Final Fantasy XIV, the ongoing critically acclaimed MMORPG, is truly a playground for players to express themselves. Sure, it has an excellent story, brilliant characters, and some of the most challenging MMO content out there, but the community well only goes deeper.
Final Fantasy XIV’s Club Scene Is All The Rage
Recently, I’ve been taking a deep dive into some of the more player-created experiences around the world of Eorzea, and thanks to a few friends, I uncovered the nightlife scene. Nightclubs are all the rage in the world of Final Fantasy XIV. Players transform their in-game homes into lavish and exotic bars, cafes, and dancefloors.
The first time I walked into one of these clubs, I was blown away by the creativity and prowess of these designs. No one club looks or feels the same, and all of them bring a vibe that has players actually role-playing nightlife.
After discovering this, I needed to know more, so I reached out and spoke to various venue owners, DJs, and attendees to understand more about a part of FFXIV you may have never heard about.
This entire bubbling community existed beneath the surface of a large-scale MMO, and if you didn’t stumble into it or go searching for it, you very well might have never known it existed. When speaking with the owner of the Dollhouse Night Club, Sayuri Hinata – or better known in some circles as Dollipop – I asked how she discovered this scene.
“I first found out of the FFXIV RP community a little over a year and a half ago,” she said. “It started in the basement of a Free Company with just our FC mates and friends. At that time, DJs were not big on the scene so we used Bards in game to create music. We would throw cute little events for holidays and themed parties that started to draw in others who would hear about it. At that point there was a few established clubs running, so I decided to take the plunge and get a bigger house, and open an actual nightclub.”
After talking with a few other folks, it became clear that the scene began to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic as clubs and bars shut down. FFXIV Dj Nick “Weasel” Frymet said, “I was hanging out with some friends in one of the major cities (Limsa Lominsa) in between doing content when someone did a shout advertising a roleplaying venue. Back then, in about late 2020, DJ’s were still on the up-and-coming and most venues hosted Bards, which is actually a class that you can play in content, but you can also play actual music using various in-game instruments with it.”
It was clear an evolution was beginning to take place from hosting in-game music with Bards playing in-game to full-blown DJ sets over on Twitch. When you enter a club in FFXIV, most venues will advertise a DJ set on a streaming platform. Players will pull up the stream and play it in the background as they dance around the club.
So how do DJs get booked? What sort of promotion needs to go into getting their name out there? It seems there are a few different courses of action for the community.
DJ “Weasel” broke it down for me. “Behind the scenes, there is a handful of “venue owner” Discord servers where venue owners can connect up with people looking to perform,” he said. “In many cases, venue owners will either reach out to the DJ themselves, for those small enough, or to a “booking manager”, which is basically just someone there to help organize the DJ’s schedule. It’s a little less professional than a real life manager might be, but the concepts are definitely in place for it.”
These community Discord servers are some of the lifeblood for DJs looking to book gigs. Like in real life, promotion is a huge aspect of all of this, and it’s something that is always improving to provide club owners with proper entertainment to put on a show for all of the attendees.
Dj Weasel also talked about “Resident DJs,” which are exactly what the real-life counterpart is. These are set times and locations someone can expect to perform, and fans can show up in-game to support every week.
Over time, exploring different venues, I found sets filled with EDM, Pop-Punk, and everything in-between. Some DJs have a preferred style, while others can adapt to additional “theme nights’ the club may be hosting.
Of course, the more elaborate the club, the more complicated the planning for big events can be. “Bigger events take a bit more planning. A lot of the times a few of us will have big collab parties, and work with the other clubs to host massive festival type parties.” Dollipop went on to say “But Dollhouse and myself are very extra lol..(as you see on website). From flyers to promo videos, to full menu, I wanted the experience to be as real as walking into a real life club.”
These types of events require a lot of planning and making sure all of the staff and entertainment are on the same page. This requires varying amounts of work depending on the event. Many clubs are open weekly and the planning is more or less the same week-to-week, while bigger, theme nights tend to require a lot more work.
