Have you ever been curious about roleplaying in Final Fantasy XIV? This digest follows MogTalk: Episode 239, featuring roleplayers Crow, Booba, and Fandy as they join Frosty in discussing the ins and outs of the game’s roleplay scene.
A WoW veteran, Fandy is a Twitch streamer currently working through FFXIV’s main story.
FrostyTV: Fandy is a new player to FFXIV and is entering the world of roleplaying. What is your experience so far? How did you get into roleplaying? [3:06]
Fandy: Gremlo said “We’re hanging out at this place in the game. Do you want to come with?” I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but that’s how it started. [3:29]
Booba: We went to Sugar Rush and then a gambling place. It was a good time. [4:14]
FrostyTV: I do want to know your initial impressions. Were you like “What the fuck is happening?” [4:35]
Fandy: Kind of. There were a lot of cat girls, and it was very interesting. To be honest, it’s been wholesome. I wasn’t really expecting to see this different side of the game. [4:44]
FrostyTV: Booba, is this the regular initiation process for people that you’re trying to get into roleplaying? Do you tell them to go to a venue and watch people dance around? [4:59]
Booba: I would say it’s the preferred initiation process. Some people have had not-so-great introductions to the roleplay scene, and it turns them off from trying to roleplay or interacting with the community. I think that’s where a lot of the stigma comes from as well. [5:08]
Booba, leader of The Rich Kids FC on Midgardsormr, has been playing FFXIV since 2.0 and has been a member of the game’s roleplaying community for 3 years.
Booba: Once again, the preferred introduction to the RP scene is going out to clubs, which became prevalent because of COVID-19. People couldn’t go out to actual clubs or go to bars with their friends, so they started going to the bars in FFXIV. Many players realized this is actually fun, and more people started building their own venues as well. Before this, it was a significantly smaller scene. [6:49]
Crow: There was such a long delay between story updates that people thought they might as well make their own stories, and I think this also contributed to how quickly the scene blew up. [7:35]
FrostyTV: Is the scene pretty new overall? [7:58]
Crow: The size of it is pretty new. [8:05]
Booba: Yeah, it’s grown very quickly over the last year or so, but it was always there. [8:08]
Crow is also a veteran FFXIV roleplayer and Twitch streamer. Currently, Crow is the lead organizer of El Fae Club, a speakeasy-themed roleplaying venue on Exodus.
FrostyTV: When I think of roleplaying, I imagine people walking around in the open world while voicing out the thoughts of their characters. Is this the same type of situation in these venues? [8:17]
Crow: It actually depends. We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary on Exodus this Halloween weekend. I’ve seen the whole gamut of people who make their characters as self-inserts, people who recreate themselves in their character, or people like my crew. We have a Discord server where we build our own lore and backstory. It really depends on the person. There’s a little bit of something for everybody. [8:38]
FrostyTV: Fandy, what type of person are you? [9:10]
Fandy: I’m new to roleplaying and never did it before this. The only thing I knew about roleplaying was Goldshire, and we stayed away from there. As far as roleplaying goes, I like to act like myself. I don’t think I would create an entire other character yet. If it’s something I do more of, I might delve a little deeper. [9:15]
FrostyTV: WoW is a little bit different with roleplaying in general because you have RP servers dedicated to roleplaying environments. If you’re on those servers, you should be roleplaying. FFXIV doesn’t have that at all. [9:44]
Booba: Balmung and Mateus are the two most dedicated. [10:06]
FrostyTV: Well, not officially. When you’re starting the game, you don’t know which server you should go to for roleplaying unless you research before you start playing. People aren’t expected to roleplay on that server, but word of mouth tells them to go there for it. [10:10]
FrostyTV: Is there a conflict between roleplayers and raiders? [11:00]
Crow: Not that I have seen on the surface. We’re getting a group together to do Eden Savage, and the biggest conflict is with the hours our venue is open on the weekend. I have to make sure that everybody can come in and raid around that because not everybody that raids is in the roleplay community. As far as conflicts of personality, unless somebody’s being a jackass and trying to push someone to be in character, that doesn’t really happen. [11:12]
FrostyTV: What is the schedule for your venue like? [12:01]
