Update, July 6: FF14 Nightclub Rain, removed its billboards advertising an upcoming event following attacks from a number of trolls, in a response the owner called “50/50 love and hate”.
In-game staff FF14 the disco paid for the billboards to be set up in both Austin and Houston, TX to advertise its upcoming beach party event on the Balmung server. Other billboards had apparently been ordered for California, but these never saw the light of day. The Texas billboards have now been removed, after being in place for less than two days.
On Twitter, people were speculating that the developer and publisher of Final Fantasy 14, Square Enix, had been implicated due to the use of its characters’ billboards. Others wondered if club staff would be banned from the game because the club’s website shows mods that are prohibited by the game’s terms of service.
Apparently that was not the case. Speaking to GLHF, one of the club’s owners, Revarius, said Square Enix has not been in contact with them, neither about billboards, nor about mods and bans. It was decided by staff that the billboards would be removed based on community feedback.
Discussing the decision to have the billboards removed, they said: ‘We removed the billboards of our own free will’, they continued: ‘We kind of listened to the real FF14 community and we don’t want to stress anyone else in the community into staying awake and forcing Square Enix’s hand on the issue”
He went on to talk about the effect the trolls have had on the team and the event: “A lot of the trolls joining our discord aren’t part of any other FF14 discords, and literally join Twitter to troll. They explained that they were concerned about the harassment “I think the worst thing about all of this is that one of the DJs gets attacked, and that makes me really sad. She’s not part of the club. Rain night or billboard design idea.We only asked him to play songs for our party.
People have speculated on the cost of the billboards, with some estimates as high as $12,000. However, Reverious confirmed that the entire effort cost the team a total of $160. The billboards were rented at the daytime rate and were removed within 48 hours. As the California billboards were canceled before they appeared, no costs were incurred.
Original story, July 5: A FF14 player purchased billboards in Texas and California in order to advertise his in-game beach party.
The owners of the FF14 Rain nightclub, live on Balmung server, bought four billboards in the hope of attracting players from the Final Fantasy MMO at their beach party. As announced on Twitter, two billboards are already live in Austin and Houston, Texas. According to the club’s Discord server, two more will go live later today in California.
Club events, such as the beach party, are common in FF14. Much like real club events, they take place every night across the globe, with staff paid to host in the game’s currency, the gil. These events are streamed on platforms such as Twitch, to promote the clubs.
Apart from the Discord and Twitter pages, Rain also has his own website where he promotes upcoming events. Paying for entire billboards to advertise an event from an MMO is pretty spotty though.
Although it is not illegal to advertise FF14 real-world games – as long as no real money changes hands – there may be issues with publisher Square Enix. Some of the characters on the club’s website were created using mods, which violates the game’s terms of service. The ad also uses Square Enix’s own characters and properties, likely without consent.
One of the club’s owners, Revarious, thinks the billboards are worth more than money. Speaking to GLHF, they said, “I give more things to the community outside of the [in-game store] in two weeks that all this billboard stuff has cost us, and we also keep doing all these freebies at the same time,” they continued, “We happen to have a lot of really amazing people in Rain where we can do these things and gifts for the community.
The timing of the event is perfect for Rain, as patch 6.18 has just dropped, allowing players to move between data centers. This means that more players will be able to attend the event. You can discover the five biggest changes since patch 6.18 here.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GL HF.