One of Final Fantasy 14’s player-run nightclubs has bought billboards in Texas and California to advertise an upcoming event.
A Final Fantasy 14 nightclub called Rain has bought several very real billboards in the United States to advertise an upcoming event they are hosting. While the in-game clubs themselves aren’t uncommon, several billboards in two states are a new level of advertising they don’t normally go to.
The billboards, one of which has been placed on Twitter, were purchased by the team running the events on the Balmung server, part of the American Crystal data center. Two are currently live in Austin and Houston, Texas, and more in California are likely to go live today, according to Rain’s owner who spoke on the club’s Discord server earlier today.
For the uninitiated, Final Fantasy 14’s role-playing and in-game event scene is incredibly popular, with dozens of clubs spinning every night on the various servers around the world. Employees – dancers, bartenders, professional role players – are paid with in-game currency, gil, to give the impression of a real place and make it feel alive. DJs stream music on Twitch.tv alongside game footage of people in the club in-game.
They are usually hosted from group-owned or individual-owned housing in-game, giving them control over who is and isn’t in the club, meaning they can take out troublemakers. On servers like Balmung, FF14’s RP hub, hundreds of people can come to one of these events – usually just for fun.
Rain is relatively new, but a look at their website (warning, adult content) and disagreement reveals that they have all the services you would expect. The event they are promoting with the billboards will have big giveaways, several DJs and no doubt an endless amount of gilding.
The legality of all this is a gray area, at least as far as publishers Square Enix are concerned. As long as no real currency is being exchanged, adult activities are kept private (e.g. erotic role play), they usually turn a blind eye. Of course, the bigger an event gets, the more careful they need to be about how they advertise, and blatantly using tools that break the Terms of Service — like ones that edit models or costumes, as advertised on Rain’s website — can spark some anger. They may also have something to say about using images from their game on a billboard.
It’s unlikely that your average Texas or California commuter will have any idea what this is or why it’s here. The press among FF14 players will be worth it though, and club owner Revious explained to me via direct message that the cost of the billboards really wasn’t that much – and was a great opportunity to “think outside the box”.
“I’d say I’m giving away more stuff to the community of the [in-game store] in two weeks than this whole billboard thing has cost us, and we’re still doing all those giveaways at the same time,” he explains. “We happen to have a lot of great people at Rain where we can do these things and giveaways for the community.”
While the movement of gil in the economy can be quite expensive, it is only gil, and FF14 is a game where it is relatively easy to make money. It’s also not possible to buy gil for real money in an official way, and clubs like Rain only charge for additional services, usually in the form of RP. In other words, people who aren’t rich in the game or in real life can get something out of places like Rain quite easily. That’s before, as Revious mentions, all the giveaways and the like.
“I think it’s a great feeling to give someone the new Shiba Inu mount in a competition or giveaway and they’re so overjoyed with it because they could never have bought it themselves because the money is tight for them,” says variable. “I could make their day so much better and help them.”
He also points out that the timing of this particular event is also pretty good. Today, patch 6.18 for the game has been launched, allowing players to move their characters between data centers instead of just servers in their local region. That means a lot more people have access to Balmung, and thus the Rain nightclub – people who are more likely to see an ad for it on a billboard than on their home server.
As stated on the billboard, the Summer Bash will take place this Saturday at 8pm CST (11am Sunday, Sydney time). You’ll need a character in a US data center, ideally on Crystal’s Balmung itself, of at least level 5 (which doesn’t take long to get to) to get to The Mist. I hope everyone who attends has a great time.
Written by GLHF†
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