Uh this became really long, just a warning. Read if you're bored. It's mostly just a reflection/an outlet. And surprisingly it's long enough that I had to split it up >_>
Ups and downs of my FC experience - Part 1
Guilds in this game are a bit different compared to other MMOs. Mostly because the main focus typically is to be social and make friends. That’s not to say there aren’t FCs outside of this focus range. There are FCs that raid with each other, host events, etc. This post is mostly me just reflecting on my FC experience. The highs and the lows. My takeaways.
It’s a rather strange sensation to be writing something that I imagine no one else will see (do people actually read blogs on this site of all places? lol). I normally don’t do things like this. I’m the type of person to keep thoughts to myself and not tell anyone. But sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed by all that’s going on around you, an outlet is needed.
I was first introduced to FFXIV by my friend. I was never really into MMOs at the time, especially ones that have a paid subscription. But since there was a free trial (up to level 30 at that time), I felt that it was worth a shot. It only took me 25 levels to buy a sub. From there on I was hooked, and FFXIV became the sole game I played.
As I progressed in the game, I noticed cool names next to player names. I got spammed invites to things as well, which I would later learn to be free companies. I joined a few FCs here and there, but I found that it was harder for me to fit into these larger FCs. So I started looking for a small one - one that was just starting out. And I did find it, so I joined.
Within months I became an officer in the FC when it was advertised in our Discord. I like helping people, so why not. Before this, I had no experience whatsoever in leadership or being in a position of power in an MMO. I became close friends with two other officers and felt that I could be my dumb self around them. Truth be told, just thinking back on it, those were the only two people in the entire FC that I felt comfortable with.
However, being an officer at that time was merely just a title. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t have any events. We didn’t have any direction. All this came to a boiling point when some of our FC members called a meeting to discuss with officers the future of the FC. They wanted events. They wanted to form raid groups. They wanted a direction. But we didn’t do any of that, so there had been chatter amongst people to leave the FC.
So we started to reform the FC. We got a few more officers to help with holding events and to point us in a direction. It sort of felt like we were moving in a direction for once. People in the FC seemed happy with the change. A month later, one of the officers I was close friends with left to find an FC that better suited them. I understood that this FC didn’t have what they were looking for and it just happens sometimes. Not every FC fits every person. Eventually, they did find the FC they were looking for and I’m happy for them.
I wouldn’t realize this until many months later after my friend left, but things would start to feel hollow for me in the FC. I felt that I couldn’t relate to my other FC members like I could with my few officer friends. Whether I didn’t feel comfortable or there was an invisible wall between us, I really didn’t know. It’s not like they were bad people, far from it! But I felt somewhat socially isolated in that FC. I wanted something more from it. So I made the decision to step down as an officer and leave, saying I desired to join my other friends in a different world.
I world transferred to join my friends who got me playing in this game. I also spent time hopping from FC to FC in hopes of finding one where I wasn’t hesitant to be myself and socialize. I observed how more structured FCs that hosted a lot of events operated. I absorbed how the officers went about doing their duties: from hosting events, welcoming people into the FC, recruiting, etc. I compared it to my time as an officer in my old FC and found myself lacking in comparison. I could’ve been better and done way more. Reflecting, I felt that I was just an officer with the title in my old FC (which wasn’t wrong lol).
Weeks passed, and I still hadn’t found an FC that I could belong to. Then it came, an invitation from my old FC to do treasure maps with them as they had a slot open. I accepted and joined. I found some semblance of belonging again that I was looking for. I had fun, we made jokes, and it felt that I belonged. And in that moment, I realized that I may have made a mistake in leaving.
But the real mistake would be rejoining.
So I did another world transfer to my old FCs home world. When I rejoined, I was reinstated into my officer’s position. I felt motivated. I felt like I had some goal. I saw how other officers acted in their FC. How they put things together for their FCs to do. Embarrassingly, a lot of the things I would do as an officer in my old FC were based on what I saw and experienced during my excursion. I sought to be better, and help make the experiences in my FC better as well. I wanted people to feel welcomed and included. I started planning FC events and hosting them. I took over our recruitment ads since no one was or wanted to manage them. I sent ideas into our FC officer chat to see if other officers thought it had merit. If it got their approval, I would enact it. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t. Simple. Things seemed to go well. I oddly felt like I was on a high, but it would all come crashing down in a few weeks.
A few weeks after I rejoined, one of my friends who was an officer invited a friend they made into the FC. They cited their friend wanting a place to belong. I could understand that. Another recruit joined as well; apparently that friend and recruit knew each other. Small world. When my officer’s friend asked why the recruit joined the FC after denouncing FCs, they stated “I joined this FCs because all the other FCs are bad”. To this day, I can’t forget that.
Over the week, things seemed to be fine with our newest recruits. They seemed to be getting along with the members. Behind the scenes however, some of the other officers didn’t seem to like my friend’s friend. It got to the point where those officers would start ignoring or be passive aggressive towards them. Perhaps I was blind to it all, but from my perspective, that person hadn’t broken any rules of our FC - and in truth, they hadn’t. They didn’t seem as bad as the other officers were making it out to be either.
This situation would hit its head a few days later when one of the officers started a fight out of nowhere with that person. While later the officer acknowledged that they did provoke and started the fight, the damage had been done. And that officer did genuinely feel bad for what they did, and wanted to step down and also apologize. However, other officers were having none of it and demanded my officer’s friend out. They claimed they would kick them without warning or explanation. Our leader stated they would support her removal as well. One even threatened to leave the FC if we didn’t remove that person.
Only two officers were against removing them, my officer friend and myself. We felt that it wasn’t justified. That person didn’t do anything wrong. We felt that the officers were out to get that person the whole time. We didn’t know what to do. We were outnumbered. Everything spiraled out of control within a week. There didn’t seem to be a solution at all. Truth be told, we weren’t ready to remove someone who wanted to be part of the FC; who wanted to belong to something for once.
Ultimately, we both had to come to a decision fast. I managed to stall out the other officer's decision for a bit. But in the end, both of us knew my officer’s friend had to leave. But how? It felt immoral to kick them without even saying anything, without any reason why. Looking back on it, maybe it would have been more of a mercy than the cold shoulder they got from our FC’s officers. I also knew my officer friend shouldn’t be the one to do it. I didn’t want to damage the relationship they had further. So it fell into my hands to deliver the news. And I was not looking forward to it.
I spent half an hour resolving to tell them. Rehearsing what to tell them. Imagining all the scenarios in my head. And when I was finally ready, I started a message to them on Discord...only to find they had left our FCs Discord server. I later received a message from my officer friend that their friend wanted to be kicked from the FC in-game so they wouldn’t have to dismantle their FC room. My message of their removal would be passed on, but by then it was too late and meaningless anyway.
I was ashamed. I was guilty. And we both were outnumbered. I wondered if I could’ve done something more or different. From my perspective, it felt unjustified and uncalled for. I essentially scolded the other officers and told them we can’t let a situation like this get out of control again. I told them that I rather we kick them then be passive aggressive towards them to get them to leave the FC. It disgusted me to see how things just went back to normal after those days. I resolved myself not to let something like this happen again.