The Time for T9 Has Come! (FFXIV)

FFXIV: It's time for Cake to kill Nael Deus Darnus in T9!

My Free Company and I have been spending the last few weeks in the Holocharts working on downing The Second Coil of Bahamut Turn 4, also known as Turn 9 or T9. For those of you who either don’t play or aren’t familiar with the raiding system of FFXIV, Coil is the end-game 8-man raid of the game, beginning with the five turns from the Binding Coil of Bahamut, followed by the four turns of the Second Coil of Bahamut, and finally the Final Coil of Bahamut which we are eagerly anticipating for the near future! The last turn of each Coil is notoriously a skill-gate of sorts, as they often have difficult mechanics to overcome. T9 is definitely no exception and this week is our seventh week working on it.

I have been a little quiet lately, and this is part of the reason why. I’ve been watching and reading guides, practising in between raid nights, and generally being quite addicted to FFXIV all over again. I had never stopped playing, but I was feeling a little demotivated and all this work and excitement has got me hyped up!

I’ve also felt a renewed love for my FC and how our group works together. I tried out a few party-finder groups at the weekend for additional practice (and I certainly wouldn’t have said no to a clear if it had happened!) and realised that sometimes, the group you’re comfortable with really is the best way to go. I can’t wait to feel like we’ve made a major achievement on our journey together, and start looking into finishing of the Coil storylines in time for the upcoming expansion!

Our Eternal Bond (FFXIV)

FFXIV: My Ceremony of Eternal Bonding with my guild leader was a lot of fun!
Yes, that is someone dressed up as a ghost…

FFXIV: All of our friends were there! Even though one of them could only be there in spirit as she was busy!

On Tuesday 13th January 2015, we celebrated our bond by getting married in a beautiful ceremony, the ceremony blessed by a slightly eccentric individual, in front of many of our friends. And by “we”, I mean my guild leader Arvenia Wolvesbane and I, by “getting married” I mean we had our Ceremony of Eternal Bonding, and by “slightly eccentric individual” I mean a Moogle. The part about our friends was accurate, however!

Square Enix recently introduced the ability for players to get married in Final Fantasy XIV, either through the free Standard Plan, or by purchasing the Gold or Platinum plans in the online store. Whenever the feature was first announced, I was impressed to find out that Square Enix had allowed same sex marriage, and so I proposed to my guild leader, Arvenia, whose character is a tall blue-haired lady Roegadyn.

FFXIV: We even threw a party afterwards at our FC house.

We invested in the Platinum plan for the extra options, including additional colours and flower options and different decorations in the ceremony. Also, the paid options give all guests an exclusive pet: the Demon Box! We thought this would be fun so we went for one of the paid packs and invited our Free Company to join us.

It all starts with a questline that you do with your partner, and after travelling Eorzea to pray at various locations with your bride or husband-to-be, you will go to the venue together to select the options you want to go with, including the priest for your wedding (the Moogle was definitely not a disappointment!), the colours for the carpet and flowers, the music for the procession and the all-important after party, how you enter and exit the ceremony, and of course who gets to carry the bouquet! After both of you have agreed and saved your settings, you can also reserve a date and time, which has to be done in advance.

FFXIV: A cuddle following the ceremony.

Slots open for two weeks, new slots opening every Friday at 9:00am GMT for the following two weeks. We noticed that even after a few weeks had passed, it was still difficult to get a good slot. I was a few hours late to reserve our date and time, and most of the timeslots were already gone, but we managed to snag a decent one that just meant I had to rush home from work! Some of my friends were not so lucky even though they also tried to reserve their dates on the same day as us.

All in all, our ceremony was lovely! I was surprised to find that three of the guys from our FC showed up in grooms garb, which was really sweet, and everyone dressed for the occasion (including one of our friends who showed up in the All Saints’ Wake ghost costume!) and we even received pets and gil gifts! It was really cute. The ceremony is super cheesy but frankly I was impressed that they made such an experience out of the in-game marriage system!

FFXIV: A candid shot from just before the ceremony.

