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Shin Zantetsu

The Shield of Eorzea

Ragnarok (Chaos)

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  • 14

24/7 market-manipulating-bots ... frustrating!

Public
this game was really fun until around 7 weeks ago market manipulating bots showed up at my summoning bell and constantly are violating at least 2 SE regulations: obstructing transit/progress (blocking summoning bell) and automating gameplay processes ("absentee" play).

World Name: Ragnarok
Zone : Old Gridania ( 14.4 , 8.5 )
Time/Date : permanent!
Character : Tgismiyt Iehsngjn@Ragnarok
Character : Cqjdgbim Aohxpjlc@Ragnarok
Character : Qgkceiwa Gusfxrcu@Ragnarok
Character : Yrnvgogp Pmafbxwb@Ragnarok

(7 elimianted bot names removed)

old related retainers removed, new retainer(s):
Apaisd, Mqvnnk, Pacjgh, Jecvoc, auto-manipulating shard price

those are obviouisly bots! no linkshell, no grand/free company, no character progress and 24/7/365 login times manipulating shard price.
the controller of these bots is sitting 24/7/365 in Topmast Apartment and never coming out, his whole FC is a collection of fakes, also with no character progess or social contacts.

i have reported this far more than 10 times via various channels, also to the special task force, no change.

i'm so frustrated that i consider quitting this game and leave you alone with these bots, have a safe journey!

/shin

update 2020-10-16: the bots did not show up anymore today, maybe the combination of shouts,reports and blog did really help, we'll see the next days. additionaly I have added a 3rd screenshot to explain better what I meant with the flooding wanderers. they are mostly archers, faked to be germans and disrespect the game using randomly generated character names like all bots.
in the early days bots and RMT respected the game and used names like "companion cube" or at least obvious ones like "Pvpbank'com Wts-gil'z".

update 2020-10-23: the bots are back, maybe they only were banned for one week?! this is super-frustrating!
I could "idle" one of the bots with a simple trade request ("1" bot on 3rd screenshot), then it stood there uncontrolled. those are obviously not human players, I wish SE would investigate the case. please help to report if you should also observe unusual actions, let's make Gridania's market zone bot-free again!
The "master of all bots" sitting in Topmast Appartment 24/7/365 is even not capable of finding out that his Limsa bots are undercutting his Gridania bots (no names, you need to check yourself). normally they focus only on shards, but sometimes they also create/sell one item of highest level, in their idle time watching their bots running under surface level collecting shards ... in 4 windowed ffxiv threads.

in case you should have never heard of or seen bots in ffxiv this might be interesting and funny for you: "Becoming a FFXIV bot"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p01FTSHNQz0
it shows flying bots runnig through walls and even in dungeons moving directly to end boss room killing him flying from the roof where the boss can't kill them.

update 2020-10-25: number of bots and spawn frequencey increasing, replaced 1st screenshot showing better how they block summoning bell.

update 2020-10-26: replaced a screenshot with another one, 2nd screenshot is now showing bot marked 3 underground level! the bot went lower under groud every 20 minutes for around 10 pixels, now he's fully hidden under ground, but still can be found in player search!

update 2020-10-27: well now I'm really impressed! logged in for over 2 hours and no bot here, neither with random names nor the ones I personally consider as "master controllers" (not listed with names here). need to wait for maybe 24 hours to find out if they were renamed and changed place. let's see if this will be only a week of peace and fun or if it will last longer. eventually only their bot programs require an update to work, I'll post the news here.

update 2020-10-28: unfortunately it was only the patch making their programs not work anymore, bots are back already after 26 hours...

update 2020-11-07: some bots are already spawning in 5 minutes schedule, there must be something new on the market that is worth the risk! hopefully players standing around will not ignore and also report the automation and market price manipulation. added 2 more bots and sorted the top spawning bots on top, also added 2 new retainers involved in market manipulation.

