Final Festivus XI Weekly Update Mar 10, 2023

Welcome back to Final Festivus XI, a news show to discuss the HorizonXI private server. 

Before I start, I ask you to follow the HorizonXI and FFXI rules as it relates to these news items. Don’t use this as a reason to go out and bother anyone. I’ve attempted to keep all names redacted as much as possible.

This week has been extremely eventful. I’ve actually been sick as a dog and not “searched” for any news items and they all just seem to fall in my lap. I begged the devs for no major patch notes as I don’t want to be talking for an hour about updates and they thankfully obliged. 

The backend work on the server is related to the daily back-ups that occur at 10:00 UTC. We know the back-up occurs and seems to crash the entire server. Thanks to my /yell streams, I’m all too aware of this. The goal is to do the back-end work that will hopefully prevent this from happening in the future. Will have to see and confirm for next week. 

Speaking of crashes, there are 61 results for R0 after 3/3/2023. This means folks are still experiencing the R0/blackscreen issues when zoning. Again, I remind all of you, stop using Lower Jeuno as your staging if you’re worried about black screens. People have had the most issues there due to overpopulation. Just stop going to Lower Jeuno. 

Just because the Friday maintenance had no patch notes doesn’t mean there weren’t changes this week. There was an adjustment to BST a few days ago. One of the BST pets had its TP move adjusted. 

There was some confusion as to why this was done during a “stealth patch” – or a change that was implemented without taking the server down. Some folks were pretty upset but the overall public consensus was that it was potentially affecting end-game content, so it needed to be done ASAP. There were also some suggestions of how to make it better but not sure if those were given beyond just a discussion. 

Additionally, as we talked about last week, ClaimShield has had another adjustment. This one was rather quick but desperately needed. The entire server was taken down for ~15 minutes to implement the change. 

Staff did not share what the fix was, but there was lots of speculation in the Discord. 

I also read that ClaimShield went from 8 seconds (as stated last week) back down to 4 seconds. Nobody has been able to provide any evidence for this, either way. 

The two updates seemed to be potentially game breaking for end game content. Thus, were immediately fixed. Hopefully other end game breaking items are resolved before I hit 75 (currently just under level 60 BTW). 

The last, and probably most important update, was a stealth one with no patch notes. Only noted by a Discord user. 

An absolute crime…

Along the thought of crimes (don’t you love my segues), the devs also pushed out a notification reminding users of the rules regarding Shorthand, an add-on.

Hopefully I explain this well enough for y’all to understand, because I didn’t understand it either.

Shorthand allows for the “half typing” of names in order to target them for macros. For example, if I do “/target logging” it should target a Logging Point automatically. Based on Horizon’s rule for Shorthand, this is allowed. Same with if I do “/target Rah” to target Rahne (myself). This was extremely common in era retail when you had an alliance and someone from another party was low on HP and you needed to heal them. I specifically remember doing this to target my Galka homies with their long-ass names. Again, with HorizonXI’s rules on shorthand, this is allowed (also might not even be an add-on feature for party members).

However, what HorizonXI staff is clarifying is that the use of targeting mobs via shorthand, specifically Notorious Monsters (NMs), is explicitly disallowed. Using it to type in half a NM’s name to target them via a macro allows a user to just spam a macro with 0 effort otherwise. Different than if you did F8 + macro (to target nearest mob), or tab target, or <bt> or <st> or whatever the shortcut is to tab target. 

Normally, the staff never clarify the rules. They routinely will just say “read the rules” when making vague references to people “not following the rules”. Apparently this was an issue because they had to ban multiple people who claimed “Well, I didn’t know!”. This is because Shorthand as an add-on is allowed, but using it for NMs/mobs is disallowed. If you’re like me where you vaguely remember what era was like, or you’re simply a new player, this would’ve probably been a surprise. Especially because an add-on being allowed, but certain circumstances not allowed, would be confusing. I honestly confused myself typing this up. Hah.

Either way, the ping gave some serious blowback on the Discord. There was lots of confusion about the announcement. Was it a new change? Was shorthand now disallowed altogether? Were people not getting banned because they plead ignorance? Can devs detect this? Can devs not detect this? Etc. Devs said they could investigate and find out and that if players were going to cheat then they’d also play and find out (PAFO) the hard way with devs being able to detect. 

