Around this time last year I started my first MMORPG Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. I came in at the expansion, Heavensward, so a lot of things were already established and I was ready to be apart of it. I had never played an MMO before simply because I don’t think I was into trying to make “friends” online. Growing up the perception was that MMOs were for closeted socially awkward geeks who couldn’t interact with “real” people. Thanks to the internet revolution, a lot of that has been dispelled so I was ready to dive into this universe.
Being social in the game was quite interesting though. When you first start, you get a whole bunch of random invites from FCs so you join without really knowing what that means. The chat may be populated with people taking or not because they are in other programs like Team Speak or Discord. Until you figure out how the whole system works, you may jump from FC to FC until you find a good fit when you discover your goals in game. Do you want to be a crafter? Gatherer? Raider? Filthy Casual Pleb who just likes to talk? It’s up to you but depending on your FC that may be a good or bad thing for your online family.
Fast forward a few months, I had joined a Free Company (FC), FF14's version of Guilds, called Lordz of Battle on Primal Server: Brynhildr, met some awesome people and climbed through the ranks to become an officer. An officer’s duties were simple for my FC-help new players, be friendly and social, run trials and dungeons together, answer questions etc, so it made it an easy as well as fun job to do. Things were going great for a long while. The FC leader and I were going to be getting Eternally Bonded so I could get a double seated chocobo, recruiting was going well, people were playing and enjoying the content, being social. Then our FC leader leaves a Company Board post saying he was going to be gone for 2 weeks but will be back later. We are now sitting at 135 days of the him being gone and the FC leadership has come to me. Hurray! :(
So I guess this is where the point of this whole article thing comes in. I never intended to start an FC of my own and definitely not run one. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of people willing to take the responsibility so I had one of four options. One, attempt to pass leadership on to someone else and say fuck it, two, leave the FC because its not my problem anyway, 3, keep leadership and kick everyone else from the FC and 4, take over being the FC leader. Guess which one I chose? You guessed it, I am the new FC Leader in truth.
I know how I am as a leader and I also know my IRL expectations. The former leader was a stay at home dad that went to school from home so he was on 24/7. I knew I couldn’t do that so delegating duties were a necessary thing. I started a Discord, am planning to have an FC officer create a website, have been advertising on ffxivReddit and in game via Party Finder to recruit rather than send blind invites to new players, etc. These are all the things that a leader should do but I must admit its feeling more like another job than playing the game that I had grown to enjoy.
I know what some people may say, pass leadership, leave the FC, quit the game and I get it. Those are all viable options and may happen at some point but ultimately, I wouldn’t still be playing this game if I hadn’t been in my FC and made all my in game friends. That is the case for a lot of people who stay subbed to the game during content lulls and all of that stuff. I have read about people meeting their future husbands and wives in this game. Its a game but then its not at the same time because you are dealing with REAL people. I can tell you now, that I already know I have to make new boundaries to make sure I don’t “dread” logging on in game. I have to make sure that I don’t become overwhelmed with the responsibility and if I feel like that may be the case, find a way to delegate more duties or pass leadership on.
After writing this all out, I’m not exactly sure what my actual point was lol. I guess after explaining a bit I have a question to the community, when dealing with the MMO community how social is it supposed to be? Is there a line? What happens if you happen to “fall in” to a leadership position and there are people possibly depending on you? And if it has happened to you, how do you deal with it?
Until Next Time,
PS: If you do happen to find yourself on Brynhildr feel free to stop by because we are always accepting new friends :)