Content warning: Death, Suicide.
I started playing FFXIV on the PS4 about two weeks ago and I'm pretty hooked! :) I'm on the Balmung server as Silver Treestar, the lalafell that is just trying their best to be a good Paladin/White Mage. I've been turning to the game a lot lately after work and chores to just unwind for a few hours by getting lost on the world map and working through my journal and duties. It's a good distraction, but I find myself fascinated with this world that's struggling to cope with the enormous losses after The Calamity.
I have had a lot of friends and loved ones die over the past few years, most of them since February of this year. Many of them died to suicide. Two days after one friend died to suicide, another went missing and I joined the search party for them hoping to save them. But they also died to suicide, and that feeling of failure still haunts me. I still feel like I failed all of them in some way. And it's hard to deal with it all, even with therapy and medication. I get nightmares about friends dying almost every night and failing to save them.
So there's something really fulfilling about being a part of helping make that world a better place for everyone, whether they're NPCs or other players. I feel like I'm able to support these people who are clearly handling their grief in different ways, some worse than others... Taking care of the Drybone cemetery was particularly important to me. But it's much easier to keep my distance when certain cutscenes or story moments look like they'll really hurt. I can be a tank or healer and do my best to protect everyone, and if I don't do too well or fail in some way, it's fine. It's a game, and I have enough layers between me and those moments to be okay. And I can learn and do better next time... or next time... (seriously though I get turned around a lot in some of these dungeons). Ultimately, by playing the role of a hero that becomes that pillar of stability, empathy, and hope, I hope to embody more of that within myself someday soon.
Anyway, I want to say thank you to everyone for making this game fun! I'm especially thankful for the folks who have tolerated me in their parties, haha. I'll keep doing my best for you, even if I'm still learning the ropes (except when the lag hits real bad). I hope other folks also find this game and others like it helpful in dealing with their grief. I wanted to make this post partly because I'm hoping there's other players like me that find comfort in FFXIV.
"But it's much easier to keep my distance when certain cutscenes or story moments look like they'll really hurt."
It's interesting you say that now when you are still in ARR, which is not known for very many moments like that, though there are a few.
The other expansions really ramp up the death, pain, and tragedy of people and events, with each expansion getting more serious. Shadowbringers is really pretty dark story wise.
But at least it comes at you gradually.
Yes, there was a time where I wanted comfort from things if entering FFXIV while not drifting away from RL too much.
There will always be some persons who will flip tables, so it's good for you to be prepared and have 'layers' between you and them.
Anyways, have fun, little fella and godspeed from EU. o/
(May you -never- experience horrors like I've seen and lived)