Then of course, there’s these kind of hot takes…

Which is ironic, since I spent a good amount of time last week complaining about pings. But complaining about @everyone or @here or @role pings is the molehill you definitely don’t want to die on. These kinds of pings are extremely easy to change notifications for, and even if you have them on you can tweak them in your push notifications (say sending a message to your phone). I still remember the days of not being able to turn off @role pings and how tedious it was on some Discords. The @everyone pings are the whole reason my entire block list is nothing bots. Join a streamer Discord? Block the bots. Don’t worry about pings.

The only pings I bitch about are the @you pings, where you cannot turn them off no matter what. This includes reply pings. Nothing you do can turn them off besides blocking a user. I can’t wait until Discord actually changes this…

And now on to the fun stuff: Drama! There was lots of drama this week and I’m going to cover what is and what isn’t known. 

Since last Friday, there have been many hardcore (HC) characters that have fallen. I only note this so I can pass the screenshots on to Jake and his stream. I did notice one died and then put a message on when searching. Apparently they aren’t too happy about the lack of rewards at higher levels and other end game content.

Another HC character died, and with this one I noticed all my FFXI Discords were buzzing with gossip. Apparently, a player trash talked a GM and lost their HC status because of it.

I was sent the above screenshot in reference. You can see the HC character trash a GM, then a few minutes later they die. Supposedly, the GM nuked them in Upper Jeuno in front of everyone. I wasn’t there to witness it and I didn’t talk to anyone directly who did, so this is all second hand knowledge. I’d like to think there is more to this story, but I don’t know the HC character well enough to have their Discord and ask. 

GM Ah Puch makes another appearance, this time in a stream. I’m going to not name the streamer, as I haven’t spoken to them to see if they want to be named or have their story shared. HorizonXI tries to avoid witch hunting via not sharing of drama on the Discord. That’s what makes this encounter extremely odd… A GM jails a streamer mid stream, rather than when they were off air. Quite odd but I’m going to recap. 

Streamer gets teleported to Mordion Gaol mid-stream, the in-game jail zone for FFXI. In the retail server and most private servers, players would be teleported here by GMs to talk about things.

The GM asks the streamer to open a ticket in Discord to discuss, making it clear that the conversation shouldn’t be on stream. I’m not sure if that’s just for this specific instance, or if this happens to everyone being investigated by the GMs. The streamers chat continues to ask questions, make assumptions, and also make memes. 

The summarized conclusion is the streamer is accused of using APRadar, an unapproved add-on, third party tool, or plugin (I genuinely don’t know the difference) to gain an unfair advantage in the ENM Sheep in Antlion’s Clothing. The ENM involves 1 NM and multiple “trash” spawns. The party must run around and trigger the mobs to spawn and fight them. It’s pretty random and part of the difficulty is managing trash mobs while also trying to kill the NM before the time is up. 

The streamer is accused of using APRadar since he streamed himself doing Sheep in Antlion’s Clothing and got the NM to spawn 4x. I’ve watched the stream where he does this, and it looks pretty suspicious for the final 2 pops (it pops 4 times, the first one is given). However, I don’t know the mechanics or strategy, so I can’t say whether it’s clearly cheating 100% or not. 

When asking others, some will say the chance of potentially spots to pop it are completely random and there’s no pattern. Others will say it’s really easy to remember where the potential spots are to get it to pop. 

Either way, the streamer was in Mordion Gaol for almost 2 hours before he shared the decision from the GM team was a ban. He did share he was going to appeal it and that it would be escalated, but currently nobody knows if he’s innocent or guilty nor do folks know the evidence beyond what was able to be seen on a stream. 

The Discord is still deleting all mentions of the streamer’s name, even though I’m like 99% certain the streamer used to be promoted in the Community channels (please correct me if I’m wrong). 

I find it odd how much information is purged and not really sure why. If they didn’t want this information shared on Discord, then why publicly ban the streamer while they’re live on stream? It seems quite contradictory. 

I did manage to find some classic video game trash talk while roaming around this week. These two nerds (in red and blue) arguing in /shout. No sure why but it cracked me up so I wanted to share.

Anyway, that’s all for this week. Take care and see you next Friday o7

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