The use of third party tools in Final Fantasy XIV is rampant in the community, with lines between what is acceptable and what isn’t blurring more and more by the day. With that being said, a particularly nasty case has risen and crossed lines in the community.
The definition of third party tools is very broad. While it would be easy to designate any and all kinds of tools as cheating and violating the ToS, most aren’t always the case. Many are of the belief that mods enhancing personal experience on the client side outside of combat are harmless and do not detract from anyone else’s gameplay. These are often referred to as glamour mods, and examples include having a chat bubble pop up whenever one types in say chat, or a mod that alters the appearance of an outfit. Anamnesis is a program that showcases glamors that you may not have access to, as well as previewing races before you fantasia, for instance. Gshade is a popular tool to customize the lighting and color mode of a scene, mostly used for G-pose enthusiasts, but can also be used to accommodate for color blindness. All of this to say that this offers a purely personal experience, and is entirely non-invasive to other people. For some with disabilities, third party tools such as these are indispensable to providing a more even playing field with the rest of the community.
When it comes to PvP and the raiding community, the area is much more gray. This is due to the fact that it involves others and also affects the entire raiding scene as a whole. As the raiding scene comprises of a hardcore minority (1.8% of the population has cleared DSR as of Patch 6.11) of the community, any streams that showcase third party tools are much more liable to be discovered by Square Enix. This has already been proven by the statement they made when a player who belonged to a World First DSR static uploaded a clear VOD using third party triggers and plugins, detailed in a post here.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last of it — another Twitch stream utilizing even more third party tools caught the attention of the community, the channel of which has long since been taken down and banned.
Popular streamer and raider Arthars was the first to bring up the video of the aforementioned cheating, and the backlash has been immense, with other raiders such as Xeno and Zepla providing their two cents on the ordeal. You can watch their reactions down below.
The video itself features blatant third party tool use, chief among them the camera that zooms out much further than the game officially allows. A closer look reveals a minimap on the bottom right of the screen that shows the pattern of mechanics playing out in real time, as well as projected AOEs on selected players. Perhaps one of the most appalling offenders is during a mechanic halfway into the fight called Death of the Heavens, where bold, colored lines on the screen indicate which portion of the arena is safe to look at as there are two gaze mechanics players need to avoid. Taking a closer look at their hotbar also reveals that they were very likely using a bot to execute their rotation, noted by the distinct lack of button mashing. While this in itself doesn’t automatically allude to botting, their buttons are hit at the exact same intervals throughout the fight.
As this was publicly streamed and made available to a wide audience, it makes one wonder if this was intentional. It’s hard to believe that Square Enix will remain silent on this matter, as this would downright trivialize the hardest Ultimate content in the game, not even a half a year into its release. In the worst case scenario, it may catalyze a Pandora’s box where any and all kinds of mods are cracked down upon — visually assistive mods included. What do you think?