Wisdom of Nym: A letter to new players and old hands in Final Fantasy XIV

    
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It burns, burns, burns.

The population surge in Final Fantasy XIV must be stopping. It absolutely must be nearly over at this point or already over. It absolutely cannot be filled with surging population any longer at this point. I cannot believe it. And then literally as I typed this line and went over to check, the server page could not load because of “unusually heavy load.” When it corrected itself a few seconds later, yeah, there were three servers in the North American cluster available for new characters.

Yeah. That’s it. Three. Three servers.

So the important thing at this point is that there are new people around. And since despite my absolute certainty that this cannot last through until November, I also feel as if I have absolutely no understanding or ability to predict what is happening. I felt like writing an open letter to both new and old players about this particular population surge. Please read the appropriate section for whichever one applies to you. Or read both! I’m not your parent.

Hello, peoples.

To new players

Hello, new players! Welcome to FFXIV. It’s really fun here. If I were more timely or better at writing guides, this might be the place where I would place a whole new player guide to the game, but the actual fact of the matter is that I don’t think you really need one, and certainly not from me. There are things that trip up new players a lot, like how gathering and crafting classes are… you know, classes and have their whole progression paths and gear and all that rather than just being a side activity you do while murdering things.

But none of that is what I want to advise you about today. No, I want to give you a very simple, very small piece of advice that will hopefully enhance your experience, and I hope you take it to heart.

That advice? Slow down and don’t worry.

I don’t mean that just in the broadest sense that taking things slow is more likely to avoid mistakes rather than cause them. That’s true, but it’s not my primary goal with this advice. No, my goal is to get you to not worry about the fact that you’re level whatever and other people are level 80 and doing endgame stuff and you have to catch up because that’s where all the fun is.

That way of thinking is totally understandable because of how MMOs work, but it’s also wrong here. It’s not how this game works. The endgame is not where the game starts; level 1 is where the game starts, and it begins as it means to go on. When you hit level 50 is going to be the one time in the entire game when you get introduced to a new style of content in the form of 8-person Trials and 24-player Alliance Raids, both of which you’ll need to do to advance the story, but past that, you will have seen the game’s tricks.

And those players at level 80? They will be joining you.

Some of them will be joining you because they’ve got jobs to level that aren’t at level 80 and the various roulettes are the fastest way to do that. Some of them will join you just to get more tomestones. Some of them will join you for giggles. Some of them will be clearing things for the first time just like you are, depending on the dungeons you’re trying to run.

Yes, I know, there’s a boost right there, and it’s tempting to say that you can just skip past all of that lower-level stuff. But the boost option is a mistake, and it’s a mistake born of misunderstanding how the game works. The boost option is the equivalent of wanting to get into a new show produced in the last decade and just starting on the latest season without watching any of the previous ones, figuring you’ll pick it up as they go along.

Television doesn’t work like that any more. FFXIV doesn’t work like that. The first 70 levels teach you a lot – not just in terms of story, but in terms of mechanics, job rotations, and expectations. There’s a lot to learn along the way, and jumping to the end right off the bat is holdover thinking from games where the level cap is where all the players are and where all the fun, if any, is to be had.

Don’t rush yourself. Take it slow. Watch the cutscenes. And don’t let anyone hurry you along. Tell people you’re new, and watch as at least half the players trip over themselves to welcome you into the game.

Yes, we're all very impressed over here.

To existing players

Hello, fellow players! We have a fun time here, right? And I probably don’t need to tell you to be nice to sprouts because while there are people who aren’t, they are far and away the minority. The majority of the community is happy to help new players, let new people watch cutscenes, explain mechanics for people who don’t know, and generally try to welcome new people. Even those not willing to help generally don’t seek to actively hinder, and that’s all good.

So here’s my actual advice for helping new players get into the game. It’s a really simple one and also a really important one, and it goes beyond dungeons. One of the things that we like to say a lot is that FFXIV has a great community and generally does better than other MMOs in that department, right?

Well, now is our time to shine. And we shine by showing off how welcoming we can be when nobody walks up saying, “Hey, I’m new, can you help?”

Be silly in dungeon runs. Ask if anyone is new when you’re leveling. Make jokes and be talkative. Offer giveaways to random people in a city – if you’ve got plenty of gil, just give some away to new players. I assure you that a level 10 player getting 10,000 gil for no reason is going to feel really welcomed by this community, and it will have no impact on you.

Push for people to let new players watch cinematics. Encourage them to do so, even. Congratulate people after doing tricky boss fights. Sure, you know these fights by heart, but the new players don’t, and feeling welcomed is more important than you stroking your ego and saying that it’s not that hard. Just be positive. Talk about how much there is to look forward to.

Make friends. Be a personal guide for new players even if you aren’t a mentor. Encourage them. Show them neat stuff. Fly them around old zones if you can! Give them a tour of what awaits further on.

Above all else, encourage them to have fun. Do things that are a little bit inconvenient for you as a veteran to help them have a more pleasant experience stepping into the game. Because even if this surge has to level off and decrease at some point in the near future, that doesn’t mean we can’t demonstrate the positive force of the community in the process.

Feedback, as always, can be left in the comments down below or mailed to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, let’s talk about what could be added to healers in Endwalker.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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IronSalamander8 .

