With The Rising back around, and having it plastered on Twitter, I figured now is a good time to go over the past five years. I never thought I’d be playing Final Fantasy XIV seriously again after my brief stint in 1.0. Surely not for as long as I have at least, but here we are. Eorzea is home now, and I hope to do good by it and its people. My friends.
I started out 2013 with the creation of Ryuhkin, and the founding of Fail Brigade. This definitely wasn’t my first experience leading a guild. Yet, there’s really no guide to leading–just as there’s none for parenting. Each kid, each guild is different and its own animal to understand. As XIV was growing, we were too. Many of us had never experienced MMORPGs before or didn’t have many jobs leveled from 1.0. In many cases, how our core grew drastically altered my FC’s original purpose.
This dissonance caused a lot of problems. Many members wanted to keep things chill and social. Our progression further into endgame had more hardcore members jump in, with sharper ideals on how to play. The casual players felt that their space was being threatened. Some of the more endgame-y type players openly didn’t care for the rather flamboyant playful flirting that often frequented our chat.
I kept nodding, smiling, and staying up constantly late. This had to work… I wanted it to work. I was proud of what we had accomplished, and wasn’t going to let a few issues end things. Unfortunately, in trying to find a middle ground to stay everyone’s friend, I rushed us to disaster. If compromise means changing beyond what you’re comfortable with, you won’t be able to follow through with it. You can’t make everyone happy all of the time, and I learned that lesson the hard way.
Nonetheless, we persisted. Fail Brigade continued to thrive, even as I was still handling little internal squabbles almost daily. A lot of people wanted to push for transparency from the leadership, which I offered. Though honestly most people don’t give a single heck about that. Are buffs up? Is the chat going smoothly? All is well. Offer a lot, most will go unwanted. Offer too little, you’re not doing enough. It got to the point of wrecking my health offline.
When the option arose to go elsewhere, we took it. I passed leadership onto someone I thought I could trust with it, and moved over to Excalibur. There we were greeted by many people, and initially joined the FC Dark Matter. It was very nice getting to just be a member for a change! Nikki and I took this time to fine-tune our skills on alternate jobs. She took up Scholar, and I took on Paladin.
After a little bit of social issue within Dark Matter, a few of us left to go form the Excalibooty FC. To this day I wonder if things would’ve been different had we chosen our own name, but I digress. We all worked very hard in our own ways to establish a place for ourselves. This was a very exciting and fun year, and to top it off–Nikki and I were finally Eternally Bonded!
Being that Excalibooty had a few high profile names in the community, it naturally attracted a few more. And the more of those types we had around, the more people wanted to be “where the cool kids are”. I want to make it clear here: popular people are people, just like you and me. They have their good sides and downsides, their ups and their downs. And most of all, they feel that pressure to continue on the status quo, to maintain their image, to keep people liking them.
That need to be better for others rather than for yourself will break a person. And I can’t tell you how many applications we received of people wanting to get closer to someone popular only to see their… slightly more relaxed and unhinged side and have the image of their hero crushed. Do your best for yourself! Rest! And treat others like people, not gods.
There were many people in the Free Company and Linkshell who felt they didn’t have a voice. So anything we heard was through the grapevine, and there was no real way of confirming feelings nor actual wording. You can’t tell what’s true and what’s false anymore. And if you try to verify, you’re causing problems because if they did say something in secret they know who likely “snitched” on them. I tried everything I knew, everything I researched, and every suggestion offered. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything but lead the horse to water.
Eventually, enough was enough. There was a huge falling out that I’m 99.8% sure my reputation is still scarred from. I quit playing FFXIV. Once you’re burned that many times by that many people you trust, it gets hard to ever want to go back. I didn’t want to risk any further health issues over stress from the game. Surely this was enough. Yeah.
Around late Fall, these arseholes wanted me to fill in their melee spot on Nidhogg Extreme. What was meant to be a single night because I still had some sub time left became my new raid team, and friends who–if I wasn’t close with before–I would gradually grow to trust them above all else. This unnamed team of happy fools returned the Light to FFXIV for me, and I can’t be thankful enough for that. Bandaid. Aud. Chamo. Dashe. Eve. Elyon. Alma. Y’all taught me so many things, even if those lessons weren’t intended.
We had joined Aud and Bandaid’s FC, which was something of a refuge for misfits. It worked really well for us! Definitely too quiet, but that’s a minor trade-off for alleviating any prior concerns. Eventually another raid team built up to conquer Deltascape, though eventually scheduling conflicts would break us in Sigmascape.
I went a whole year without a negative falling out with anyone, which was a huge change. And I started coming out of my shell and my closet more clearly. Even managed to cross former locked paths and reforge old bonds or at least make some kind of amends with a few folk. That’s always good on the heart, even if nothing comes of it.
This has been a good year so far, and eventful in its own right! Sure, FFXIV has been a little slow. We’re anxiously awaiting Alphascape–and burning down progress in Sigmascape until then with our new raid team. It’s led by an old friend of mine who used to be in Fail Brigade… though he and I have both changed quite a lot since those days!
I definitely miss being a part of something bigger, but I wonder if that’s just my going stir crazy causing me to miss the big picture. We’ll be going to FanFest 2018 this year and meeting so many friends that we barely think about just how many people we know. Like… I have over 970 followers on Twitter, which seems like a paltry amount to many I’m sure. But imagine 970 people all wanting to be friends with you? Welp!
Right now I just want a bit more activity and reason to play, and I think 4.4 dropping will give us that for a while. Or maybe I have to make it after all… eh, we’ll see what happens in the next five years.