Stricter Final Fantasy XIV moderation policies cause player backlash

Stricter Final Fantasy XIV moderation policies cause player backlash

Final Fantasy XIV is one of the largest MMOs on the market and has recently made ‘significant changes’ to their player behavior and punishment policies.

This comes a week after they opened preorder sales for their much-hyped Final Fantasy XIV’s “Shadowbringers” expansion.

Final Fantasy XIV's expansion Shadowbringer's teaser artwork

As their Feb. 11th. announcement states, “Until now, we have operated under the philosophy that “this is an MMORPG and frequent in-game intervention by SQUARE ENIX would inhibit player experience.” Under this philosophy in mind, GMs have intervened only in cases of racial or sexual discrimination or other severe cases.”

Square’s new rules and policies are much more strict than they used to be, in contrast to their previous ‘hands-off’ approach. Their old policy was driven by a fear that, through excessive moderation, they might inhibit player communication and community, and they instead encouraged users to utilize blacklists and other peaceful methods.

The growing pains of a massive MMO might be weighing on them, however; The MMO passed 14 million users last year and is still growing. Though exact numbers are hard to find, it’s estimated that Final Fantasy XIV is the second-largest subscription-based MMO, behind industry giant World of Warcraft.

With such an influx of players and a new expansion on the horizon, it’s no surprise that they’re turning to more stringent moderation efforts. Quoting their blog post. “Times have changed and although FINAL FANTASY is an MMORPG, it is now our belief that it is better for the community as a whole for us to ‘intervene in situations where a player is subjected to the abusive behavior of another player,’ rather than ‘worrying about inhibiting communication between players.’”

The community is divided in opinion on Final Fantasy XIV’s policy.

Some players are worried, however, that the new policy is too vague, and may result in abuse of the new report system. The new rules prohibit ‘Discriminatory expressions based on thinking’ and ‘expressions that unilaterally reject another person’s opinion’, things that some players say are too vague to be useful. The new rules also prohibit ‘Expressions that prohibit a playing style’, which some claim will lead to players being too afraid to give advice.

Others are glad for the change, citing bad experiences with stalkers and intentional griefers as reasons they support stronger moderation. These negative behaviors are now prohibited in Final Fantasy XIV, with fans of the game saying such a change would’ve been useful a long time ago.


A Media Arts student taking a minor in Journalism, I strive to bring you the latest, important news in the world of videogames.