This will be largely unedited as my experiences in Heavensward are coming back to me as I write this. I apologize in advance if some of the orders of events is off and I also apologize if some of the subject matter of my experiences and language are too strong. Names and intials will be mentioned (mostly) but only to highlight certain events.
What this will talk about are my experiences with meeting people on my server Famfrit and my experiences in Heavensward since I feel like I truly started playing around the time of expansion launch. Raid experiences will be touched upon but it will be more of the social aspects outside rather than doing the raids. I will link my raiding experiences below so you can read what I thought of Alexander Creator.
The original communities I came from are Starcraft , Dota , and Borderlands. Coming to Final Fantasy XIV was a whole new adventure for me even if I started the game out with people I knew. A lot of those people ended up quitting the game for various reasons but I think the best thing to have come out of this whole thing was a different perspective on a community that was closer knit than most. I originally was not going to keep playing but I found that I didn’t like Destiny and Borderlands was dry of content so I chose to stay an enjoy my time in XIV.
When I started this game, I started on the tail end of A Realm Reborn and truly started when Heavensward released. I still got to experience the Crystal Tower and some of the extreme primals but not too far into Bahamut Coils because of how much my time was limited I could never complete it. The guild I joined was called Light and as of this article, they are currently using the tag “LORE”. I thought the guild was helpful by going with me to dungeons to help me level and for giving me my first actual social experiences in the game. Although there were many different kinds of people, everyone was nice and were always willing to help.
After a little while in Heavensward, I felt like the leveling experience was severely slowed down so that people would have to squeeze every drop from their side quests and run dungeons multiple times just to level up. I was lucky to be rolling a tank because of the fast queue times but for other people trying out the new classes, I could tell that queue times were ridiculously long and I felt bad for them. The only thing I did to level was spam fates in the Churning Mists because fates were short and people were all over the place. At this time, my guild was starting to break into cliques and people formed their own parties to level with and I was stuck leveling on my own. The cliques that formed ended up leaving Light to go to other guilds which I was a bit dumbfounded by but later on I came to understand their position when I became level 60.
When I became level 60, I was happy that the grind ended but I knew at some point I would have to level something else just to pass the time. I want to say that I got to 60 just as Alexander Gordias was being released so I entered a new grind of gearing up. The new law tome grind was something I thought was an incredible pain because while I was trying to gear up, people were already entering Alexander so I felt like I was behind. Running the dungeons did not seem so bad but after running them every single day it felt like it was a huge chore so I started only half-capping my tomes. It wouldn’t have been so bad if people in my guild were actually grinding with me but unfortunately I was alone for a majority of my grinding. The guild leader was mostly just on and off the game while others were not leveled, not active, or they were not where I was. There were times where I didn’t get my loot from the weekly Alexander because I didn’t have help and my rolls were complete garbage. A lot of these times were when I wanted to quit because I felt like there was no point to playing the MMO if I was going to be playing by myself. This was when I left Light and was in search for another guild.
Warning: The following paragraph’s subject matter and language is highly suggestive
After some searching, I decided to join Rule of Rose because I liked what they were doing with their players and were in the middle of finding tanks. The way I met Caster Class and Jak Mar was hilarious because they were fellating people in Idyllshire while trying to recruit and I stumbled upon them. Caster Class’ recruitment pitch was I should join because I play as a basic human model character and that they needed tanks for end game content. She looked at my gear and said to me that we needed to run Alexander and get my loot because I explained that I didn’t have the gear because my last guild could never help out with that. Caster, Jak, and I queued up for Alexander 3 normal and I ended up getting my loot. I felt like it was a convincing argument to join Rule of Rose and to stay for a long time because they were everything I was looking for in terms of getting an opportunity to do end game. Around this time, I was also using party finder to clear Bismarck EX and after a couple of hours, I finally beat it although it took me while to beat Ravana. I did not beat either primal with the guild but after beating Ravana, Jak Mar immediately contacted me to fill in for Alexander Savage 1. Raiding wasn’t entirely new to me but the fact that Rule of Rose had eight members of the same guild going in together was something I definitely didn’t expect because most statics had people from different guilds at the time. Light would never have attempted savage in my tenure. I won’t go into specifics of the raid but I definitely thought I was in the right place with the right people that had the right mindset. What I will say is that we beat floor 1 with two paladins which was considered near impossible to do so I’m extremely proud of that.
