Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

MMO Soul Searching: How Do You Learn to Relax at End Game? #blaugust2016

This post is a part of Blaugust 2016!

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I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about my MMO of choice: FFXIV. I’ve come to a number of conclusions, which I wanted to write about… but then I realized I had so much to say that I should probably break it up over a number of posts.

In some of these posts, I’m turning to you grizzled MMO end-game vets. I’ve never played any MMO to end game before, and I’m struggling with things that I think other players may have more experienced perceptions of.

Low Energy Player

Jeromai and Bhagpuss wrote some posts that really resonated with me last week. They both talked about Low and High Energy players. It only took me a moment to identify with being a Low Energy player — I like safe, comfortable and relaxing game play.

I tend to be easily overwhelmed, and a generally anxious person. I use games to unwind and shed stress, not to add to my stress. Only, in my perception, being at end game in FFXIV doesn’t really promote that coveted tranquility and relaxation.

Part of this is because I’m inexperienced with dealing with an end game in an MMO. This is a game of many firsts for me. My first raids. My first BiS gear grind. My first time consistently running group content (with strangers)! My first really serious guild with people who want to run content that I’d normally shy away from. And I’m the guild leader to boot!

Normally, my MMOs consist of:

  • questing (often solo)
  • hoping there’s a good story attached to said quests
  • crafting or gathering (if it’s fun)
  • building/decorating a plot/house
  • collecting cosmetics/pets/mounts
  • exploring and learning about the world/lore/NPCs
  • rolling a million alts to test new classes and do it all over again

What’s missing on that list? Pretty much everything FFXIV end game is: dungeons, raids, gear grind, etc.

But despite the fact FFXIV’s end game activities don’t mesh with my gaming personality, there’s something (that I just haven’t identified) that keeps me enthralled with Eorzea. Next month will mark 3 full years of being subscribed to this game, consistently month after month, without a break. This is the longest time I’ve subbed to a game. I guess you can consider FFXIV my equivalent of most people’s WoW.

So here’s where my soul searching comes in.

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How Do You Relax at End Game?

FFXIV is a game that has always been stressful for me. Though it pushes me out of my normal boundaries with group play, and that’s a good thing, there’s only so much of that I can handle before the game becomes perceived as another source of stress that I want to avoid. I started to feel this stress most acutely during Heavensward, when end game was suddenly upon me, and I found myself struggling to do what other people do.

Because that’s what people at end game do, right?

This week, when work stress was getting high and I was looking for any way to relax and escape that, I came to a realization.

The way I think about FFXIV has changed. And not for the better.

When I log in, though I crave relaxation, all I can think about is progression. Did I do beast tribe dailies today? Did I get a drop in Weeping City this week? How many more Lore Tomes do I need for the next piece of gear? Do I have enough seals or tomes to buy one more item for my Relic?

Wow. No wonder I feel stressed.

I like progression and goals, but when I view a game like that, then it’s bordering on turning into work.

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I considered rolling an alt just to get a fresh perspective, like I’d do in most MMOs when I need a change. But FFXIV really discourages alts, and several things stopped me:

  • I felt like I was wasting time on an alt because I wasn’t progressing towards what’s important on my main
  • Leveling forces a million dungeons on you just to progress through story
  • There’s no classes that I’m that curious about that I haven’t already played or leveled on my other high level characters… feels like a waste of time…
  • I already have a number of alts that ended up ignored because of all of the above…

In fact, rolling an alt just feels like even more work. Especially since I’d never be able to gear that alt up at end game.

Man. This game’s really messed with my head if all I can see is the end game.

How about crafting? Well, now that all my crafters are at level 60, all that’s honestly left for me to do is craft-grind for gear and book upgrades. And I’m just not really in the mood to tackle that. Sure, there’s lots of things to craft, I guess. But I just don’t have the patience to gather from timed nodes, and keep up with all the materials right now. I’ve taken a break from crafting after getting burned out on levequests.

