Regarding Illicit Activities in The Omega Protocol (Ultimate)
Hello, this is Naoki Yoshida, Producer and Director of FINAL FANTASY XIV.
Following the release of The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) with Patch 6.31, there has unfortunately been information concerning instances of unfair play identified within the community. I would like to take this opportunity to share information on our investigation and actions on this matter.
Regarding the Use of Third-party Tools, Investigating Use, and Enacting Penalties
We are aware of information that is being spread regarding the use of third-party tools within The Omega Protocol (Ultimate)—we are conducting an investigation on the matter, including reviewing of reports we have received, as well as self-confessions and other information.
In the event that we confirm the use of third-party tools through this investigation, we will enact penalties such as temporary account suspension or permanent account bans to those involved. However, details on any punishments enacted will not be publicized—this has been the case in other similar instances. This is not a result of any desire to hide punishments given, nor is it to make it seem as though punishments are not given; it is because of a firm belief that penalties such as this are enacted against an individual as part of our operations, and is therefore not information which should be publicized. Your understanding on the matter is greatly appreciated.
When other instances of unfair play were identified during previous ultimate raids, we enacted penalties at that time as well. If an investigation is carried out and the facts are confirmed, we have not, and will not overlook this kind of wrongdoing.
Regarding the Prohibited Use of Third-party Tools
As I have mentioned previously, the terms of service for FINAL FANTASY XIV state that the use of third-party tools is strictly prohibited. This has always been the case and will continue to be so, and unless announced otherwise, there are no plans to enact any changes.
I have come across posts from individuals that say things along the lines of, “Yoshida allows the use of third-party tools, so it’s fine to use them.” However, let me make it clear that I have never permitted the use of these tools. You may find information below from past posts and livestreams which outline my stance and policies surrounding third-party tools.
- The Use of Third-party Tools, Defining Third-part Tools, Risk of Infection from Malicious Software etc. (Posted May 9, 2022)
- FINAL FANTASY XIV Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LVII (Livestream Archive from February 6, 2020; Timestamped) – Remarks on Mods
- FINAL FANTASY XIV Letter from the Producer LIVE Part LVII (Livestream Archive from February 6, 2020; Timestamped) – Remarks on Third-party Tools
Regarding the Illicit Publicizing of Post-clear Cutscene
We have confirmed that a video showing the cutscene that plays upon clearing The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) at a time before the fight had been cleared was posted on video upload sites. We conducted an investigation on this matter and discovered the cause of the issue. Through sending a cleverly disguised but illicit information packet from the user’s end while on the public game server, it is possible to manipulate the playback condition flag intended for use when replaying cutscenes via The Unending Journey. As a result, it was possible to play this cutscene via The Unending Journey, from which a video was then recorded and posted publicly. I wish to apologize that our measures to counteract these illicit packets was insufficient to prevent this occurrence.
Due to other illicit actions which occurred in the past, we had taken the steps to adjust the timing at which cutscene resources are applied to the client, but because of the above incident, the cutscene resources became illicitly obtainable even though proper countermeasures had been taken. We will continue to consider additional measures which can be taken and look to strengthen our ability to manage and address these instances.
However, for this particular case, we have identified the character who partook in this illicit action and have enacted a penalty against the account.
Regarding the Spread of Illicit Videos
Separate from the above incident, we have also confirmed that a small portion of footage that is not possible to record on the public game servers had also been circulating. We have numerous countermeasures in place when it comes to data leaks, including how information is handled, the entering and exiting of content, and video recordings—it is suspected that this video originated from an internal source. We are continuing thorough investigations on this matter as well, and a firm punishment will be given to anyone who is identified as the perpetrator.
We will continue to enact countermeasures against this, and I want to extend my sincere apologies for actions such as these that put a damper on everyone's enjoyment in progressing through and clearing the content. I will continue to keep this at the top of my mind as well as work to strengthen prevention measures.
It is extremely disappointing for me personally to see this commotion surrounding third-party tools once again in the wake of what happened with Dragonsong’s Reprise (Ultimate). As the individual who is entrusted with full supervision over FFXIV, it is my responsibility to enact countermeasures and police the use of these tools, as well as educate people to not use these types of third-party tools—this is especially unfortunate when I, as a gamer, am cheering on everyone who is learning this content by trial and error and putting in the effort to clear.
Although unofficial, I am of course apprised of the race to the World First clear, and we have shown our support for everyone in the community by sharing information on the first clears once multiple clear teams came forth, and exact clear times had been confirmed. However, as announced in a previous statement, I plan to refrain from doing so for the time being. We hear the community voice that an official raid race should be supported, and regulations should be decided upon—this is a topic which needs to be discussed internally, so please allow me to keep this as an item for future consideration.
The ultimate raid series is the most difficult battle content within FFXIV, and we release this content after testing that it can be cleared without the use of any third-party tools. However, if the presumption is that this content will be tackled and cleared with the use of third-party tools, then any reason to develop high-difficulty battle content seems to be lost. It’s very difficult for me to understand as a gamer what the meaning behind using numerous third-party tools to compete to clear first would be.
I want to apologize specifically to the many of you who are continuing towards clearing this content without the use of third-party tools, consistently streaming your progress, and continuing the trial and error process. However, please know that the Development and Operations teams take notice of all your passion. Please be sure to take proper care of yourselves as you continue to tackle The Omega Protocol (Ultimate).
If the illicit use of third-party tools is made clear through our investigations, I, at the very least, will not recognize that team as the true World First.
FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer & Director