. At the time, I didn’t really know who they were, all I knew was that they wanted to send us some money and put a banner up. I’ve since come to loathe what they do to these games, and would never, NEVER allow them to advertise on this site ever again. I recieved a large number of e-mails from upset readers back when I ran the ads, and I now understand why.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell – IGE and other online companies sell Gil or Gold or whatever for all these various online games. (Gil is from Final Fantasy XI, and what I will be focusing on) They of course need to HAVE the Gil to sell first, which they purchase from certain players. Those players have to aquire it, so they go to great lengths to get it. Now, if it were as simple as playing normally, then selling the gil they got every now and again, I don’t think the problem would have shown up. That’s not the case.

There is a creature that spawns in Ordelle’s Caves called the Stroper Chyme. It has, I believe, 2 spawn locations, and it pops every twelve minutes or so. It will occasionally drop the Archer’s Ring, a Level 30 ring that gives +2 to both Accuracy and Ranged Accuracy. Not too shabby. It was selling on the Auction House for somewhere around 250,000-300,000 Gil, so that should tell you a bit. It used to be that you could go down and perhaps meet a few other people who are camping it, one of you would get lucky, and that was that. Yeah, there was camping, but nothing serious.

Now, however, there is a group of people who have both spots camped NON-STOP. 24/7. The same group, too. That alone isn’t what’s fishy… but when asked, they will occasionally admit to working for IGE. These aren’t just hardcore players who want the ring, these are people who DEPEND on getting that ring, and the gil it sells for, for a paycheck. If you manage to grab the spawn before they do, you’ll recieve a ration of crap for it, and they sometimes resort to dragging in weak monsters from the surrounding area just to make it harder for you to target the Chyme when it appears. That’s a crappy way to treat other players, but that aside, the very thing they spend so much time doing is completely against the Final Fantasy XI Terms of Service.

3.1 Prohibited Activities.
You may not use the Game or PlayOnline for any activities that are illegal, fraudulent, or a violation of the rights of any third party. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following acts and activities are strictly prohibited and shall, without prejudice to any other rights or remedies that SEI may have, be cause for immediate termination of your PlayOnline account and your right to play the Game (or any other services) in connection therewith:
(a) Any activities consisting of selling, purchasing or exchanging “gil” or any other currency that may be used in the Game from time to time, characters, and/or Game items for value (including, but not limited to, any payment in kind and any payment in any currency recognized as legal tender in any country, state, territory or other jurisdiction anywhere in the world) through any means or venue, including, without limitation, Internet auctions or other online exchanges;

Gee, does that sound like anything these guys are doing? Not only is it against the User Agreement for these people to be selling the Gil to IGE, it’s against the User Agreement for anyone else to BUY the Gil from IGE. The very business they run is prohibited by Square-Enix! IGE tries to cover their butt by not actually “hiring” these gil sellers… they merely act as independent contractors. But that doesn’t cancel out the fact that they are buying the gil from these people and selling it to others. It’s a huge industry that’s completely and totally against the rules. Not illegal, but against the rules.

Why do I care? Personally, it doesn’t affect me. I don’t NEED the Archer’s Ring, and I certainly couldn’t afford to buy it, even before the gil-sellers jacked the price up to over 500,000. I don’t plan on camping the Stroper Chyme anytime soon. But where it affects me is when half the people in the Shirt Ninjas are angry enough with it to want to try and do a server migration to get away from it. The sad thing is, within a week, there will be gil-sellers on the new servers as well. Most current servers already have Chyme campers. They’re ruining the actual gameplay for those who play honestly, removing an entire portion of the game. And it’s not just the Chyme… the IGE sellers can be found all over Vana’diel… the Chyme campers are just one aspect.

What angers me most about the whole thing is that Square-Enix has done NOTHING to stop them. I’ve seen translated Japanese letters to S-E about the issue, so it’s not just us crazy Americans bitching again. S-E HAS to know about the problem. In the snippet from their user agreement above, it clearly says that they can and will terminate the accounts of anyone who engages in buying or selling gil. That means the gil-sellers, and that means anyone who buys from IGE. It’s easy enough to deal with the problem… arrange a series of “stings” where a S-E employee poses as a purchaser, then immediately ban the account of whoever transfers the gil over to you. Do that for a few weeks, and you’ll shut down the source of the gil, putting them in trouble. There’s absolutely no excuse for the lack of action thus far.

So what’s the point of this whole rant? Partially it’s to educate the public, who really doesn’t care in general, but it at least explains today’s comic. Mostly, I want to get the attention of anyone who works at Square-Enix and get a freaking answer as to why nothing is being done. There has been ZERO official word from S-E regarding this, and that’s just inexcusable. And a part of me wants to let IGE know that while there may be people willing to buy from them, the majority of players are incensed at what their business does to the enjoyability of the game. We’re tired of it, now cut it the hell out. Allright… done with my soap box for now.