I once joked to Ashira that...
If you ever tell me you're quitting FFXI and make an emotional farewell, I'll see you in a few months.
I made this statement to be funny after hearing a famous person on my server chose to quit years back. I ended up being right then, and I suppose ironically, I now end up being right about myself. There is a good amount of embarrassment that comes with telling people you're gone so emphatically, then showing up a couple of months later; I can't really hide behind some smart-ass remarks to try to shield myself from it. But as someone that always thinks things through and tries to be logical about everything, I've reached a basic, inescapable truth that guides me back to Vana'diel -
I enjoy playing Final Fantasy XI.
For those that still care to try to understand what would draw a disgraced, account-less cheater back to FFXI, I offer you an explanation.
The Past Few Months (Personal)
As many of you know, I chose to quit after I was unable to log on after the 72-hour ban window. At this point, I pretty much spent a couple days still browsing BG and the blog and then fell off the face of FFXI Earth. Without going into too many personal details, I'll just say that I had an exam the week I found out I was at the very minimum temp-banned, then the biggest one of the semester the following week.
Where I go to school, getting less than a 90% raw score is already below average - not an exaggeration. As I'm sure you've figured out where I'm going with this, you can imagine I didn't do so well on either of these. People (including myself) laugh and joke that this is just a game, but when your 5 year old account gets wiped out and you have to take an exam 8 hours later, it will affect most people. Anyways, at this point, I realized that the best decision at the time was to focus on my studies. With some hard work, I was able to at least salvage my affected grades to a not-so-great, but definitely acceptable scores in the last few months.
I suppose the point of this section is to always keep in mind that real life comes first. As you read this post, and even as you play this game, I hope you constantly remind yourself of this and what is truly important in the grander scheme of your life. If there was ever a silver-lining to this entire situation, I would say it has re-enforced my love for what I do in real life. Anyways, I don't care to use this blog as a medium for discussing details of real life, so I'll leave it that.
Thoughts on LM-17
Although I did not actually receive anything of value from these dupes and used it only 4 times in the 4-5 months I knew, I did know exactly what I was doing, perhaps much more so than the average abuser. It's one thing to be told something then simply try to copy it for your own gain, but it's a whole different ballpark when you're told something then actively try to expand on it (in essence trying to make it worse). As someone who prides himself on being as objective as possible regardless of the situation, I can honestly say the bans were handed out rather recklessly, but ultimately well-deserved in my case. If I were SE, I wouldn't want a player like myself constantly trying to break the game, whether he is successful at doing so or not.
At the time I mentioned that I knew the risk and just felt that there would be no consequences, or that the possible benefits were worth the consequences. This is where I feel the biggest error in judgment on my part was made. I never once thought how it would affect the others I took with me. While most escaped with pretty much a warning letter or a 3 day, one of my best friends online was permanently banned like I was. He still plays on a friend's account and doesn't blame me for anything, but there is an extreme amount of guilt for myself.
I think the biggest revelation with regards to my situation came to me when reading Allakhazam of all places. There is a particular poster there that absolutely hates me or anything related to me - I have never posted mentioning him or responding to him but if someone else mentions my name for any reason, he will tear into me, even prior to this banning. As you can imagine, when he saw my name on the banned list, he went on to write one damn nasty post. In it, he says something to the effect of...
It doesn't matter what he did or what you think he did for FFXI, he is a cheater. Everything about him screams cheater.
Although likely written in an ecstatic fury to invalidate and demean me, there was a hidden truth. When you accept a person, you have to accept the complete person - the parts you admire, and the parts you don't. If you choose to accept or even admire me, you have to realize that my very nature and what drove me to play this game was to exploit, to reverse engineer, to manipulate the game. According to just about any section of the ToS, I'm a cheater - the fact that the general community thinks it is mostly 'benign' cheating and was mostly to benefit the average player or simply to inspire is really completely irrelevant. One can debate whether or not it is possible to positively impact the community and be a cheater at the same time, but debating whether or not one is a cheater is as usually as black and white as reading the ToS and Q&A.
Underlying every post in this blog - whether it's a solo, a guide, or a test - is the idea that you can control this game with enough understanding. The game cannot adapt and is plagued with flaws - look deep enough and, you, as a person and a thinker, can overcome even the most seemingly impossible tasks in FFXI. The 'unintended' regions of FFXI - the formulas you were never meant to know, the solos you were never meant to even think were possible, the strategies that were never supposed to make sense - this is what drove me, and is what I think drew people to continually read this blog.
