FFXIV Omega Protocol cheater performs “Digital Seppuku” to atone for their actions

There has been a large commotion surrounding the use of illicit tools in the race for the World First clear of The Omega Protocol (Ultimate), a raid that was added to Final Fantasy XIV in patch 6.31. The game’s community was sent into an uproar after it was discovered that the team who announced it was first to clear the raid had actually cheated using third-party tools.

Members of the team in question have posted written apologies on Twitter, and one even stated that they will stop playing FFXIV and delete their characters. A number of users began describing this method of taking responsibility as “Digital Seppuku,” and the perfectly apt phrase began to catch on, even trending on Twitter in Japan. 

Before delving any further into the discussion, let’s first take a step back and look at the events that led up to this point. Square Enix released a topic on the FFXIV website titled Regarding Illicit Activities in The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) on January 31. Producer and director of the game, Naoki Yoshida, reported that there had been information concerning instances of unfair play identified within the community.

He explained that if they confirmed the use of third-party tools after investigating the matter, they would enforce penalties on any users that are involved. He also reiterated that the use of third-party tools is strictly prohibited.

Yoshida stated that they had identified the individual who illicitly obtained and posted the cutscene that plays upon clearing The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) and enacted a penalty against the account. They are also investigating the spread of illicit videos that they suspect originated from an internal source and will give a firm punishment to anyone identified as the perpetrator.

To finish, Yoshida had some harsh words for those players who choose to use third-part tools, saying, “It’s very difficult for me to understand as a gamer what the meaning behind using numerous third-party tools to compete to clear first would be,” and that “If the illicit use of third-party tools is made clear through our investigations, I, at the very least, will not recognize that team as the true World First.”

Following this, a member of UNNAMED_, the team who had used third-party tools to clear the raid, posted a tweet explaining that they had been punished. This member, who goes by @Haruka_Setsuna_ on Twitter, also included a screenshot of an interaction with a game master.

The game master explains that because @Haruka_Setsuna_ was not the one who was directly using third-party tools, no penalties would be enforced on their account. However, it was deemed they indirectly benefitted from the third-party tools, and as a result, the title obtained for clearing The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) would be deleted and they were instructed to discard the weapon that they received as a reward for clearing the raid.    

Even though @Haruka_Setsuna_ did not personally perform any illicit actions, they still condoned the cheating, so some users felt that the punishment they received was too lenient, and many were unsatisfied with the fact that their account was not at least temporarily suspended.

In contrast, there was a player who in addition to their apology, stated that they would stop playing the game and delete their characters. The decision is not one that is taken lightly considering how much time they have devoted to their characters. Even if they were to start over, the accomplishments that they accumulated with their characters would be gone forever.

Deleting a character is an especially consequential action in FFXIV. Any player who wants to restore a previously deleted character is required to submit a special form to the game’s support center, but this does not necessarily guarantee that the character can be brought back. Furthermore, if you delete your entire account, there are no such recovery forms at all, and it is gone for good.   

The act of taking responsibility for one’s actions by deleting one’s character or account became a hot topic among those in the FFXIV community, and users here and there began referring to it as “Digital Seppuku.” Admitting your sins and then deleting your character or account—essentially giving up your life within an online game—is an act that is very much like seppuku, which is a form of ritual suicide. The term sounds quite fitting.

There is, of course, one loophole when it comes to Digital Seppuku: unlike seppuku in real life, it’s possible to simply create a new account or character and start playing the game again. This is not limited to online games either, as there are no doubt people who perform Digital Seppuku on social media as an apology for problematic behavior before creating a new account once the heat has died down.

While there are some who were impressed by the decision of the FFXIV player who performed Digital Seppuku, others believe that the player is only feigning remorse for their actions, and once some time has passed, they intend to start playing the game again. It’s likely that everyone has their own opinion on whether or not Digital Seppuku is truly an honorable way to take responsibility for one’s mistakes.

Incidentally, the term “Digital Seppuku” is not something that was newly created—taking a look back through Twitter confirms that it has been used since quite a long time ago. However, the commotion surrounding FFXIV may have brought the term back into the public consciousness.  

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Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-02-01 20:23 JST)