Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-07-19 22:53 JST)
A VTuber was recently heavily criticized by players for their actions while playing Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) prompting an apology from the streamer. The uproar started during VTuber Nora’s FFXIV stream on July 13 (JST). During the stream, Nora was planning on forming a party with viewers to tackle the game’s content. However, due to a mistake during the stream, a random player they didn’t know ended up in the party and joining them. After this, Nora ended up deliberately having the player’s character killed and instructed their viewers to kick the player from the party. This selfish move drew lots of criticism and FFXIV players didn’t hold back in making their feelings known online.
FFXIV has a feature called the Duty Finder where players can get matched with other players looking to take on the same content. There’s also the Duty Roulette where players can queue for a random instance, which helps fill out parties that may not have enough players to tackle the content they want to play. In other words, playing with strangers isn’t uncommon with many playing with players they don’t know daily.
In this case, Nora’s party was supposed to be made of enough viewers to fill the player requirements for the content they wanted to play. However, possibly due to miscounting, they requested to enter the instance with too few players and a random player was added to their party. Nora didn’t seem to notice this and thought the player was ignoring their streaming rules and had them MPK’d. MPK stands for Monster Player Kill and is the act of deliberately using monsters to disrupt or kill another player. It’s generally understood as bad manners in online gaming. Nora then requested that participating viewers kick the player meaning they were kicked from the instance without having any idea what was going on.
Kicking the player without any sort of communication can be attributed to Nora’s particular streaming style, with a policy that they have to figure out all of the game’s gimmicks alone. For that reason, spoilers and explanations are banned from the comments and participants must follow her instructions. There’s also a roleplaying element where the VTuber character is that of a queen, so not only is avoiding attacks without instructions or solving puzzles not allowed, use of the in-game chat is also prohibited. In this case, Nora likely thought the random player was a viewer not following the rules and had them kicked.
But this incident doesn’t seem to only be getting attention because of how unfortunate it was for the random player. First is the issue of a regular player participating in the party being kicked without a justifiable reason. Similar incidents have occurred in the past, but this time around, it was done in front of a large group of people. FFXIV has a feature to display other characters’ names as initials or not at all and is recommended when streaming out of consideration for other players. Possibly because Nora was expecting all of the party members to be viewers, each character’s full name was clearly displayed.
The incident also raised the question of whether Nora’s playstyle was considerate of others, even if they are established rules for the stream. Roleplaying has been officially recognized as a way to enjoy FFXIV and denying someone’s playstyle or trying to force your playstyle on other players goes against the User Agreement. In this case, even though the participants are aware of Nora’s rules, some were questioning the strictness of not letting players even avoid attacks unless instructed to do so. Many also said they thought it was extremely malicious once it was confirmed that participants intentionally MPK’d the player.
After the stream ended and criticism started pouring in, you might say how they went about handling it was also problematic. At first, Nora remained silent on the matter and removed the section where the incident occurred from their stream archive. Furthermore, Cain Murasaki, another streamer and a member of Nora’s party at the time, participated in MPKing the random player and kicking them which has been viewed as problematic. Cain later received more criticism after admitting on their own stream that they MPK’d the player while taking the stance that it wasn’t really a problem.
The backlash was so strong words like “outsider,” “VTuber,” and “FF14” were trending for days in Japan. Nora then held a broadcast on their YouTube channel about the incident and apologized for their actions. Nora also announced that they got in contact with the player they had kicked and apologized directly and reported themselves in game. Other streamers involved also made statements apologizing around the same time.
Nora’s apology ends with them saying they understand the seriousness of the situation and that they will be going on hiatus for the time being. That didn’t stop the criticism, though, with harsh words continuing to be thrown Nora’s way and continuing to be a hot button issue in some communities. In addition, other VTubers and streamers can even be seen calling off streaming FFXIV for the time being.
And unable to stand idly by as this has unfolded is Ebi Tempura, the player that was kicked and the initial victim of the situation. Ebi Tempura took to their Twitter account to say that they are okay and to be kind to everyone involved.
Kadokawa Game Linkage even made an unexpected statement about the incident on July 19 (JST). This is because Cain Murasaki, one of the streamers involved in the MPK, previously contributed articles to Famitsu, which is operated by the company. It appears that players who weren’t aware of the circumstances were mistakenly saying a Famitsu writer was causing trouble and pointing criticism at the unrelated company causing them to clarify the situation.
Nowadays, Let’s Plays and streaming has become an everyday part of gaming culture. With online games especially, it’s possible for streamers and viewers to come together in a game and enjoying chatting and taking on content together. An MMORPG like FFXIV also closes the gap between streamers and viewers making it a good fit for streaming.
But online games also come with the inherent risk of running into trouble with other players. Coming across a malicious player in an online game isn’t exactly a rare occurrence. There’s also been an increase in recent years of streamers being the ones causing trouble, which has caused many players to harbor resentment toward streamers. This latest incident has caused some gamers to not only call into question the character of some streamers, but the pros and cons of streaming online games with large numbers of players.
Another game operated by Square Enix, Dragon Quest X, has what are referred to as no stream servers which forbid streaming by players on those servers. This incident has caused some to call for Final Fantasy XIV to implement something similar. But at the same time, it’s no doubt that livestreaming has brought about another way for players to interact. As for how to come to a mutual understanding between streamers and players, both sides are still working out a solution.
Online games have as many playstyles as there are players. And as playstyles get more diverse, unexpected trouble between players is sure to arise. There may even be cases where you’re so into a game that you want to speak recklessly toward other players. But hopefully we all remember there’s another person just like us on the other side of the screen when playing online.
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