While I was trying to progress with some friends in Alexander, I realized that a lot of people on my friend’s list had the status of (Unable to retrieve). It took me awhile to figure out that it means that those people transferred off the server. I didn’t understand why at first but it seemed like for the people who wanted to raid they transferred to a server like Leviathan or to Gilgamesh in hopes of finding a better raid group. “Better raid group” was the excuse most people gave to transfer servers but what I think they didn’t realize was that those people were actually the problem to begin with. The most hilarious thing to have occurred was people transferring and then coming back because things didn’t work the way they thought they were. It isn’t my place to tell people what to do with their money but in this case, I felt like it was such a waste of time and money to not even progress further than where I was. My personal progression at this time was me beating A2S and going into A3S but these people transferred to beat A2S which was easier than 1. All those stories on Reddit talking about how their statics broke because of A3S? That was these people and then they could never beat it while later on, I ended up beating it with two different groups on Famfrit. I’m not the best player but sticking it out and trying to make it work was way better than to waste money. The transfers did affect Famfrit in a negative way because now everything felt like it was dead while the few remaining statics were still trying to progress. In the end, I ended up beating Gordias Savage on Famfrit while all those people ended up quitting, transferring back because they were idiots, or they were just stuck on A3S and never beat the tier.
The other problem was that the content was severely lacking so raiding was really the only choice people had because there were no new 24-man raids. For Famfrit, the lack of content outside of raiding contributed to the server being dead for such a long period of time. Normally PvP would be an afterthought but because people got tired of running the same dungeons over and over and raiding was kind of terrible, PvP rose again and I think this might have been the height of PvP in XIV. Seal Rock being “capture the point” was a huge selling point for me so I decided to grind out a lot of games. The crew that was with me were Hack Frost (Tae Jin now), Gwenhwyfar Valfreyja, Shorosin Lionheart, and Daimante Levallin although Rhys joined us sometimes. I think what made PvP fun were the people that I was playing with since we were a great group. When Fields of Glory came out, Hack and I went over to that and found that it was extremely PvE focused. Fields of Glory does have actual player killing elements and while it is important to kill, the PvE element of destroying crystals had far more importance placed on it.
Diadem was also released but even though you had to be lucky to get high level gear, a lot of it was actually better than what Gordias savage was dropping. I didn’t really get a piece of gear because I wanted materia but I actually liked the beta Diadem they had going because it gave people something to do and materia was a huge incentive for me to go. High level gear wasn’t necessarily fun for me to farm but knowing how much materia I could end up with was a much more appealing thing to me. I did try the later Diadem but to me it was just a bunch of fate farming and I thought it was more boring than the first iteration. The emergency mission raid was pretty cool but I didn’t feel like I had to farm for the high level weapon so I only did it once and never went back.
Speeding things up to 3.2, my new group with Lira, Binks, and Sunny was also raiding together since the tail end of Gordias but in our meeting, we had a lot of hope going into Midas because we felt like we were better than a lot of groups out there. We beat Sephirot EX and Floor 5 Savage pretty quickly but it seems like when we hit A6S we hit a road block where it wasn’t our lack of progress but rather people needing to do other things. I actually think Midas as a whole didn’t exactly bring people back into the server but there were definitely things that were better in Midas than in Gordias. For me personally, Midas brought a lot of opportunity to explore what other raid groups brought and then the release of Raid Finder which really changed the game because people were not confined to their own server’s party finder.