These events can range all over, Dollipop mentioned “Weekly we host themed parties. It has been some wild things like Barbie Girl, to Suicide Squad, to last night’s Candyland. We encourage people to dress up and come in costume and our in-house photographer captures it each week for us, and posts in our community server.”
Themed club nights are a great way to find a glamour that you like and express yourself in a variety of ways. The sheer amount of clothing in Final Fantasy XIV really allows for some excellent outfits, no matter the theme of the night.
So you have the event planned, the entertainment booked; how do club owners get the word out about their event? Again, promotion is vital. Whether you’re a DJ or club owner, what good is a party if no one shows up?
There are a few avenues for getting the word out. When discussing this with Monochrome Maiden owner Geo, they pointed out, “Promotion mostly comes down to making sure guests know what’s happening and when it is, as well as passing the information along the wide string of event hosting/affiliate venue discords.”
While there aren’t many in-game tools for promotion, the community has figured out how to use outside resources to get the job done. While using Discord and social media is one way, there are still a few tools in FFXIV to leverage. One that is beneficial to club owners and party-goers is, yes, you guessed it, the shout command!
Running around highly populated cities like Limsa Lominsa, Ul’dah, and Gridania, just shouting out the event’s location and time can grab quite a few bystanders.
One other avenue players use is the built-in Party Finder. While this is primarily used for groups looking to fill a spot or two for higher-level content, this community has taken the word “Party” quite literally. If you look at the “Other” tab in Party Finder, you can find all sorts of different events going on.
In fact, that’s how Geo discovered the club scene in the first place. “The club/venue scene has lots of different avenues for advertisement, most likely it was something along the lines of a party finder ad that pushed me to that direction,” they said.
Some club owners will even make a website, much like the Dollhouse, which shows what players can expect and is an easy way to share information about events, locations, and times.
So now it’s the night of the event; players are popping bottles of champagne and dancing the night away. Everything seems to operate just like a nightclub in real life would. Patrons are purchasing drinks and food at the bar using the in-game trade function, DJs are performing, and the crowd is going wild.
I began to wonder what happens if someone isn’t following the rules, which are posted in general chat for many clubs or on the affiliated website and Discord page.
FFXIV lacks in-game tools to remove someone who has entered an open home, so many owners are forced to ask them to leave or ignore them politely. Some clubs may have security or “virtual bouncers,” but the game doesn’t have the toolset for them to be able to block someone from the game.
Dollipop recounts one negative experience. “Very few cases where people lash out or get toxic that I have personally dealt with. The few cases we did, my security would go over and ask them to leave or at least stop. If that didn’t work, I myself would go talk to them and usually that would stop whatever was happening. I have only had one case where someone got toxic with me and started to get vulgar and mean. It just became a ignore them situation.”
Since in-game reports systems can fail players at times, the community has another way of trying to deal with any bad apples. Some clubs have to band together as Dj Weseal talks about “The venue community tends to be close-knit, so when something like this happens, communication goes out to everyone that they’ve been added to a “blacklist”, including details of what their infraction is and their character name so that people can be warned to look out for them, in case they do the same things at another person’s venue.”
One of the bigger problems though is actually caused by something tiny: Minions. These little companions in FFXIV take up the same number of spots as a player character when instanced in player housing. Meaning if venue goers have a minion out, that’s one less player that can get into the club. Most security at a venue is tasked with making sure players dismiss their minions while inside at all times.
These situations aside, it seems like everyone attending one of these events wants to be there and be respectful of the rules set forth. Geo said, “The VAST amount of players who go out of their way to search and then interact with the community are understanding, cooperative, and are just there to try and have a good time.”
The Final Fantasy XIV nightlife scene is snowballing and evolving to overcome some of the minor growing pains. If this is your first experience learning about the nightlife of Eorzea, I recommend checking it out. It certainly will be something you won’t ever forget.