Typically, when it comes to video games, I’m not one to dote on a game for too long. That’s where MMOs come in, being that any given MMO is designed around this feature. MMOs want the player base to stay. They’re a social space for gamers to gather together not only as heroes, but heroes in worlds that can be shared or coveted (factions, am I right?).
Cutting to the chase, like anyone who loves a good MMO, there was a first. FFXI was introduced to me while in middle school as something that could be played with friends that didn’t require physically being there. Its home base still might be the reason for returning to FFXIV as a go-to MMO. Although, things are different this time around and there is binding reason to stay besides the FFXIV: Stormblood DLC just around the corner.
Up until recently, the on/off relationship that has been my stint with FFXIV goes all the way back to when the game first launched. Being so dedicated to FFXI naturally made my younger self gravitate towards immediately buying FFXIV back in 2010 without second thoughts. It also meant a collector’s edition… something not pursued in the slightest anymore. So, it’s 2017 and a new DLC is about to arrive. Which probably would have drawn me back eventually. Unlike before, though, I actually have people to play with. Oh, and the game is amazing now. FFXIV: A Realm Reborn improved exponentially the game as a whole. What FFXIV has managed to do in that time is continually churn out quality content while improving upon the core structures of the game, making for one of the best MMOs out there. It maintains a solid player base and even when logging in most recently there seemed to be a healthy number of new players.
While the number of new players most likely has to do with the upcoming Stormblood DLC (not the only DLC coming out for an MMO), there’s a sneaking suspicion that many are returning. Either way, FFXIV is alive and well. A vibrant community that welcomes any and all. Every time I have made a return, it has never been hard to find welcoming arms to guide the way. Bringing it back to the statement previously. The reason for my return to Eorzea this time is that I now have people to play with that I personally know. Yes, I’m one of those MMO players. That’s just the socialization required, though. Playing with strangers is always a bit nerve raking, especially having previously encountered the dregs of the MMO worlds. It doesn’t matter what you play, there will be trolls because it’s online. And, while doing my best to avoid said trolls, it can still get to one’s core. Which is another reason for having real world friends in game as they will actually lift spirits instead of bringing them down. Dungeon didn’t go as planned, no worries, everyone is cool and will pat each other on the back. Better than some PUG screaming obscenities at me.
In such a short time back, FFXIV feels like a comfy pair of beat up sneakers. Sure, they may have not been worn in a while, but that doesn’t mean they don’t fit. Coming back to FFXIV never feels daunting. It’s a game that understands it has a lot of moving parts, but doles them out in a way that isn’t force fed. It’s paced appropriately so new players can get the hang of things and old players can get muscle memory back. Already I’m burning through levels but without feeling like I’m missing anything. Yes, it has the tried-n-true story of being the hero, but that’s not what draws me in. It’s the socialization. It’s knowing I’ll be conquering the bad guys with friends by my side. Dungeon delving is fun, but dragons aren’t a solo game. Even single player RPGs have a party by one’s side.
So, here’s to MMOs, whatever your flavor. Whether it be WoW, EVE or FFXIV. We’re all in it together; just don’t let the trolls get you down. And if they do, find some friends that will be there when the times are tough. It makes for much better play.