So, I guess my question is, what do other players do to shake that end game mentality and learn to relax again?

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I’ve come to the conclusion that this is all me and my perception of the game. I want to keep playing, and I’m not looking for “take a break” as an answer (I have taken small breaks). I want to have fun. But somewhere down the line, my mind has labeled FFXIV as “stressful content” and I need to undo that in order to have fun again.

So when you feel MMO end game getting to you, what have you done in the past to find fun and refresh a game? How do you stop letting end game goals be the only things that matter? How do you find that spark or passion you had back when things were simpler?

Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

37 thoughts on “MMO Soul Searching: How Do You Learn to Relax at End Game? #blaugust2016

  1. I’ve actually thought a lot about this. I like to play online games with other people, but when grouping becomes necessary it starts to burn me out.

    I was pushing myself (CJ) so hard to make level-cap and just burned out.

    I don’t think it’s uncommon to need to be around people, but lost in your thoughts and deep in introspection. This is far more healthy than just sitting alone, even if we’re talking about virtual space.

    I also think this is far more common than anyone realizes.

    I’ve found myself not playing Overwatch because there’s a friend on (and we play great together) but I just need some ‘alone’ time, around other people.

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    1. Hey CJ! Good to hear from you. 🙂

      We miss you, but I totally understand the feeling of burnout. It’s so easy to go into something telling yourself it’s just going to be something casual. But then, everyone else around you is doing something else, and you feel that desperation to level up or gear up to catch up!

      Then folks like you and I who need that quite time start to feel it. 😦

      Anyhow, we’re still holding your place in the roster if you ever decide you want to come back and visit us! Take care of yourself!

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  2. I’m probably not the best person to ask, as I’ve been going through my own “apathy” about FFXIV’s end game. Hell, I stil lahven’t even run Wiping City or Final Steps of Faith. I’m in i230 gear and could probably do both easily, I just can’t be arsed to actually do it.

    I actually find the daily expert in the Duty Finder to be pretty relaxing, and I rather enjoy running the 3 Vath and Vanu Vanu tribe quests each day. The daily hunts in i230 gear are a bit of a joke, but since you can get the tomes to use for i240 upgrades now I’ve started running them… not daily like I probably should, but here and there. And for me, I’ve still got a lot of crafting leveling to do, so…… yeah, I still find things to do that aren’t high stress, but I am also able to just kinda “do the chores” and log off after an hour-ish each day and feel like I was able to unwind a little while still feeling like I got some sort of progress done too.

    Of course, the Moonfire Faire just started up again, and it’s very easy to get all the rewards, so that’s relaxing too, and it’s not like FATE grinding for the yo-kai watch event is hard either, though it’s a bit tedious. . . . But it’s still something fairly mindless and relaxing, so I’m liking it well enough.

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    1. Roulettes and dungeons in general can be stressful to me, especially if I have to run with strangers. I think I’ve run expert roulette a handful of times in the past 6 months. I got seriously burned out by the Eso grind of daily dungeons and have never had a lot of interest in running for Lore since.

      I am doing my best to enjoy the events, though. Looking forward to Moonfire Faire tonight! 🙂

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  3. Your approach to mmorpg gaming seems to be very similar to mine, in so much as I am looking for an escape from the stresses of the world rather than to add to them.

    Unfortunately, gear centric games such as FFXIV have very little choice at end game other than to get on the ilevel hampster wheel. I’m still in the happy place at the moment where I’ve got plenty of story to enjoy with only the occasional dungeon run with strangers to worry about.Usually when I get to true end game in any MMO I find that that’s the time I start to look elsewhere.

    I’d suggest GW2 as a less gear driven experience, but I know you have issues with that game.

    Personally, I long for a true PvE sandbox, something like Archeage but without the cash shop controversies and nasty community.

    Unlikely to happen, I know, but a guy can wish!

