On February 11th, 2019 Square Enix updated the moderation and community guidelines for Final Fantasy XIV, the MMORPG, by informing gamers about the change via a blog post. The change, however, has left a lot of gamers feeling as if the community could be facing some turbulent times in the near future.
In the post they explain that they originally let players do their own thing and tried to stay out of the way of impeding communication and interactivity, but they’ve stated that times have changed, writing…
“[…] times have changed and although FINAL FANTASY XIV is an MMORPG, it is now our belief that it is better for the community as a whole for us to “intervene in situations where a player is subjected to the abusive behaviour of another player”, rather than “worrying about inhibiting communication between players.”
They state that they’ve now changed the rules of conduct and how they penalize players for breaching a new set of rules that they’ve setup.
They state that “appropriate action” will be taken against “offensive players” depending on the “severity of their offense”.
The changes have apparently changed to keep players safe both in the virtual space and real life…
“To keep our players safe, we will continue to keep track of trends both in online games and in the real world, as well as remaining vigilant of the social norms of our time.”
The Prohibited Activities lists some of the things that are not allowed, such as the following:
・Discriminatory expressions based on race/nationality/thinking/gender/sexual orientation/gender identity
・Discriminatory expressions about a state/religion/occupation/organisation, etc.
・Actions that inflict emotional distress using content related to historical events or crimes
・Disclosing or indicating personal information such as contact details with the aim of meeting up in the real world
・Disclosing or indicating another person’s real world personal information without permission
・Other actions that are generally regarded as actions that inflict deep emotional distress on another person
So basically, if you emotionally assault someone with your words and make them feel as if they need to retreat to a hugbox then you could be actioned.
Also if you express “discrimination” against someone based on their “thinking”, you could also be actioned. I hope this doesn’t mean that when someone who believes that there are 236 different genders is told that there are only two genders and they throw a temper tantrum that it won’t result in the person who understands biology to get sanctioned.
They also note that using the full name of a character for “expressions” in chat or through the emotes that equates to harassment, then the player may also suffer penalties.
But it doesn’t end there. Even if you don’t harass someone, you can also receive account penalties based on an “offensive expression”.
What sort of expressions are deemed offensive? Well, check out the list below.
・Aggressive expressions such as violent language/slander/insult/threat.
・Expressions that provoke or belittle another person, such as excessive criticism, negation/ridicule
・Expressions that significantly lack consideration for another person
・Expressions that unilaterally reject another person’s opinion
・Expressions that any reasonable person would find offensive
・Expressions that compel a playing style
・Expressions that attempt to unilaterally exclude someone from the game or content/community, etc.
(Except when in accordance with rules set by an administrator such as a Free Company Master)
・Expressions that contravene public order and morals
・Other expressions that are offensive to another person
So yeah, an expression that significantly lacks the consideration of another person – so I guess not complimenting them on how much money they wasted on a skin from the cash-shop could get you penalized?
“Unilaterally reject another person’s opinion”? I don’t even know how this made it onto the list unless the person putting the list together was an out-and-out SJW, because a lot of people have a lot of bad, poorly informed, factually wrong, or scientifically incorrect opinions. When that happens it would be a crime against nature not to unilaterally reject bad opinions. In fact, that’s how academia became ruined with all of that SJW nonsense and how we ended up with Gender Equality in Codes of Conduct rolled out by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or gender neutral coding for developers, as outlined by the Daily Caller.
They also prohibit expressions that “compel a playing style”, so if you’re trying to tell someone who is acting retarded to stop playing retarded while you’re on a dungeon run, you could be actioned since “offensive expressions are prohibited in all places where expresions can be made in Final Fantasy XIV”.
The other rules aren’t that bad and make sense, such as not spamming, obstructing transit, or trolling through party expulsions, or partaking in fraud, impersonation, exploits, real-money trading, or account sharing. These are all covered in a video from YouTuber HeelsvsBabyFaces.
However, the Social Justice Warrior-influenced regulations seem like a step beyond the norm. The good part is that you won’t immediately lose your account. You’ll have six degrees of penalties to get through before service account termination.
It starts with a caution, wherein the player will be met with an instruction on improving their behavior. After another infraction they’ll be given a warning, which will also come attached with an instruction for behavioral improvement. The third action will result in a temporary service account suspension, between three, ten, or 20 days.
If you keep on violating the rules you’ll undergo account penalty escalation, which will result in another temporary account suspension between three and ten days. After that, if you continue to violate the rules you’ll receive an account termination.
There’s definitely a lengthy process to go through before you lose your account, but my goodness the rules above make it pretty easy for people to quite readily lose their accounts, from criticizing someone on their poor playing skill to making them feel emotionally distraught, it sounds like Square Enix is trying to turn Final Fantasy XIV into a nanny state where players are pampered and babied.
The new rules are currently underway right now, and even Left-leaning, pro-censorship places like Reddit aren’t entirely on board. Plenty of them have actually spoken up and spoken against these new rules over on the Final Fantasy XIV sub-reddit.
Many gamers are comparing it to the sort of overly-authoritarian moderation that Blizzard has been employing for Overwatch, where you can be penalized for off-site behavior, or even just for only playing as a straight white male. Final Fantasy XIV hasn’t devolved into that level of despotic degeneracy just yet, but if Square keeps heading in their current direction, they’ll end up there soon.
(Thanks for the news tip Claira)