I don’t think you can really understand what Final Fantasy 14 players are going through right now if you aren’t one. The launch of a new expansion is a stressful, overwhelming time, and there hasn’t been an MMO expansion as monumental or important as Endwalker since at least 2008’s Wrath of Lich King, if ever. If there’s a FF14 player in your life, you need to know how to support them through these trying times. Here’s some helpful tips from a reformed MMO addict who lost a lot of good friends to Shadowbringers. With a keen eye and enough preparation, we can all get through this together.
First things first, it’s important to keep in mind that Endwalker is not like a regular launch. Many people live their second life in FF14, which becomes their first the moment a new expansion drops. On top of that, FF14 is at its peak right now. Thanks to years of quality content releases and the steady decline of WoW, FF14 is more popular than it's ever been. Endwalker isn’t a normal bi-annual expansion either – it’s the culmination of an eight-year storyline that began with the relaunch of FF14, all the way back in 2013. This is one of the biggest moments in MMO history, and you need to be prepared for the fallout.
Though Endwalker technically launches Tuesday, early access for pre-orders actually started today at 4am eastern. Your FF14 friends started preparing for this moment months ago, and yet they probably still weren’t ready for it. Be patient with them today, especially if they have responsibilities like jobs or families they can’t dip out on. Their minds can only think about Endwalker and at this point it would be impossible to pull their attention away. If you have FF14 coworkers, you’ll need to pick up the slack for them today and do your best to take on some of their usual responsibilities, because they’re mentally indisposed. If they seem out of it or distracted, just let them be. Their hearts are already in another world.
When they finally make it to their PC or PlayStation, it’s almost a guarantee they still won’t be able to play. Server issues and login queues are so common with expansion launches that the community has just learned to accept them. Of course, the wait will still be a source of frustration for many. You may start to sense some irritability and restlessness with your FF14 player that gets worse the longer they have to wait. They may lash out or try to pick fights with you. Try not to get defensive about this and have empathy instead – they are stuck in the waiting room for the greatest experience of their life with seemingly no end in sight. For them, this is like waiting years to go to Disney World and then standing outside the front gate all day. Let them vent or give them space, but don’t abandon them completely; they need you right now.
When they finally make it into the game, the real work begins. Your FF14 player is almost immediately going to forget about the real world entirely. Their human responsibilities no longer exist and self-care will be completely disregarded while they immerse themselves in everything Endwalker has to offer. The most important thing is that they stay hydrated, so bring them plenty of fluids if you can or use a delivery app to send them meals. Remind them to take food and bathroom breaks every few hours and to shower once a day. It may sound unbelievable, but they’ll be able to ignore their most basic bodily functions for days if there’s no one looking out for them. The days are extremely short this time of year, but they need to get at least a few minutes of sunlight every day. Set some alarms and encourage your player to stretch, use the bathroom, and step outside every few hours. They won’t like it, they may even try to bite you, but they’ll be grateful that someone is looking out for them.
After a few days or weeks, your FF14 player will start to slow down and enter what’s referred to as ‘maintenance mode’. At this point they should start to reintegrate into society by returning to work and reconnecting with friends and family, only playing video games during their freetime like a normal person. It should be safe to leave them to their own devices at this point, with just the occasional check-in during quarterly patches to make sure their human needs are being met. It’s not easy caring for a FF14 player, but it’s the most fulfilling experience you can have – other than just playing FF14 yourself, I guess.
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