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    1. I’m with you on the sandbox dreams!

      GW2 may not have a gear treadmill, but it now does have raids and ascended gear. So the end-game mentality has crept into Tyria, like it or not. The ascended gear, why not fully required unless you want to raid, is really a sour point for me as we were promised gear wouldn’t matter. But now there’s ascended stuff, which takes a long grind to get. Just the fact that it exists annoys me. 😄

      So, yeah, a shiny-happy sandbox would be the place for me. I know it, but I just haven’t found that sandbox yet.

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  4. I’ve only been playing MMOs for around 5 years, but felt the way you describe for a good chunk of that time. I still sort of do but I’ve found ways to cope with the stress and even began to enjoy endgame:

    – Grouping with people I know, even if just virtually. When paired with strangers, I found myself constantly anxious and worried that I was doing something wrong. Being surrounded by people I know are not toxic has toned down my anxiety quite a bit.

    – Running content that “scares” me (with people I know!). Quite stressful at first, but to my surprise the stress would slowly start to crumble away as I got to know and got used to mechanics and general progression of a fight.

    – Realizing that I *pay* a subscription to *have fun*. I will swiftly extract myself from situations that make me feel otherwise.

    – Rewarding myself when I feel like I was totally on my game, even if it’s just a little dance while singsonging “Naiiiiiiled it!” on the way to the kitchen to get some water.

    – Where gear progression is concerned, I have the “I’ll get it when I get it” mentality. Although I want it, I need my games to not be work. When I feel energetic enough to grind, I will and I refuse to beat myself up when I don’t!

    There are still times where I feel like doing my own little thing and don’t feel like running stuff. I usually end up sifting through my inventory, crafting (to free up slots in my inventory T_T), decorating or sneaking into peoples’ homes to see how they’ve decorated.

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    1. I know I’m very lucky to have people like you and the rest of the FC — you guys don’t give up on me even when I’m balking to run stuff. Please continue to be patient with me. I’ve gone from being hand-shaking terrified of running dungeons to doing them, but somewhat grumbly-like, over the course of almost 3 years. 😀 But seriously, I wouldn’t see half the content I do without you guys, though there’s still even more that I’m scared to try (EX Primals).

      I used to have the “I’ll get it when I get it” mentality. But then everyone else seems to have it, and I’m like “Oh no! I’m left behind! I’m going to be a lead weight in parties and my DPS will suck!” 😦

      Again, I recognize that’s me and not the fault of the game or anyone else. I suppose this is a first post to recognize it’s my thinking that’s causing me stress moreso than the game. So I’m trying to tackle that and find a way to make peace with things.

      I’ve already started that by accepting the fact running two characters at end game isn’t working for me right now. I kinda knew that all along, but hated to put aside one character for another due to attachment.

      Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts on things! 🙂

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  5. I have a lot to say on this topic but I had probably best save that for a post of my own some time. In brief, though, I think it is, both by definition and by design, impossible to have Low Energy fun *and* remain competetive in the endgame of a vertical progression MMO – especially one that uses a subscription-based payment model.

    The reason is very simple: these games rely on players never reaching a plateau where they can stop, relax, look around and take stock. If that were ever to happen there would be a significant proportion that would conclude they had “beaten” the game; they would stop playing and stop paying.

    This, essentially, is what happens to MMOs like WoW, which fail to provide enough new targets to hit between expansions. WoW, however, has a structure that heavily encourages alts, which gives it a great deal more resilience to players “capping out”. FFXIV, as you very astutely point out, has exactly the opposite. That makes FFXIV a particularly difficult proposition for anyone who doesn’t actively relish perpetual progress towards an infinitely receding goal.

    GW2, by contrast, does offer a large number of extremely grindy, long-winded goals to keep players motivated to log in, but few of them are anything other than optional. The huge majority (Legendaries being the prime example) offer cosmetic attractions and convenience but little or no gameplay advantage. There is still nothing in the game that requires Ascended gear other than, and even this is arguable, raids. Exotics will serve as well for anything else.

