Once again I look towards the Eastern skies and witnessed another glorious morning. I had spent the night traveling with my fateful steed in order to meet with a long lost friend. We chatted as the morning sun continued to rise, but the beach front looked too inviting to pass up. Eventually I stripped down naked and bathed in the crystal clear waters. Of course I am talking about Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood.
I first started playing Final Fantasy XIV in late 2013. I don’t remember hearing much about the original launch of the game, but when A Realm Reborn released I jumped on the opportunity to play a brand new online game. I was immediately impressed by the number of gil sellers within the game, I dutifully reported them and continued adventuring.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2017, that Final Fantasy XIV lured me back in with the Stormblood expansion. The promise of the new Samurai and Red Mage class really piqued my interest. For some reason I am drawn to Japanese inspired game design. Some day soon I will pick up and devour Nioh. In the meantime I am loving Cohh’s second playthrough on Twitch.tv. But I digress…
I only subbed for a month in July, and stopped playing after about a week of Main Story Quests. Playing a few months ago, I focused on completing the quests quickly in order to get to the endgame. But I still did not have any friends or guildmates to participate in endgame activities with, so I was working towards a hollow finish line at best.
I have learned a lot about my gaming tendencies over the last month or so. I have done a lot of introspection about the gaming industry and begun to take note of the wider happenings within the medium. Video games are beautiful, fulfilling works of art that can teach the player a lot about themselves through interactive gameplay and story telling. They can also be excessive cash grabs made on the backs of developers working too many hours and executives earning too much money.
Naoki Yoshida is the current producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV. He is also responsible for the rebirth of the game after a disastrous launch that nearly placed the game on life support. His direction has made Final Fantasy XIV stronger than ever, and its fantastic business practices and excellent player communication go a long way into making me feel respected as a member of the community. Through interviews and player communications Yoshida talks directly to the players, addressed their concerns and gives realistic feedback about the future of the game. Something that many other game producers could learn from.
The story quests in Final Fantasy XIV are sometimes long and tedious. The combat system is at times slow. But the world that the developers have created invites the player inside unlike any other online game. I did not enjoy the game experience when I played Final Fantasy XIV as a single player game, only focused on completing objectives and rushing through story missions. Taking the time to live in this world makes the story quests feel much more impactful. I only do a handful of missions each time I log on, but I take time to explore each area and let the world wash over me.
I don’t want to finish the game quickly. I never want to beat this game. I would still be happy if I never reach the maximum level. I take the time to send messages to other players, whether they be fishing or leveling alongside me. I take the time to explore the world and complete side quests. I even take the time to swim in the ocean.
Ultimately I hope to one day own a home within the Final Fantasy XIV community and wave at my neighbors. It might sound boring, but being a part of a lively and respected community is a fantastic way to relax after a long day of work. I can escape into the world of Eorzea and know that my character means something. Maybe someday Brian, Ian, and Chase will join me on a cross country Chocobo ride.