Back in after leaving about 2 years ago, almost done with Stormblood, but have been re-acclimating to the game. One thing I love about FF14 when compared to WoW is that I’m already settling back in to my old class with only minor issues. If this was WoW, my class would have changed so much that I’d be lost, but mostly good stuff (no extra damage but bleed mana stance for my dark knight was a nice thing to not have to worry about anymore). I like them making needed changes for balance, fun, and technical reasons, without burning it all down and starting over constantly.

It is crowded in Limsa Lominsa (my home city)! So many people on Siren, but things are overall still pretty decent. I have had negative encounters with folks going back to before Stormblood, as no community is perfect, but even with all the WoW refugees, things just aren’t the cesspool I’m used to from that game. It might be due to the dev attitude, the lack of constant pressure to level up and get to cap, something else, or more likely, a mix of factors.

It always feels a bit weird to me, the game can be very serious but then you have Moggles and some other silly stuff, which I think is off-putting for some folks, it certainly made me pause at first, but WoW certainly does that too with serious events and yet everything looks silly or super cartoony so it’s not all that different.

Machinist was my highest class at 70 but have been tanking as Dark Knight and Gunbreaker for some friends, I’ll likely never work on the tradeskills as I find them monotonous, and healing always feels wrong in the game, but tanking and DPS have always been fun for me, so hopefully I’ll make it to Endwalker!

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Ben Moffett

I just started playing FFXIV after leaving WoW. I have to say that it is going great and I’m loving it! It is such a big shift. The community is so much more welcoming and willing to help. It is great!

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Mr. ColdFury

Beats Europe… I just check their data cluster and it shows *zero* servers available for character creation.

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Octahedron8

I’m not sure which half of this letter I’m supposed to read. I came back as a Returner a month or two back, and recently at last got the notification that my journey back was complete, welcome back to Eorzea.

Target myself? Sprout. I got demoted

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K8 D

Same here. Resubbed merely a few weeks before the influx of new players. My returner status went away but i still have no clue what im doing ever even though i have 2 jobs at 80. Neither of these work for me but thats alright. Just gonna help where i can, and ask questions when i need.

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sassaroth

Hi there,

Call me Sass. Of Brynhildr. Or.. Sass aroth. I prefer Sass. Don’t worry about lodestone searching me. You will… be suprised at the steps I took to secure my name. I been on the game since… alpha. Those first load test. There is one thing I can pass on as wisdom… Don’t underestimate the passion the players or developers have for these worlds.

I find new ways to challenge myself … constantly. My last goal, I made a full restaurant on the out side of my house… with 18 items. And if any of you seen my macroless dancing… it would blow your mind.

Needless to say… people incorporated out of game and in game elements to this wonderous world all the time. I can only inmagine what my 11th year on the game will bring. Well, thanks for the chat. Off to have a bit of fun.

I am making temporary open world race tracks that are sharable. Oh…. and I am on the playstation. I have no apps. But… you would be amazed what 11 years of game knowledge will do for you.

May be one day I will stop procrastinating. … maybe.

SASS

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Danny Smith

“it must be over”

hahahahano.

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RimaHadley

I do MSQ roulette pretty frequently and if there’s first-timers still in the cutscenes when I finish I like to wait around to cheer emote them on when they get out. I already spent a ton of time on MSQ roulette, what’s a little more? And it’s really nice seeing people all excited about getting to a pivotal point in the story.

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Mason Dixon

I saw a post on the r/ffxiv subreddit saying, “Sprouts are my content until Endwalker,” and it’s so true. I started playing last year, and have only taken breaks just short enough not to get me the returning flower icon. I was definitely getting burned out until recently. Then, tons of new people come in and are experiencing the magic for the first time, and my heart is full of love for the game again. I’m finally finishing my Bozja relic because I love helping people through raids, so thank you sprouts!

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David Goodman

I like how it’s a running theme for experienced players to treat Cape Westwind like it’s the hardest trial in the game for the sprouts :)

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Karma_Mule

That totally freaked me out when they did that. Then, “Wait, that’s it!?!?!’

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Scott Leyes

I must say, I was a bit worried right after the “great migration” of new players started; I had just begun to level a new character on a new DC, and the lack of “friendliness” was palpable. Lots of new players, especially tanks who said NOTHING and tried to pull entire dungeons. As a White Mage, I was in very high demand, because (apparently) “no one plays healers”

But things have improved… players are actually looking at and responding to chat, I’m getting responses to my traditional “Helloooooo” at the start of a run, etc… and thankfully, FFXIV is (reasonably) friendly to player mistakes (I’ve been on many Trial Roulettes lately where half the group wiped to “basic” mechanics, and yet we still made the kill)

My one worry is that Square Enix will find the funds/hardware to expand all the servers, only to have the population disappear to some other “hot” MMO, leaving ghost servers in the wake. But that’s what Datacenter cross-realm travel is for, right?

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psytic

I can already feel the Wow mentality seeping in unfortunately. Starting to get tanks pulling half the dungeon right up to the artificial barrier block and not even using d cool down’s on the trash. DPS face planting every aoe then screaming at the healer why they got no heals lol. Hopefully these people can be assimilated in FFXIV culture and learn to chill out, rather than this game becoming more like WoW. Time will tell but there’s already a healer shortage on my data centre.