These days i’m pretty much a FF XIV exclusive player, but i have to take the fact into consideration that i didn’t have much time to play lately. Things like these happen when you have a toddler in the house- if he doesn’t sleep well, so do you. If he doesn’t feel good, you’ll be glad to go to bed early in the evening. This has been my last week or so. I did get into Final Fantasy XIV, though, and did some things.
For one, i’ve been continuing the main storyline and i am now only 2 levels below my Arcanist class level- so there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m also catching up on my Botanist and Weaver (levels 20 and 19, now) and, thanks to that Massively Overpowered article, i realized i missed out on the challenge log until now and got access to it yesterday. The challenge log is pretty much the same as the daily achievements in Guild Wars 2, only on a weekly basis.
To be totally honest, though, and i hate to think about that, but i’m of a mind to reroll somewhere. See, i’m on Shiva, which is what you might call the “german server” in Final Fantasy XIV. I also joined the Free Company of the multigaming guild i’m part of and they’re a small, relatively tight-knit group of friendly, dedicated FF XIV players. For some reasons, i’m not really happy there- to put it short, the heavy use of voice chat makes the FC chat quite silent, everybody’s at max level and i don’t really know anybody. I also don’t know what we’re up to and there seem to be no activities geared towards getting to know each other better while being on different levels.
This general sense of unhappiness is always dangerous for me: i’ll start thinking of ways to improve the situation, maybe make a suggestion or two to the guild leaders while thinking they’ll be annoyed by me and sometimes, i even fantasize (again!) about founding a guild on my own- which is a stupid idea, i haven’t got the time. Last time i tried (Archeage), it was a huge failure. So maybe i’ll start looking again in the close future.
Now why would that possibly mean moving to another server? To be honest, i’ve found most german guilds to be basically the same thing: they’ll say “real life comes first”, “casual friendly”, “RP friendly”, “good community”- and when you take a closer look, it’s people playing a lot (by my measures), always hanging in voice chat, ignoring everyone else (doesn’t have to be on purpose), no roleplaying and the recruitment process basically consists of writing a “hello” post of two paragraphs in their forums and getting in.
I’ve seen something else when i was in an international guild – the one where i stole the “free-to-play game travellers” project from i do in the multigaming guild, but there have been other issues. So, what would i want out of a guild?
Real real-life friendliness
I can understand the will to not have too many inactive accounts in your roster, but to me, this contradicts the part where guilds want to build a “tight-knit” community. Say i join a guild, everything’s nice and cozy, then i don’t get to play for 2 weeks and get kicked out of the guild. Why would you do that to a “friend”? Wouldn’t you be happy to see him or her return to the game at one point in the future?
Moderate use of voice chat
This one is hard to measure, but while i don’t think one should found a “no voice chat” guild, i’ve always found it hard to connect to guilds/people who are constantly on voice chat. They’ll play and talk in their group, guild chat will be silent and there’d be no chance for me to get to know the players.
I couldn’t tell you why i don’t like to use voice chat- i think it comes down to these reasons: when i have time to play, that means i’m in my “free time”, which doesn’t take a huge part of the day. So i’ll want to relax, maybe talk to my wife, maybe listen to music/podcasts or maybe, when our son has trouble sleeping in that time, i just don’t want to take the chance to wake him up. So while i don’t have a strict “no voice chat” policy, you’ll almost never find me launching voice chat in the same moment as a game. Usually, i launch it because of group activities where everybody else is on voice.
When i’m somewhat comfortable in a guild, i might launch it more often, but it’ll never become standard procedure. And if i’m in a guild where everybody already is on voice, the guild chat is silent, chances are i’ll be quite a loner.
Active guild chat
This is somewhat connected to the point above, but i’ve seen the empty chat in other guilds, as well. As one could imagine, since i write about MMORPGs on a blog, i like to discuss things- game-related, community-related and so on. Guild chat should be active, there should be something to read and/or contribute to. If i’m a new member, i won’t start conversations- i’m new, after all. As an introvert, i’ll always watch the other members first and see where i fit in. If there’s nothing to read and/or there’s only achivement/item spam or functional ingame-requests (“anyone want to do a dungeon?”), i find that boring.
There have to be ways to get to know each other and take part in guild activities that aren’t depending on characters level. There are a lot of things one could do- for instance, one time i tried to organize a guild market- everybody who wanted to participate posted some items (one set) in the guild forums he or she wanted to offer to other members, posted the required materials, maybe collected some stock before the event and all “passive” participants could go to that market and get these items made for them by either providing the materials themselves, buying them from the auction house or maybe because the crafter donated them.
Or one could do a simple guild meeting somewhere in the game world- maybe in different places everytime, or maybe with a weird twist (the international guild i was part of had a guild meeting with only dead people in TSW).
As i said, there are many things one could do, and to me, providing these events is essential to build and maintain a great guild.
Now, isn’t that funny, how i can just post what i want out of a guild here? I can almost hear you sigh and say: well, just do it yourself, then. I’ve tried- and here’s another thing i saw when taking the role of guild leader: most members won’t give you credit, offer feedback or help you out in doing/providing these things. I’ve found that many players mainly join a guild to reach ingame goals, which is fair enough, but when your guild charta says something like “we value our community higher than ingame goals”, well, then that implies something else- at least to me.
So there has to be some common sense in recruitment. I’ll be honest; i haven’t found the right way to do it, either. If you grow slowly, chances are your guild will be empty before it’s full, if you grow too fast, you’ll have lots of active players who don’t know each other. If you make potential members jump through too many hoops, it might put off people who would be great additions to the guild roster. Saying “no” to applicants or kicking someone who doesn’t really fit is a tough thing to do- i had a hard time doing that when i had to, but i think it is very important for the longterm-health of your guild and community.
So i don’t know, maybe i’ll go looking for something like that, although i do think the people in my guild are friendly people and that there is a good core and two of my oldest “online gaming” friends are members there (they won’t play FF14, though, or at least not both of them), and while i wouldn’t like restarting, it feels to me as if i’d get so much more out of Final Fantasy XIV if it wasn’t such a lonely affair. Yes, i solo often, but that’s not quite the same as playing alone.