Final Fantasy 14 players interviewed over 80 of their fellow adventurers to craft a heartwarming first-timer's guide to roleplaying with anxiety

Two adventurers from Final Fantasy 14 are accompanied by a chocobo, a small yellow bird "kweh"-ing cheerfully.
(Image credit: The Kweh! fan website / Square Enix)

The roleplay community in Final Fantasy 14 is, simply put, an ocean. It's absolutely massive, comprising several servers, hundreds of night clubs, bars, fight pits, free companies, and homegrown drama. It's big enough that last year, someone thought buying four billboards in California and Texas to advertise their virtual nightclub was a good idea (it wasn't).

If you've never dipped your foot into roleplay in an MMORPG, it's basically storytelling improv. You pretend your character actually exists in the world, saddle them with a backstory, then natter to other people. You can go on adventures, explore fraught character drama, or just run a coffee shop or something. The possibilities are endless.

As a big ol' nerd and long-time roleplayer myself, getting started can be intimidating for the less socially-inclined adventurers out there. No-one's gonna invite you to anything, you just need to kinda huck yourself into other people's sessions of make-believe and hope you aren't annoying people.

That's worsened by the fact there are some unspoken rules—like the difference between IC (in-character) and OOC (out-of-character) talk. Or being the 100th guy that evening to show up with a katana talking about your dead parents. Or knowing to avoid the Quicksands. Don't ask. Forget I said anything about that place.

Thankfully, some thoughtful players made a fansite called The Kweh to solve those exact problems: "'I want to learn how to RP but I don’t know where to start.' was a phrase I heard over and over again, and on March 8, 2023, the Beginner’s Guide to RP was released."

The site's written by the player Legaia Lindblum, with some charming illustrations by 7ink and Bubgoat. Its latest addition is built specifically to help players with social anxiety work through those feelings. "The helpful tips and suggestions you’ll find here are based on 80 volunteer interviews with FFXIV players from around the world." 

What follows is a pretty great primer for anyone nervous about striking up some make-believe conversation. The site also introduces readers to some more advanced topics, such as "bleed", which refers to when a roleplay scenario starts bleeding into real life feelings. Happens more often than you'd think, especially when the story takes a serious turn.

Honestly, it's just nice to see people looking out for each other like this. There's clearly been a lot of thought, craft, and care put into building up these resources. A lot of the lessons in the beginner's guide—like not making your character invincible, which'll typically annoy everyone—were lessons I had to learn the hard way back in the day.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.