So thank you Square Enix, not only for letting me marry another woman, but also for making the experience memorable for all of us. We all had a lot of fun, and went back to our FC house for a rather debaucherous party afterwards!

What’s in a guild?

A few members of my Final Fantasy XIV Free Company, Knights of Shadow.
Source: A friendly neighbourhood FC member, Iolet.

I still remember sitting in front of my PC at home one evening, wondering what went wrong. Had I not been active enough? Had I not organised enough events? Was I taking things too personally? I didn’t really know the answer at that time, but as I read the hatemail in my character’s inbox, I felt kind of dismayed. I like to think of myself as a pretty nice, open, friendly person. To think that someone felt the need to send me hatemail over guild drama appalled me.

I was a leader of a legion in Aion. I had just decided one day that I’d led some casual guilds in the past with friends and it had worked out, so why not try creating one in this new game, and meeting new people? I planned to run gathering parties where we’d all band together to pick flowers, fun PvP raids, and dungeon runs. I wanted to help newer players and welcome them to our group of friends. I was truly excited. I created it with my fiancé and our mutual friend, Andy, and we ran it together. It went well! Until we got a request from one guy asking if he and his 10 friends could join. I thought this was fantastic. He seemed friendly and eager to help a small guild grow, so we welcomed them with open arms. For the first few weeks, everything went really well. Until it didn’t any more.

A really close family member was ill, and they were in and out of the hospital every now and then. I didn’t really feel like playing. I made the announcement that I’d be gone for a little while but I’d be in and out when I could. While I was gone, the cruddiness started. The group of 10 friends started making sexist comments and offending other guild members. When I asked them to stop, they called me a dictator. While I was gone for a more extended few days, the first guy I spoke to from their group tried to convince Andy to get leadership off me and kick me from the guild, under the guise of “helping” me while I was on hiatus. We laughed about it, but the officer panel decided that the best course of action was to ask the guy to leave as he’d caused a lot of issues. We told the rest of their group they were welcome to stay or leave as they chose, and explained our stance. The guy we eventually kicked continued talking to me privately and was really understanding. Unfortunately, his friends weren’t.

They all left, and his brother started sending me vicious private messages. I asked him to leave me alone, politely, and he started sending extremely abusive messages until my fiancé stepped in and sent him a message telling him to back off. The guy then accused me of pretending to be my own boyfriend, that I was really just one person, and that the only reason Andy was friends with me was because I manipulated him and he just wanted in my pants etc. I blocked him, and he just created new characters to send me extremely detailed and horrid messages. Even reporting him didn’t help. Eventually, I believe he was banned for harassing someone else.

What went wrong? I wondered if I could’ve done something better to make their experience enjoyable. I wondered if I really had been too absent for a guild leader, and if I should’ve just swallowed my pride and given up leadership to someone more active. That situation made me lose my confidence in my ability to lead, and I have shied away ever since.

I’ve been lucky enough to avoid the infamous “guild drama” before that, and even after that. But honestly, I’ve shied away from guilds because of what happened. My real life got in my way of the game, and apparently that was a crime. I was upset. Since then, I genuinely haven’t found a home in a game. Until recently, when I found Knights of Shadow on Odin in FFXIV. Unfortunately, it seems that not everything was sunshine and butterflies like I thought, and a few nights ago I received the bad news that our leader had left without so much as a word on the forums, and taken a chunk of people with him. I don’t really know the history there so I won’t comment on that, but I, like many other members, were somewhat offended that people we had come to know and respect, and even like a lot, had just abandoned us without an explanation, and moved on to another guild.

Honestly, my sadness was brief, because the people I had grown closest to, the people I had messed around on TeamSpeak (albeit briefly) with and felt perfectly comfortable joking around with, had decided to stay. They wanted to stick with me no matter where we ended up. And that made me really happy. It may mean we end up in another Free Company, but we’ll end up there together. Over the last few days I’ve learned that a guild is only worth as much as the people in it, and if you can learn to trust those people, you’ll be really well rewarded. I look forward to logging in and hanging out with these guys, and that’s more than I’ve had in many years of MMO gaming.

What’s in a guild for you?
Let me know in the comments!