FFXIV: My Role Play Conundrum

Warning: This is going to be a big ole long thought-dump of me organizing and justifying what essentially amounts to me re-creating my main FFXIV character on the RP server, Balmung.

Yes, even in typing that, I’m second guessing myself. But I do have reasons!

Scratching that Writing Itch

Most of the writing you see from me is through writing blog posts. But, my passion for writing didn’t start with a blog or online content. It started with creating stories and writing fiction.

These are two very different forms of writing, though they are both putting words on a screen. I’m not going to say one is more creative or intense than another, but for me, both types of writing need to remain balanced.

Maybe that’s why I always have an itch to create a RP blog/journal for my MMO characters. In fact, long ago when the Internet was new (to me), the appeal of being online wasn’t gaming, but rather RP through long-lost chat rooms, forums and mailing lists.

Wow. Mailing lists. I just dated myself. 🙂

The Tumblr Days

I was heavily into fan writing and RP back when I was a big GW2 fan. I’m not as keen on in-game RP (I have no experience doing any of that), but I loved interacting with other player characters through our RP Tumblr blogs.

I’m not a huge fan of Tumblr as a platform for a lot of reasons, but for RP purposes, it’s still the best I’ve found. For someone who is creative, yet private, like myself, it gives just enough room to tell stories and interact while maintaining a healthy distance. It’s generally a safe place to RP as long as you play cautiously, and I always do.

I have several Tumblr accounts — though Yahoo now forces you to make a new Yahoo account mail and everything when you sign up for Tumblr now days… so I don’t think I’ll be making any more new ones. I have my main account, which is my oldest, and is generally used to mirror this blog and post art and comics to. I maintain all my old GW2 Tumblr accounts as I can’t bear to lose them. I also have this “side” Tumblr, which is gathering dust.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reworked my side Tumblr to be a RP blog of some sort for various role play projects in FFXIV over the years. I’ve even tried to write some posts here and there, but I never fully go through with it.

Why? Chalk it down to laziness, I guess. I just don’t have the energy to try and maintain more than one Tumblr account now days.

Logging in and out of accounts isn’t as easy as it used to be, not with having to enter codes texted to your phone every time. And then I go to post something to one Tumblr and end up sending it to the wrong one and… yeah. I just don’t have the patience for it.

Train of Thought

So, I asked myself, “Why don’t I just RP my main character, Aywren?” That way I can use the Tumblr account I have now (since it’s named Aywren), and everything should be fine.

Well… there’s a few things going on there in response:

  • It’s a little weird to try to RP a character who uses my net name. I think this is the biggest hurdle. I guess I’m too much of a realist, and while I have lots of fantasy characters rolling around in my writer’s brain, I have a pretty strong divide between my own identity and my character. Even writing about her as “Aywren” is weird because… I’m Aywren!
  • Following up on that… I have no idea what kind of person this character is. I mean, I consider myself pretty boring and a bit unmotivated. So, if this character is a RP reflection of me being me, well, I guess Eorzea isn’t going to get saved in the end. 🙂
  • My character-Aywren actually stole everything she has from Zuri. This is going to sound weird, but she has no real history of her own in my mind. I played her as Zuri for years until I decided to change names this past January. I don’t regret that choice at all, but character-Aywren inherited everything, even Amon’s Hat, from Zuri’s history and experiences, so she has none of her own.
  • Character-Aywren does not live on the RP server, Balmung. And I would never, never, never consider moving from Midgardsormr. I have too many friends, a fantastic FC that I helped to develop, and too many years of fond memories. But the fact is, there’s not really a RP presence (yet) on Midgardsormr… and if you’re not on Balmung, it feels like the RP folks don’t really take notice. Why should they? Your character is not a part of their community. Fair enough.
  • I feel like I need to start from the beginning of the story and develop my RP character slowly, through ARR. I don’t feel like I can just drop the character into an RP at the point where they’re already an established Warrior or Light, yadda yadda yadda.

A Strange Solution

I’ve been kicking around (and over-thinking) the whole situation for a while, as you can see. Last night, I finally made a choice. Here’s how it went.

A while back, I decided to transfer Zuri to Balmung with the hopes of starting an RP blog for her. This was one of those starts that almost started but didn’t start. Mostly because of the Tumblr situation.

When I transferred her, I sent along another character, just to get more bang for my buck. This was the Zidane alt that I created a while back, just for the fun of it. I’d not done much with him beyond getting him to Ul’Dah, and left him in the streets there. Poor guy.

Of course, when I transferred him, someone already had Zidane’s name on Balmung. So I was prompted to rename that character, but haven’t known who I really wanted to make.

Last night, I renamed that character slot to Aywren, on Balmung, and transferred all of her creation settings to this character via the Fantasia I already had.

And it was done.

I did have a few issues to overcome. Namely, I’d rather Balmung-Aywren be a mage than a Pugilist (Zidane started as a Pugilist) because I’ll be moving her towards becoming a Red Mage with Stormblood (like I plan to make Midgard-Aywren).

And, I missed the intro cutscenes and her welcome to Ul’dah since I played them already when I first rolled this character (and I don’t think you can replay those from the Inn room – I looked).

So, I had to quickly roll up yet another Aywren alt to capture screenshots from that experience for the story. Thankfully, I’d never taken this Balmung character beyond the welcome MQS, so I could do this and quickly get back on track. I also had to quick-level the Pugilist to 10 so I could swap classes and actually start leveling the mage.

So, doing that covered a few of my concerns:

  • I’m now on Balmung, but I didn’t give up my main character on Midgardsormr. This is a good thing — I don’t always feel like logging into a more active RP server, and I’m not sure I’m up for in-game RP yet anyhow. But I can still be a part of the RP community in a round-about way without leaving my own. Maybe, somewhere down the line, I can transfer this RP to Midgardsormr and start something new there?
  • I can create this character’s story from scratch, from the beginning of ARR. This gives me a place to start writing her story and figure out how to develop her. It also helps me recreate her identity, rather that her just being a name-change to an existing character — this is important to me.

The biggest thing to overcome is to figure out how I want to represent and develop a character who has the same name as myself. I usually create a character with a handful of personality traits, often with a quirk or two thrown in, but it’s significantly more difficult to do that here!

I guess it’s a challenge.