TL;DR: I’ve been promoted to Free Company leader in FFXIV, and I’m thinking about what it means to take on social responsibilities in an MMO.
I’ve organized a few small guilds in the past, mostly Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 guilds that included RL or online friends. In a lot of games I’ve played, however, guilds haven’t really been a requirement for me. There are plenty of games that I never joined a guild in… mostly because I was stranger-shy.
Because I’m a casual player who has tons of other RL stuff to keep up with (full time job, art and writing projects), I’m not always a good choice to run a guild. While I’m good at organizing and communicating, I’m also group-shy and I don’t PVP or raid. Sometimes I can be anti-social all together — I have days when I just log in, pretend I don’t exist, don’t feel like talking to anyone, and run my dailies before logging off.
So, in FFXIV, I decided that I wanted to be a follower (and supporter) rather than a leader. I still feel that there’s so much about the game I don’t know. How can I possibly lead others when I’m still trying to learn these things for myself?
But the problem is… finding the right fit of people and leadership to match my playstyle and personality. That’s not always an easy thing unless you go about building what you want for yourself. At this point in FFXIV, creating a FC isn’t just a “If you build it, they will come” thing anymore, either. The game is settling into its rhythms and many people, aside from newcomers, have already found their place.
Finding My Place
I was stressed about my FC situation quite a bit — I had a hard time finding one that fit me. I joined Link Shells to help fill that social void. What I really wanted was a place where I could contribute with the skills I had, and feel like I could offer something meaningful. I couldn’t do that with an established guild who had a focus on raiding and high level content, which seems like what you find most of the time.
One night, Syn and I ran a dungeon and met a Black Mage who we thought was really cool. He was about our level, seemed nice, and was a good player. Syn looked him up after the run and discovered he was on our server. After chatting, we also discovered that he and his friends were about to found their own FC that had a philosophy similar to what we were looking for.
So, we said goodbye to our previous FC and helped to found <Guard>.
I’m still learning about people in the FC, but I’ve met and befriended a number of good folks there. The FC is casual, aimed at people who are still progressing through story, and some who like doing the more soft-core end game content. But most of all, it’s a social FC that tries to assist the members and other players any way possible. I know that without them, I would still be floundering up the courage to earn my Relic weapon!
Though I was more or less a stranger to the other members at the time we founded the guild, I saw the promise and wanted to take initiative. So, the first thing I did was create a FC website, and offered it to the FC leader. She and the members were very happy with it, and she asked if I wanted to continue the upkeep of the site. I agreed, and settled into the position of the Site Knight.
Aside from running the site, I didn’t go out of my way to seek a position in the FC. I wasn’t sure I wanted that responsibility, especially since I didn’t know everyone, and we were getting new members coming in. I focused on developing Zuri to be a stronger Bard, and in turn, found it much easier to help out lower level FC members with what they needed.
Weeks went by. We saved to buy our FC house. I was also saving for personal housing, so I had a good stash of gil on hand. I ended up giving most of this to the FC in order to complete the purchase of the land and the housing deed (it really sucks that you have to plunk down nearly half a million gil for the deed, even after purchasing the very expensive land). Due to that, and my previous activity in the FC, the leader offered me an officer position, which I took.
So a bit of time’s went by since I became an officer. The FC leader came to me last night, detailing her real life worries. It’s summer. And summer means folks are travelling, the WildStar release, and people not being around as much in general. It’s just the way it rolls on the Internet. Due to these RL responsibilities, the leader asks if I will step up as third in command, with basically the same privileges as herself and the other guild leader.
I was pretty surprised, and also quite honored. I’ve enjoyed our FC and like the direction it’s going, so I really don’t want to see it fall by the wayside due to possible inactivity. But I also don’t take the responsibility lightly, and wonder if I really have the gaming knowledge and time to assist in leading the FC properly.
Despite my concerns, I did accept the position. I figure that I always have two other leaders to turn to if any trouble pops up in the FC. I want to do a good job, even if this means I have to come out of my shell even more, and find the courage to help people through content that still intimidates me. Maybe that’s a good thing?
All I know is that FFXIV has been a game that’s facilitated personal growth as I’ve become more comfortable in online group situations and confident in my own gaming performance. Running dungeons with strangers was not something I would have ever done a year ago. But last night: Titan Low Level Roulette… fastest 100 myth ever! And it was fun. 🙂