Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Aftermath

When last we left our hero, [GM]Dave was informed he would spend an entire day dealing with the fallout of the duping exploit related bannings.

He was unhappy.

Then he actually started dealing with customers.

He was VERY unhappy.

What in the sweet Jesus hell is wrong with people?

You know you did something wrong. This isn't a big freaking surprise to you.

You were in a party doing a difficult event. During that event, you did something completely unorthodox that magically made three identical treasure pools.

Are you honestly trying to plead ignorance here?


You must be joking.

Here. I've got a joke for you.

What's got extra Salvage gear, but no account?

950 people.

Bah dump psshhh.

All day long, I had to deal with the most retarded, most asinine excuses for this activity.

Or, my personal favorite, the people who tried to rationalize the cheating and why they shouldn't be banned.

Yeah... That'll work.

Let's take a look at some of my favorite excuses/arguments:

1) I didn't know it was an exploit

I could maybe buy that if it happened once.

Or if you reported it to a GM immediately.

That would make sense. Something unexpected happened and it fell outside the range of normal game mechanics.

You would, of course, stop doing this action and report it, right?

If it was a bad thing, we'd hear about it immediately.

Every other update, when something goes wrong, we get umpteen million calls about one tiny little thing that doesn't work properly.

That shit drives you guys crazy.

But a similar problem turns out to be beneficial for you?

Oh hell no. If you reported it, they might fix it.

So, you do it again and again, and then have the nerve to get upset when you get banned for it.

Funny how that works, huh?

2) I thought it was an intentional game mechanic

Yeah, we put in that thing that gives you triple the rewards for every kill in an event.

And totally didn't mention it.

That sounds totally like us.

Some people have likened this to fighting Odin and having to heal during a high damage move. They try and suggest that it is a less orthodox mechanic and could be mistaken for an intended action.


Let's just completely ignore the fact that one action is designed to mitigate damage and make it easier to defeat a boss, and the other magically gives you triple the drops after the fact.

If we ignore that part, your argument might start to resemble something passing for intelligence.

3) I was just doing what I was told


This is what you're going with?

Well, now we're telling you to stop playing.

Do that.

If you trusted someone else when they told you to do something entirely out of the ordinary and it produced completely insane results, something should have seemed wrong to you.

A little light should have gone off in your brain.

Maybe the light marked "Oh shit..."

You did what you were told and you did something wrong.

That's not an excuse.

4) SE made the mistake, not us

This is one of the big rationalizations people make.

This is also one of the dumbest.

Do you even understand the term "exploit"?

No one is suggesting you used a third party program. No one is suggesting you altered the program.

No one is suggesting you hacked our firewall or whatever.

You literally exploited a flaw in the programming. You found a mistake in a highly complex code and, rather than reporting it and leaving it alone, you took advantage or that flaw for your own gain.

This is the definition of an exploit.

There isn't a gamer on our planet that doesn't understand that exploits are bad and can get you banned.

Sure, someone made the mistake.

I get that.

Have you ever tried to program an MMORPG?

Neither have I, but it looks freaking hard.

People are bound to make mistakes.

As I mentioned before, if that mistake was bad for you, you would have reported it immediately. You'd be screaming at a GM in seconds.

You would expect us to fix that mistake immediately because it had unexpected consequences.

Like if the treasure pool autolotted to nobody.

Every time.

You would lose your mind.

But a similar flaw turns out to give you extra rewards?

Suddenly, that shit is someone else's problem.

And when it comes back to bite you in the ass, you turn around and act like the victim.


5) It's not against the rules

This is perfectly correct.

Except for that rule that says you can get banned for intentionally exploiting any bug or glitch in the game.

The rule you agreed to when you signed up.

Other than that, perfectly correct.

6) This is a disservice to all FFXI players

Give me a minute...

Laughing too hard.

This is not a disservice to all players.

This is a disservice to the people who got banned.

We have literally removed your service.

Everybody else? They're still good.

They all got to log in the next day.

Oh, I know. I know that the boards and forums are filling up with people outraged about the bannings.

I'd guess there are roughly 950 people making very angry posts.

Now, why does that number sound familiar?

Oh... Right.

Just because you are very angry about getting banned, it doesn't mean everyone is angry about it.

Actually, most people seem very pleased with this.

But I guess 950 people making angry posts about how unfair the whole thing is would seem like a lot.

I guess they have nothing better to do.

7) SE just threw away money

Yes, I realize that all the people who got banned paid their fees every month.

