The creator of one popular mod of Final Fantasy 14 admitted to having included within its data package a malware that can shut down the user’s PC. Let’s talk about the mod Gshade, which allows you to change the graphics quality of the Square Enix MMORPG. The mod code has the ability to shut down the PC if the mod is used for anything other than its intended purpose, such as trying to create other mods that may alter gameplay.
We remember that the use of mods in Final Fantasy 14 is strictly prohibited from Square Enix’s terms of service, as we are talking about an exclusively online game and the mods could ruin the experience of other players and break the gameplay balance defined by the authors. Gshade would also be prohibited but normally this does not cause problems as it is only a graphics mod. It is also often useful for those who are colorblind, as it allows you to change lighting and user interface elements that would otherwise be invisible to a colorblind eye.
The mod, however, does something more. If it detects that there are third-party applications trying to activate functions via Gshade, it restarts the computer. Why did the creator enter such a code? To teach people a lesson. Marot, her nickname, said that “Anything could have been contained in the package and you would have been responsible for distributing it to people and triggering it.”
Not surprisingly, the whole thing caused several reactions. Marot has been banned from at least one fan Discord server for the game, and the Final Fantasy 14 subreddit has withdrawn its endorsement from Gshade. The mod has also been removed from Github, pending an investigation.
However, the episode served its purpose: is a cautionary tale and reminder that modifying games always involves a certain amount of risk: unless you have the know-how to go through a mod’s code line by line, there’s always the possibility that something harmful is hiding inside.
Finally, we remind you that no major expansion is planned until 2024, in the Square Enix plans.
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