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Pearl Lane: A dead end?

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I was feeling a little worn out with the staleness of Balmung RP for a while about a year ago, and decided to venture around a few other MMOs and RP communities out there to try and gauge the general quality of public spots that people tend to congregate in. After giving it long enough that I felt that the shock and novelty of these new communities had worn off, I began to realise just how unsuitable this street is for so many types of characters and archetypes that give other RP servers all their flair. 


I've come back, renewed and refreshed and ready to go -- And it's all the same. The primary hub just seems to leech excitement out of RP, not add to it, like the others I'd stumbled across in my exploration of other MMOs.


The Pearl Lane (and its cousin, the Gold Court) only exists, as far as I'm aware, because world visit and an influx of new players swarmed over the Quicksands and made anything even tenuously IC difficult beyond the odd bar interaction and /whisper ERP. What we've been pushed out into is a back alley that has little to no real diagetic purpose for being as crowded as it is. A tavern is a natural place for adventurers, scholars, knights and strangers of all stripes to flock together, but the poorest stretch of cobbles in Ul'dah? Not so much!


Not that it's anyone's fault in particular, but it feels like wasted potential. The city has a lot of really interesting aspects to it, all the finance and politicking and magical study that comes with Ul'dahn culture, but you'll be damned if you find all but a tiny, tiny subset of the population treat it as more than window dressing. I saw a lot of folks on Moon Guard pour a lot of love into making Stormwind feel like a living place with roles for characters to fill and create stories within, and a similar (but more limited) engagement in the bigger ESO RP guilds. Where is all that? FCs are off doing private events or loitering around player housing, and plenty of them are just ticking timebombs of IC/OOC drama waiting to go off. You'd imagine they'd be out in public, recruiting new quality members and involving the community in RP, but they don't. You've got to be in the know to get anywhere near these sorts of groups.


Am I just playing the wrong game, just jaded, or is Balmung Ul'dah as unfortunately uninspired as I suspect it might be? Should I look somewhere else for organic, interesting public RP that doesn't involve ERP or weird semi-OOC livechatting? It's been years, and I'm yet to find something as interesting as what these other communities have going for them.

Edited by Frej
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There are enough different people with enough different wants that I can safely say what you're looking for is out there. Where and how to find it? Who knows.


Balmung has unfortunately shifted to the Quicksands actually being the slightly more ERP-centric place people joked it was for years. Before there was a good balance, now it's as you say. There's enough ERPers there that some people go out to the nearby back alley which really doesn't fit a lot of characters.


I've heard a lot of people these days just go to public events hosted in houses to meet new people. The difficulty is determining which ones are actual RP venues and which are the "semi-OOC livechatting"as you word it. A lot of it popped up with the night club explosion that followed the COVID content drought. This is not a stab at those folks, by the way, it's simply not the sort of RP I look for either.


Beyond that, the Mateus Quicksand also has a number of RPers forced out of the Balmung variant by the ERPers and sightseers. There's also Discord servers dedicated to finding RP though I am in none of them so I can't comment on their effectiveness.

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1 hour ago, Mermaid said:

Beyond that, the Mateus Quicksand also has a number of RPers forced out of the Balmung variant by the ERPers and sightseers. There's also Discord servers dedicated to finding RP though I am in none of them so I can't comment on their effectiveness.


The RP-finding servers (that includes the shard/datacenter discords) are largely useless unless you yourself are willing to reach out to people. Just like the back alleys of Ul'dah, people dump their character carrds there and wait for someone else to initiate. In all honesty, I've had better luck putting up PF advertisements for myself and visiting venues that friends run.

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The Quicksand was never perfect, but it's a real shame it has been overrun on Balmung (and then even Mateus) and the actual RP has been forced out. I don't mind Pearl Lane and the Gold Court and I'm actually glad RP has found its way there, but I do agree a tavern and Adventurer's Guild is a much more functional space to RP and allow characters of all types to interact in a place they might logically be spending time. I do agree it's no one's fault and I don't think there's any real solution to it--it's not as if a concerted effort of more of us going there to actually openly RP would make the other people there leave. It's just a real shame all the claims and complaints and jokes about "Balmung Quicksand is nothing but ERP" which were pretty erroneous at first eventually became a self-fulfilling prophecy attracting people thirsty for cybersex and "ironic" onlookers until there's no one there but flagrant ERPers, AFKers, OOC chat spam, and trolls.