My timeline of events might be off but there was a time where a couple of my friends decided to invite me to a random Sephirot EX run and this might have been the time I was looking at other groups to see how they functioned. There was a healer doing shotcalling by the name of Ellesmera Druidae who I actually thought was doing an amazing job solo-healing on her own. She reminded me a lot of Eleila Jane in Rule of Rose who was also a skilled healer but didn’t have the time to commit to a group. I honestly felt like Lira should have picked up Elle rather than Cip because while Cip was an average healer, we needed someone who could be left to solo heal on their own and Elle was the superior healer. I think her healing had such a lasting effect that when my group was going back for raid, it got me thinking that we really needed to change healers and pick up a new melee DPS but that wasn’t going to be the case. Elle’s defining moment for me was when she told one of her group members off for wanting to get out of raid so early. To me, I felt like her not putting up with that dude’s crap was the edge Lira and Binks lacked when it came to telling people to sit the fuck down. While people know that Elle is the current reigning defending champion of Astrologian/White Mage in my group, she was the primary influence in me leaving Lira’s group and joining up with Zane and Miah because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of playing with a real healer that I felt most of my previous raid groups lacked. The other part is that I didn’t know I would get eternally bonded so quickly (of course this would happen to me).
Now the eternal bonding ceremony has its own section because from my angle, there were a lot of things that happened before and after. I’m not actually sure how long it took from the initial meeting point to eternal bonding aggro but I know it definitely was extremely fast and eventful. There was another girl who actually wanted to marry in-game and I’ll only put the initials “A.Q.” to hide identity but she was really adamant on marriage and I rejected the offer on the basis that I didn’t actually want to marry in-game but in reality, I thought she was crazy. AQ was actually one of those people that would verbally abuse you for a few days in a row and then be nice to you for a day. She might be one of the dumbest people I have ever met in my life. From what I heard from a couple of friends was that Elle was interested in eternal bonding with me after subbing for Sephirot EX and A5 Savage and it spawned the joke “Love at First Tank” and a “Plant the seeds!” chant from my linkshell. I actually think we were both talking through people we knew but it also definitely helped that I sent her Frozen Spirit every week for raid. Rina and Recca were the people who I think orchestrated this whole thing and served as a liaison between the both of us and I think Rina told me to just go talk to her and I’m sure Elle got the same message about talking to me. I’m very sure that I’ve told Elle this but before I actually cannot imagine a life without her anymore because so much has happened. I actually feel like Heavensward and my in-game life took off after that exact moment, it’s hard to imagine life without her.
After eternally bonding and finally forming the raid group, we finally were able to reprogress into A6S and beat Nidhogg although we had our problems with our Scholar at the time with attendance. This was the patch when Raid Finder was born so we were able to queue into a random White Mage and clear A5S for the week while we looked for someone to progress A6S with for the next night. I always wondered why it wasn’t a feature in the first place because so many people needed roles to be filled in. We ended up clearing A6S for the week using subs on raid finder much later and it still confuses me on why it wasn’t included when Famfrit needed it most in Gordias.
Nidhogg EX was an adventure on its own because I’m among the first people to clear that primal and it only took a handful of tries. The only thing that was terrible was farming for the weapons because we would wipe in between some pulls. The time we cleared was after 1 AM PST so when we were done farming, we were beat. The primal to me was extremely easy on release and I felt like it was a good gateway for groups to try and synergize because it had a lot of party mechanics involved. My raid group cleared it two nights after I cleared with Miah and Zane on release. I still think the combination of Flara’s raid group and some of mine was extremely unfair if people were competing just because I had some ridiculous statistic of being top 10 to clear every primal. The weapons were useful in Midas if groups were pushing A7S but otherwise they were a nice upgrade to most people’s regular Lore weapon.