    That said, Ascended is now very easy and cheap to get for all jewellery and weapon slots and the armor slots require nothing more than a willingness to spend gold, which is easier to get than ever before. Compared to gearing up in WoW or FFXIV it is a very casual process indeed and, most importantly, a completely Low Energy one. You can obtain full ascended by doing any number of activities, solo or in groups or in zergs as you choose, with no barriers to entry, gear checks, social requirements or any other damn thing that makes playing feel stressful. You have complete agency. You are reliant on no-one.

    FFXIV is a game by the hardcore for the hardcore but, like EverQuest before it, the depth, breadth and detail of the world-making means that you don’t have to be hardcore to get an enormous amount of pleasure from being there. I don’t believe, however, that it will ever be possible to come to such an accommodation with FFXIV’s end game. If you plan on settling down at that level you will have to keep running or the treadmill will fling you off, leaving you to watch the rest of the runners recede away from you towards the vanishing horizon.

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    1. You really hit the nail on its head in the first paragraph. “Impossible to have Low Energy fun *and* remain competitive in the endgame of a vertical progression MMO – especially one that uses a subscription-based payment model.” It’s a perfect paradigm for the types of MMOs I avoid right now. Both vertical progression and monthly subscriptions create an unhealthy relationship between myself and game. This leads to greater and greater negative feelings and eventually leads to a bitter end.

      I don’t play MMOs to be competitive. There are other games I enjoy more for that experience. But it seems like I get shoehorned into it anyway.

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    2. I’d be interested in seeing a post about this from you! I’m sure you have lots of thoughts on the matter!

      I agree that Low Energy and competitive doesn’t mesh. But I’m not playing to be competitive. I’m the most anti-competitive person! I just want to figure out how to balance gearing up at end game (which includes some semi-stressful content) with finding a little more lax and casual time.

      Basically, I probably just need other objectives that are more relaxing to offset the time I spend gearing up. I certainly don’t kill myself to gear — most my FC is far ahead of me on this, and as long as I can do what I need to do, then I’m okay with that.

      I do have fun running group content with the FC, so I hope it doesn’t sound like I never ever have fun with them! I just wanted to know if other people who are more knowledgeable about end game had some tips on how to shake that mustgearfast! mentality and have a more relaxed time.

      I believe it can be done, especially in a forgiving game like FFXIV. And I believe a lot of it depends on the player. I think I create a lot of my own unneeded stress, and writing about it is a way to help me organize those thoughts and troubleshoot through things.

      I do with FFXIV was more alt friendly though. I had soooo many alts in GW2. 😄

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    3. Probably a little off-topic, but i just recently (despite having bought the game pre-launch) i got my first ascended weapon. Getting that was not incredibly hard, but required some time investment. The same also seems true for each piece of ascended armour.

      So i wonder, how are the weapon slots easy and cheap to get and the armour just a matter of a little money? What am i missing? 🙂

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      1. Congrats on your weapon!

        I was also under the impression it took time and lots of materials to get ascended stuff. But that was when I looked at them when they first came out, and decided that kind of investment wasn’t for me.

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        1. That’s the impression i also still have now. Only due to playing for so long, some materials came in “automatically” and now allowed me to build that weapon, but i see no way that the next pieces would come any time soon without some effort from my side.

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          1. I was thinking specifically of the Ascended Weapon collections added in HoT for each of the Elite specs. I’ve done all of them except the Revenant and I thought they were some of the most entertaining and enjoyable “quest-like” content in the game to date. i actually did them on some characters who won’t ever use the weapons just because of how much fun they were to do.

            Almost all of the cost involved is in HoT currencies that are easy to get via events that you need to do anyway for other parts of the “quest”. There’s one item you have to make but it’s only of Exotic quality if I remember correctly and as such is trivial in cost by current standards.

