Final Fantasy XIV suspends a streamer for shaming another player live on his stream

    
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Final Fantasy XIV suspends a streamer for shaming another player live on his stream

One of the rules about playing Final Fantasy XIV is that players are to a limited extent liable for what they do and say outside of the game while still being linked to the game itself. Case in point: The streamer Arthars was suspended from the game on a stream due to harassing another player due to damage numbers. Damage meters are not present in the game itself, but applications for parsing damage are well-known in the community.

You can’t watch the video at this point, as it has been taken down at the request of Square-Enix, but the GM handling the case specifically teleported his character to Mordion Gaol (the game’s holding area for people being punished) and explained the rationale behind the suspension. Some debate has been held about the validity of the ban and its connection to parsers, but many fans have pointed out that using these parsing tools in connection with his public profile led to a situation in which he was at once violating the rules of the game and making the game’s playerbase look worse to observers.

For those of you unfamiliar with the rules of the game, the ToS agreement for FFXIV clearly spells out that third-party software such as the aforementioned damage parsing tools is prohibited and is grounds for having your account suspended or terminated. Despite these rules, Square-Enix has historically taken a very laissez-faire approach to third-party tools in connection with its games, with the majority of progression teams using these tools and sites compiling data from these parsers in public view.

As such, many players see the situation as something of a gentlemanly agreement wherein players agree not to misuse the tools (for example, harassing someone in a random group) and the GMs tacitly do not hunt down people using them. It remains a violation of the rules, however, and players on Reddit have already argued that this is a fine example of the studio making sure to discourage harassment and brigading by fans of streamers. (It’s worth noting that Blizzard has been stepping up its examination of out-of-game toxicity as well.)

There is, of course, a great deal of ongoing debate about how much studios should do to combat toxic behavior within games and outside of the game proper, but it’s clear that Square-Enix has established a pretty firm line here. “Running a damage parser while streaming and harassing another party member” is asking for a suspension.

Arthars Banned In-Game for Talking About Party Member On-Stream, Says Nothing Rude In-Game. from ffxiv

Source: Reddit, Twitter

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MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

If you want someone to ‘git gud’, maybe show them how to play their character better/make suggestions about ways to improve/allow them to learn fights/show the way/lead the way/provide explanations.

My problem with these types of people is that they often just want others to ‘be the top end’ but don’t give a crud about helping the person get there. It’s all about bashing, and not about helping. I have seen doozies in most games because I often play PUGs…but I go out of my way to show people how to improve…if I’m not starting fresh in said game myself. (I’m noobing it up in ESO lately!)

FFXIV had a bit harder learning curve, but at least some of the community there is a bit more helpful usually…(Though I could’ve done without all the people suggesting t0 go watch a video before doing a fight…that’s not how I personally learn…I could watch you numerous times, but until I actually do it myself, I won’t learn ways to improve…and that game is a lot about positioning or knowing a certain kill mechanic…)

Calling someone out on a stream though? That’s a pretty new low in life…

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

This was a good decision by SE. If you think that someone is not doing enough damage in your group – message to that person and figure out why or just blacklist that person. Discussing it on stream is unnecessary and can lead to harassment in game – I have seen similar things happen on Twitch, just not with FFXIV.

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Toy Clown

I’m happy to see he got a temp ban for his behavior, even if it was outside of the game. There will always be elitist behavior anywhere you go, but the difference online is they used to keep to themselves, but now their views are bleeding over into the general population who aren’t discerning that there is a difference between normal gameplay and high-tier gameplay.

Why so many players in the general gameplay tier are adopting elitist behavior views is something I put down to how popular these platforms of sharing gameplay have become. FFXIV sadly suffers from this the worst of any MMO I’ve played, where the lines are bled.

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Lily Cheng

FFXIV sadly suffers from this the worst of any MMO I’ve played, where the lines are bled.

Not sure if this is due to being in different data centers, but FFXIV elitist behaviour doesn’t even hold a candle whatsoever to WoW.

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K8 D

Must be different data servers because people were constantly being toxic in groups. People are obnoxious trolls in wow for sure, but I run into many less targeted toxic behavior than in ffxiv.

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Vincent Clark

It’s definitely data center specific (imo). I’ve rarely seen toxic behavior on my server in the past 5 years I’ve been playing.

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TherecDaMage .

Arthurs can get toxic on his stream from time to time. He wasn’t harrassing the person in game, but still if you watch is stream long enough you’ll eventually see him go off on someone playing poorly in the game. I’m surprised SE is policing streams now for people being toxic. I’m not sure how I feel about getting banned from a game bc I’m venting about another player but not doing it in game.

The DPS meter is not an argument for the ban. Almost everyone who raids Savage difficulty uses one. SE just doesn’t like add-ons so the players have to find workarounds.

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cursedseishi

You’re making very blatant assumptions here with this. If I were to, say, livestream myself reading through and commenting on MOP articles and got nasty about several of your own comments on stream but never said anything to you here?

