A “human” wall of players in Final Fantasy XIV is blocking players off from visiting the controversial server Balmung.
Following the long-awaited release of patch 6.18–which enables data center travel and allows players to visit other worlds–a growing number of players have been visiting other servers to check out their unique player culture. As reported by GamesRadar, players wishing to visit Balmung are out of luck, for as soon as you arrive you will find a large amount of Balmung players blocking the way to the wider world. Balmung is well-known in the FFXIV community for erotic role-playing. This new travel feature made Balmung something of a tourist destination, but clearly community members are not interested in hosting.
The server has recently been the source of community controversy, as some players in the Balmung servers made real life billboards advertising an in-game party. These billboards featured copyrighted material, as well as obvious signs that terms of service breaking modding tools were used for the characters on display. Once community members pointed this out, the billboards were taken down. The player-planned, in-game event they were advertising, however, is still on the way.
This is a fascinating example of something that has been observed many times in both popular and academic settings: virtual communities, like those in MMOs, take on characteristics of real world groups and social dynamics. Game mechanics, especially in a setting as vast and complex as a game with millions of players, can also have unintended consequences or means of expression. Building a wall of players to keep visitors out of a server with a particular and unique culture is a strange and vivid example of those dynamics.
In other Final Fantasy XIV news, the game’s August patch will add Sanctuary Islands, letting players farm their own space and create handicrafts. More than a thousand fans participated in massive musical tribute to the game, singing “Close in the Distance.”
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.