Lately, I’ve had some motivation trouble in FFXIV – but it’s not for the reason you might think.
Let me start this post by putting things in perspective. I began playing FFXIV sometime mid September of 2013. In all these years, I’ve never dropped my sub once. There were a few months in early 2014ish that I didn’t play daily, but I can say that I’ve pretty much played FFXIV since 2013 without a true break.
Granted, I’m a casual. My idea of playing every day is to log in, knock out an Alliance raid, dig up some maps to sell and maybe play with glamour or housing or tunes as a bard. Part of what makes playing a game this long sustainable to someone of my personality type is the casual approach and the creativity that I associate with my characters.
As some folks might know, almost three years ago, I launched a writing/RP project that eventually led to me adopting the RP server as my home. Being able to find a creative outlet within the game that’s tied to my characters increases my fun and immersion manyfold.
As much as I enjoy FFXIV for what it is, I believe it’s my creative projects that have helped keep me in the game for as long as I’ve been.
So what does this have to do with my main?
My main started out named Zuri Nimat back in 2013. While I didn’t have a background story for her, she was a separate identity from my own in every way. When I talked about my main during those times, I called her “Zuri” because that was her name.
Obviously, but hang with me on this train of thought.
Fast forward to 2017. This blog was really kicking off and I was identifying with my writing persona far more than the blue kitty I’d originally created. So, for the new year, I decided to recreate my main using my net name Aywren Sojourner.
Makes sense. I often use my net name as my main character in games. And this has been fine more or less.
But I’ve noticed something the past few months. Now that I’ve finished my goals of leveling all jobs on my main and got her to the stage I wanted for crafting relic tools, I really don’t log in with her except to grab a daily map.
In fact, if anything, I’ve felt bored of my main lately. She hasn’t even finished the newest MSQ. And this feeling is not a class issue seeing she has every job leveled – so I could take my pick of what to play, but I still love my Red Mage most.
I’ve started to realize that part of the problem is that I see this character as a representation of myself, which has started to ironically cause a disconnect and lack of interest. For example, when I talk about my main… I never call her by name. I mean, I’m “Aywren,” so it’s really weird to say “Aywren did this” or “Aywren did that” – even when I write blog posts, I just always say “My Main.”
It’s also very difficult to assign a backstory to a representation of myself. I tried. I really did. I spent hours deliberating over where this “Main” could have come from, what her family history was, what her quirks and skills were… I wrote up a character sheet for her and tried to make her as interesting as possible to me.
But in the end, it just felt forced. Like I was filling in the blanks on purpose because there could never be an organically developed story for her.
I once told someone in game: “I don’t RP or write stories with my main. She’s too representative of myself and that just feels weird to me.”
That’s still very true. It’s also where my trouble lies.
As I said, lately, I’ve been increasingly demotivated to play her. There’s still plenty I can do in game, so it’s not a lack of content. I tried a bunch of things to revitalize my interest in her, actually – looked for new glamour, looked at all the new hairstyles, considered another race change, poured back over the character sheet I made for her…
The truth was, I liked the way she looked. But unlike other characters that I’ve created for story purposes, when I logged into her, there just wasn’t the feeling of playing a character. She was just “The Main,” and that was it.
I thought long and hard about what to do. This was my first and main character, with so many mounts, emotes, jobs leveled and accomplishments – tossing the character itself aside was not an option.
But maybe, I could recreate her as one of my story characters. That could work, I thought, and looked over my alt roster.
I knew I didn’t want to make her Amon, who is my RP main. There’s a lot of reasons for that, even if he’s the most enjoyable-feeling character I’ve created. Amon’s character has many emotes, accomplishments, gear, mounts and… well he rivals my main in terms of what I’ve unlocked and done with him. Plus he has connections to folks through the friends list and link shells, and I didn’t want to break those social ties.
Other possible characters – Tai & Tad – I enjoy playing these characters and Tai was actually a substitute main for me at one point! But they also have their own items and achievements that seem separate and specific to their characters. Not to mention Tai is going to transition into Reaper and Tad is a Machinist. I still want to main Red Mage.
The rest of my RP alts were a straight out no – even the one who inherited my original character’s name, Zuri. I like them, they’re just not main material. Again, none of them mained Red Mage, either.
That left just one option – Ben.
Now Ben is a character who has been in my life since I was a teenager. I consider him the first real character I ever created for my fantasy writing. However, lately, I’ve felt like Ben’s taken a backseat to a lot of my FFXIV interests.
Of course I’ve had a Ben character in FFXIV for years. I’d even leveled him to 72 Red Mage, but have been procrastinating on the brink of the first dungeon of Shadowbringers. I just haven’t had the motivation to push him through the expansion for a fifth time… despite Trusts and despite how much I like Shadowbringers.
Still, I’ve wanted to play him! I’ve wanted to catch him up! I’ve wanted to include him in my Eorzean adventures and somehow connect this character into my long-time MMO love in FFXIV. Especially with all the FFIV references we’re seeing in Endwalker.
And he mains Red Mage.
So that’s why he made the perfect fit. My “new” main is now Ben.
Transforming my main into Ben took some fiddling around, of course. I didn’t delete the original Ben character given all his progression and will repurpose him as another character sometime down the line, I’m sure.
I’ve wanted to consolidate the number of characters I have for quite a while now. And while it’s really, really strange to not have an Aywren anymore, I think this is for the better.