A Final Fantasy XIV raid team had their world-record achievement revoked after they got caught using tools developer Square Enix considers a form of cheating.
Unnamed_ , an FFXIV raid team, became the first in the world to clear The Omega Protocol, an exceptionally difficult new ultimate raid first introduced to the MMO in patch 6.31 last week. However, shortly after the official FFXIV Twitter account congratulated the team for their achievement, a video circulated online of an Unnamed_ raid player using UI mod plug-ins to zoom the game’s camera out to get a better view of the raid battle, according to PC Gamer. (The use of third-party tools is prohibited in FFXIV.) The incident resulted in the team facing punishment, and game director Naoki Yoshida expressing his profound disappointment.
As reported by PC Gamer, Square Enix withdrew all eight Unnamed_ raid players’ achievements for clearing the raid and the team’s record has been stricken from FFLogs, a website that tracks FFXIV raid data.
One of the strangest aspects of the story is just how the cheating was revealed. All seemed normal on Monday morning, when the team posted screenshots of their kill and cemented themselves as the first in the world to clear The Omega Protocol. However, as PC Gamer reports, later that day an unlisted YouTube video surfaced showing a member of Unnamed_ in the raid using a mod that allowed them to zoom out from the action and view the battle from a wider vantage point. As for where the video came from, Unnamed_ member Feuer E’, who watched his teammates tackle The Omega Protocol raid through Discord’s screen share feature, alleges that someone hacked their YouTube channel and uploaded the video to it. The YouTube channel name, which translates to “Divine Judgement,” was created two days prior to the video’s publication date. You can watch the video below.
FFXIV players often use plugins for quality-of-life purposes like modifying cosmetic items or damage logs but the use of camera plug-ins is considered a no-no, especially in World First raids, an ongoing source of tension between high-level players and Square Enix.
While some FFXIV players online took to poking fun at the raid team’s cheating by posting memes, others pointed out how common plug-in usage is in the community, especially for clearing a raid.
Kotaku reached out to Square Enix for comment.
The in-game rewards the team earned from the raid have been revoked. According to a translated screenshot of a message between a raid member and an FFXIV game master, the translation of which was verified by PC Gamer, the GM told an Unnamed_ team member that, although they did not cheat directly, they “still took advantage of that cheating, and therefore profited from it,” before asking them to delete the items they received.
“Apologies for the delayed notice. We have all just received in game punishment on this matter,” Unnamed_ member Tatsuya Suzuki wrote in a tweet. “Finally, I’m truly sorry for all the trouble I caused to the FFXIV development team, the community and all of my friends. I will be careful in my activities from now on.”
In a blog post, game director Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida addressed how “extremely disappointed” he was with the raid team’s use of third-party UI mods, “as a gamer.”
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.
At the end of the blog post, Yoshi-P reiterated that if the FFXIV team discovers “illicit use of third-party tools” in the future, he will not recognize that raid team as “the true World First.”
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“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,” Yoshi-P wrote at the end of the FFXIV blog post. “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).”