This is why I played and why I think so many people followed this blog, but it's a slippery slope and it's ultimately the reason I have nothing left but an archive of screenshots today. To follow the ToS blindly to the letter is crazy and I still think some forms of cheating are acceptable (e.g. Windower); however, there is a line, and at some point, I certainly crossed it and never even thought twice when I did. It was a mistake in just about any train of thought you want to follow - and when you so blatantly cross the line, there is nothing else to do except to accept the hand you've been dealt and most importantly, to say your sorry. With this, I'll simply, yet never more sincerely say,
Courtesy of the best FFXI Livejournal of all time.
A Farewell to Odin
I love my Linkshell. When this blog started, I made it a point that show this and even named the blog after it, not myself. I did log on numerous times after January 26th, mostly just to chat in LS and to close friends, but found it tremendously difficult. I think the memories I have on Odin are too good and, unfortunately everything I do on it now just tarnishes those memories to me. I eventually made the difficult decision of starting over - but not on Odin, which I will always consider my home server.
I'll spare you all most of the more emotional details of this and just say that I am so glad to have friends that understand where I am coming from, even if the decision I have made isn't the one they wanted. I had a good number of them I was able to still reach each make me a signed item that I could take with me as I crossed servers on a mule on my brother's account (his actual character that's still quite decked out remains on Odin).
In the particular case of my LS leader, and one of my closest friends in FFXI, she told me to just do what makes me the happiest while online. I would have never admitted to most people prior to all this since I portray myself here as one that likes to question established rules in FFXI and lead rather than be led, but I have a certain blind devotion to her, and hence TeamKANICAN (basically I'm whipped online). She can tell me to or to not do something and I'll essentially follow her 100% regardless of if I agree or not - people like Ashira know what I'm talking about. There is a certain devotion you gain for someone when you're a utterly terrible player that knows you really have no right be in the LS you're in yet the person makes it a point to still make you feel welcome. For me, this was the case years ago and what I would become years after or what most people think of me now is really irrelevant. It's why it would be difficult for me to ever leave without her blessing. I wish her, my friends, and my LS only the very best.
As to what server I am now on, all I'll say for now is it's not Odin. At this point, I just want to play FFXI without anyone helping me because of who I am. I know the game has changed, especially pre-75, and I want to experience it to its fullest. A couple people know where I am, but in general, I just want to play the role of FFXI noob for the time being and see how far I get. My playtime is pretty limited nowadays but I still hope to reach 75 eventually.
As far as my goals, I do want to complete the new storylines, especially the Shantotto one (of course). I want to redo the old stories as well - I still have no clue what's with ToAU other than the fact you need mission 16 to access Salvage and I have to kill Alexander to get my Balrahn's Ring. I think it's pretty obvious what job I'm going for. Overall, I just want to experience the finer points of the game I missed the last 4 years that I've been 100% enveloped in endgame.
This entire experience has been a humbling, yet enlightening one. Such is the case when you are logged onto one of the most respected and envied accounts in FFXI one day, and completely naked with no friends on a new server, trying desperately to solo a Magicked Skull, the next. Although I essentially have nothing left as I restart, I'm comforted by this blog. It is really the only lasting memory I'll have of my character, and in many ways, having it encourages me to make another run. I always boasted that you could give me a vanilla account and I would still do everything I accomplished here because it's about mastery of the game, not gear. I have a chance to prove this to myself now.
I'm glad to be back, and I hope you all can live with the fact that there's 1 more cheater out there somewhere in Vana'diel.
Pic of the Day
This is the last screenshot I ever took on "Kaeko".
Drama Thread of the Day
So this post was made on April Fool's Day...
(TL;DR Version: this post is actually real)
I originally had this pic as the drama thread of the day, implying that this whole post was a sham and a joke. The actual joke was -supposed- to be that the whole thing was real but nobody would believe it since it was April Fool's Day... I actually reread the post as a whole afterwards though and found the delivery to be pretty bad since the post was too emotional to make the joke work (you'd probably end up turned off by it than laughing unless you were a WoW player).
Truth is I made the entire post about a week before April 1st, so if it seems too emotional to be fake, that's probably because it's not fake. The picture I got from Chili, who has a character on WoW using my name and other old-school TK members. I have absolutely no clue what's going on in that picture. Thanks anyways Chili!
If you were one of the ~100ish people that caught this post before this edit, whoops! I hope you reread it at some point. If you think this edit is a joke and the original post was real (meaning it wasn't actually real but a joke), then I can't help you (confused? I am...). Bad jokes are bad, but thanks to the edit feature they can also go away! I can tell you I managed to solo a few Ghouls for that Magicked Skull a few days ago (if you think Gravity is a broken spell at 75, try using it at 21) - a stranger was nice enough to help me get the actual drop after they saw me though (thank you!).
Finally, if I PM'd me in any fashion or tried to reach me in the past 2ish months and I failed to respond to you, I'm sorry. If you resend or re-ask me, I'll try 100% to get back to you in a timely manner.
FFXI > WoW btw