Doesn't matter.

Every cheater pays their fees. If they don't, they don't get to play.

Kind of hard to cheat if you don't play in the first place.

Thus, if someone is found to be cheating in the game, you can be pretty sure they have paid their fees.

And yet, they still get banned.


You'd think that SE thinks that the consistency of the game for the majority of the players is more important to them then the fees paid by those who would try and cheat.

Crazy, I know.

8) SE doesn't respect the players

Wait a second... Let's go back one.

SE is throwing away money to ban cheaters.

This suggests that SE puts the happiness of its players above any monetary gain.

They literally sacrificed money to ensure game balance.

For the players.

And then, in the same breath, you're suggesting that SE doesn't care about the players.

That doesn't make any sense.

This is called the "monkey technique".

Basically, they're just throwing shit at the wall and trying to see what sticks.

SE care about the players. They care about the customers.

You're just not a customer anymore.

9) This is going to...

You know what? Screw it.

You cheated.

And you know you cheated.

I know it. You know it.

We all know it.

You can make all the arguments you want. You can scream your excuses from the rooftops.

Just not any rooftops in Vana'diel.


At 5:43 PM, Blogger Elazar said...

Damn straight. Stupid cheaters.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Valle said...

Excellent :D

At 6:17 PM, Blogger RurouniZanza said...


All that matter is that by the end of the day [GM]Dave wins.

But you must admit that regardless of their stupidity and that you had to act nice to them... It felt damn good to basically tell them a big FU at the end.

At 7:05 PM, Blogger Sword said...

People like this ruin my faith in humanity. It's like smoking you know its bad for you, I know its bad for you, but it dosent stop you from doing it. So why bother making stupid excuses to do it, at least admitting to it doesn't make you sound as retarded.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger J. Scarper said...

"This is called the "monkey technique".

Basically, they're just throwing shit at the wall and trying to see what sticks."

Sorry, laughing too hard...

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Tristan Kain said...

Ah, the death cries of a bunch of #$^#$%^$#@^*&% who have nothing better to do than to try and cheat in one of the least-tolerant-to-cheating games out there.

Excuse me while I get my tape recorder, I want to keep this for posterity :)

At 10:53 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Seriously, what does SE expect? There was a way to get extra items. People are going to take it. Players know its an exploit, but its not their job to keep the game fair. Its the players job to become the best they can, to conquer the challenges set against them by the game.

Want a real world example? Too bad.

What they should have done is give everyone temporary bans, and delete all the items gained by the exploit. Even the one that was legit, before they duped it. They kind of overreacted to a group of players using a flaw in their code.

Want a comparison? An exploit in WoW was found that you could purchase hard to get pvp items for free. The vendors were disabled within 6 hours, and it was fixed within 12 hours. And the items? They disappeared. Somehow I doubt this duping exploit was kept secret to the extent that SE couldn't find out about it weeks ago.

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Vagu'Stae said...

Well-said. And I loved how you elaborated the "monkey technique" oh so well.

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Daniel, it may not be the player's job to be fair, but they are expected to not abuse such bugs and hopefully report it. Of course most won't, and of course some will abuse it. But just because human behavior is predictable doesn't mean they didn't break the rules.

SE didn't ask the players to fix the bugs, or do thorough play-testing to try and idenity a possible cause. That's SE's job, they have people that do that. But it would be great if some folks went "Hey, I think something might be wrong, this mob just dropped three identical items." The people that did, they're good people, I like them. I'd buy 'em a drink or something. Just one though, they didn't do anything amazing, just... something decent.

But the people who thought "Man, I better take advantedge of this while I can before SE fixes it" and even worse told other people how to do it so they could abuse it too got what was coming too them. I won't say they're bad people, but they knew damn well what they were doing was against the rules that they agreed too upon registration, knew it could have serious implications throughout the game, and continued to do it. If they didn't get banned for abusing that bug, they'd just go out and abuse another.

At 6:02 AM, Blogger Drew said...

In response to Daniel, I don't know if you're just trying to be flame bait, are partially retarded, or possibly both, but to entertain myself, here's my rebuttal.

What does SE expect? I'm sure they did expect people to exploit bugs. However, they also implemented a system to deal with such cases, ban the people involved. As far as "the players job to become the best they can" goes, I'm pretty sure doing the best one can doesn't involve cutting corners to get there qualifies.