            In terms of difficulty I’d say these weapons are very comparable to the Heritage Quests in EQ2 – way, way easier than “Epics” but still involved enough to feel satisfying.

            As well as that I have also had several ascended weapon chests drop in WvW. Those used to be of limited use because of the random stats but since the addition of a simple and cheap option to change stats to anything you like in the Mystic Forge that’s no longer a problem.

            Ascended gear is still nothing like as easy to acquire as exotics but it is getting easier all the time, as tends to happen in MMOs. It was a genuine barrier at one time but I don’t think it is any more although getting ascended armor is still a bit of a money sink. That could do with some looking at.

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          2. When I mentioned Ascended stuff, I was talking specifically about the armor. Seeing I’ve never played HoT, I didn’t know Ascended weapons were a thing. But I’m glad they’ve made something that has a reasonable acquisition rate.

            I’m sure that Ascended armor is easier to get now days. I just remember when it first came out, feeling bummed that I’d have to level my crafters another 100 levels and how out the nose expensive it was just to do that, much less touch the Ascended crafting once I got there. I was turned off by the whole thing.

            Granted, this was a time when gold was a lot harder to come by, I’m sure. The most I’ve ever had on my account is 300 gold. My understanding is that it’s a lot easier to get now.

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          3. Guess it is. I have hit 100 gold a few days ago. Of corse, then i invested a little to finally be able to make my ascended sword, and to create 3 20-slot bags, bringing me down again… 😀

            And on ascended weapon for HoT, i am working on that. But my masteries are not there yet, there are several things i can not acquire yet. (Not to mention that whenever i am at dragons stand, no event or anything seems to happen. )

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  6. You probably won’t like this answer but I typically don’t stick around long at endgame. It’s not so much the stress of needing to keep up with the Joneses, but more the forced repetitive and unending nature of it. No matter how far you go there’s always going to be something more, whether it’s today or 6 months from now. Don’t get me wrong, new content is a huge part of what makes MMORPGs interesting in the first place. Being told I basically have to do XYZ in order to continue playing with my friends is extremely frustrating.

    Honestly the only way I’ve been able to really deal with it is by taking a break and coming back when there’s a slew of new content. That makes it easy to catch up to the regular raiders and for at least a little while I can enjoy the game again.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts! Seeing that I’m a guild leader, and that my best friend, sister and brother-in-law are all playing, taking a break from the game isn’t an option for me.

      I want to be there in game, to be honest. I just want to figure out how I can wind down a bit, and hoped to see what other folks did when they were in a similar situation. “Walk away from the game” is a perfectly acceptable answer, though. 🙂

      I certainly don’t raid raid raid raid or even honestly worry too much about best in slot. But I do try to keep my gear relevant, even knowing in 6 months, a new set of gear is likely to come out. FFXIV is a much more forgiving about allowing you to play with friends no matter what gear level you have (with the exception of the cutting edge new stuff, of course), too, so that’s helpful.

      I plan on toughing it out. I’m just trying to work out how I’m going to do that.

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  7. I’m probably not the right person to ask about relaxation, because my tactic tends to be hardcore it out till you get to the top (or near it enough to be above average) – then relax and coast on your awesomeness – or forget to relax and burn right out.

    On the bright side, I can attest that it is possible to mellow out faster after a couple cases of burnout and the passage of time (getting older and more grey-haired.) Priorities shift so that it’s no longer mission critical to be considered best of the best… “Good enough” will do.

    And mistakes, well, everybody makes them, if you’re understanding enough towards someone else’s, extend that kindness towards yourself. Just do your best not to repeat ’em again, and if you’re lucky enough to have an understanding group for end-game (like I think we both do, atm,) it is more conceivable to maybe get to a point of relaxation -while- doing endgame content.