Crow: We’re open Friday through Saturday nights. Others may be open whenever they feel like it. Some take place in houses and others in apartments. As far as scheduling goes, each dedicated roleplay space sets its own. [12:06]
FrostyTV: It sounds like little businesses in the game. [12:36]
Crow: It really is. I create a schedule every week. Mine is run a little bit differently than most. I try to run it like a co-op because it’s not a me effort, it’s a group effort. I cannot do this by myself. When creating the schedule, I determine if we have everything we need on our menu and find all the people needed to cover different stations. It’s really like running a small business. [12:39]
Fandy: Do they make Gil like a real business? [13:18]
Crow: Yes. My biggest complaint is that I currently cannot pay what some of the big roleplay venues pay. Everybody gets an hourly wage. If they do one-on-one, like story building, they get to keep a pretty hefty percentage of the fees that we charge for individual roleplaying. Someone in the chat pointed out that not everybody will charge, and that’s true. [13:30]
FrostyTV: There’s some legitimacy to adding payment, right? By charging Gil, they’re saying “This is actually something cool and worthwhile.” [14:20]
Crow: The reason I do it is because I can’t pay everybody real money to give up their time on the weekends to do this. The very least I can do is pay them in game and make sure they can do something fun with it, like buy a glamor or a mount they’ve been eyeing on the Market Board. It’s not about making money. It’s about compensating people for their time. [14:27]
Crow and Booba noted that these venues have regulars, reminiscent of real bars. These players continue to come back because they enjoy the storytelling of the venue’s roleplayers and often assist groups new to the scene with buying housing.
Auctions are common events in the roleplay community. Players can bid on time spent with roleplayers to build their storylines, hang out in game, or run roulettes.
FrostyTV: How often do you have these auctions where people can buy the time of others for Gil? [16:53]
Crow: For us, it happens a couple of times a year. People don’t have that kind of money all of the time. They tend to bring in a decent chunk of revenue. [17:01]
FrostyTV: There’s nothing shady in this situation where people are buying their time, right? [17:49]
Crow: My policy with my crew is that they are not required to do anything they’re not comfortable with. Their comfort and safety comes long before money in the bank. Their safety is my number one priority. We are an 18+ roleplay venue, but that’s because we deal with a variety of mature themes. My characters have trauma going on, and I don’t want to have some unsuspecting high schoolers wandering in and hearing my character talk about killing someone. [19:03]
Fandy: I took body shots with Booba. [19:24]
Booba: Yeah, it’s like going to a real-life club. [19:30]
FrostyTV: How do you make that happen in the game? [19:39]
Booba: When you’re in the game, if you type /em then any sentence, it’ll post as if you’ve done an emote. You can type custom emotes. [19:48]
FrostyTV: Most of this seems like it revolves around housing. Is that true, or is there a lot of stuff outside of venues? [21:12]
Booba: It’s mostly restricted to venues, except for on Balmung and Mateus. Those servers have more open world RP scenarios. Venues aren’t just bars. There’s bakeries and cafés. Someone once built a McDonald’s in their basement. It was like a drive-through, and you had to yell your order as you went through. [21:20]
FrostyTV: Fandy, have you done any house hunting? [23:01]
Fandy: I’ve only seen a few because I just got started, but I did get a little apartment. I just decorated it, and I was proud. I binged on how to float decorations for hours. I’ve only seen a handful of other houses, but it’s crazy how creative people can be in the game and make new items out of others. [23:09]
FrostyTV: We talked a little bit about gambling. What is gambling like in this game? Do you just go into a hidden room and use /random? [28:57]
Crow: Yeah, we use /random and party chat to roll blackjack numbers. I believe this was done in WoW, but we also death roll, which is where you roll down until someone hits 1. I do not have a head for numbers, so I leave the gambling to those in my crew that do. We offer different games, and people come in just wanting to play Triple Triad, too. [29:08]
While gambling at the venues, Fandy won money to fund decorating her apartment. In addition to gambling, some venues host fight nights, which feature two players creating emotes with the /em feature while rolling random numbers.
Like other aspects of FFXIV, there are a few players who troll the roleplaying community. Thankfully, the show’s guests say that game masters are readily available to help.