This was also the time I had a heat stroke and I’m going to detail most of that now because a lot of my days were me sleeping in bed or on a couch contemplating what I was going to do. I actually didn’t have too much time to tell my raid group because it happened suddenly. What I can remember about it was that I was supposed to attend an in-game wedding and suddenly I was on the verge of fainting and when I woke up, everything was over and I was dizzy and trying to regain my bearings. I was nauseated and I couldn’t really walk or do much until my dizziness ended. My diet was Gatorade and water and I felt like parts of me were slipping away. The dreams I had were various people visiting me from in-game (as their characters) or friends outside the game giving me supportive messages. At this time, my brother tells me that people know about what happened but then I had a very specific set of instructions for him and SodaCan to make sure things would run smoothly. What also happened was my raid group cut our Scholar and to this day, that is the only roster change our group has made at the time of this article’s release.
While I was recovering, I tried to get up and walk a little bit further and do a little bit more because I wanted to get back to raiding as soon as I could. The other issue was that I needed to find a replacement for our cut player and I also wanted to be as good as possible for that. There were a lot of supportive messages but it seems like a lot of people from XIV found out before even my family did which I felt was fitting for how quickly things happened. Ellesmera, Rina, Alis, and Jak Mar were the ones who checked in with me every day although what my brother was tasked to do was to get these people food so that they were ready to raid. At some point, I was prepared mentally for the consequences of coming back too soon if they needed another player and I actually regained enough of a bearing to be able to come back but I was told to hold until the weekend. I did log in to address everyone and to tell people I was doing alright but there were some rude people that asked me to queue in progress for fights that were a bit too intense for me to come back to. I did hear that some people told them off and reminded them of what they said to me. The first fight I came back to was Nidhogg EX and I was testing to see if I could manage but mostly to help Elle get tokens for her weapon in the first seven clears in the afternoon and then I helped Ilocano and Steve get more tokens with the FC at night time.
As far as addressing the need for another healer, there were many candidates but the person I wanted in the group the most was Katty Wompuss. I felt like the group needed someone more experienced and a bit more vocal in the other healing position and she fit perfectly. She may not know this but I was actually only a day recovered from my heat stroke when I decided to message her. A lot of the conversations went well and I wanted to surprise the group when I came back and I think they were surprised but the thing I told them was that I was fueled by shrimp chips and raid. She was coming out of one raid group and tried another but she didn’t like the one she was trying out so she decided to give us a shot. What was sold to her was shorter days and hours but there will be progression and it will get further. The problem I saw was that coming from four days a week meant that she experienced a lot of times where she was burning out or she just only had the energy to go 3 or 3.5 days rather than the entire four because of her day job and raiding the night before. One of the thing I also noticed in a lot of groups at the time was that they didn’t know how to control the energy level of their players which lead to a lot of them burning out. To go back to talking about Katty, I felt like the group didn’t truly form until she arrived. She was extremely instrumental for us in Midas and lead our group to getting a lot of people’s first A6S clears. As far as her personality goes, she was extremely entertaining to listen to sometimes although I think for a lot of the people, they needed someone like her to listen to instead of me groaning all the time. Katty made the healing unit our strongest unit going into Creator. All of our roles were still learning and developing but our healing was strong and may have carried us for a long time.
Creator was interesting for me because I looked at the entirety of our roster and it felt like we were strong contenders for a lot of milestones but I’m not entirely sure why some people thought that we could contend for server firsts. Our group raids a very casual schedule but it seems like from our progression, we weren’t very far behind in beating each floor. The meeting I had with everyone one on one was that Katty really liked healing with Elle and Taco and Miah both wanted to share more responsibility and in Taco’s case, he thought the tier would require more of him and he ended up predicting it correctly like a genius. It turned out that we beat Sophia EX because he was able to call things out and he did take it a lot more seriously which resulted in us getting some gear early on before going in to raid. I think our biggest regret was not going into savage right away but I do think that not attempting right away allowed us to have some time before going hard. We were able to clear 9 and 10 within a couple weeks of each other with Katty solo-healing 9 for a while and with us clearing 10 by the skin of our teeth because of so many deaths. The play of our group elevated but I felt like we needed to step up more in A11S because that’s what was holding groups back. Our A11S win condition was our healers and when they learned their roles in the fight, we progressed significantly. We took a break for the holidays before truly beginning A12S progression but when we came back, we had to relearn nearly everything and it took us a little bit but we killed it.