    As for winding down methods in-game, I used to be pretty fond of walking around in a cute tonic form in GW2 – toy griffin or quaggan – and just chilling and taking in the awesome scenery and harassing people with cuteness. Not sure if FF has anything similar. Try to take some time to get back to the roots of what you find fun, ie. being alone, screenshots of pretty places, casual player interaction or roleplay, fishing or whatever, etc.

    The last thing I think has a possibility of adding stress is the daily chores list for the progression-minded. I don’t know how it is for FF specifically, but I heard enough horror stories about WoW, and I found myself getting grumpy over -entirely optional but self-inflicted- tasks I need to be doing daily in GW2 in order to see progress on self-chosen goals two months down the line.

    I’m still experimenting on this myself, but I realized what gave me more stress was not really the doing of them, but the fact that I was trying to keep it all in my head and remember every last daily to-do without forgetting one, and that it felt so ambiguous in my head, and I wasn’t really prepared with a plan for dealing with them efficiently.

    So I now have a little list of tasks to check off daily and seeing them all laid out lets me connect the dots a bit more efficiently than waypointing back and forth all over creation.

    Efficiency has gone up because instead of trying to craft 6-9 assorted weapons to feed to faction provisioners daily, I go, “ok, I have no time on weekdays to do this piecemeal,” so I make 63 assorted weapons on a designated weekend to hold in a specifically cleaned up character… then just waypoint to deliver them to NPCs on weekdays, giving me less stress overall because I don’t have to repeat the crafting daily when I have less/no time for it.

    So having a good plan/strategy and techniques/tactics thought out beforehand might also help lower stress levels and allow for more relaxation in-game.

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    1. Hey thanks for the advice! These are some good tips! 🙂

      “it is more conceivable to maybe get to a point of relaxation -while- doing endgame content.”

      This is eventually my goal, and actually what I want to blog about next time around. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I keep telling myself “I don’t like this. I’m not a dungeon person. This is stressful…” And so it is because I say it is, not because it’s actually all that hard.

      That saying “You change your mind, you can change your life?”

      Yeah. Some thoughts on how to streamline dailies and just unwind are good. Thanks again!

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  8. What seems to work for me is to only play a couple days a week, and then play other games the other days. 😀 Though that’s as much because of my schedule as anything else.

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  9. Ah, Wren.

    I half-agree with Jeromai above, having a good plan before you log in can be really effective in reducing stress. The thing is, sometimes it can also be the cause of stress, when you feel like you have to stick to the plan even though you don’t feel like doing that activity this session. So, just doing whatever you feel like doing can also be effective in reducing stress. Just want to chain FATEs? Great. Feel like fishing all night? Do it. Forget about what you are “supposed” to do.

    So, the key for me is being able to balance out those two approaches. Plan out stuff as much as you care to, but always be willing to hit pause and just do whatever your current mood dictates. The thing that endgame MMOs excel at is cultivating that FOMO effect. IMO, that is the thing that you need to beat, that is the thing that is a major cause of stress at endgame. For example, in WoW I had a list of all the dungeons and raids that I needed to visit in order to collect mounts that dropped from bosses in those places. If I was in the mood for it, it was pretty relaxing to port, enter instance, kill boss, be disappointed, repeat. But often I would do a couple of them and then be tired of that activity. Because I was a “must stick to the plan” person, I got stressed and grumpy, because either I continued the rounds with gritted teeth, or I spent the rest of the night feeling guilty for not completing the task.

    One of the more relaxing times I had in WoW was when I was chasing the Insane title. There was so much repetitive grind (as in, doing the same laps of the same locations over and over) that it became relaxing once I got into the groove. Some people have movies or tv on another screen while they do such content. Whatever works for you, I guess.

