After almost a year, twitch streamer Asmongold returns to Final Fantasy XIV on June 21.
The OTK Alumni Returns to the Critically Acclaimed MMORPG
For those who missed the announcement–
Final Fantasy 14 streams return on the 21st.
— Zack (@Asmongold) June 15, 2022
It's been almost a year since Twitch streamer Asmongold last ventured into Eorzea. When last we saw him, he finished up the award-winning Heavensward expansion and just took his first steps into 2017's Stormblood. At least in terms of the main quest scenario, since then he's been engaging with Final Fantasy XIV's raid content while pining for the chance to do an Ultimate. But after being part of the media tour for Endwalker, Asmongold took a long break from streaming. For reasons, we really don't need to get into here.
Since then, he made his return with the newly released Lost Arc and then moved on to Elden Ring. With the question always in the room, when is he going to play Final Fantasy XIV again? And he probably put it off for the current summer games draught. After all, the summer is always pretty dry for gaming and there are a lot of streaming schedule to fill. And what better than an MMORPG that has 10 years' worth of content?
Streaming Final Fantasy XIV is Kinda Odd
Last year, Final Fantasy XIV kind of was a big thing once Asmongold and other World of Warcraft players gave it a shot. It was so much of a big thing, that servers busted at the seams. The digital store ran out of keys and the very popular free trial had to be paused. But many of those streamers bounced off the MMORPG and went on less time-consuming titles. While some others, like former World of Warcraft mainstay Preach, found a second home in Square Enix's MMO. But why do people watch Final Fantasy XIV on twitch? After all, the title never did well on Twitch or YouTube. At least compared to its contemporaries.
Not for a lack of great content creators, though. It's because Final Fantasy XIV doesn't really lend itself to be broadcasted. Because watching someone play the title, is a lot different from playing it. And many of the game's qualities don't translate into a viewing experience. But what has been popular, as of late, are the reaction streams. Since XIV boasts a very girthy story, with many twists and turns. Many players love to watch content creators react to it. Giggle away while they try to predict the next plot twist, or are eager to watch while they get their heart ripped out and trampled on.
Streaming and content creation for Final Fantasy XIV, outside of community projects like the PvP events, usually pick up every 4 months. Whenever there is a new raid and especially a new Ultimate around the corner. And currently, we are in a mid-patch lull, where everyone is probably geared to the max and waiting for the next raid tier. Steaming around an expansion release is also hard because most people who want to watch the reactions. Typically would rather experience the story for themselves. So being late to the party, is probably good for Asmongold.
The Asmongold Effect
I don't think it can be understated, how huge the Texan streamer's decision to broadcast Final Fantasy XIV was last year. The timing of the controversies surrounding Activision Blizzard in 2021 created a perfect storm. Last year, shortly after XIV's Endwalker expansion was announced, there was a good 6-month gap in content. Frequently, a time when player numbers fall off as they are running out of things to do. And while saying Asmongold started the trend of ‘Ex WoW streamer trying FFXIV', he was the one that kicked that rock down the hill. Suddenly, many more eyes directed themselves towards Final Fantasy XIV.
A title that had, for the better part of 10 years, slowly grown not only to be a worthy alternative to World of Warcraft. But also build quite the reputation within the industry and its audience. Truth be told, Final Fantasy XIV did not suddenly become good. Ever since the relaunch with A Realm Reborn in 2013, it had slowly and steadily been growing. Improving itself while never getting the mainstream attention it deserved. Probably because it never tried to market itself as the ‘WoW-Killer' only to crash and burn shortly after. And with Asmongold bringing attention to the title, many of his viewers and the mainstream at large got to see why players love Final Fantasy XIV.
In fact, Asmongold's venture into Eorzea might've been a little too successful. Not only did his 130,000+ viewers shut down entire zones of the early game. It caused many more people to get into the title, now that it was considered ‘a good game'. The very popular free trial had to be shut down and probably more hilariously, Square Enix ran out of digital copies to sell. And even director and producer Naoki Yoshida has since said multiple times how huge Asmongolds influence had been on the title. Not only did Endwalker launch to record numbers, but servers were also stressed for a month after due to the sudden influx in players.
Since then, Final Fantasy XIV's team has outlined an addition to their still stressed server structure. With an entirely new datacenter to come for NA in the next few months. And several new worlds to be added to the Japanese and European datacenters.
The Second Wave
What will be interesting to see, is if Asmongold's second venture into the world of Final Fantasy XIV will have a similar effect on the population. And it's not like there isn't a perfect storm ready. Thanks for many streamers like the aforementioned, Asmongold's OTK college Rich Campbell and many more. Twitch viewers know what to expect from those MSQ streams. And in entering Stormblood, Asmongold will also finally get a taste of what Ultimate content will look like.
But what most of us more curious observers are more interested in, can Asmongold kickstart a second wave of ‘World of Warcraft refugees'. By now, many have found a new or secondary home in Final Fantasy XIV. And arguably the biggest World of Warcraft content creator, streaming the title, will no doubt raise sales again. Especially during the current content lull. If it's going to be similar to the last year is left to be seen. But with barely any big games slated to release in the next few months, streamers might give the title another shot. And there is little doubt that once Asmongold starts streaming XIV again. It's going to dominate the eyes of twitch viewers, if only for a short while.
Let's just hope that the changes, implemented after the launch of Endwalker, will make server issues less of a problem this time around. As previously mentioned, Asmongold has stopped progressing XIV after being introduced to the Stormblood expansion. It's arguably the point where Final Fantasy XIV's content really started to find its footing. But it's left to be seen if he'll become a XIV mainstay like his contemporaries. Or if it'll at least keep him occupied until Wrath of the Lichking Classic releases.
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