Want a real world example? Little Jimmy walks into to a store owned by a near-blind man. Little Jimmy decides to take the five finger discount on the goodies he likes. Little Jimmy repeatedly steals things from the store, until one day, the man finally catches him. Little Jimmy's response, "But no one told me stealing from you was breaking the law!" Of course, this may seem a little exaggerated, but it's a lot closer than you might think. Even though no one told Little Jimmy not to steal from the store, he's pretty sure it's breaking the law, despite his abundant pool of ignorance. No one from SE specifically told players to avoid abusing this bug, but players still knew that any abuse of exploits is breaking the rules.

As far as your WoW example goes, the people in FFXI tend to be a little bit more intelligent. With the free PvP gear (in Wow), you can safely assume there were at least 20 people spamming the General and Trade channels about it, bringing some obvious attention to it. However, with the dupe exploit, it began with a select group of people and gradually grew outwards. Since most of the major endgame linkshell used this particular bug, anyone who knew feared spilling the beans due to what it may do to their reputation with means into staying, or getting into, a high quality endgame linkshell. This allowed the bug to be kept under wraps rather tightly, with only a few minor, yet controlled hiccups. Also, SE probably did figure out about the exploit earlier than just a few weeks ago, however, the bug was most likely due to a glitch occurring in a complex system, and SE needed to make sure that when they fixed the problem, there wouldn't be more problems that occurred. On the other hand, WoW's problem was just a simple and minor data swap.

Lastly, you said they overreacted. Or maybe, they were trying to set a stern example for anyone who decides trying to push their luck exploiting a bug in the future. You also said that they should people temporary bans, and just delete the items they got? Ok, so instead of simply banning everyone, you want SE to scan through the inventories of the people involved and delete the drops they got from the bug? Seriously? Not only would that take a much longer time to do, it would also lead to people claiming that they some lost items, they never really had, as well as some cases where players who never did use the exploit lose items they did have. That'd leave room for an even bigger conflict, not to mention the people who did receive the temp bans thinking that the punishment wasn't that bad, and would probably just search for the next exploit.

So in conclusion, yes getting ban does suck more than Taiwan hooker, but it's not as if there wasn't reason. Even though I've never had a character banned from FFXI, I have in other games. When it happens though, I know it was for a reason, and suck it up. So stop bitching about it.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Hunter said...

I'm just sorry that Dave didn't get to add his personal flair to the deletion and banning of all those people. They all deserved at least a little torture first.

Maybe a dragon duplicating glitch of some kind?

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Dice said...

I must agree with Drew and Paul in their response to Daniels comment.

What these players did in, indeed, nothing sort of a violation of the terms of agreements, which all players sign, as far as I recall(It's been a while since I last played FFXI), quite a few times during registration and updating process.

Violation of these terms leads to the repercussions so thouroughly explained throughout [GM]Daves blog.

However, I do not think it fair to slander Daniel by calling him partially retarded for posting such a comment. People are, as frequent gamers and, in lack of a better word, geeks are well aware, idiots, which, unavoidably, leads to such idiotic actions. Note that by calling them idiots I don't necessarily call them bad people. I know al ot of idiots, some that I even like, from time to time.

This is, as Daniel says, not the first time this happens, not only in MMORPGs such as FFXI and WoW. During the prime of Diablo 2, these kind of glitches appeared all the time and people, yes the idiots earlier mentioned, exploited it to its outmost extent, before it was fixed.

People, especially on the internet, will always be idiots, it's just their way of channeling it that varies.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Music-chan said...

I'd like to add something to the comparison to the WoW exploit.

The PVP-gear thing was something Blizzard did wrong and it was up there for absolutely everyone to see. No particular exploit was needed to purchase what turned out to be completely free gear. In that sense, it was NOT the user's fault; they were just picking up an item that the game was saying was free. Blizzard saw the mistake, fixed it and removed all the free gear.

this is not at all comparitable to the FFXI situation. If people knew that specific actions would create an excess of loot and still did it anyway, that's WRONG. They were WRONG and they knew it. Completely different case from the example Daniel threw out.

And to add something, if an exploit is found in the game, Blizzard usually gives a slap on the wrist to the first person who uses it (congrats, you found a flaw. Don't do it again OR ELSE) and if it's hard to fix, they announce it as an exploit and that their trying to fix it. If anyone USES said exploit after they announce it, BAN HAMMER.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

People base their actions less on what is wrong and far more on whether they can get away with it.

As if getting away with it makes it not wrong..

Want a great example everyone is guilty of? Exceeding the speed limit. It doesn't feel wrong, but it sure is against the law. Do you do it?

