Square Enix is looking to crack down on real-money trading (RMT) in Final Fantasy XIV, and is adding new actions to a list of prohibited activities as a result.
Accounts offering RMT services often advertise in-game using Final Fantasy XIV's Party Finder tool, directing players to third-party sites where they can pay real money to receive in-game currency. In order to crack down on the advertisements, Square Enix is prohibiting not only the advertisement of RMT services, but also advertisements selling duty clears or other in-game services in general. It is not, however, against the rules to ask for help and offer a reward, which makes the whole situation a little confusing.
Square Enix will also be prohibiting Party Finder listings that are listed in an improper category. Players can still use the tool to recruit for community groups, Free Companies, or player-run events, but the listings must be categorized as "Other."
"We apologize for the relatively restrictive nature of these changes compared to how the Party Finder was being used until now, and appreciate your understanding," a post on the official Final Fantasy XIV website reads.
The changes come alongside an update to a hidden penalty point system, which was used internally by Square Enix to punish accounts that went against the game's rules. Square Enix is making more details about the system public in order to help players understand how it works, as well as detailing the new way in which accrued points may be reduced if a significant amount of time has passed since a penalty was issued to the account in question. Previously, penalty points never expired, which Square Enix says led to offending accounts committing even more violations.
"We felt that setting decay periods for Penalty Points would provide users with a clear goal in correcting their behavior, and have decided to implement this system in order to better promote reflection and conscious restraint from repeating past violations," Square Enix writes.
Penalty points earned from less serious violations will begin to decay after at least a year, while points accrued from more serious violations could take a minimum of three years to begin decaying.
Bots and compromised accounts offering RMT services have long been an issue in many MMOs, including Final Fantasy XIV and Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Changes will be coming in WoW's upcoming patch 9.1.5 that will require accounts to have a Blizzard authenticator attached in order to post custom listings in the game's Group Finder tool, which Blizzard is hoping will significantly cut down on in-game advertisements for RMT services.
Final Fantasy XIV's popularity has soared in recent months, breaking concurrent player records. The game's next expansion, Endwalker, launches on November 23.