A couple weekends ago, I went clubbing…in Final Fantasy XIV. The Allure Lounge, a free company house that holds in-game parties and performances, was open two nights for their Vegas-themed weekend event. Some players were hosts who served as guides and concierge, others roamed around as security, and a few were ‘bartending’ or dealing at game tables–all of whom were in proper uniformed glamour. Patrons lined up outside to get in, hit the dancefloor, and put those paid-for dance emotes to good use while tuned into a live DJ in Allure’s Discord channel.
This kind of role play is probably familiar for those in tune with the more social aspects of MMOs, but this is the first time in my 600+ hours I’d engaged with FFXIV in this way. As I step into a new role with hit video game website Fanbyte dot com where I should start seeing FFXIV with a broader perspective, I’m more inclined to try new things. And I’ve been eyeing the Allure Lounge and the in-game club scene since following streamer SlyAKAgreyfox, so it was a good time to get out of my comfort zone a bit. As expected, it was a wonderful representation of how deep the FFXIV community goes.
An hour before doors opened, I bought a new outfit to dress for the occasion and came through swagged out in a bright green floral button up and fashionable shorts–which is quite fitting for my Chie Satoneko headcanon. I showed up alone, unsure of what to expect, but knowing that the broader FFXIV has always been helpful and respectful in my experience. With auto-walk enabled and my minion dismissed (club rules), I let the staff at the front desk know it was my first time and asked what exactly was going on–gil-gambling, a jackpot that hit over nine million, a busy dancefloor, and a live performance scheduled at the end of the night.
In scoping out the scene, I could tell how intricately designed the free house company is, from the walls lined with artwork and liquor cabinets to the well-placed stanchions and couches off to the side of the dancefloor. They put in work to build a believable nightclub atmosphere, also ripe for sweet screenshots.
I had a few drinks myself to really go all-in on the vibes, and had Chie at the bar chugging mugs of whatever they drink in Eorzea using the Toast emote. I got my money’s worth from the dances you buy off the MogStation, getting down alongside fellow Warriors of Light and even chopping it up with some of them in chat. This was primetime for gposing and capturing moments that just don’t happen when you mainline the game. Everyone in their club-appropriate glamour can show their Warriors in a different light. Players from the various free companies lined up against the walls and backdrops for group photos together, and a bunch more were popping champagne and popping party poppers all around. It was poppin’! And it was all in good nature.
The house had The Primals songs playing in the background–the official FFXIV band and sound team can really tear a club up. But alongside many others, I hopped into the Discord channel that had a DJ from the Allure staff bumping anything from EDM to classic rock, further merging the feeling of being in-game and present IRL.
However, what really brought the experience to another level was an actual live performance by Allure Lounge’s own members. After the dancefloor shutdown, everyone shuffled to the main stage behind the main floor and busted out their glowsticks, anticipating the four-player dance crew to put on a show. The Discord DJ hit the music for the 10-ish-minute set and what followed was an inspired series of emotes, glamour swapping, job switching, and spellcasting to create a choreographed spectacle that definitely took a lot of practice.
A favorite moment was during the hook to Little Mix’s “Salute” where the four Machinist-equipped Miqo’te would follow the lyrics “Attention, salute!” with the perfect emotes aligned, and tossing their guns in the air like an armed drill team throughout the song. I never thought I’d be getting hyped from this song in 2021, yet here we are.
It’s always impressive when players fill the necessary roles to make something like a savage raid or extreme trial look easy, but to make something like this happen (and run smoothly) takes a different kind of commitment. Allure Lounge’s events are a microcosm of the FFXIV community that’s been always expressive through their characters and largely inviting to those taking part, and it shows the platform FFXIV’s team has built for player creativity.
FFXIV has long been a respite for many of its players, including me. And bringing a piece of a real-world experience to the game, even for just that moment, was pretty damn dope. So I thought; for some dumb reason, I kind of miss standing in line with my folks waiting to get into an overcrowded club to pay overpriced cover for overpriced drinks and a DJ who probably isn’t going to play enough Bay Area hip-hop. We’d probably beef with dudes trying to act hard in front of their homegirls, and to be honest, we’d likely do the same. But that feeling of being out there with my people is important to me.
FFXIV’s club scene isn’t going to replace that by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s something. During lockdown, I started seeking out DJs who stream, including a few good friends from back home, and I’d turn up with them and blow up the chat as if I was their hype man. So, if I could find a bit of that energy within FFXIV, say less.
I guess the overarching theme is that there’s more beyond grinding your Tomestones for the week, and there’s a whole other side to the game that is solely built from the community itself. Many FFXIV players know this well, but even if the social aspect isn’t really your thing, my colleague Mike Williams made a similar point in his piece “Now Is The Time To Clean Up That FFXIV Bucket List,” that FFXIV is such a vast and nebulous thing with more to engage with if you take a moment to seek it out.
I had been meaning to check out the Allure Lounge’s events for a while just to get a vibe check and see it for myself. Now that I did, you’ll likely find me there again sometime soon, down on the Primal data center and Ultros server at Ward 9, Lot 33 in the Lavender Beds housing in Gridania, because I know there’s still more to the experience, too.
I love my Warrior of Light. I think she’s really cool, and like many folks invested in this game, I have a pretty solid headcanon for my character. It’s nice to see her have fun in between Duty Roulettes and the grim realities of the Bozjan Southern Front. And if we’re going to be the Warriors of Light saving the realm, we may as well enjoy life before the next big world-threatening event burns Eorzea down.