This is going to be a long mind-dump. Advanced warning!
Ever since Heavesward released, I’ve been in a state of love/hate with FFXIV. Overall, I love it enough to stick around, even when it frustrates me. I’ve also experimented with content types in FFXIV during Heavensward and I’ve come away with a very important lesson:
Just because the content exists, and I’m geared/skilled enough to clear it, doesn’t mean I should do it.
Casual at End Game
It’s hard to be a casual player at end game. Especially when you’re the head of a FC.
My FC is great, with wonderful folks and like-minded players. But they, like many players now days, often view end game content as That Which Must Be Done Weekly. And this is partially because that’s what the game wants you to feel!
Because the content exists, people feel they must clear it. Because the drops exist, people feel they must get it.
It’s a mindset I just don’t share.
Take the Wondrous Tails, for instance. It’s a nice bonus to those who already naturally run this kind of content and find it fun. But due to the addition of the journal, I see people who wouldn’t normally run things nudged into thinking they should. If it’s a fun activity to them, it’s not a big deal. But if they’re just running it for a possible chance at a line on the journal… is it really worth it?
I see the journal as a cleverly dangled carrot in front of players to get them to do content. After all, keeping the dungeons populated keeps subs up. It’s pretty smart, actually, but it doesn’t work on me.
I’m the kind of player who won’t run most group content over and over unless the reward significantly outweighs my discomfort. Dungeons and raids are not my thing, and probably never will be. I’ve given them plenty of time to grow on me, but I still just see them as things I must endure to get the reward.
Sometimes they can be fun, but most the time I avoid them if not absolutely needed.
So what does this have to do with things going forward for me?
Well, I realize my frustration with FFXIV since Heavensward is really just a case of me struggling to keep up with the Joneses. My own mindset has changed so much that things I’d normally do for fun get set aside for running on a gear treadmill. For example, I don’t roll alts anymore because the only thought in my mind is: You will have to sustain their ilvl once you get to end game, and that’s just not possible.
When I realized that’s become my way of thinking, I knew I needed to step back and figure out something that will make FFXIV more fun when Stormblood releases.
My Promises to Myself
So, here’s a list of promises to myself.
I promise not to do content just because everyone else is doing it and because I have the ilvl.
Alexander wasn’t very fun for me. I only did it because everyone else did it, and there was an expectation that you needed to do it just because you were at end game.
I don’t like the direction that the new Alliance raids are going. They haven’t been fun for me lately. If the 24-man raid designs don’t become a bit more friendly, I’m going to start opting out of them. I’m sad to do this because Crystal Tower was actually fun. This new set of raids is not.
I tried and tried to make myself like this kind of content. People said how fun it was, so I thought the problem was with me. Maybe it’s not. Maybe the content is just not made for me… and that’s okay.
I just need to stop forcing myself to do it, if so.
I promise not to put myself through another Relic grind.
Relic grind has made me a sad panda. I’m still stuck on struggling through the Umbrite phase. My Relic’s ilvl is so low that it’s pulling my overall ilvl down now. I should just get a PotD weapon and be done with it… but I’m stubborn and somewhat close to finishing this stage. I might get it done before the expansion… and by then, it won’t even matter.
So… why bother? Won’t do it again.
I promise not to chase carrots, even the clever ones, unless the rewards are really, really important to me.
Wondrous Tails? I tried it. Meh. Not worth it. It just becomes another weekly thing to get through.
Now, the new crafting deliveries… that’s a weekly thing I enjoyed. And the rewards are real, not just RNG.
I promise to find a job that I love and stick to it.
This was a problem for me in Heavensward. They changed the Bard so significantly in ways I didn’t (and still don’t) like. At that time, Bard was the only job I’d leveled on my main. This was a big issue that caused me to put my main aside for many months and caused me a lot of strife as I looked for an alternate job.
Eventually, I did level Bard, but I still miss what made it fun for me. I also went and re-leveled Dragoon on my main because I enjoyed it on my alt.
In the meantime, I’ve spent time leveling a number of other jobs to 60. I’m also looking forward to Red Mage with high hopes. This will give me the flexibility to jump into Stormblood with a lot of options on my main, and not get bummed because one specific job flopped for me.
Also, trying to gear up several jobs at end game is a no-no for me. Which leads me to…
I promise to let myself play alt characters, as long as it’s fun to do.
I miss playing alts. FFXIV doesn’t make having alts a smart or easy option, though.
I came to realize that trying to gear two characters up at end game doesn’t work for me. But I’m trying to teach myself that having alts doesn’t mean I need to get them to end game and keep them fully geared up! Just as long as they can do the story, it’s fine.
I still really want to be creative and use my alts for RP and story purposes. I’m just too busy constantly on the run in game to take time out to relax, though. And that’s a problem.
I promise to give myself time to relax and enjoy Eorzea.
I need to slow down. I don’t care if it’s spending time fishing, gathering, crafting or writing RP posts for a character.
Almost every moment I’m in game, it seems I’m in a dungeon or doing group content. This isn’t a good balance for me. This wears me out and makes me less eager to log into the game… which gives me less time to relax while in the game environment.
I’ve started to associate logging into FFXIV with constant dungeon runs. That’s actually a fair assessment. I’d say that about 90% of my time in game is spent in instances. And… that’s just not who I am or my natural play style.
I promise to find a balance while still making progress.
FFXIV has actually added a lot of options to help casuals like myself do this. Every time I turn around, a new system is set in place that helps free up some time and make progress.
I’m not saying that everything should be handed to me. I don’t expect the best weapons to just rain out of the sky. But adding a decent weapon to something like PotD, alternate content that I actually do enjoy, was a fantastic move. If you don’t want to raid and you don’t want to touch Relic, you can still get a fine weapon in a more casual way.
Things like that are great, and I should take advantage of them more.
Will doing this be easy?
I don’t know. This shift to end-game mindset happened secretly, over the past two years, without me realizing it. The game is designed so well that you don’t see yourself getting sucked in, even if you aren’t really having fun doing what you’re doing.
There are too many other things in FFXIV that are fun for me. Too many other options out there for me. I’m determined to make FFXIV work for a casual player like myself, even if that means saying “no” to some types of content.
Stormblood is a good place to start. I’ll let you know how it turns out.