Nikki and I have been doing endgame together for longer than we’ve been officially together. Our early dates were farming sky pop sets and such in FFXI. From this we’ve learned a few important lessons. It’s okay to have differences of opinion. And it’s better to communicate. I hope this entry might help a few of you out! Because we’ve definitely seen endgame throw apart several relationships before. You can raid and date–or even make dates of raids! All it takes is work, mutual respect, and trying your best to understand your significant other. Basically like anything else in a relationship.
1) It’s Okay to Not Raid Together
When I first transferred to Nikki’s server on FFXI, she was involved in a different endgame linkshell. So we spent quite a lot of time apart at first. Even in FFXIV we haven’t always raided together. Our team started with me joining PUGs to take down Turn 1 and Turn 2 for loot. Nikki wasn’t really interested in raiding at this time because we didn’t have a solid team. With my experience and being tired of PUGs, I went ahead and made my own and invited her.
This group kept going on for quite some time. It changed leaders, it changed members. We kept moving and growing and delved into Gordias together. Gordias Savage was a trying time for all of us. Nikki ended up leaving the raiding scene, and I wasn’t really feeling as energetic about continuing. It was bad enough that my own raid fire was burned out, but I had been trying to rely on her to keep it lit. That’s not healthy! She eventually returned to raiding with the intent to enter Midas Savage–with a different group. I could be proud of her successes even if I didn’t relish in the victory myself. That was an eye-opening experience for me.
Sometimes you and your SO might have differences that are going to clash. Your goals; what determines acceptable performance; schedules; even conflicts with other members. I find it’s important to not just link two raiders together, even if they’re you and your own SO, just because they’re a couple. What is healthy for one might be awful for another–or vice-versa. Be open and willing to communicate this and give them your full support! It’s no different than them having different friends or different hobbies and interests. Just because you might not be in everything they do, doesn’t mean they don’t love you any less. So continue being there for them, and know that it’s okay you aren’t always “there” for them.
2) Be on the Same Page
One of the many things I learned from us having raided apart was the importance of having the same goals or mindset to raiding. Or at least similar enough to work out. If they want to push hard and clear the end raid, and you’re okay with just whatever–the difference in interest might be too much. Be aware of what exactly you want out of raiding, and communicate that with them. This is really no different than what you’d do with the raid in general, only in this case your relationship might pin on it. No need to make anything more difficult, especially over a video game!
For instance, when Nikki raided with me the first time around–she was Bard. Don’t get me wrong: she’s an excellent Bard. The type who manages to cover TP and MP regeneration songs before people even realize they need them. She could Warden’s a Warrior to alleviate their pacification before they fired off a painfully annoying macro. However, when it came to her pushing out DPS there was always something missing. I remember once in Coil, Zac and I were talking about competing for #1 on parse. Nikki chimed in that her objective really was just for the group to do enough to clear. While that’s a fine enough aspiration, it doesn’t suit the goal of the group to make those clears easier. Nor did it mesh very well with the competitive fire needed by most DPS players.
3) Play What Fits
While Nikki might not totally have the proper mindset for DPS, she’s an incredible support player. It was rare for anyone to point out the good things about her BRD. Namely because at the end of the day BRD is a DPS, and that wasn’t her strength. When I first suggested her to Aud to fill in our missing healer slot he was a bit tentative because he had never seen her heal before. He’s a stickler when it comes to who he’s paired with and healing in general–but eventually gave her a chance. Ever since then she’s been meeting and blowing away his expectations, taking advice and learning on her own at a rapid rate. Our raid can almost not stop complimenting her.
While she does take wipes with a bit more personal stress now, she doesn’t have nearly the same consistent gauge as before. For the first time since we’ve played FFXIV I’ve been seeing her look forward to our raid nights. A lot of that comes down to the group and how we’ve grown to adapt to raiding and being together–but being able to actually enjoy what you’re doing in the raid is pretty damn important too. I started out raiding as a White Mage back in Binding Coil and switched out the moment I could. Not because I wasn’t acceptable at it… but because it just wasn’t a good fit for me.
4) Be Constructive
I’ve slumped pretty short with this one in our Expert Roulettes lately. My rationale is that, I’m giving it 100% no matter what I’m doing. Raiding, dungeons, trial fights… there’s no “off mode” I can set myself into and just do acceptable numbers. I’m either fighting for the top and trying to break my limits or literally sleeping. So when I see a DPS not AoEing with three or more mobs up or I see a healer standing around with full MP and the party at good health, I get a bit irritated.
It doesn’t generally happen in a full friends group because we’re going fast enough as it is–but with two PUGs I push upwards of 55% of the group’s total DPS on a boss. If the dungeon is taking us like forty-five minutes to clear and I wanted to nap before we even started, I’m not gonna be a happy camper when others aren’t at least trying to give a good effort. In Nikki’s case, she takes dungeons and lightweight content as time to relax, unwind, and catch up on YouTube. I’ve been ignorant lately of the fact that she pushes infinitely harder in a more stressful situation than I encounter during our raid nights. Without considering what else she deals with I got on her case about just idling there in a really rude way.
Share goals–even in the context of dungeons. Be understanding of what your significant other deals with on everything else–especially if they have to pick you up off of the floor every weekend. Try to be constructive with your advice and not just, “Why is your DPS literally zero” because that doesn’t help anyone. Remember that it’s just a game and we all play in our different ways. Unsolicited and rude advice is something you should never give your partner. When and if they ask you for it, be considerate of their angle and try to help them see things from another light. Even if you suck at explaining, the different opinion might lead them to an answer of their own.
5) Help Each Other
When you’re raiding as a couple, you have the unique advantage of being able to split tasks up for your raid. For Nikki and I we’ve decided that she’s going to be our gatherer, and I’m going to be our crafter. We’re going to support one another in this way–and as well try to support our raid. When it comes to our relic weapons, we’re right there alongside each other pushing towards the next step. Even for gearing up you should be able to at least offer your hand while they’re grinding out the 1,111th run of A12N for a Shaft.
Every couple has their own ways of doing things. Maybe while they’re grinding you could go clean up. Or while they’re napping you could be crafting their raid food. It’s important to be supportive of one another’s goals, as long as they’re beneficial and won’t hurt anyone. Maybe the next time you get slammed with a tank buster, they’ll remember that one thing you did (or didn’t do!) for them as they decide if they should put your spleen back in the right place.
Happy adventuring! (I love you Nikki! 😅❤️)