Final Fantasy XIV Players Claim Xbox Is Banning Them For Recruiting Teammates

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku
Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Final Fantasy XIV is on Xbox now, and the MMORPG’s transition to the system has been rough, to say the least. On top of adding a new currency and requiring users to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass to play, the community is reporting bans on an Xbox system level for using the game’s long-used vernacular and systems to group up with other players within Xbox’s Looking For Group feature.

News of this started spreading online on March 29, around a week after Final Fantasy XIV’s long-awaited port came to Xbox. The controversy started with a post on Reddit from user TGB_B20kEn claiming they’d been banned on Xbox for using the term “free company,” which is an FF14 equivalent of a guild, within Xbox’s Looking For Group feature. The feature is, as the company describes it, a “players wanted” bulletin board where users can look for others to join their game. In the post, which now has over a thousand upvotes, the user says they filed an appeal to have the ban removed, which was denied by Xbox’s moderation team. The ban is set to last 61 days, and was in response to this message asking new players (known colloquially as sprouts) if they wanted to join their free company:

“Hello Sprouts! We are currently recruiting for a new Free Company that accepts anyone! Please have Discord because we have PC Players! Pm if interested friends!”

Some responded by asking TGB_B20kEn if it may have been the Discord solicitation that triggered the ban, but the user claims they’ve asked that people be willing to use Discord on the platform before, and pointed out that Xbox has integrated the social media platform into its services. Other users are reporting similar issues, whether that be in using systems like Final Fantasy 14’s recruitment codes or putting out general inquiries to bring players into their free companies. Reddit user misterpinksaysthings states that a friend was banned for two days after listing his recruitment code in the in-game chat. Twitter user @BishamonVeena, meanwhile, responded to the official FF14 account with another example of someone being banned for using Xbox’s Looking For Group feature. This post doesn’t even use the full term “free company,” instead using the abbreviation “FC.”

The whole situation is a messy example of how automated moderation can backfire. Whatever the Xbox system flagged here is clearly missing the context of what is a very normal Final Fantasy 14 interaction. Now, after a decade of waiting for the MMO to come to the platform, Xbox players are having to find ways to talk around years of established terminology just to be able to experience the game as intended. But hey, at least they got that really aesthetic Final Fantasy 14 Xbox Series X system…that doesn’t work.

We’ve reached out to Xbox for comment and will update the story if we hear back.

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