Update: A player-run nightclub in Final Fantasy 14 has taken down billboards in Texas advertising an upcoming in-game event following backlash from the wider community.
One of Rain's moderators explains on Discord that the decision was taken out of "respect", and that the team's intention "was not [to] worry other communities but to spread an RP event to further audiences that may be interested in joining, that would otherwise ignore normal spammed ads that is the normal".
Speaking to News.com.au, the team further clarify that no one has been banned, nor have they heard from Square Enix at the time of writing.
Images of the billboards swiftly went viral on social media earlier this week, sparking concerns over apparent terms of service breaches. Not only is Final Fantasy 14's logo included, but one of the characters is wearing what appears to be a datamined outfit from an upcoming event, and has a hairstyle that you can only achieve through modding. Additionally, players found that Rain offers erotic roleplay, which, while not uncommon in Final Fantasy 14, isn't clearly advertised on the billboard.
While Square Enix typically allows ERP as long as it's private and consenting, producer Naoki Yoshida has warned players about modding their characters or data mining information. While some sections of the community were not a fan of the billboard stunt, others worried it could lead to the developer clamping down on modding further. As things stand, players typically use mods to change their character's appearance – be it wearing a particular hairstyle or custom clothing.
Original story: Final Fantasy 14 players are going to great lengths to promote their in-game parties with some going as far as utilizing real-life billboards.
As spotted on Twitter, and covered by news.com.au, a number of billboards across the US are currently advertising an in-game party for fellow Final Fantasy 14 players which is due to take place on July 9. The billboards are apparently located in Austin and Houston in Texas, and with more likely to go live today in other locations such as California. All of the advertisements were organized and paid for by the owners of the virtual nightclub Rain.
A photo of one of these billboards was shared by Twitter user @AbyssalFel who also said: "On July 9th, 9PM EST, Rain Nightclub will be having a Beach Party!! It's our BIGGEST night yet, and my character Akiva Balthazar will be the Hype Host! Re-Tweet this and spread the word, please!! We even have a LIVE BILLBOARD!!" The billboards feature the phrase: "Rain nightclub presents summer bash" along with the date of the event and Discord server details for those who want to attend.
According to a reply to @AbyssalFel’s tweet, the billboards didn’t actually cost that much to rent out, meaning it was totally worth it for the exposure this particular party and Final Fantasy 14 nightclub will now be getting. Although it’s likely that only Final Fantasy 14 players will get the gist of the advertisement.
If you didn’t know, Final Fantasy 14’s nightclubs are the real deal. Often run by select players or groups of players, the clubs usually have other players working in them as bartenders, dancers, and DJs in exchange for in-game currency. So although they do only take place within the world of Final Fantasy 14, a lot of work goes into running them, hence the importance of the billboards.
Elsewhere, Final Fantasy 14 players have formed a human blockade to prevent access to a infamous role-play server - yes, the same one the billboard house is based on.