This week at Blaugust is Dev Appreciation Week. And since I’ve been straying all over the place with my topics so far, I decided to pull together a quick post that’s on-theme today.
As a creator myself, and a member of a software development team IRL, the developers of the games I play tend to stay up front in my mind. I marvel at the skill and originality they possess, and try to be gentle when things don’t always live up to expectations.
A Final Fantasy Fan
It’s not a secret that I’m a Final Fantasy fan. My first JRPG as a pre-teen was Final Fantasy 1 on the NES, and my first RPG love was Final Fantasy 2/4j on the SNES. I still appreciate the old skool games much more than those that came after FFIX. I never could quite get into the shift into more sci-fi, J-Pop or modern themes that newer FF games take the series to.
There was even a chunk of time when I was quite angry at S/E for what I perceived as milking the series — especially my most loved game FFIV. I felt really betrayed when the release of the 3D version added parts to the story that weren’t in original canon, which directly effected fan projects I’d been working on for 15-some years at that point. Then, add to it a very mediocre “sequel,” which I still haven’t played and refuse to knowledge exists.
Yep, I’m a FFIV nerd.
A Fan Reborn
When FFXIV first launched, I ignored it. I was in a Boycott All Things S/E mindset at the time. And probably deep into playing GW2 or whatever my choice of MMOs was. It was hardly a blip on my radar, except to hear from media now and then how terrible it was.
I did catch wind that the game was shutting down. I heard that it was being re-worked. And none of that really phased me at the time. I had no idea how incredible a story it would become and how FFXIV would eventually become the center of my gaming when A Realm Reborn launched.
Shortly after ARR came to be, I started hearing GOOD things about it. Really, really good things about it. So much that they’d stopped selling the game temporarily to let the poor servers catch up with the demand.
I was having a falling out with the direction GW2 was going at the time, and feeling down about the state of my MMO gaming. And even though I was still annoyed with S/E as a company, my curiosity got the better of me, and I picked up FFXIV as soon as they made it available for digital download again.
As an oldskool FF fan, I was almost instantly hooked. Some people knock the slowness of the game and the story in the beginning (which I understand), but for me, this is exactly the change of pace I needed after my frustrations with GW2. Then, to see so many Final Fantasy references all balled up into a package that was undeniably created with love…
FFXIV did something I didn’t think was possible. It made me a Final Fantasy fan again.
This, I thought, is a REAL Final Fantasy game. THIS is the kind of fantasy and story experience I’d been missing for so many years. It was exactly the right game at the right time, and while I don’t always agree with all the choices the team makes, I found myself quickly becoming loyal to Yoshi-P and his team of miracle workers.
My Deep Thanks to FFXIV
Five years later, I’m still subbed and still playing. I’ve been to a Fan Fest where I was able to meet members of the dev team and express my gratitude in person. I’ve met so many people through Eorzea, some which have extended into what I consider RL friendships.
I’ve run a successful Free Company that’s helped to link together people from all across the world. And even after giving that to new leadership, I continue to meet people through RP endeavors as I start on a new path in the game I once only tried out of pure curiosity.
The game taught me to (mostly) overcome my crippling fear of grouping.
It taught me my first raids.
It taught me that I wasn’t as terrible a player as I feared I would be… that I didn’t wipe parties when I grouped (like I was scared I would)… that I had value… and that I could bring people together and teach them in turn. I can’t express how much this game has pushed me to develop beyond my social and gaming comfort zone.
It may sound crazy to say, but $15 a month is cheap for that kind of personal development. I owe the team so much more than that (throw in a few server transfers and Fantasia fees, am I right?)
Game development can be a thankless job sometimes, so I wish there was some way I could tell them how much Eorzea and their creations have meant to me, and will continue to mean. Maybe somewhere through this big wide Internet, my good vibes will trickle their way.
It always blows my mind how The Rising anniversary event usually is THEM thanking US! Looking forward to this year’s event and many more beyond!