A wall of armed catgirls (opens in new tab) stand at the entrance of Ul’dah. This border wall of fur appears to be blocking outsiders from entering one of the most notorious servers in Final Fantasy 14, but it’s also a playful form of greeting.
Player-tourists are waiting in queues of up to 30 minutes (opens in new tab) to flood into Balmung via the newly introduced Data Center travel system. They’re there to ogle at a city known for its erotic roleplaying. Its catgirls, and the rest of the players taking shifts beside them (opens in new tab), however, would rather it remain an insulated enclave, an erotic Themyscira that mortals can’t reach—unless you’re brave enough to walk through them.
“I think a lot of the people at the blockade don’t really care much about being gawked at, actually. A lot of them embrace Balmung’s reputation and find it kind of funny that people are clamoring to come to our infamous server,” Rook, a Balmung player who has seen the wall themselves, told me.
“We like being extra,” they said.
The only thing actually stopping you are the wait times for traveling between data centers, which were the cause of the system being temporarily taken down just after it launched this week—it’s back up now. The pipes are still getting clogged though, so much so that a Balmung native (opens in new tab) who left to visit another server had trouble going home.
Balmung has a long history as the de facto roleplaying server in FF14, and its well known for its brazen erotic roleplayers. Every MMO has a hub for roleplayers and for FF14, it’s been Balmung since the game’s relaunch in 2013. Naturally, it attracts a lot of attention from players who, until now, couldn’t go there themselves without making a new character.
Roleplayers take this seriously though. It’s sort of their whole thing. So when players pour in, there are plenty that arrive to treat the place like a zoo. The Balmung blockade acknowledges how much of a meme it is in the community and also reminds people that, for many, roleplaying, erotic or not, is a valid way to enjoy the game.
It’s been a trying week for Balmung roleplayers as the FF14 community are still losing it over the nightclub that bought four real life billboards and became the punchline on social media (opens in new tab). You can’t really blame Balmung for wanting to get out in front of it, literally and by force.
Correction: This article’s original headline, which referred to Balmung as an “erotic roleplaying server,” has been revised for the sake of clarity. Balmung isn’t strictly an erotic roleplaying server, but a roleplaying server known to be popular for erotic roleplaying.