How the Brazilian FFXIV Community Keeps the Game Alive in an Unsupported Country

Moogle's Cave and Baitzkrieg are two fan projects around Final Fantasy XIV where players are doing the work of building and sustaining a community in Brazil.

No one would disagree that Final Fantasy XIV is now a hit with an inspirational story of coming back from the ashes of its 1.0 release. In the last nine years with a revamped base game and four expansions, it has become arguably the best MMORPG to date, learning from its mistakes and honing in on its best aspects over time. FFXIV’s community has grown together with the game and has been fundamental in keeping the game alive.

Some of these communities thrive outside of the directly supported regions of North America, Japan, Europe, and just recently Oceania. And those on the outside have to go above and beyond to build and sustain their community.

For countries like Brazil, where there isn’t a proper data center for it and for whose language is not part of the game’s localization efforts, educating and helping the player base ends up being a responsibility the community itself takes on.

As a Brazilian whose journey in Eorzea began with a copy of A Realm Reborn played on my PlayStation 3, I saw how the game was inaccessible to most people in my country. Aside from those who had already been fans of the franchise, very few knew FFXIV even existed. There wasn’t — and still there isn’t — any marketing for FFXIV here. And when people found out about it, many felt discouraged by the fact the game does not have a Portuguese language option.

It was only on Facebook groups where I could connect with those who were part of a relatively small playerbase. Even so, it’s thanks to people who not only love the game but, above all, love seeing more people enjoy what it has to offer that FFXIV survived in my region.

Two projects stand out among the various we’ve seen throughout the years: Moogle’s Cave, created by Yu which covers everything related to FFXIV and the franchise, and Baitzkrieg, a Discord server created by Aki Homma for players looking to dive into FFXIV endgame content.

Yu runs Moogle’s Cave (left) and Aki co-founded Baitzkrieg (right).

Not only did I have the opportunity to see their ideas take form but I spoke with both of the creators of projects that have, over the last years, established themselves as beacons for Brazilians interested in FFXIV. During our time talking, I asked them about what creating content and developing spaces of interaction for Brazilian players meant to them, the types of challenges they’ve identified over the years, and what motivated their ideas.

Hearing Yu’s and Aki’s stories, one can then see the common ground of their projects, even though the two creators help the community from distinct angles. Amid their private lives, playing the game, and writing guides or moderating a server, Yu and Aki create bridges between potential players and FFXIV.

A Moogle Guiding Brazilians into Eorzea

Once you begin playing FFXIV and it goes from the initial quests and a system of daily roulettes to juggling multiple Jobs and learning gathering/crafting systems, it all gets quite complex. It doesn’t mean the game does a poor job introducing every detail, but dealing with all of it becomes quite challenging when language is a high barrier to entry. It’s a disheartening situation players can overcome thanks to works like Yu’s Moogle’s Cave project.

Creating content on the internet since 2013, Yu is energetic whenever she has the opportunity to talk about Final Fantasy. She runs Moogle’s Cave, a project that branches out into a site, Youtube and Twitch channels, and some social media accounts. Through all these channels, and alongside some friends, she not only translates FFXIV patch notes, events announcements, and FFXIV side stories — Yu also creates guides for most of the game’s content.

On the Moogle’s Cave Youtube channel, Yu uploads videos showing POVs and explanations of every dungeon in the game. She has done that for the normal difficulty raids and trials, as well as their Extreme versions too. Sure, there were many guides already on Youtube when she began creating her own videos. But trying to watch guides made in English by notable creators like Mizzteq or Mr. Happy, non-English speakers don’t get the assistance they need. According to Yu, “People end up with a video showing things they don’t understand with people saying things they also don’t understand!”

Yu going through it with Urianger and Thancred in Endwalker MSQ.

Taking it on as a personal goal, Yu facilitates the initial experience with FFXIV for many Brazilians. It’s common for most players trying an MMO for the first time, like FFXIV, to feel a mix of anxiety and fear when considering the steps necessary to take on the more challenging content, like Extreme difficulty of the trials, or taking the leading role of a Tank Healer since the responsibility is quite daunting.

Based on her own experience, Yu believes that new Brazilian players may avoid certain types of content for fear of not understanding what’s being said on the chat when they make mistakes. “It’s a personal satisfaction when someone comments on my videos saying they tried an Extreme [trial] because of my guide or when someone says they felt more confident to try running a dungeon as a Tank,” says Yu with regards to what motivates her in creating content. By having this type of content in Portuguese, new players can explore the game without fear.

As someone in love with the world of FFXIV, Yu believes everyone should have access to the story the game tells. This was one of the reasons she created a video series called Newbie of Light in which she records a whole playthrough of the game. She explains the dialogue so players can better understand the story behind all the quests since it’s challenging to fully understand or even read the text; it’s also there for people who don’t have access to the game itself. “People don’t have the money nor the time to play the game, but they truly want to know about it!” said Yu.

While watching gameplay sessions of FFXIV may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s extremely helpful for players who get lost or run into roadblocks in their own adventure and have nowhere else to find answers. People can use her playthroughs as guides, learning what to do to complete a quest or who Emet-Selch is and why he is the best. She told me of situations in which people would check her Newbie of Light videos to follow her steps to complete certain quests since they didn’t know what they were supposed to do.

