Tuesday, September 10, 2013

No Bombing At The Moonfire Fair! : FFXIV:ARR

The Moonfire Fair arrived in Eorzea yesterday, coming as something of a surprise on pretty much every level. Firstly because who was expecting any kind of holiday event to appear barely two weeks after launch, secondly because the image conjured by its softly evocative name belies the bizarre and jarring reality and thirdly because all the rewards are bloody swimsuits!!

There seems to be a strange tradition of swimwear festivals among some non-Western MMOs. They pop up in news articles or promos from time to time but always in games I don't play so I can't say I've payed much attention. Until now.

Oh, I was a little surprised all that time ago back in GW2's series of beta weekends when I arrived in Lion's Arch to find a whole lot of people in swimming trunks and bikinis lounging on the beach. Especially since it was nighttime. And then there was Southsun. Still, when all's said and done,those were beaches.

Isn't that a fire risk?

Ul'Dah is not a beach. Ul'Dah is a hot, dry desert city baking under a fierce sun. Beyond the steps of the city lie dusty plains and scrubland studded with gritty outposts and dangerous beasts. True, there is a very nice seaside resort just down the road but those gates are firmly locked right now. Gridania isn't a beach town either. It's a sprawling settlement deep in a thick forest. It rains a lot and my guess is it's pretty cold. Limsa Lominsa is on the coast but far out on a rocky promontory, whipped by winds, suitable for fishing in good wet weather gear but not, so far as I can tell, for beach volleyball.

Inappropriate weather conditions and absence of anywhere to lay down a towel doesn't cover the half of it, though. It seems that when the Fair comes in through one city gate all normal dress codes and indeed any form of modesty and decency go straight out the other.

Hmphh. Some people just have no self-respect.

Of course it's not as though the guards in any of these cities ever seem to enforce any kind of modicum of considerate or even sane behavior on the public streets in the first place. You can set up a crafting station just about anywhere, never mind it stops the traffic for blocks around and then there is that strange thing where when you take up a new craft all your clothes fall off, so I guess public semi-nudity is already something of a cultural norm in the three city states.

As a good tourist I always try to adapt to cultural norms. In this case that means both the real culture behind the game and the culture in which the game is set. Also, free stuff. It might never have occurred to me that what a Lalafell really needed along with her ancient magic crystal, her supernatural gift, her deeply mysterious destiny and her membership of a Secret Society was a blue two-piece swimsuit but if it's free...
Topaz! It's rude to stare! She's just a poor lady that can't afford clothes.

I spoke to the Cascadier Captian at the Moonfire Fair and got a long and frankly incomprehensible spiel that left me none the wiser. I had the vague impression I was supposed to go throw buckets of water over some firemen to cool them down.  Well that couldn't possibly be right. That would be silly, wouldn't it, and heaven forfend anyone should think there's anything silly about all this.

So I asked where I might get the Wet Ash the swimwear salesperson takes in trade and Mrs Bhagpuss offered to send me some in the post. She had some left over after buying bikinis in three different colors as well as a pair of shorts that she couldn't wear because apparently while you can walk the streets almost naked and no-one will bat an eye, if a girl should put on a pair of shorts meant for a guy cats would lie down with dogs and like that.

I do so too know how to have fun.
Anyway, I wanted to get the whole full-fat Moonfair experience for myself, not just mooch Wet Ash off a Linkie (going with that for the Guildie eqivalent) so she told me to go look for one of the special FATEs. She'd been doing them in Costa del Sol, a place I have yet to visit in Eorzea although I've been there often enough in real life. At least from the sound of it beachwear would for once be entirely appropriate, but apparently the FATEs can pop anywhere so I didn't feel the need to make a special trip.

They might be able to pop anywhere but they don't, at least not very often. Either that or I was just unlucky. I wandered around for an hour or so chasing a mysterious masked man in a black robe who turned out to be remarkably lax with security procedures and eventually I happened on an unfamiliar FATE full of Bombs (that's a type of mob. Yes, it confused me too).

If I keep my gloves on this didn't really happen.

Several minutes of highly entertaining, highly explosive combat later I had a bag full of wet ash. A fast chocobo ride back to Ul'Dah, a quick handover and my Lalafell became the uncertain owner of a blue bikini and a sparkler (I forgot to mention the fireworks) and that so far as I could tell was that.

Nothing left to do but go dance with the catgirls. Please throw money.


  1. Gosh, this reminds me of the old days in WoW where Night Elves in stripperific armor would dance for "tips."

    Not sure if I approve.


    1. Not sure I do either! Fortunately the /dance animation only lasts a few seconds. In fact, until I thought of taking a screenshot of my Lalafel dancing with the catgirls (who are three NPCs who busk at that spot 24/7) I didn't even know there was a /dance command.

      FFXIV is a much bawdier MMO than most I've played, and certainly more than you might expect from the cute characters and pretty scenery but it's almost always in keeping with the setting. There's also lot of colorful language, frequently in dialect, and a good deal of mention of what I think would be called "Mature Themes". The swimsuits would be the exception in that they really don't fit in but then that's entirely par for the course with holiday/festival content in all MMOs.

  2. The first 2 screenshots with the lanterns are amazing. I'm seriously tempted to pick this up simply for the visuals.

    1. Screenshots really don't do it justice, believe it or not. Hmm... maybe I should look at my settings for them...

  3. Nothing prepared me for the sight of my Dragoon wearing his 'Evening Top'.

    Screenshots really don't do it justice.

    You can't discard this gear by the way. I bought a female set by mistake (honest) and can't get rid of it now.

    1. You can put most holiday gear in the Armoire in your Inn Room to get it out of your bags. Apart from the ones Mrs Bhagpuss bought, three sets of male trunks she thought she could wear as "hot pants". Those appear to be bugged and won't go in the Armoire. She wasn't best pleased.


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