These Final Fantasy XIV players have created their own in-game magazine written entirely in-character

final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine characters
final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine characters

We’ve all daydreamed about living in the worlds of our favourite games, but one enterprising team of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn players have found a way to immerse themselves even further in the game world. Their project, WARK! Magazine, is both an in-game and real-world monthly publication that celebrates everything Final Fantasy XIV has to offer – and it’s written by and for the residents of the game’s universe.

If you’ve not come across Final Fantasy XIV before, then here’s a quick explainer. The high fantasy MMORPG is set in the sprawling and magic-filled Eorzea region, and sees you embark on an epic adventure to protect the realm from an ever-increasing series of threats, both political and magical.

final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine logo

We’ve all daydreamed about living in the worlds of our favourite games, but one enterprising team of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn players have found a way to immerse themselves even further in the game world. Their project, WARK! Magazine, is both an in-game and real-world monthly publication that celebrates everything Final Fantasy XIV has to offer – and it’s written by and for the residents of the game’s universe.

If you’ve not come across Final Fantasy XIV before, then here’s a quick explainer. The high fantasy MMORPG is set in the sprawling and magic-filled Eorzea region, and sees you embark on an epic adventure to protect the realm from an ever-increasing series of threats, both political and magical.

final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine mmorpg

And rather than covering in-game news and events from the simpler outside perspective of people who play the game, WARK! Magazine is written instead from the perspective of residents of the realm of Eorzea, giving its readers an immersive glimpse into everyday life in the Final Fantasy XIV universe.

As a result, you can expect to find restaurant reviews, interviews with local NPCs and visiting players, news coverage of in-game and fan-organised events, and even a weekly Neighbourhood Watch feature. There’s also a magazine trading card game and parody ads for a wide variety of in-game products, from the fabulously-named Würstcase Vacation Insurance right through to handy stepladders (courtesy of the Lalafell Equal Heights Initiative) for those playing as a member of the diminutive Lalafell race.

In the team’s own words: “we like to imagine what it would be like for people actually living in Eorzea, what they might write about, want to read about, and make up stories to try and enrich the setting Square-Enix gave us to work with.”

We caught up with the Chocobo Dreams team to find out more about how they got started.

“WARK! came about when my friend Tiro and I struggled with our time zone differences, leaving us unable to play together during the week,” says editorial team member Djill. “We wanted to work on something creative together, something we both unfortunately don’t get to do much at our jobs, and eventually settled on a magazine.”

Why a magazine, though? “[W]e mostly just liked learning the skills needed to set it all up, and the idea that we worked on this together even if we couldn’t do it at the same time. We also enjoy world-building, and making up stories that fit in the setting of Eorzea.”

final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine chocobo

WARK! Magazine isn’t the only fan-made Final Fantasy XIV magazine out there, but the team has a unique approach. “Most of the online publications surrounding Final Fantasy XIV are what we consider OOC, or out-of-character, from the perspective of the real-world players, with a heavy emphasis on aesthetics,” the team explains. “But we wanted to enrich the in-game world itself, imagin[ing] what it would be like to be a random Joe or Jane living in a world with things like mites the size of small horses, Moogles getting drunk on the wine they stole from your basement, and being a lalafell dragging a stepladder around because, hey, no one builds tables to fit your small stature.”

And while writing a whole magazine in-character means roleplay is important, Chocobo Dreams are keen to stress that WARK! Magazine isn’t just aimed at those who roleplay (RP) as a hobby. “A lot of [other fan-made magazines] are awesome at covering roleplay events and often try and help individual players and groups find RP, but we hope to be entertaining for people who aren’t interested in RP as a hobby, but would like to learn more about life in Eorzea as well.”

final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine adventure

The team can sometimes be found handing out copies of WARK! Magazine in-game on the Balmung server, dressed in brightest chocobo yellow, or the latest issue can be picked up for free at in-game adventure guilds, bookstores, and libraries. In-person handout events are real highlights for the team as they get to see people engaging with the product of their hard work, and that’s actually within the game that they love so much. Other highlights include reaching the one-year anniversary of the magazine, and teaming up with another fan-run group to run an in-character quiz and magazine distribution event.

Of course, making a monthly magazine isn’t always plain sailing. “The biggest challenge so far is to simply keep doing it every single month, and to keep improving,” says Djill. “Some issues have been better than others, and there have been months where it felt like no one cared, but we learn and try and grow on a personal level from this, by adding a bit of creativity to our day-to-day that we otherwise wouldn’t have.”

And for Djill and the rest of the team, it’s well worth all the hard work just to see people engaging with the end result. “For me, the biggest highlight has been the recent jump in how many people have taken note of the magazine, and seem to enjoy reading it.”

If you aren’t passing through Eorzea, you can read the whole back catalogue in this world instead over at the Chocobo Dreams Tumblr blog. There are thirteen issues available to read right now, and with tons more adventuring planned, the team have promised that they’ve still got plenty more to write about.

final fantasy xiv wark fan magazine issue 13 s

You can check out Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn here, or take a look at the upcoming Shadowbringers expansion here.

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