Is it the end of the compromise?
FFXIV has always prohibited mods and addons. It falls rather close to cheating, and these mods are never available on console, which is not a minor part of the player base. From the right perspectives, mods promote a divide between the ‘elite’ and the ‘casuals.’ However, there is a spoken agreement and compromise between players and devs. As long as you don’t flaunt your mods or use ones that are blatant cheating (like increasing FFXIV Gil gain), they’re alright to use.
Now though, streamers are getting banned for using their mods.
FFXIV players take raiding seriously. Companies (what other games would call guilds) race to be the first or fastest to clear any new raid content that comes out. If they want to do that, everything must be perfect. Each party member should be pulling their own weight, everybody’s clear on their roles, and no significant mishaps. To that end, many high-level raiders use mods and addons.
The game’s UI is serviceable, but it’s not enough for the ‘elites.’ They need to have meters, timers, boss countdowns, and party status. Without these, the group loses valuable time figuring those out independently. For them, it’s a necessary tool to ensure that the raid goes well.
Banned streamers are teleported into the Mordion Gaol, a dungeon once featured in a special event. More recent players would not be able to recognize it, but veterans will. At any rate, it’s a location set to discipline players without causing too much disruption.
There have been two streamers affected by this. They suddenly get teleported to jail in the middle of their raiding stream. Though one has deleted that particular steam, the other cut it as the GM appeared in his cell. Punishment was dealt with swiftly.
An Organized Effort?
Some players have reported high-profile streamers who use mods on Twitter and Reddit. It suggests there’s an organized effort to mass ban these streamers.
While it is to an extent cheating, a rant by Yoshida a few years ago said that “they can’t control what players have on their PCs.” Besides, adding spyware is a legal misstep they want to avoid, so they can’t do anything about it.
The official stance is that mods are not allowed. However, if you don’t let it affect other players, you don’t flaunt your use of it, or it doesn’t modify the game’s code, you can use it.
What this mysterious group is trying to do can be considered harassment. An old incident comes to mind where an innocent player got permanently banned from the game because an individual cyberbullied him.
The straw that broke the camel’s back is an allegation that the victim was botting. All that he ever used were a few cosmetic mods. He did not use hacks or botting programs, but the crusade against him was vigorous in its accusations. He was banned permanently from the game, and he hasn’t returned since.
These kinds of people want mod-users out of the game. While the game covered the bare necessities to be able to complete raids, players who want to be the best find it lacking. They need to be the best and most efficient, so they turn to tools to help them.
Putting Their Foot Down
The issue with modding has reached a fever point, but thankfully the devs are not outright condemning players who use them. They’re taking it as a sign that they need to overhaul the HUD and UI so players won’t have to rely on external tools too much.
There are, after all, cases where mods become very popular with the community that they become ‘official.’ Who knows? We might be able to see an official combat parser for FFXIV, such that addons and external tools won’t be needed anymore.
At any rate, this incident has pushed FFXIV out of the gray area it resided in for the past decade. Now, Square Enix is cracking down on those who publicly show their use of FFXIV mods. Since they’ve started banning players who do so, they’re obligated to continue banning anyone they catch. Players will have to double down on their subtlety and discretion to avoid bans.
There’s Still a Bit of A Gray Area
The intersection has narrowed slightly, but it’s not gone just yet. Addons are still safe, and you can continue farming FF14 Gil with enhanced graphics or whatever mods you’re using. As long as it doesn’t give an unfair advantage or change the game’s code, you’re okay.
It cannot be emphasized enough that you shouldn’t brag about it or share it on social media. Also, if you’re using one of those graphics mods, it’s best to leave other people alone. You can be accused of harassment or something worse when you do. Plus, you’ll be charged with also using an addon in the game.
Have fun playing FFXIV, with or without mods!
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