I’d likely get modded. Because at that point I’m not just being toxic, I’m directing toxicity towards you. Because lets say out of… 100 people who watch me do it, 3 decide to start personally harassing you as a result of my own commentary. MOP might hit them, they might make some troll accounts and continue to do so while I continue livestreaming. The second that gets traced to me, I’d definitely get modded, probably really hard.

The people watching him likely play the game too. They’re likely in his data center if they are big enough fans. And out of those? I’m more than willing to bet there were people harassing the players he has ‘shamed’ or mocked or gone off about. Inciting harassment is still harassment.

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TherecDaMage .

Yeah I think that’s why it had to be done. I don’t like the censorship outside of the game. But he goes off while still logged into the game, so you can still see the name of the player in question. So if someone in his community did decide to attack the person in game, that would be because of Arthurs. His community isn’t like that from what I’ve experienced, but SE can’t take that chance. Basically, he has more responsibility as a streamer vs one of us that can cuss someone out in private and not worry about influencing others to act.

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cursedseishi

Definitely. I can’t speak of his community, but I do know there are fringe elements to just about everything. So while a good 98-99% of his group don’t? There’s that fringe percentage at the end who are happy to take things way farther.

It’s possible the player had reported some harassment, and once Square went after them they found the link to the streamer. But I doubt Square will actually go further into their determination for this.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Plus it can scare outside people away from playing the game. “Do I want to play this game, if while learning to play some streamer has hundreds of people watching and is calling me out by name insulting me because his technically illegal program showed numbers he didn’t like?”

It wasn’t that gentle of a calling out. He was swearing at the person insulting them, showing the damage numbers linked to his name, changed something in his stream to a booing crowd to insult the person more. As an outside person not playing the game, the thought of someone doing this to me on Twitch, someone popular enough to have at least a few hundred viewers watching at the time, that is upsetting and would keep me away from playing the game.

The behavior shouldn’t be tolerated. It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t specifically said in-game. It’s not just venting like the person you’re replying to said, it’s far more than that. He was insulting, swearing and ragging on someone in a public video based on numbers he technically shouldn’t be seeing with an audience of hundreds of people who could very likely follow suit insulting this person and in a video that would have been up for all time for others to watch in the future as well (except for they got him to take it down). He set up booing and was swearing and identifying the person for everybody. It’s a type of harassment and toxic attacking even if it isn’t specifically being done in the game text.

It’s connected to the game (Twitch FFXIV Videos) and for a public audience, just like forums are. A great many forums have not allowed people to be named and called out for things for as long as I’ve been playing online. It’s not like he’s just venting to a few people in his room in his life or something or out loud to himself.

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Bryan Correll

The first rule of parse club is you do not talk about parse club.

It really irks me when people get bitchy about what they see as sub-par performance in PUG groups. An ESO group I was in the other day took a bit longer than usual to take down some bosses, but there were no major screw-ups. Just a slightly slower run. Once it was over the tank (who hadn’t said anything during the run) says “Literally the worst DPS I’ve ever seen” just before leaving the group. If you’re going to be critical, at least offer constructive criticism. And you can’t expect everyone in a random group and a normal difficulty dungeon to be super serious about a game.

PS I was the healer, so it wasn’t me he was crapping on.

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Greaterdivinity

Good, I’ve always hated meter-maids that trash talk folks. Be nice about it and offer suggestions, don’t be a dick.

laelgon
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laelgon

Seems pretty reasonable. Doesn’t solve the problem of people being toxic, but you can’t really turn a blind eye to people harassing users on other platforms, and possibly creating a target for harassment from that person’s fans. No idea if this guy is a big streamer, but there are a lot of people who have an unhealthy relationship with their favorite streamer/youtuber. Which isn’t new, there’s always been obsessive fans who think that a celebrity is actually a friend they should be loyal to. Again, no idea how big of a streamer this guy is, but if someone like pewdiepie or another huge streamer started berating a user, there’s bound to be some people who think they now need to go harass this person to please their idol.

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Arktouros

I don’t see why there’s much room for debate on this. The company set the rules, the players need to behave within those rules. If you don’t like those rules, you just don’t participate. If you’re trying to make a name for yourself as a “shock jock” and go full on toxicity/negativity then you better make sure the product you’re trying to do with that doesn’t have a policy against it. Just common sense.

However again I will reiterate the point this does not combat toxicity. It simply covers it up. Removing people who are toxic from public view certainly will reduce the impression of how toxic things are however it does little to address the core issue underneath. There will still be groups who berate people for poor performance, and failing that there’s always just ghosting someone and throwing them out of a group without explaining it. All this doing is shifting to a culture where the same things happen, but you don’t hear anyone talk about it.

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cursedseishi

They suspended the player for it, which is their punishment. That isn’t simply just ‘removing them from public’. They aren’t just ‘hiding’ toxicity here. They took the video down as well because it serves no point being up–especially since it still serves the streamer.

The harassment will be marked for the player, and should anything else crop up will be there to take into consideration. And the take-down by Square Enix will affect his Twitch standing. You can lose your Partnership through Twitch for poor conduct and attitude (though whether Twitch will do anything is another question).

