Becoming a Part of an Online Community

It is probably fair to assume that most of us are part of a digital or an online community out there whether they are small or big. You could be participating in an online group discussing work-out routines, or a community dealing with diet, food/cooking, fashion, etc. Even if you just casually use Facebook, for instance, and get involved in certain matters every now and then you can also consider yourself as a member of that particular community.

Today I would like to introduce an online gaming community which I have been part of for about seven years and explain how it has shaped my life and personality. The community and game concerning is Final Fantasy XIV.

Screenshot of my sister’s and my character

The World of Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) is a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role play game) produced by Square Enix and first published in 2010. Unfortunately, the initial release of the game was a huge fail, causing the company to fall into crisis. After Naoki Yoshida took over the production of the game and completely re-worked it, the new version of FFXIV was released in 2013 and amassed huge popularity and the influx of new players increases significantly to this day. So far, FFXIV has had three big expansion and another new expansion, which is extremely hyped at the moment, coming up this year in November.

In FFXIV players are encouraged to adventure through the world together and help each other to complete content as they also play through a massive story-line. While the beginning levels may seem easy to accomplish, late-game content requires a huge amount of teamwork, communication and practice.

My first encounter with FFXIV

Already as a little girl I enjoyed playing video games on the Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo DS. Being only familiar with single-player games and only knowing the Final Fantasy series as such, without doing any research I thought that number 14 would not be any different and I purchased it for my new PlayStation 3 at that time. Little did I know the concept of online gaming, left alone what a MMO was.

Since FFXIV is such a MMO game, and if you are familiar with their structure, you probably can imagine how confusing and difficult to understand it must have been for me when I first dived into it.
First, I had considered to give up on FFXIV since I did not grasp how to play it, but I gave it another chance and step by step learned how the system worked. Eventually, I ended up knowing the game in-and-out and can call myself a veteran player now.

In-Game screenshot taken by me

However, that would have not been possible without the fellow players who guided me through during the beginning levels of the game: it was my first time going out in the ‘wild’ with my level 1 character and not knowing what my battle skills were and how I could use them. Needless to say, I got killed multiple times by level 1 enemies. Thanks to a very supportive and understanding player I figured out how to fight and use the right combos. This person also invited me to a guild where I met a lot of different people who helped me understand how a MMO worked. Eventually, I became better and am now able to complete high-end content. Because of that, I do not have any issues to play any other MMO game out there.

How did it affect me?

Overall, I would say that FFXIV and its community had quite a positive effect on me. I have played some other MMO and online games since and I believe that FFXIV has one of the most supportive gaming communities out there. Of course, during the seven years I have been playing it I did encounter quite a lot of toxicity as well. The first time I came across a very toxic player I got involved in an argument and took everything they said too much to heart. But it has taught me to just ignore it and that it is basically not possible to discuss with such people.

However, the amount of rude players is only a handful compared to the amount of awesome players on FFXIV. During the course, I made quite a few good friends and my little sister has also joined the adventure. I spend my free time playing the game with them and we try new challenges and work together to complete the hardest contents out there. Since they require a lot of communication, we often discuss strategies by voice chat. This aspect has helped me a lot to overcome my anxiety to talk to people. I am now a much more open person and have less issues speaking with strangers. Resulting out of that, my English also improved significantly and I rarely had to study for English exams.

Coming back to my first encounter with very supportive players who helped me through the game in the beginning, I must say that it has inspired me to become a better person myself. Now, I am a mentor for new players and help them complete content and/or explain them how their class + skills work. Sometimes, I just buy pets and distribute them to new players. Their happy reactions are priceless to me.