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Fiye said...

I'm sure they'd like to hear your discussion.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger keiichi said...

You frickin' rock.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Hikikomori said...

Doesn't it say in the ToS that if you fail to report a Glitch that you found, You are at grounds for a suspension or ban? Just for turning the other way?

Didn't know that paying $15 a month meant I am being employed by SE to fix a 5 year old game.

I would understand if they put it as "We urge you to report and bugs and/or glitches you may find in you adventures. If you would kindly lend us a hand."
But to THREATEN me as well? That's some way to use fear in their tactics o_O

The people who committed the Duping are being treated like Cyber Terrorists or something. Not from SE per say, but just by alot of the community..

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Chrysalis said...

cyber... terrorists?? wow.. just cause i want to play in a game without cheaters... *laughs* now who's gone overboard. i'm sorry life isn't fair this we know, a game... its a game, it should be fair. hence the playing of the game as an escape from life. they signed the agreement. they're banned, everyone... cry more.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Bob said...

I don't expect to get my account back and I'm actually enjoying my freedom from ffxi, but I just want to say that this "GM" and all of SE is ASSUMING we all knew it was a glitch and we were purposefully exploiting it, but I can tell you from 1st hand that there were people who thought this glitch was actually intended in the developers plan for salvage.

I don't see how hard it is to understand this could be possible, look at a lot of the other game "strategies" that seem like a glitch, for example in Zhayolm Remnants 1st Floor Poroggo Madame will only spawn if the players in the alliance are completely locked out of gear and zero cell usage, so common strategy is to have all but 1 member unlock gear/use cells and then have them all simultaneously log from the zone after the Poroggo Gent has been defeated, leaving only the 1 locked member in the area to spawn the Poroggo Madame. This has glitch written all over it, how would a group even figure this out on their own?

A common rebuttal to this argument is "we knew it was an exploit because we kept it secret." I can't speak for all 1000+ players but I can speak for myself, and I highly doubt I'm alone here, I kept it a secret out of pure greed. Your gear isn't as precious once the whole world owns it, no matter how good the stats are(look at the Walahra Turban, one of the nicest stats on a head piece in the game and nobody thinks much of it because of its ease to obtain)

I also don't see how SE can hold the entire alliance accountable for the actions of the 3 party leaders. (Would SE ban an entire LS for 1 person bot-claiming Fafnirs, after all the whole LS would reap the rewards)

Imagine people who have never salvaged before joining a group that uses this glitch, there's almost no way to tell what's going on is abnormal (other than the bard songs hitting all members and that's IF the group even has a bard) And who's to say that the cross-alliance singing isn't normal for salvage? In campaign the avatars blood pacts will hit anyone in range, inside or out of the alliance. The people who aren't running the group don't see multiple treasure pools or anything out of normal, you don't even see "So-and-So obtains X-Gear" except for what is in your own party.

And lastly the main thing that irritates the punished the most is how SE over-reacted to this and banned people without any prior warnings to their account. Where is the consistency? SE has given warnings for much more severe actions.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger golden_knyte said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger golden_knyte said...

On about SE not warning the player base, I remember a news post on the POL launcher thingy sometime mid-year stating that an exploit was brought to their attention and that they were monitoring it. Any use of it would result in severe action. So SE did warn the player base, yet people still did it.

As for deleting the duped items, here's the problem:
People used this glitch for a long time, SE went back through a years worth of logs. a year!!! Do you understand that? 1 year = 52 weeks = 365 days. And most of these people did Salvage, and other instanced events nearly every day. Thats alot of crap to look through.
As for finding the glitch, have you ever written a program? I have, in Visual Basic, C, C++, and Java. You have no f'ing idea how hard it is to find a mistake when the main body of your program contains like 100 lines of code..let alone the 1,000 bah-freaking-jillion FFXI must have. And don't get me started on the algorythms, databases, arrays, and those little freaking side-programs, i think called processes...steps...bah...the little annoying bastards you have to "call" and "throw vaariables to". SE does the best they can, but stuff will sneak through. It would take years, YEARS, to go through it all and debug the glitches. And personally, my withdrawal syptoms would kill me after 3 months...kind of like [GM]Dave chugging a gallon of that NoS + Jack Daniels concoction.

However, SE did delete the duped items. In fact they killed 2 birds with 1 stone: Delete the duped items, and punish those who exploited the glitch.
Thats like boning your girlfriend right off the bed and headbutting the burglar trying to sneak into the window.