    With respect to dungeons and raids, I actually found in my WoW guild that it was fairly relaxing to run dungeons with guild members who were the ones chasing gear, when you didn’t need or want anything from that place. Just being there as both moral and literal support was satisfying enough that it took out all the stress associated with performance and efficiency. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t getting anything out of it (besides some random loot to sell), the group experience was enough. Even if you do need something from the dungeon, the simple act of thinking about your presence there as helping an FC member rather than chasing your drop, can transform the experience from a chore/stressful to relaxing.

    One final suggestion, is for you to design your own content. Creating stuff for FC members to do (or the public, if you are brave!) such as treasure hunts, fashion parades, fishing competitons, creating travel brochures with screenshots, etc, can be immensely fun and takes you out of the endgame-task-oriented mindset for while.

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    1. Thanks so much for your suggestions! Sorry I didn’t reply before now — I was mostly digesting your ideas and thinking up a response. So take that as a positive sign. 🙂

      I agree with your “loose goals” philosophy. I like having some things to work towards, which is why I set some very vague goals every month. But I also need to give myself room to breathe or I won’t be a very happy camper.

      I also agree with the idea to create your own content. I haven’t had the bandwidth to really think about events for the FC, which is something I’d like to do.

      I also used to love keeping RP journals for characters back when I played GW2 and enjoyed interacting with the RP community in general. This was a more creative slant to gaming for me, including fiction writing and fan art.

      I’ve kicked around the idea many times for FFXIV, even rolled an alt on the RP server and started a blog, but I ended up putting it aside because it was tough to play cross-server for me where I wasn’t with my FC. I also feel like I’m coming to the party late, so to speak, and that trying to find a spot in the FFXIV RP community is a lot more difficult than it was in the GW2 community (since I had an established RP presence in the community in beta).

      Anyhow, I’m rambling now. Just wanted to say I appreciate your thoughts and I’m trying to put them to good use!

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  10. I chunk up things I want to do in The Secret World’s “endgame” into manageable tasks. More of them are Low Energy than High Energy. The endgame is structured such that you can grind if you want to but it’s more cost-efficient to complete daily challenges. So, I do those and then choose side activities.

    Daily challenges include using the Group Finder to complete an Elite dungeon. The associated Weekly Challenge requires completion of five Elite dungeons, so one per day for 5 out of 7 days. This is my High Energy activity because I’m a tank and I’m not forming a group from the Sanctuary channel. I’m very proactive about informing myself, utilizing information tools (i.e. mods), and asking for help from more experienced players. TSW is great because most players (from my limited experience) are willing to help if you ask or indicate that you are new and show that you are willing to learn.

    Once that’s done, I do the random solo missions. (Weekly challenge: complete 15 main missions.) I’ll do the PvP daily whether it’s Shambala (2-4 minutes) or El Dorado (5-15 minutes). I’ve created PvP builds for them from TSWDB but don’t care about win/loss (yet). Low to Medium Energy depending on how many times I chain queue and start to notice strategies. Lair Bosses with a small raid are Low Energy – new players are welcome. Scenarios are Medium Energy now that I’m familiar with them – basically timed video game levels. The list goes on.

    Once those are done I’ll pick a side activity, usually involving making numbers go up but sometimes also collecting lore and such for journal completion or museum displays. I’ve been doing 3 floors a day in the Orochi Tower for the Tower Crawler achievement. Yesterday I did a loop of the “good” missions in Tokyo to grind AEGIS. All the while I gain Black Bullion and ever-so-slowly upgrade my talismans and glyphs. The endgame grind in TSW is monstrous, as I’m sure you know.
    While doing this, I get to go back and watch cut scenes for missions, absorb lore, stare at the ooky-spooky and/or isolated-desolated environment, try out new builds, revel in the power of my Blade Rifle solo build against hardcore Kaidan monsters that used to nearly kill me almost every single time. I’m having fun while doing the challenges and making numbers go up at the same time so I can eventually tank Nightmare dungeons and maybe even raid (some day).

