Final Fantasy 14 Mod bans a debate about toxicity in a competitive MMO culture

Final Fantasy 14 Mod bans a debate about toxicity in a competitive MMO culture ...

The friendly and supportive relationship between the games community and its developers has long been one of the MMO''s biggest selling points. However, this relationship has been tested in recent days due to a crackdown on the Final Fantasy 14s modding scene, which has some people wondering if the games developers are being a little too controlling.

If you have never played Final Fantasy 14 or another MMO, the idea of modding the game may seem a bit odd. After all, mods are usually used to improve a single-player games visuals, add additional content to an existing title, or simply reimagine an experience. How would you modify an ongoing massively multiplayer online game, and why would you want it in the first place?

The majority of popular MMO mods are designed to facilitate individual access or simply facilitate common actions. Unlike previous World of Warcraft Classic, such mods are particularly popular among high-level players who prefer to be able to easily access detailed log information during difficult raids and other challenging group content.

The game is not allowed in Final Fantasy 14, though Square Enix''s policy on the subject has allowed for a few dark areas. For instance, Square Enix has previously said that they are not necessarily opposed to players using mods that are purely cosmetic (such as shading tools for HUD elements), but that it is possible for players to choose mods that might include some kind of gameplay advantage than those who do not use mods. Basically, the developers would apparently prefer that players do not try to add elements to the game that only those

While that''s the official rule for FF 14 mods, the unofficial policy has historically gone closer to keeping it to yourself. Basically, many FF 14 players have been using technically illegal mods for a long time without repercussions. The general belief is that youre probably fine to use mods so long as you don''t make a major deal out of it. For a while, most players assumed that was pretty much the end of the matter.

During a lengthy blog post, Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida stated that the use of third-party tools is strictly prohibited, and that players who are deciding to use third-party tools will be subjected to their accounts being suspended or permanently banned for repeat offenses. On the surface, the article seemed like a great reminder of the rules. Soon, however, players would realize it might be much more than that.

Two prominent Final Fantasy 14 players (Hiroro and Bagel Goose) were sent to in-game jail for streaming the game while using mods. It''s unclear exactly which mods they were using, but the most obvious ones simply relay additional in-game information (such as damage counters) When I say in-game jail, that''s not an exaggeration. So, look at what happened to Bagel Goose during a recent stream:

Both Bagel Goose and Hiroro were transported to a special dungeon where a GM approached them. While it is unclear what they were told during those confrontations (or if they were punished in-game in any way by those GMs), one of the Bagel Gooses raid teammates has said that Twitch had imposed a week-long restriction for cheating in a multiplayer game.

He was banned for cheating in a multiplayer game for one week in a row.

The term cheating is the most common aspect of this entire situation. On the surface, being able to see something like how much damage you and your teammates are doing during a raid doesn''t sound like cheating. That''s information that a lot of high-level players in other MMOs have historically relied on without consequences. Using such mods (especially during gruesome world-first runs) is a tradition.

Despite his recent blog post, Naoki Yoshida stated that a [raid] race should be fair, and that his on-the-scenes desire that participants not utilize third-party tools is manifested. He continues to state that we have only released duties that we have shown can be beaten with the games standard features, and that the team has even contemplated ending their official acknowledgment of world-first content clearers if those acknowledgments and congratulations encourage excessive competition and controversy in the sense that players use

On the one hand, the FF 14 team prefers to include a blanket ban on most mods rather than asking which ones are acceptable and which ones are not. While the security concerns about such mods are historically minimal, Yoshida asserts that it is technically safer to not allow third-party modifications at all times than to allow some of them or even encourage the use of some of them through any means. To this end, the team intends to review the most prominent tools, and in order to discourage their use.

Although it makes sound like the FF 14 team is interested in essentially adding popular mod components to the game and making them official, they have not confirmed their intentions at this time. However, fans are left to navigate an uncertain situation where what are generally considered to be relatively harmless tools may be classified as cheating by Twitch and Square Enix. So far, the consequences of using such tools have seemingly impacted FF 14 streamers (who may have been targeted by internet users for their mods), but it is absolutely clear that the FF

I cant believe in the FF 14 teams'' eyes, but it''s worth noting that some argue that such tools contribute to a competitive, sometimes destructive, environment. Basically, things like damage meter tools can be beneficial to an environment where everybody is expected to perform at the highest level in order to participate in certain content. That may result in an almost work-like atmosphere where the fantasy of an MMO is replaced with hard data.

Besides that, playing games like FF 14 at a high level (meaning being part of world first clears) is kind of a task. Usually those who participate in such content usually know their participation comes with certain requirements. Where things get tricky is when that mentality comes to a boil. To this end, you might argue that these policies are intended to reinforce the concept of MMO culture.

There has long been a bit of conflict among MMO fans about whether this part of the culture is really a problem, and whether there is anything that can be done to eliminate it or reduce its influence. Were already seeing supporters argue that this is a case of people simply being punished for failing to follow the rules, or whether this is a bid by the games developers to create an artificial atmosphere of cohiness. There is also a heated debate to be had about whether or not these limitations should exist in the first place.

FF 14 team has done an exceptional job of listening to the games community and satisfacing their requests. It''s fascinating to see how this issue reveals what might be a philosophical difference in how the game is being played at certain levels.