The only people I feel sorry for, and this is very small group of people, are those were present only once while the glitch was used, but were party (not alliance) leader. They got permabanned. It sucks and I hope that person gets his account back. But I can't fault SE for their actions, "I was only following orders" only works in the military, son. But "he told me to do it" doesn't hold water there, nor did it back in the 3rd grade.

Those who were perma-banned had prior warnings, or had repeatedly abused the exploit.

As for bloodpacts in campaign, if you have that little sword next to your name you are participating on the campaign of the Allied Nations, meaning you are part of one giant alliance. Dont think so? Go near a healer npc without a tag on. Guess what happens? Nada. But go near one while wearing the tag? Bingo, you get a cure. Why? Again because that little thingy classifies you as a friendly. You see the same thing with mobs. A Quadav whm casts Protect on another Quadav next to it. Same process.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Annoyed said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Annoyed said...

His point is if campaign can have a uniqueness to it, why is it so far-fetched that salvage could have one too? (The cross-alliance casting of bard songs)

At 10:01 AM, Blogger William said...

For those interested

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Yotevol said...

Delightfully entertaining, once again!

I'm sorry you didn't feed Jormy.
He would have been set for weeks with this number of people!

Oh and if you get the chance to take any gear from those that were "temp" banned, please add your personal flair! :-D


At 12:50 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Something about the WoW comparison....
WoW PVP gear can't be traded (I'm assuming that FFXI can?) so removing the items were a lot easier and didn't have to involve reversing trades and such. And as other people have said, no trickery was involved, the regular vendors just said "lol free stuff" and people took it

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Yotevol said...

Please Henry, don't compare the 2 games except to say that they are both MMORPGs.

It's probably best that you read [GM] Dave's thoughts on WoW prior to even mentioning it in the thread... just a warning.


At 4:38 PM, Blogger Atomic Skull said...

You want to know why people were banned with extreme prejudice and not just given a temp suspension?

It's because after they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar they bragged about it on BG and dared SE to do anything about it. They actually said SE was too dumb to catch them.

Publicly taunting SE on a public forum with your actual character name and server listed on the post after you've broken the TOS = bad idea.

At 11:58 PM, Blogger KitsuneAngel said...

Wonderfully amusing as always, props [GM]Dave.

I am confused about something though, why is this "conversation" on how right it was even here? Are you people this stupid? ToS is cut and dry. ToS was broken over greed and stupidity. The Scum (I'm being kind) that lost 100+ relic weapons over greed deleted. Game is that much better off in every single way, still brings a smile to my face knowing certain players will never be seen again. And got a damn good laugh out of it for days. Total win in every way.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Keiren said...

Haha, man Yotevol, you're so dangerously blunt. Go Asura with the highest ban count!

I'd say the bannings were the fastest way to solve the issue than knocking out individual parts because(and I think some people are confused on this)the salvage pieces are comprised of 3 seperate units to make 1 high leveled piece. In 5 slots... (Head, Body, Hands, Legs, Feet) that's breaking 5 pieces back in to 3 pieces each... for 950 people, which is.. 3x5=15x950 lets say? Which would be... 14,250 pieces each with coding, NOT EVEN COUNTING THE COMPLETED PIECE! I won't lie; if my math is totally "blow your mind!" terrible, forgive me. I'm much more proficient at English subjects than math, lol, But the math + the coding for them = head exploding.

But seriously, i'm glad that the majority of those banned are actually taking responsiblity for their actions. Hat's off to you all.
To those that haven't. Move on and find a new MMO.

Like Maple Story. You can't get that one wrong!

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Music-chan said...

Yotevol: The guy was responding to the other comments and there's nothing wrong with that. You need to learn not to be so critical.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Yotevol said...


You take a warning, said in jest, critical?

Sounds like someone takes things a bit too serious to me.

I'm not sure if you have read [GM] Dave's previous experience with the mention of the WoW game, but allow me to explain:
His GF/wife (not sure at the time) bought a demo for WoW and he went into convusltions and contemplated killing her.

Now, we both know that he loves her and wouldn't kill her, but his aversion is clear. My statement was to enlighten our friend so as not to provoke ensuing insults.

How is that critical?


At 10:26 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Yotevol: first reply didnt go through?
anyway, I basically was just referring to all the other people using WoW as a comparison, and saying how there are even more differences, therefore making it a bad comparison.
Yea... way too many differences to suggest that some arbitrary fix could be applied the same way


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