FrostyTV: What are some of the worst situations you’ve had to deal with when roleplaying? [38:49]
Crow: We’ve had a Lalafell come in and roleplay taking a dump on the floor. We have only had 3-4 instances in 10 months of being open where we’ve had to ask someone to leave. It doesn’t happen very often with us. [39:14]
Booba: The good experiences far outweigh the bad. [41:03]
Crow and Booba both roleplay on the Primal datacenter and invite players interested in learning more about roleplay to check out the scene. Open venues typically advertise themselves in Party Finder and sometimes link websites with additional information.
Booba: One of the things I enjoy most in the world is writing and creating characters. I love coming up with a creative backstory and the reasons why a person is the way they are today and how this affects their appearance, behavior, and relationships with others. That’s what I love doing. When I get an idea for a character in my head, I don’t want to use a Fantasia or change a character’s name that I love. I make a new character for that, which is why I have 40 characters in FFXIV. I’m at the cap and can’t make any more. I’m sad about that. [53:12]
FrostyTV: Crow and Booba, have you had anyone try to get into roleplaying but couldn’t get comfortable? [57:05]
Crow: Yeah, that’s pretty normal. My group brings the same backstory and setup every week without fail. We’re consistent. Other people don’t have to be, but trying to figure out how you best fit into a niche and work with a different lore and backstory is hard. It’s normal to be a little awkward. [57:21]
Booba: I’ve worked at RP venues before, and it can be really intimidating for someone who is new to the scene. I try to tailor my writing style to who I’m playing against. I meet them where they’re at and slowly increase the quality and level of my writing instead of making them feel inferior. That’s what a good roleplayer will do. [58:37]
FrostyTV: This sounds like so much work. You’re interviewing people and then moderating and trying to make sure everybody is up to par with the level of expectations those have coming to the establishment. [1:02:33]
Crow describes their experience roleplaying in FFXIV as a way to keep their writing skills sharp. As a published freelance writer, Crow uses these experiences to help them adapt to new writing styles and practice outside of paid work.
FrostyTV: This feels much more in depth than I thought. When we were talking about roleplaying, I imagined two people walking up to each other with the RP tag on and voicing out whatever their in-game character is going to do. It sounds like it’s way past that point now. [1:01:32]
Booba: I’ve had some crazy character developments that I didn’t think of myself. They came about because I was playing my character against another character. It’s different from writing a story alone, and that’s what makes roleplay fun. You control your character, but you can’t control what other characters do and their outside influences. That’s where the magic really happens. [1:01:47]
Booba: Hearing all of this, do you want to go clubbing? [1:19:25]
FrostyTV: Maybe. I want to go see all the different scenes and types of artfully-done glamours. If you go clubbing, what does that look like? Do you go from house to house to house? [1:19:31]
Booba: The best way to find these venues is through Party Finder. In the ‘other’ tab, people will post advertisements and describe their theme and the venue’s location. People will do pub crawls, where you go from venue to venue. [1:19:56]
FrostyTV: I’m overly impressed with the level of commitment this all takes. It’s not something you just throw together. When people think of MMOs, they think of raid, PVP, experiencing the story a little bit, and collecting gear. FFXIV takes it to the next level. There’s an entire interactive world of players who want to do all kinds of different things. [1:24:03]
Crow: Yes, this is an MMO, but it’s a Final Fantasy game too. SE has always been focused on building their worlds and creating great environments that players interact with. For the first time in seven years, I’m looking at doing end-game raiding. I never touched it because I never had a reason to. There are so many other things in this gigantic world that they have built for us to play and interact with. Remembering that this is a JRPG that’s also an MMO really does reinforce that even if you aren’t in the RP scene, you’re still part of a larger story. [1:25:04]
Click here to enjoy the entire conversation.
MogTalk is a weekly podcast airing every Saturday at 5PM ET on twitch.tv/Frosty_TV. The show is entirely focused on bringing the community together to discuss topics of interest regarding FFXIV, including patch notes, game mechanics, and raid insights. Mogtalk Digests are now available thanks to Patreon supporters! If you are interested in supporting all of the content MogTalk has to offer, please visit our Patreon page.