Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of FFXIV: ARR’s launch.
I never played FFXIV 1.0. and I don’t know a whole lot about the original iteration, aside from what information YouTube videos provide. I wasn’t there for the launch of A Realm Reborn, either, as I had no intention of even giving FFXIV a sideways glance at the time.
Come mid September of last year, however, I was feeling burned out by the Living Story in Guild Wars 2. I was restless with what I had been playing, and I kept hearing how surprisingly good FFXIV was. So, between all those feelings, and oldskool nostalgia (which FFXIV knows how to play into well), I picked up the game as soon as the digital download was available for sale again.
I had no idea I’d still be in Eorzea to see the first year anniversary launch. Granted, I’ve had times of lull when I played other things for a while, though I still maintained my sub to FFXIV. There were rocky times of not finding the right Free Company fit, feeling like I’d never see level cap, anxiety over running dungeons, and various other things. The funny thing about it all was that this game encouraged me to overcome, persevere and step out of my gaming social comfort zone. And I did.
It’s a testament to a game that can take a group-shy gamer like me and make me want to work through group content, no matter how nervous it made me. I had some bad pugs, of course, but for the most part, I learned that I was more capable than I thought I was, and that mostly, other players were more forgiving than I gave them credit for. This doesn’t mean I’ve completely overcome all my dungeon-running fears, but I’m far, far more comfortable with it than I was a year ago.
I feel that I’ve grown as my character has grown. I feel like every time the FFXIV story celebrates my character, it also celebrates me and my own accomplishments. It’s like the game is saying, “Yay! Look at all you’ve done! And, you know what? You can handle what’s coming up next, too!”
The Rising is the anniversary event for FFXIV this year, and it did just that. FFXIV took a moment to celebrate the players and all their accomplishments, rather than just celebrate a year of a successful game launch. It reminded the characters of who they are in the world – a celebrated Warrior of Light – and sent rousing encouragement to say that no matter what darkness Eorzea faces, it’s something the light within can overcome.
It wasn’t a long event, but it didn’t need to be. Rewards included a new Huzzah emote, two adorable new minions and lots of fireworks and champagne popping bottles.
I still have soooo much content yet to see in FFXIV. I’m sincerely looking forward to the next year will hold!