update 2020-11-08: one of the "master bots" teleported away and is now spamming Ul'dah. the "sub bots" strategy has changed, maybe SE banned too many of them, now they try to hide behind the market board (added new screenshot). interesting was that while one of the "master bots" was "blocked" all other bots stopped spawning, so most likely all are controlled from same account, should be not so hard for SE finding out who is behind this, hint: free company foundation date 11-June-2020, Order of the Twin Adder, 9 members. spawn cycle is down to a few minutes but there is nothing worthy on the market, maybe bots are fighting other bots. since the market is "broken" now I have already renamed and cleaned 3 of my 9 retainers and if I should decide to continue this game I'll remove all 7 extra retainers for sure, they are not needed anymore with this collapsing market.

update 2020-11-09: none of the bots showed up within the last 5 hours but tbh I'm not sure about the silence, that already happened for one week some weeks ago. maybe it is just not worth or too risky botting before the maintenance. in the meantime 5 of my 9 retainers are renamed and selling stuff really cheap, I gave away 50k of each shard/crystal/cluster they were storing for free, so some people might sell them for smaller gil than bots, or start crafting, who knows ;-) atm I'm crafting trivial stuff from my various materials and enjoying the peace in Old Gridania, people running by stopped asking me why there are always 2-3 bots around me. I really enjoy being in town for the last 10 years realtime and can't imagine sitting in my appartment or free company's house all day long. town is really fun, some people are very disciplined and only walking around instead of running all the time, others are role playing and some couples are really in love with each other and hugging and blowing kisses. in town you can also enjoy dance and music, yesterday someone played Billie Eilish's bad guy so good that I remembered the carpool karaoke with her from december 20th 2019, so much fun. let's hope that peace is restored for longer than 26 hours after hotfix this time!

update 2020-11-12: guess what ... the market bots are still not spawning again in Old Gridania ( 14.4 , 8.5 ), looks like they are either banned or focussing now more on the gil accumulation business, wanderer bots are flooding the server more all time, see last screenhot. it does not take much to detect an obvious bot, there are so manny common criteria and movenemt patterns, it should be possible to detect what we can't see e.g. bots hidden in texture near summoning bells.
luckyly the prices for many top level buyable main weapons/tools has dropped to <50k which makes bots useless at a certain point, electricity/food for the farmers/computer/telephony cost etc. will be higher than profit, few brokers already disappeard from the market, website under permanent construction :-)
atm peace is restored in Old Gridania market section, let's hope it stays like this for long, thank you special task force team!!!

update 2020-11-15: various main weapon prices dropped to 26k now and tools to 90k. they are filled up on a regular base it seems. not much use now for the 2 "master bots" 24/7/365 in Gridania and Limsa appartments. a funny thing is that at least one player copied the method of renaming the retainers to point out the names of the crafter of the items the undercutting market-bots sell.
btw you can tell for sure that they are using bot programs because they can auto-cancel trade requests at an impossible speed even with status away.

update 2020-11-18: bot(s) back, spawn cycle 30 minutes atm, as before they try now to hide behind/in market board. used program's "cycle" is more advanced than before, they can cancel trade requests with "human impossible" speed.

update 2020-11-19: more bots keep spawning, yesterday one, today four ... besides the full bot free company, they are spawning 24/7 in a smart city rotation.

update 2020-11-20: I have made another 3 reports to the special task force and via the ingame "Report Harassment" button. everybody also fighting the bot problem please take notice that the ingame button "Report Cheating" is absolutely useless, quote from the team: "Bots are beyond the scope of our Game Master team and therefore we urge to send further reports to our Special Task Force on the Support Centre website"
well, the way finding it is so complicated if you don't use it on a regular base that even players that want to report will give up soon, so here's the direct link, hope it will work for a while:
https://support.eu.square-enix.com/contacttop.php?id=5383&la=2&fty=2
scroll to the end to find it there.
and keep in mind that, quote: "The GM Team unfortunately cannot process feedback", instead they redirect you to the official forums https://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/ and quote: "rest assured that all comments submitted are read and considered for future updates"
since the max. 10k letters are used up for this post and only 5 screenshots can be posted (I have hundreds!) I'll stop this here, good luck everybody and don't give up fighting the bots!
Comments (14)

Minerva Evergreen

Ultros (Primal)

I love how they stick to the hjhklohtdzbk name status quo. You'd think they'd bother to use name generators to make them selves less conspicous.

