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Parsing is a term in Final Fantasy XIV that refers to the tracking of DPS via third party tools. It’s generally used to track performance in dungeons, raids, and trials – but Square officially discourages their use. So what’s the deal?
By using a plug-in like ACT (Advanced Combat Tracker), players can monitor DPS output from both themselves and party members.
This involves modifying your game client, something Square have expressly forbidden multiple times in the past.
Usage of third party programs within FFXIV – even ones that just modify your character’s appearance – can result in a range of punishments, including time-outs to a mysterious jail for naughty players.
They can even result in temporary or permanent bans depending on the player’s actions.
Damage meters are usually freely available in other MMOs via add-ons.
Square have stated before that they have no intention in bringing an official one to XIV, and will punish players who add their own.
What’s The Point In Parsing?
Well, generally it’s for performance’s sake.
FFXIV does not have an official damage meter. And according to the developers, it never will.
But reading through combat logs is a useful way to get into the nitty-gritty of your performance in a fight.
You can check up on whether you’re hitting your rotation correctly, or find out where a raid encounter went wrong.
By adapting and learning from your combat logs, you can learn from previous mistakes, and potentially boost your chances of clearing a challenging encounter.
Why Does Square Discourage Parsing?
To be clear – it’s not just parsing that Square forbids in the terms of service.
It’s generally any third party modification to the client.
It’s possible to mod your character’s appearance, download external shaders to make the game look better, and add a variety of UI elements to FFXI as well.
But parsing is a bit of a strange one.
It’s something the raiding community uses commonly, but can be notoriously toxic, too.
Some players can use it to deride or bully inexperienced players, posting the combat logs in the chat to mock underperformers.
XIV is famous for its welcoming community that nurtures newcomers from Sprouts to full-fledged players (let’s just ignore the Asmongold drama for now).
Parsing would put a lot of these novices off, getting shouted at in early dungeons for not knowing their rotation back to front yet.
Should I Parse?
Parsing requires third party add-ons.
Third party add-ons are forbidden in FFXIV’s terms of service, and as previously mentioned, you might well end up banned for using them.
As a result, I don’t really feel comfortable suggesting that anyone make use of them in this article.
But if you’re dead set on using one just be aware of the risks.
Are Square actively hunting for parsers? Probably not.
But if you’re using one to be toxic to another player and they report you, your behavior will be taken into account.
Will I Get In Trouble For Parsing?
If another player reports you for using one, you could be sent to jail for an indeterminate amount of time.
Jail sentences are essentially at GM (in-game moderator) discretion, so it can vary depending on the severity of the offense.
Although this isn’t gospel, many players believe that parsing is safe as long as you’re not using the information to bully other players or publically posting the logs.
So if you were to get caught using one, a GM would take that into consideration before deciding on your punishment.
Parsers are really common in the endgame/raiding part of XIV’s community, and yet you don’t often hear about bans getting handed out left right and center for them.
It could be that the game’s moderation teams just don’t care that much about rooting them out until they lead to bad experiences like toxicity between players.
Chances are if you keep it to yourself, you won’t get punished for using a parser.
But it’s still against the terms of service, so keep that in mind!