Yesterday, user Kosmos992k made a post on FINAL FANTASY XIV’s official forums calling to everyone’s attention the fact that the solution introduced by Square Enix regarding the RMT (real money transaction) problem has been working.
Since it was re-released in 2013, FINAL FANTASY XIV had suffered a serious problem that many other MMO communities know all too well: bots programmed by players to spam the chats with advertisements. Adventurers setting foot in Gridania and Ul’dah (for some reason, Limsa Lominsa is rid of programmed presence for the most part) are sure to find one specific Hyur character with a very strange name standing right in front of the market board closest to an aethernet shard (the Adventurer’s Guild shard for Ul’dah and the Leatherworkers’ Guild shard in Gridania are common targets, both of which often see heavy traffic). Players have complained, and Square Enix listened. Patch 3.4 introduced a much quicker and efficient way to report accounts involved in real money transactions, which resulted in a boost on permanent bans linked to illicit activity.
As pointed out by Kosmos992k, “In the weeks running up to [3.4] we were seeing an average of 1050 accounts perma-banned for RMT […] each week and an average of 6120 accounts perma-banned for RMT/Illicit activity.” That serves to show that, despite bots still being a large problem, Square Enix was not blind to them like so many other developers are when the infestation hits their own games. Furthermore, “the average number of accounts per week being banned […] has grown to 1575 […], and the average number of accounts banned […] has shot up to an average […] of 15,195 accounts […] for something other than RMT advertising” after the release of patch 3.4. The increase in bans had a steady growth in the weeks that followed, with more than 116,000 accounts being denied permanent access to FINAL FANTASY XIV due to suspicion of RMT and/or illicit activity.
Square Enix sure made the right decision by introducing an easy method to report accounts that might be linked to activities that not only go against the terms of service but also break the flow of the game. As pointed out by user Reptiletc, “Utilizing the community was the best decision they have made yet when it comes to combating a community issue.” For those unfamiliar with the system, the solution introduced in patch 3.4 is simply an option available in the chat log that’s specifically to report suspected RMT activity. Upon clicking on a character name within the chat log, a menu will pop up and one of the options will let you report that character. However, reports are carefully analyzed so that people can’t misuse the feature and end up hurting honest players.
FINAL FANTASY XIV was first released in 2010 for Windows PC, with plans for a PlayStation 3 version for 2011. But due to its many flaws, the game was relaunched in 2013 as FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn. It has ever since been one of the most played MMORPGs of its generation and it’s available for Windows PC, Mac, PlayStation 3 and PlaySation 4.