    The TL;DR version is that I’m able to mix up the energy levels with a tendency toward Low or Medium which is my preference. Like communicating with other people face-to-face, I get fatigued after participating in High Energy activities, even though I do enjoy them. I also really like the research/programming that goes into dungeoneering behind the scenes. So I gravitate toward Low-Medium with High peppered in.

    When I’m done with whatever I want to do for the day, I log out! No super-grinding. Otherwise I’d burn out. That’s how I keep it fresh.

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    1. How easy do you find it to get to the Deep Mystery Box from 25 challenges complete? It feels to me like I can only get there if I force myself to do random group content that I am unfamiliar with (pvp, lairs, and dungeons – haven’t even unlocked scenarios yet I don’t think). I rarely feel up to it so I’d probably only be able to realistically do one or two of those challenges a week, and there aren’t enough solo challenges to make up the difference.

      Mind you, I am still in story mode, having only just made it to Carpathian Fangs, so I have that to look forward to as fresh new content. I guess I am just wondering what it’d be like when I have caught up to the latest issue.

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      1. You’ll have to do all of the group content you mentioned above in order to complete 25 challenges within seven days. I do PvP, Elite dungeons, and lair bosses and that’s as far up the chain of difficulty as you need to go to reach 25, i.e. you don’t have to be able to do Nightmare dungeons or raids.

        I didn’t start doing challenges or group content until I had completed the entire story. I didn’t care about talisman statistics or currencies or dungeon mechanics until then. (I was actually going to quit TSW after the story but I changed my mind.) I’d recommend concentrating on the story for now and seeing whether you really care about Deep Mystery Boxes later on. I don’t.

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      2. Hmm. The biggest mystery of that box for me is why people are interested in it. 😀

        Once in a while i do get that box, it just requires a certain combination. Basically it requires that some evenings, which usually are used up by non-online-gaming activites are free and thus are spent in TSW. It also then requires that the dailies of the week connect to activities i like to do. (I rarely bother for scenarios, but dungeon dailies are usually done in my cabal, which automatically also completes the weekly. We also regularily do the lair bosses and some other things. )

        So without really caring for it, i sometimes get that box, but not on a regular basis. Considering what you usually get from the box, it’s not really worth the effort to actively work for it, just take it when the stars align and you get it for free. 🙂

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    2. Thanks for your thoughts on this! I’ve never even been close to TSW end game, and I’ve never done any of the scenarios, lairs or anything like that. It’s always been a very story-oriented and atmospheric MMO for me. Very Low Energy because I choose to focus only on story and quests.

      I haven’t been back around it very much, but I did know they released the whole dailies thing. I always enjoyed my time in TSW, even if I have all these Issues I haven’t even started, and am probably not geared for. I’m pretty lost when it comes to my current build and gear.

      Maybe one day I’ll sit down and straighten it all out.

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      1. All in good time. I’m going to be completely honest in telling you that if you don’t do any of TSW’s group content or endgame activities you’re not missing out on anything you haven’t already done in another game.

        Story is where it’s at. TSW is best read like a novel. When you’re done, you’re under no obligation to go work at the local bookstore.

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        1. Mostly true. The strangth of the game is in its story.

          That being said, i also advise to sometimes look into the dungeons. It’s not like you have to do them in nightmare difficulty, which is the actual endgame. The normal dungeons are integrated into the gameplay and there is no reason to delay or skip them. In many other MMOs group content is endgame, in TSW it’s already available very early and the normal versions neither demand too great player abilities nor extremely refined setups and high quality gear.

          What i advise to not care too much are scenarios. One of them a while, or one with friends sometimes can be fun, but doing them repeatedly or trying to keep up with the dailies on them can be mind-numbing. They were introduced as “grind for the sake of grinding for those people who love grinding”. (Yes, the actual words were different, but the message was clear. There were demands on the forum to give people another method to “get power by playing”, so they put in the augments, which give a tiny bit more power, at the price of massive time investment. )

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