On February 6 a catastrophic earthquake rocked Türkiye and Syria, leaving over 50,000 dead and even more injured or unaccounted for. In an attempt to raise funds to aid relief efforts, some of Final Fantasy XIV’s best bands and bards have come together in a Live Aid-inspired FFXIV concert event for the MMORPG, aptly entitled Eorzea Rescue.
“Hearing about it first hand from someone who was actively experiencing it, rather than from a third-party like a news source, made it really hit home for me,” U’Whalon Sthah, the brainchild behind Eorzea Rescue tells PCGamesN. They were playing FFXIV with their friend Rese when the earthquake struck. “When Rese first mentioned an earthquake, our initial thoughts were fearful, but neither of us believed it would be as serious as it turned out to be.”
As aid pours into affected areas, Final Fantasy XIV developer Square Enix has suspended in-game housing demolition for inactive FFXIV players – a system that normally pushes players to log in which, given the circumstances, is impossible for a lot of Turkish and Syrian players. Companies like Humble Bundle have also collaborated with developers to create a charity bundle worth over $1,000, with all proceeds going to earthquake relief charities.
But it’s not always about grand monetary gestures; instead, it’s about everyday kindness. That’s what the Eorzea Rescue concert is; a display of pure, unadulterated empathy. “I started wondering whether or not there was anything that I could do,” U’Whalon says. “My thoughts turned to real life events; bands doing charity songs or even concerts to raise money, and it made me think, ‘why can’t we do that?’”
Their eyes turned to Live Aid, the 1985 fundraising concert spearheaded by The Boomtown Rats’ Bob Geldof and Ultravox’s Midge Ure. “When we’re organising in-game events we always try to find ideas from the real world,” fellow organiser Ori tells me. “The 1985 Live Aid concert was truly inspirational, and as a global community we have members across the Atlantic, so naturally we want as many members to be involved for a common humanitarian goal.”
“I’ve always loved the idea of bands and singers coming together for a good cause, so this was my intention when I came up with the idea,” echoes U’Whalon. “I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out and how many bands have jumped on board!”
So what is the event, exactly? Well, The Eorzea Rescue kicks off on Friday, March 3 at 6pm GMT / 7pm CEST, and concludes on Saturday March 4 with Bard Bash fest. 34 bands and solo artists will take to the stage in Limsa Lominsa to perform on Saturday in a round robin format, spanning the Chaos, Light, and Primal data centres (Louisoix on Chaos, Zodiark on Light, and Exodus on Primal).
Server mod and organiser extraordinaire Kiwi tells me that there was no selection process for the event, instead “we are basically trying to fit everyone we could so they can participate in this charity event! We just want to give the public a good moment with good vibes to spread the love.”
But that’s not all. Inspired by a recent concert series that saw players take to the streets of FFXIV’s capital cities wearing the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag (see the image above), Kiwi devised a similar idea to help the event stand out from the thousands milling around in Limsa.
“I suggested that we find a similar concept to make us easily stand out and make people talk about us, so with the help of our official B&B photographer Rey Ornitier, I edited this outfit that can be easily replicated.” The outfit, shown below, is inspired by medical scrub gear, and pays homage to the work of Doctors Beyond Borders – the charity that will receive all of the donations to Eorzea Rescue. It’s easily glamoured, doesn’t require you to pour all of your Gil down the drain, and is a loving nod to the rescue workers on the front lines.
It’s initiatives like this that warm my heart. In a world fraught with tension, instability, and anguish, tiny acts of kindness go a long, long way. If you’re an FFXIV player I encourage you to take a wander along to the festivities and toss a coin to your Eorzean Witcher – the smallest stones make the biggest ripples, after all.
You can join the FFXIV Bards and Bands Discord to keep up to date with the Eorzea Rescue, future festivities, or even create your own musical menagerie. You can also donate directly using the event’s Tiltify.
Images courtesy of Rey Ornitier.