It’s hard to imagine how people would learn about all of this without understanding English. But the language barrier affects Brazilian players with other aspects of the game. “I have created a command on my stream so people can find the guide teaching how to pay the subscription more easily”, Yu gives as an example. Because of things like that Moogle’s Cave became a place where Brazilians look to learn even the most basic details related to the game; from how to play a certain Job to what “hunt train” even means, and more.

Establishing an Endgame Community

While endgame content isn’t necessarily the path everyone takes after getting through the main story quests, there’s a group of players whose goal in the game is to run raids, reach the highest Item Level possible in a currency patch, and beat the most difficult fights in the game. Doing so requires not only dedication, but diving really deep into FFXIV from a gameplay and mechanics perspective. That’s why for Aki, “you can’t run raids if you don’t know English.”

This may be a harsh statement, but it’s not far from the truth considering discussions and guides on endgame content gravitate around English-based platforms, like the well-known Discord server The Balance. Although people from all places around the world enter the server to prepare themselves to run Savage or Ultimate raids, other players may not feel as comfortable interacting there due to lacking experience with the game or not being fluent in the language.

As a seasoned player who has always been present in groups and discussions, Aki saw that the Brazilian community needed an endgame-focused space. “Players were usually isolated from each other and since I’m a very communicative person, I thought I could connect them in some way,” says Aki regarding the idea behind his Baitzkrieg server. If finding Brazilians playing the game was hard, meeting people to start static raid groups was a whole ‘nother level of difficulty. The project’s initial version was basically him listing all the already formed Brazilian static raid groups that were playing up to the most current patch. Alongside a friend with whom he shared his plans, Aki saw The Balance as the groundwork for what he would turn into the Baitzkrieg server.

Nowadays, together with some moderators, Aki takes care of the server that – at the time of the writing of this piece – has more than a thousand users. He goes through the channels, and checks the messages while keeping up with his day job and personal life. “I do it voluntarily and I do it because I like to do so,” says Aki, who has even programmed specific bots for the server.

Baitzkrieg now represents the meeting point for Brazilian players who raid or want to get into raids. In the server’s channels, not only do players share experiences or exchange information, but they also address specific aspects that must be taken into consideration when running endgame content in a country like Brazil. For example, every strategy must examine how our ping affects their plans and using a VPN service is essential.

Aki tells me, “There was a mechanic in UCoB [Unending Coils of Bahamut (Ultimate)] where people from other countries would move when a debuff marked one second. But for us, we needed to move when it marked three seconds.” It’s on the Baitzkrieg server where players find context and information like this for the game.

With time, the role the server plays for the Brazilian community has changed. In the beginning, when it was using The Balance as a reference, Baitzkrieg had channels for each Job and expected more people to get involved with raiding and teaching the gameplay mechanics. One of the projects Aki organized along with some collaborators was an event called “Pugão Amigo.” They would group new players who wanted to learn a fight with people with more experience to help them get a first impression of a fight. Although he doesn’t organize these anymore, the increase in the number of Brazilians raid groups completing Savage tiers and Ultimates is unquestionable — especially, compared to the times before the server was created.

Aki’s character on the right, hanging out in Rhalgr’s Reach in leopard print and Moogle slippers.

Now, Aki believes that Baitzkrieg has another function. It currently plays the role of a recruitment board, a place where players can easily find groups to play with. Aki says, “Many players start running raids with some of their Free Company friends, but the party ends up splitting and then they need to find a new group. In this case, Baitz is the first place that comes to their minds nowadays.”

Since raiding is a very communicative activity and knowing enough English to communicate with others creates a high barrier, Brazilians usually don’t consider trying to find groups among foreigners. So, by gathering endgame players in one place, the server is now handling an old demand from the community. While the discussions about Jobs and strategies haven’t ended, Aki identifies them as quite secondary in terms of why people look for the server.

A Labor of Love

In addition to the language barrier Brazilians face when trying to engage with FFXIV, there are other aspects of the game that would have ended its life in Brazil pretty quickly. The subscription’s price is steep due to our currency devaluation, and the hardware requirements are prohibitive in our country where some of the most played games are League of Legends and Free Fire.

Regardless, Yu keeps trying to show the game to everyone through Moogle’s Cave. She told me how happy she felt when, during Endwalker, some players appeared on her stream saying that thanks to her they were able to catch up with the story. Aki also shared with me that people have occasionally dropped him a message thanking him for the work he has done.

Keeping projects like the Moogle’s Cave or Blitzkrieg going is a labor of love without a doubt, and very difficult considering how little support they receive. In both cases, the creators adapt their routines to maintain these projects. As Aki explained to me, “There are [a] few people who want to help and their efforts are not recognized by the rest of the community.” Still, for Yu, the FFXIV community in Brazil is extremely important. It’s through each member doing their part, helping new players by simply sharing their knowledge and experience, that the game’s been able to thrive in a region that isn’t officially supported.

There are still many drawbacks that Brazilians, and FFXIV players from many other places in the world, have to face by virtue of their region. FFXIV is currently a big game, having reached new levels of success in the last couple of years. However, we must always remember that part of this success comes from initiatives by people who love the game and made it part of their lives, expecting nothing in return but the joy of showing the world the delights of FFXIV.