In our spare time, some of us would try Palace of the Dead just to see what all the hype was about because this is XIV’s first deep dungeon experience and it’s supposed to be tailored to the “midcore” audience. We found floors 1-140 to be a complete faceroll while 150 started to get a little challenging because a lot of the enemies started to have mechanics to them and we could only pull one to two at a time. The other thing was found was that sneaking around was our best friend at the later levels but because I didn’t have the gear level we ended up wiping on a Behemoth boss and had to start over. I actually think POTD is fun after 100 but the first 100 floors are extremely boring. I probably will attempt it again in Stormblood when it comes out but I’m not rushing to go right away.
Cross-Server PF was released during this time and it made it easier to get our friends to join us when we needed subs on extremely rare occasions. Even though we only used one sub the entire time, it was so convenient to just be able to get someone a password and have them join without having to randomly snipe people in raid finder. For Famfrit, the normal complaint was that there was nothing in party finder but now with cross-server PF, there was always something to farm, clear, or even learn and now no one could complain. I think the functionality of cross-server pf definitely redefined raiding and it helped a lot of groups replace missing members. It might be the most successful thing to be released since Palace of the dead.
The Heavensward 24-man raids were all okay to me but it felt like a chore to run them after a while. I think the Weeping City was the best one just because of how hard everything was tuned and it kept players honest. Void Ark was a huge faceroll to me because nothing really hit hard while Weeping City had a lot of hard hitting mechanics and actual DPS checks that had to make players honest. Dun Scaith was the definition of medium difficulty because while the second and third bosses had a lot of dances to memorize, the last boss could end himself if you waited around long enough. I would rank both ARR’s Crystal Tower and Heavensward’s Sky Pirate raid about the same in terms of fun and difficulty. I still think the way they implemented Proto Ultima was dumb because they could have had the chance to introduce a 24-man trial but they dropped the ball really hard. For raiders, they probably will use the 24-mans to gear up some classes but probably won’t come back after a month of doing it. I know I didn’t do the 24-mans every week just like I haven’t done scripture capping since December 2016.
As far as Famfrit goes, I think with the new wave of people coming in and with streamers starting to pack the server it will be better than ever. Creator savage was the perfect difficulty to repair the raiding scene but I also think that the introduction of cross-server party finder and raid finder were instrumental in people finally staying on their servers and not bangwagoning off. Content like Diadem and Palace of the Dead have definitely brought some life back because people are running those and being more social which I think is great as a whole. I don’t think there will ever be a real hardcore group on Famfrit but I do see a lot of growth within the “midcore” and casual raiding scenes which is great because of how much Gordias and Midas destroyed the server. Stormblood will be filled with a lot of opportunity and uncertainty because everything will be brand new. We will have to see!
As far as my personal plans go, I think I will be raiding through the first iteration of Omega Savage but I’m not so sure about after because I do want to take a break and play more casually while I recover both physically and mentally. I’ve felt some burn out from bird farming and from mentally putting so much effort in the Alexander raids that it tired me out. I severely underestimated the mental fortitude it takes to be able to plan, make strategies, and then review footage. A lot of how I prepared was from previous esports games but it was just different in XIV because I also had to make sure that seven other people are also on top of what they are doing instead of just four others. The biggest issue is that old injuries from sports and my playing days have caught up to me so I’ve been resting and only playing when I need to play. I also think that my skills are rapidly declining and this is something that I don’t think can be reversed. I think the decline started around A12S progression and continued there. With my time away with other obligations and having to play catch- up, I will have a lot to think about in the coming days because things will be difficult. I may raid again after Omega 1 but it definitely won’t happen until Omega 3 savage. Till next time, thanks!
Thank you for reading this! Safe travels in Stormblood friends!
(Art by Alice)