The RP on Crystal (and I say Crystal because I don't think "Balmung" RP is any different or unique from the rest of the Data Center now that the world visits exist) does have its issues, as does any RP community, but RP communities are not some governed entity following set rules, it's just a loose conglomeration of people who happen to enjoy the same activity, and I don't think the people here are much different or any worse than the people anywhere else (especially when you've poked into enough MMO RP communities to realize just how small the MMO RP community is and how many familiar faces you'll find in each game). The best way to navigate any RP community will always be to set the example by being the kind of RPer you want to see, create the kind of RP you want to take part in, and foster a space where the kind of RPers you want to have around you can flourish. That's all you can do, since there's really no way to force the community or the people in it to comply to what you want.

I don't want to say my experience is the norm as I've seen people who haven't had as much luck or just don't want to branch out as much, but I also think it would seem sort of deranged to act like I'm some special exception haha--but many of us in my FC go to other RP venues/events (we've even started to organize nights of bringing large groups of us to other events) and a few of us sometimes pop into Pearl Lane or the Court, and we do a lot to get our FC's name out there OOC and only don't do more because we literally can't take more than our current volume of applicants (I know we all want RP to happen "organically" IC and that is the ideal, but I'm sorry, sometimes it's not feasible and you have to find the things you want OOC). It's definitely not a secret or insular FC we have, not to mention the events we host ourselves. "Interesting" and "public" don't always coincide. I really would recommend looking RP FC's or other smaller or "private" groups. If you find a group of like-minded people doing RP, theoretically you know what sort of RP to expect with them. If you're just doing walk-ups in RP hotspots, all you can really do is gripe that some strangers' definition of "interesting" doesn't match yours.

In the past few months I've been really lucky on an individual level to meet a lot of cool folks in the Lane, get roped into their plots, and invited to their linkshells and Discords. I don't run into a lot of people recently looking for ERP or OOC live-chatting masqueraded as RP, though they're definitely out there and you do have to sift through them at times. The biggest struggle I've run into in this community rather is finding long-term connections and not just a one-and-done RP with someone I never see again, or a couple weeks of RP and plotting before someone abruptly decides to retcon their character without warning.

To be honest, you do sound a little jaded. But maybe that's because I think it's a bit mean-spirited to come onto the FFXIV forums and call the RP most of us here are still doing and enjoying with others "uninspired" even despite any complaints and frustrations of our own we might have. Not every RP community is going to be identical or best approached in the same way. This may not be the RP community for you and that's not a bad thing. If you are not having a good time and can't find what you're looking for, maybe that is the case. It doesn't mean you're wrong, but it also doesn't mean anything here is wrong. For me, weighing the pros and cons, I'd much rather RP here than in other MMO's, but that's just personal preference. I guess my advice is that if want to stick it through, keep at it. The RP you're looking for does exist as do the other people doing it. I do think wanting everything to be open and organic is just making things an uphill battle, though. But if you don't want to keep with it or don't want to compromise on what you're looking for? Then don't; there's nothing wrong with that. It takes time and energy, probably more than a lot of people want to put into a pastime, especially when they aren't seeing results. It's not going to be for everyone. But I hope you will consider hanging in there because I've had a really great time in this RP community and the game in general.

Edited by Faye
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Speaking to the FC stuff, not all FCs are ticking time bombs of drama.  My group has a very strenuous application gauntlet/ interview process due to our rules of open communication.  It has created a loyal core of members that prefer rping in the open world.  We tend to avoid major hubs due to the number of trolls that tend to ruin the areas.  It's not to say that great rp doesn't happen there, because it does.  It's just easier to continue our stories at our own self made tavern or just take it to a specific spot used for our story.  We generally hold public events at our FC house and have recruited from the people that showed up to rp.

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