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

well, the "main" account of the bot controllers have real names and real FCs, 1 Master level 80 all crafter/gatherer jobs that can be automated (except fisher) and healer to quick-level and pull the whole bunch. the rest of the FC has nice "real" names and are all level 20-25 at one job (with status new player even after months) doing automated stuff not so obvious detectable.

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

just the "illegal" market bots and their retainers have such random names to avoid any relationship to the controller's account. just check out who is sitting 24/7 in appartment with that job criteria and you find your masters. if they pay 10 USD per month for an account and earn 50+ USD per day they really don't care! I don't understand why they keep standing in towns, there are summoning bells all over Eorzea, even if you don't have an appartment there is a bell in front of the entrance.

Redder Seers

Mateus (Crystal)

report the bums and revel in delight as they are jettisoned from this realm

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

unfortunately doesn't work! harassment reports work within minutes but cheating reports seem to be slow, for sure sent 30+ reports within the last weeks, if there is an effect in never seems to be permanent, hope this will become better if more people take notice!

Professor Oak

Hyperion (Primal)

Sadly, SQEX has a track record of being nearly non-responsive on this issue. I have read on the forums that some people have gotten responses on the in-game reports on bots, and only were told that the team those reports go to do not directly deal with cheating of that sort. Supposedly it gets forwarded to a Special Task Force, but either they're stuck working on an automated detection system, or they're unable to control the flood of bots.

Professor Oak

Hyperion (Primal)

Someone set up a discord and been compiling a spreadsheet of all the identified bot rings on servers. They've been sending an email in English+Japanese to the STF, EVERY WEEK, with an updated version of the list, and there are bots that have been running for more than 2.5 years without a ban.

It took them 3 years to put a chat shortcut to report RMT spam, and required Yoshi-P witnessing it in Lisma to get things finally moving. It has to get worse before they'll take it seriously, I guess...

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

thanks a bunch for your feedback, I have discussed similar with support various times, they are not responsible they say ... i told them to remove the button if nothing happens at all! I really feel harrassed by the bots that are already spawning in 5 minute schedule round me. it is similar everywhere in the world, to reduce cost support is outsource and they are most likely only "answering machines" without really knowing the game ... very polite but not really helpful

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

and the solution of the bot problem is really simple, applying same taxes for every nation is not the solution! make this game fun again and remove the market board competely (like other game companies did!), make items cheaper and buyable from shops or only tradeable face to face, nobody respecting the game will trade with obvious bots.

This comment has been deleted.

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

the effect of bots is same as the effect of covid, it will come later, they might have forgotten why their business is getting worse. first the people will dump additional retainers and then they will only pay for the game as soon as there is new content, and if no more players are paying no more bots are needed, the finanicial impact will come like a tsunami. it should be clear that in covid times all internet based services require double attention instead of reducing support, do it from home!

Tevo Darksky

Diabolos (Crystal)

I commend you good man for your diligence in this battle of battles against the tyranny of these evil fiends. They are truly a sickness that must be purged, alas will not be, but should be.

Lelekoi Lekoi

Malboro (Crystal)

I spent several years reporting after these guys. I finally gave up last year when I almost tore my keyboard from my desk (which happens to have a cable the runs through a hole and back up to my machine). I did yank it pretty hard but fortunately nothing broke. Anyway, I realized these guys were eating at me way too much, so I just gave it up. If I see them now, I just look the other way. There's not much you can do about them, they "reproduce" with new "evolutions" too rapidly.

Shin Zantetsu

Ragnarok (Chaos)

thanks for your feedback Lelekoi! I won't give up as long as they stand in front of me and block my summoning bell! I stopped crafting, will dump 5 of my 9 retainers, this means i pay almost half now. if the situation is not fixed within the next 6 months I'll switch to monthly payment and will only play major new content for a month max. if more think like this no bots are needed because all will be playing the new content insted of buying from the market.

Alganquinn Seers

Excalibur (Primal)

I report and never bother looking at the wastrels.
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