Vindictus Manual is permanently closed.
As a result of Nexon NA's ongoing crusade against fan sites and pretty much anyone trying to help the community, Vindictus Manual has closed, alongside Vindictus Inn. After much back and forth between the community and Nexon NA, Nexon NA has refused to even consider the idea of fixing their mistake. As a result, my site is permanently closed, unless one of these two things happens:
1: Sanitee is unbanned, with an apology from Nexon NA.
2: Vindictus NA closes, or is taken over by another company.
To those in Thailand, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and EU, I am sorry that Nexon NA has ruined this for you. However, I cannot bring myself to leave this site up, and potentially benefit Nexon NA with its existence. Made worse by the fact that Nexon NA's playerbase only represented about 30% of my total traffic to begin with.
Why I have chosen to take my site offline in protest.
I like playing Vindictus. The combat in it is unmatched by any other MMO right now. Unfortunately, Nexon NA happens to be the publisher. Also unfortunately, I happen to like helping people play the game, too.
Under Nexon NA management, I cannot have both of these things; I am forced to choose between playing Vindictus, or running a Vindictus Fan Site. Given that I cannot make a Fan Site for a game I don't play, there is no actual choice here at all.
I don't want to invest thousands of hours into Vindictus Manual only to have my account taken from me by Nexon NA out of some strange contempt they have for any kind of community interactions that they can't rule with an iron fist.
Unless Nexon NA can prove that they have even a shred of decency by unbanning Sanitee, I cannot bring myself to continue to work on Vindictus Manual.
A Summary of Events
The support the community has had for Sanitee has been admirable, and reminds me that the community was why I still played this game, despite all of the bullshit Nexon NA throws our way. Despite all of this support, however, Nexon doubled down on their stupidity. I will use this section to summarize what all has happened to lead to this point:
On Jan 18, the day Neamhain came out in NA, Sanitee tried to play Vindictus. She received a permanent ban instead. Being a fan site developer, who has been erroneously banned before for working on her site, she was very careful about what programs and processes were running when Vindictus was running. She stated that she had nothing questionable running, whatsoever. Nexon NA, a company that frequently bends the truth to suit their needs, said she had VZipFlip running, which led to her ban. She does not believe it was; it is up to us to choose which to believe. If you've seen Saygo, Ruin3d, or OneLetter's posts over the years, it will be obvious which side to believe, though.
After this ban, Sanitee tried to appeal it, being told that she could not be unbanned because she was already unbanned once before over the same false detection. Logic, right? Eventually, they just started auto-closing any tickets or messages she sent, refusing to even give her the time of day. At this point, I became aware that VZipFlip literally cannot modify files, and so is absolutely harmless. I sent a ticket along those lines, and got this reply from them:
A direct shut down of even the IDEA of having a fan site for Vindictus. No exceptions period, ever. Including for the official Vindictus wiki, which actually does happen to have datamined information. According to the Nexon NA team, this information should be taken down immediately, as it is against the ToU. A ToU that Nexon NA writes, that they are trying to tie their own hands with. True geniuses.
Trying to get VZipFlip whitelisted was the last idea I had of how to make Nexon see sense and unban Sanitee, and it failed. Since Sanitee will apparently remain banned, this site will hereby be permanently closed until Nexon NA is no longer around to fuck over Vindictus.
Sending a message to Nexon NA
Nexon NA has long proven they don't care about the playerbase, so long as the paychecks keep coming in. I don't know of a way to organize everyone deciding to stop buying NX until Nexon KR (not a typo) listens to us, the best I can come up with is showing Nexon NA our displeasure in a way that they can't have a pet VFM delete.
Go to the Vindictus page for Steam, located here, and leave a negative review for the game, alongside an explanation of why you left a negative review. Anything you think someone looking at Vindictus or Nexon for the first time should be aware of.
BlackCipher is garbage
This below section is from the original notice, but still absolutely information you should be aware of, since you are letting this program run on your PC when you launch Vindictus. You might find it a bit of a scary read, but knowing matters:
Have you ever had a time where the game kicked you for an "unauthorized program", a "speed hack", or any other kind of false detection, even though you KNOW you weren't doing anything wrong?
Every time you get kicked for that, a server-side counter goes up by one. When it reaches a certain number, you are permanently banned. Period. And when you appeal it, Nexon NA is going to take the high ground and say that you broke the rules, and that this is your fault.
Does elapsing time reduce the counter? No. Can you appeal to have it reset before a permanent ban happens? No, they will say that the detections were valid, and thus they will not remove them.
The reason that we Fan Site owners have been disproportionately hit by this is that in order to provide accurate information, we need to look at the game data itself sometimes. So, having access to *copies* of the files, we read those copies, and then close them when we are done. BlackCipher detects this as editing the running game, which is overtly false, and quite ridiculous. If you have ever used a Fan Site (The official Wiki [Outdated, Abandoned], Vindictus Inn [Dead], VindictusDB [Dead], Vindictus Manual [Dead], vindictus.kr [Korean, closing soon], or HeroesDB.net [Outdated, Abandoned]), then you have used a site that RELIES on this data. Without it, making a helpful Fan Site is quite literally impossible. If they insist on banning helpful developers, then they can have their wish, there will be no Fan Sites.
Let's go back for a moment to the fact that BlackCipher was detecting copies of files, and treating them like client hacks. How is that happening, and why? This has to do with the capabilities that BlackCipher has.
The entire time that you are ingame, BlackCipher is monitoring your RAM. All of it. It is constantly scanning it looking for *anything* that it doesn't like, and reporting this scan info to Nexon NA. When it does find something it doesn't like, you get kicked for so and so reasons. These scans are the probable cause of its gigantic CPU usage.
As all powerful as you'd think the scan is, it is actually pretty dumb. It can't tell where these files/programs in RAM are coming from. So when we are reading the file that has all the item names/etc, it doesn't know that it is a copy, and thinks we are editing the running game, and kicks us for hacking.
You might be thinking, "But why don't you just close the files before you open the game then?". Sanitee confirmed that she had, that absolutely nothing suspicious was running, and that it still banned her for some detection anyway. Remember the mention above about random false detections almost everyone has had, likely even you? You all should have closed those botting programs before running the game /s.
A last note on the spying: BlackCipher seems to have capabilities of identifying individual running files, apparently including your open web pages and browsing history. And all of this info is being reported back to Nexon, tied to your account. Isn't spying great when it's done without your consent? But at least it is stopping bots, right? Right?