Streamers, Sprouts and a Growing a Community

After last weeks post discussing my attempts at taking on a new Job in Final Fantasy XIV I feel now is the perfect time to discuss the most important thing for the game: its community.

It’s been a hard thing to ignore recently as there have been some major changes.

First, a renowned World of Warcraft streamer, Asmongold, joined the game, which saw old players return, old players make new characters, new players sign up, server congestion, and even Square-Enix “running out” of PC keys for the game. Producer Yoshi P took steps to help with the congestion, namely re-inserting a 30 minute AFK kick so people couldn’t park their character in that notable location: Limsa Lominsa, and leave themselves logged in whilst not actually playing the game, thus allowing more people to play.

This has also coincided with a few other events. First was the return of the Make It Rain campaign, where people can earn an extra 50% of MGP when playing mini-games at the games casino: The Manderville Golden Saucer, we also had a Free Login Campaign for those old players who hadn’t renewed their account in a while (this runs till the 23rd August and allows you 14 days of playtime from the day you log back into the game), and then the big one, the investigation into sexual misconduct at Activision-Blizzard, that has resulted in a lot of people (correctly in my opinion) choosing to boycott the companies titles and some have scratched their MMORPG itch by signing up for Final Fantasy XIV.

That’s a lot of stuff happening to one game, during a spell where traditionally regular players would expect the servers to be fairly quiet. We’ve now had all the post-Shadowbringers content patches that we’re going to get and Endwalker is out in only a few months. Those who mostly play for the story or who feel they’ve got everything they wanted out of currently available content will normally leave the game for a few months and then there’ll be a big old spike in the player base in the weeks leading up to Endwalkers release.

It hasn’t happened like that though. The spike mentioned has seen a whole slew of “Sprouts” (the communities term for new players owing to them having a little sprout next to their name), some people will obviously see this as bad news, concerned that the perceived “toxic community” of World of Warcraft is invading their more “wholesome” FFXIV community, and whilst there have been a few problems (mostly centered on the behavior of people “stream sniping” popular streamers who have jumped on the bandwagon) there doesn’t appear to be much if any, major fall out.

From my side, it coincided neatly with me taking on the new job I mentioned last week.

Now, I’ve still not done any party based content, mostly sticking to Levequests, Command Squadron runs and my Hunting Log (which as I type this has gotten me to level 46 without too much frustration), but what has been notable is just how well-populated the A Realm Reborn locations have been.

Square-Enix has always tried to spread content around a little bit so you’ll often find yourself visiting locations that other games wouldn’t ask higher-level players to visit, but it was very much in the element of “passing through” with traffic going to specific points and then leaving again.

But due to the new player base, there’s been an influx of activity in these zones, activity that’s led to things like FATES being well populated or players monitoring the map to see if others are partaking in this particular type of content and then rushing in to help clear it. It’s the only group content I’ve done as my Warrior and it has put me a little at ease about taking on the other Tank jobs and maybe learning the role properly. Players are taking the time to emote gratitude to each other out in the field, chat channels are even occasionally seeing some activity and, at least on my server (Moogle), there’s a friendliness there that the community likes to portray it’s always had but in reality, most people have shied away from public channels and stuck to their linkshells, Free Company or even Discords to communicate.

It’s made a game that I’ve been very much in love with for some time now even more pleasant and I hope we continue to see a steady influx of newer players.


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