Warning: This may come off as a wall of text. The message is primarily aimed at prospective role-players for Final Fantasy XIV. If the roleplaying community is something you are interested in, please read on and take this all in as seriously as possible. This is the first of two public updates.
When it comes to Final Fantasy Online, the roleplaying community has often been small and practically invisible. We were never united in Vana’diel, tossed around from server to server with little idea of each other’s existences. By the time we all discovered each other, it was too late to have everyone jump servers to be more unified. In addition, the majority of the regular player base remained constantly oblivious to our existence. The “roleplaying” they thought they saw consisted of non-Rpers emoting silly stuff by the auction house. As such, our existence and true nature remained under the radar for most of these years. That mistake will most certainly be rectified this time around, though not easily.
If SE actually designates an official RP server (something they did not do for FFXI), we’ll be good to go right away. If they do not, it will take collaboration on our part to designate a RP server for ourselves. Even if they do happen to give us an official server, there are still issues that would need to be addressed to ensure a strong RP community overall. To do this, I intend to launch a site and forums to allow greater communication between future Rpers. This site, while not extravagant, will be used to discuss RP standards and styles, form guilds based on individual needs, begin the character creation process (storylines, bios, etc), and most importantly to select a RP server by popular vote upon receiving a server list if necessary. It will also be used to advertise all future active RP guilds, giving future RP members a central place to shop around for the styles and rules that fit them.
It would be naïve to think that all roleplayers can unite under a single guild. This is why the website/forums will -not- be a guild website. It will be a coalition of guilds. All former and current Rpers of Vana’diel, along with potential new Rpers, are welcome to take part in the discussions there. Non-Rpers are welcome to speak up there as well if they have useful contributions related to us. It would also be naïve to think that there will never be any kind of political OOC (out of character) rivalries between guilds later down the line. Let’s be realistic. This isn’t going to be a utopia or anything and everyone should know that right away. RPers have always been a rare breed in comparison to endgamers or just plain social guilds. Six months down the line, there’s no telling which RP guilds may start fizzling out, making their leaders possibly get desperate and do something they later regret. I estimate there to be approximately 8-9 main RP guilds from the onset, each different from the other. The best way to avoid these kind of clashes is to foster close relationships between each guild from the beginning. Cross-guild events (such as tavern nights, etc) along with server-wide RP hosted events would help bring the community closer together and prevent the potential disaster of competing for membership. Universal rules and standards will likely have to be set for guild interactions in order to avoid one RP guild stomping out another’s rules. All of this will be discussed and implemented via the upcoming coalition site.
Now for the status update. I have spent the last couple months or so communicating with leaders and representatives of various FFXI RP linkshells. The general consensus is that the -vast- majority of roleplayers are transferring to Hydaelyn/Eorzea. This is good in the sense that we’re looking at a large RP population from the start. It’s also bad because it means that Vana’diel’s RP population is practically destined to go extinct. In fact, Vana’diel is already on that thin rope. According to the information I’ve gathered, most RP communities have already split apart or fizzled out. Many of these people have scattered about to who knows where. This is going to make it difficult, though not impossible, to get ourselves organized.
RP communities throwing their much needed general support toward this united community include Sylph, Leviathan, Asura, Phoenix, and Kujata. I’ve only made minimal contact with the Lakshmi RPing community thus far but the reception of RP coalition is overall positive. I have so far been unable to reach CaitSith or Garuda. As such, I assume their communities have either ceased being or consist of only a small handful of slightly isolated members. This does not mean that they will not support this endeavor however. It simply means I have been unable to contact their leaders. In addition, the Siren RP community has already scattered and is probably going to be difficult to reorganize. I apologize in advance if I missed other RP groups.
So what can you do if you’re a prospective roleplayer? First and foremost, you should remain patient. I do not wish to launch a site/forums too soon for fear of people losing interest within a couple months and slowly drifting away, thus thinning our numbers before we even start the game. At the same time, I don’t desire to hold off until the last minute and blow our chances of getting fully organized. Hence, I intend to hold off until right before open beta. I may decide to launch the coalition -during- closed beta if it seems like a good idea and the premier RP groups are open to it. And by the looks of that, it isn’t too far off now. So expect us to go live within another month, two at the latest. By then, we’ll also have sufficient information to begin planning our characters and storylines out.
The second thing you can do is mobilize all interested RPers once we do start organizing ourselves. If you’re a former/current leader of a RP group in FFXI, you can do this by sending out mass emails to the users on your forums. For instance, I created a RP tribute video for Sylph and sent it out to over 200 of our 320+ past Rpers to hopefully get many in the mood for Rping in the new world. While I realize getting all 200 of those individuals is impossible, a good chunk is still quite realistic. If you aren’t a leader, you can help by getting together all of your RP buddies and preparing for the journey ahead. You can also sign up on the forums when we do actually go live. After all, that is where we will be selecting our server if necessary.
Finally, you can start brainstorming your character. I realize this may be difficult due to lack of lore and info. However, everyone can at least work on core traits and personality for their characters and tweak as needed. I think all of us want to see a healthy, vibrant, and high quality RP community. The more details you put into your character, the better. I think it's safe to say that many RPers are raising the bar a bit for expectations this time around.
Let me just wrap this up by saying that the roleplaying community is getting organized this time around. Most discussions regarding server selection, RP styles and standards, and RP politics will take place on the future RP coalition forums. Please look forward to our future plans and I shall see all you future roleplayers in Eorzea! Another final update and the RP coalition launch should be ready in the near future!
Zarik and the RP community*
*The above message has been approved by the aforementioned supporting RP communities.