And what you described elsewhere is literally an issue in any MMO, not just FF14. And for what it is worth, the several years I’ve played in Final Fantasy 14 have been largely free of bad actors, and the few I have seen I’ve always reported. That is a far cry from the kind of attitudes I’ve seen playing World of Warcraft from roughly vanilla up to the end of Wrath of the Lich King–and trust me, as a Retribution Paladin throughout all of Burning Crusade? I’ve seen a lot of it.

My main was Dragoon for Realm Reborn, before they patched up their defenses. Any flak I ever got as Dragoon pales in comparison.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

What else exactly is SE supposed to do other than tell the person he was being toxic and why, lay out the consequences for it, and protect customers from said toxicity? It can’t come to your house and make sure you ate a good breakfast or fix the economy so you’re gainfully employed or fund universal mental health care or rescue lost boys from whatever garbage e-cult they’re part of. This’d be like saying, well incarceration is pointless because it fixes only some of the problems and not all of the problems. The state has an obligation to rehabilitate offenders, yes; a random Japanese company doesn’t. If all the studios tossed out all the toxic customers, toxicity would have far fewer places left to hide, and frankly since you can never stamp it out entirely, banishing it to dark corners no one knows about is the next best thing.

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Arktouros

This’d be like saying, well incarceration is pointless because it fixes only some of the problems and not all of the problems

To use your analogy it’s more like prisons will lock up all the criminals and what I’m doing is pointing out much like in your analogy prisons do an extremely poor job at rehabilitation and crime prevention.

A Japanese company can certainly say that’s not their problem, but then we probably shouldn’t be claiming they’re solving anything either.

As for what can they do? It all comes back to game design that encourages the kind of behavior you want to see.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

To be clear, I didn’t say Square said it’s not its problem. Square addressed the problem it had and solved the problem facing it. It (and we) didn’t claim to address or solve whatever this person’s root problem is. And since being a Japanese company means it didn’t elect any of the people responsible for creating and fixing the streamer’s root problem, it’s also not obligated to.

Prisons – and here I assume we’re talking in the US – do an extremely poor job of rehab, yes, for many reasons, but that’s a completely different debate and nothing to do with the state’s actual obligations, which is what I referred to.

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Arktouros

It (and we) didn’t claim to address or solve whatever this person’s root problem is.

Which is, specifically, why I addressed the point that no one is getting at the root causes of toxicity because as usual when anything comes up about toxicity people want to discuss symptoms and not the causes.

I only used the prison analogy because you brought it up and works perfectly to my point that a policing/prison action will certainly tidy things up it doesn’t really address that root cause/rehabilitation for the future.

Obligation I think is more complex then you’re giving it credit for. The environment and circumstances that lead to someone acting toxic is very much under SE’s control. While certainly there’s an argument to be made that anyone could theoretically act shitty/toxic in any scenario I think using that to entirely absolve a company from their responsibility in potentially making an environment in which toxicity regularly occurs is dismissive.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

SE cannot do anything to prevent it, though, other than through punishment. The whole “small group fighting” creates such toxicity by design since the smaller the group – the more reliant it is on performance of individual player. And before you will say “they can just add more raids for 24 and higher amount of players” – well, not everyone likes larger groups, some prefer smaller groups for more challenge, plus it is easier to find lower amount of people for smaller content. And even in larger groups some people might still run the DPS meters. And adding any kind of open world PvP will also have no difference because some people do not want any kind of PvP.

So yea, there is no way to prevent this kind of behavior other than using punishment such as temporary bans.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yeah, even without the parser, this toxicity will exist. My husband always laughs in the occasional random group in OW when someone’s being toxic about one team member’s healing or elims… and then that team member turns out to get gold in that category, which only gets the ranter riled up more because not only was he a jerk, he was wrong too.

Course, I hate meters, even having used ’em for years in multiple games, and I am never sorry to see them banned. I’m not entirely sure why SE doesn’t crack down on the use of them externally.

Edit to add: This week on the podcast Justin happened to mention to me that XIV players get bonuses for taking newbies through dungeons. One more example of SE actively encouraging good behavior, not just cracking down on bad.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I don’t follow you here. SE already outlawed the plugin that provokes the behavior. Are you suggesting SE pre-emptively ban streaming XIV? Put an end to grouping and class roles? It’s already one of the most benign games out there when it comes to competitiveness. Outside of prescreening edgelords buying the game, I’m not seeing what else they can do – other than waiting for actionable things to happen and then taking action. As they did.

I think at this point if you actually care about this, you already know the systemic issues involved, from economic and health to hate, and I’m certain you’re voting for the people trying to fix it instead of make it worse, right? SE is already doing more than most video game studios to address it from the one angle it’s got.

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Adam Russell

It is well known that parsers are technically against the rules but will not be enforced unless you use them to shame other players. You could be banned just for shaming in game, but to do it in a stream is just asking for a ban. He asked, he got.

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Eamil

Thank you for saying “suspends.” Temp suspensions get called “bans” so often and it’s really just sensationalism. (Calling a suspension a “3-day ban” is one thing, just saying a player was “banned” is another.)