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Distant Worlds IV - Dalmasca Estersand from Final Fantasy XII
(Up Next: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - Eruyt Village)

Looking Back Into Final Fantasy XIV’s Raiding Scene

September 27th, 2017 by jet

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Raiding, in most MMOs is a method of acquiring the best gear for one’s class; throwing opponents at a group of people in order to promote teamwork. Sadly, this is not always effective, as tensions rise when health drops. Nevertheless, I took a dive into the raiding scene in XIV to scope it out.

When launching myself into Final Fantasy XIV’s raiding scene for the first time, I did so with trepidation. Up to that point, I had heard unpleasant stories from fellow players, friends whose opinion I trusted implicitly. A warrior main would come into voice communications full of bluster and rage, informing us all of his annoyances with the mechanics and how the performances of his raiding partners weren’t up to par. So, understandably, when I initially decided to go above and beyond my comfort zone, it was with a heady dose of cautiousness. Coming in as a black mage, while I was confident in my abilities, it had been far too long since I experienced the toxicity that raiding and game modes like it can bring.

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My first evening as a raid damage-dealer was a harrowing one. I expect that I drew a poor lot, as my raid leader was a harsh taskmaster, immediately kicking two members that hadn’t watched a video of the encounter before replacing them, claiming “they’re wasting our time”. It didn’t bode well for the remainder of the evening; I stayed silent for the vast majority of it, only  making call-outs during a mechanic that the main tank might have missed. One of our healers dropped out halfway through after a particularly nasty wipe and the flurry of beratement that the raid leader spat in their direction. The whole event was a painful one, leaving me wondering whether or not raiding would be even for me. The experience left a bitter taste in my mouth; I sat out the rest of that raid tier and joined in months later, when I was sure I wouldn’t come across this particular raid leader again.

The passage of time is funny indeed as I hesitantly looked for a raiding team for the third tier of Alexander (Savage), this time deciding that I’d be giving healing an attempt, as I had been playing my Astrologian in most content as of late. I have to say, while my first experience raiding in XIV was poor, I found myself with the good luck of finding an excellent group that not only excelled in their chosen classes, but did so with such an easy camaraderie that cheered us on through even the most embarrassing of wipes. Spirits were light and I found myself looking forward to sessions with an eagerness I didn’t think was possible.

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These varied experiences bring me to a fine point years later. Now comfortable both as a damage-dealer as well as a raid main healer, my earlier hesitancy feels entirely justified, if a hair on the silly side. Far too often in the gaming scene are people made to feel as though they aren’t good enough to progress in certain higher-level areas. However, in these circles, it is more often than not looked down upon to assist “lower-tier” players, referred to the assistance of them as “care-bearing”. This attitude makes me wonder when it became commonplace to belittle your fellow player in what is a cooperative game as opposed to helping them help you. On a similar vein, I wonder also why there is this competitive streak in MMOs, in these massive games that hammer down the importance of cooperative play (as is the case with XIV). My first raid leader’s passionate screaming, turning quickly into a very blatant “this is why you’re garbage” speech does nothing to build the morale of allies. This rude attitude which is so ingrained into the gaming community as a whole, is used so often that it’s paired with success.

That being said, the raid team I later joined and found myself having a wonderful time with engaged rather fully in the behavior that was so easily mocked and we found ourselves completing content in a timely manner without the desire to berate our fellow players. Which leads me to believe that such callous behavior is wholly unnecessary. Indeed, the mentor system implemented in Patch 3.2 was a step in this direction. By allowing more seasoned players to benefit from helping newer players, the development team sought to alleviate some of the more glaring examples of elitism. With rewards in place for completing a newly-minted “mentor roulette” (a series of dungeons/trials that newer players would be more likely to be stuck on), it would appear that the developers realized some of these issues and would take appropriate steps to alleviate that.

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Scrolling down the in-game party finder, one is more likely to find several “looking for…” posts demanding that everyone in party be absolutely perfect at the encounter and their class, stating that “one wipe = disband” and the like. This unwelcoming attitude right off the bat can encourage more toxicity that stews in the community and brews to the point where newer players–like myself a few years back–would see this community and be intensely put off by it. It’s harming the community, ruining the drive of those who have come to this game seeking fun and getting scoffed at for such.

This virulent community that’s growing makes newer players and newer raiders alike going into the scene wonder, naturally, if it’s not fun, why do it? However, as someone that has had those poor experiences and persevered past them onto better experiences, I can attest that it is fun. I promise you that it is. A new raider can learn so much about their chosen profession, can interact with some amazing community members. I implore those waffling over raiding as a whole to give it a go, just as I’ve entreated those already deeply entrenched within the XIV raiding scene to make it more welcoming for this fresh batch of raiders, as it is only with a welcoming community that we can thrive as a player base.

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