Locked in battle just outside of town. You are weak and you realize this is going to be a close one.. it is unsure if you will survive or not. You would have been fine except that your original mark had a partner who joined in at the last minute and while you’ve done your best to fight him off, one of you surely will not walk away from this. At this point it could go either way. You silently pray to The Twelve as the beast actually misses you.
Suddenly you feel your life energy return, and you spot in the distance, a smiling adventurer adorned in a white robe. You see them chant again, and more of your energy returns. You spot an archer in beaten up recruit clothing ready his bow and take a shot at your aggressor.. one last hit of your sword, and the battle is over. You are victorious.
As you turn to face your fellow adventurers you see them running off in the distance, so you shout out a “Thank you”.. the whitemage is already out of earshot, but the archer stops and nods respectfully in your direction before they disappear into Gridania’s lush forest.
What makes a good community member? Last week we touched on RESPECT. Just simply understanding that players are real people, real humans, that have real lives and responsibilities just as you do… easy as that.
This week’s focus?
Going back through the Feedback, the most prevalent responses had to do with community members being “WILLING TO HELP”. This I believe is something that serves as a pinnacle point in what constitutes a great community.
I’ve personally been on both the giving and receiving end, and can honestly say, that it is this whole “give and take” social interaction… this dance… that has created some of my most pleasant memories and valued friendships in both FFXI and FFXIV. Helping others is a very easy way to get to know other people. It’s a brilliant icebreaker.
♪ ♬ “Look to those who walked before…. to lead those who walk after”♬♪ – Answers
More than just lyrics or words, there is truth in the thought that our community reflects the precedence we set as a whole. As we get closer to welcoming players new and old into our fold in A Realm Reborn, we should take some time to recognize what existing things support the ideals that we want to see instilled in our growing community. What kind of things we can do ourselves to help encourage a “helpful” attitude across the board.
Is the community we enjoy because of the game itself?
Not entirely, but maybe it helps with some of it. I tend to believe it is very possible to have a thriving community in any situation… even despite the situation in some cases. I really believe its the members of the community that have the most influence over the overall atmosphere, still…… I think I’d be seriously amiss to not tip my hat slightly to some of SE’s methods of encouraging unity and teamwork in its players.
I realize that I might just be speaking for myself, but there is a whole other vibe that I get when I launch a Final Fantasy game. It’s hard to pinpoint, but for me the atmosphere is just different than many other MMO’s. When I load up a Final Fantasy game, even from the very beginning its like there is already present this sense….. this idea that there is a “greater good” out there that calls to be upheld. They have a way of softening your emotions and tugging on heart strings from the get go. The way it is presented makes me want to be a part of it…… makes my character want to do what it can to preserve or protect it, not only for myself, but for the good of others. For the good of the community.
Through the lore and quests it becomes apparent that things and people aren’t always what they seem. There are even times when the things you do actually make things worse instead of better, despite your honorable intentions. (If you played through certain 1.0 quests, you may be able to name a few instances of that). Though through it all they keep the experience all very human and noble. You aren’t always the savior, and to be able to achieve certain things, it is set up for you to occasionally humble yourself……. to shift the focus from what you can do, to what your party can achieve together. Set aside that ego and work together to achieve great things. Like I said, this is just my take on it, but I think I can spare a small nod to go back to SE for the game they lovingly created. It does however take more than just the right infrastructure to support a positive community.
The Power of Empathy
This here I think has the utmost importance. The ability to empathize is crucial for encouraging a helpful community. For this part I’m going to actually pull some quotes from the feedback itself that I had received on this topic. Reason being is honestly…… I’m not sure I could word it any better than these guys did.. plus its only fitting since I view this as a community project, not just my own.
Dario Azuralis wrote:
Despite years of experience, we have not forgotten that fledgling adventurer who entered into Vana’diel wide-eyed and ignorant. I’ve encountered many players who have needed someone to lend their time to give them a guiding hand and I never hesitate to give it. That’s because I know that I once was that player and the help I received starting out changed my whole experience.
This is huge! Empathy comes from being able to relate to someone in a different situation than we currently stand. From looking beyond yourself. In life or in game, wither its Vana’diel or Eorzea, or Timbucktoo… it all still rings true. Its important to remember what its like to be that brand new person. To be just starting out and not know everything…. to revisit that earlier self where you were still in awe at the things around you.
Those initial experiences players have is key. More than anything, its during that time that players determine what kind of player they want to be, what kind of goals they have and what they are capable of. It can even determine how long and wither they decide to continue to play at all. It’s in those first adventures that we learn the very most about ourselves and the community we reside in. Nothing that happens to you beyond this exploratory stage, shapes you more. Put yourself in that early players shoes.
What kind of things inspired you? Encouraged you?
Draw on your own experiences. Consider the complete difference in experience you’ve had with something as simple as having a game mechanic explained. How much more powerful and reaching was it to you when ideas were presented with a calm patience and understanding vs. just being called a noob, told you sucked and that you needed to do it like THIS?
Be honest, which approach made you want to work harder for your team? Which presentation helped you to care?… helped you to want to learn and do your best? Helped you want to be involved with other players? I think you’ll find it is true across the board… patience really is a virtue. Utilize that understanding to better relate more effectively to others! Pay it forward!
When someone struggles, we don’t just leave them behind. We wait and pick them up and tell them “Good job!” when they manage to succeed. We congratulate others because we know for ourselves that the journey is either hard, tedious, or long, and that the milestones of success is something to take a moment to recognize that people have accomplished.
Members themselves encourage you, pick you up when you are down, and celebrate with you when you have accomplished something. I don’t get excited the game gives me a pretty graphic to tell me I leveled up; I get excited when my friends tell me congrats! and then tell me “Oh, you are just five levels away from x, y, or z! I can’t wait to help you!”
There is nothing quite like simple encouragement. Encouragement is what inspires people to move mountains, and reach heights they never dreamed possible. What seems like a small gesture to you can totally make someone else’s day! Encouragement comes in all different forms, a simple congratulations, an affirming nod, a random cure or buff given out.. all those things serve to encourage those around us.
You can help fuel that next step in those around you, and by doing so you become part of their success! Seriously how rewarding is that! In life or game, I’ve found nothing to be more rewarding than helping others to succeed. It gives me the energy and drive to do then better myself… to strive for something more than what I thought I could previously do. Remember that your candle isn’t diminished by lighting another, instead the light grows brighter and the sentiment tends to spread. You could say that encouragement has a way of reciprocating itself… it becomes WIN-WIN to all involved!
So with that in mind come launch, when we venture out, accompanied by a ton of brand new players from all different walks of life, just remember…. we are all in this together, and that its the small gestures that matter.
Show some kindness, help someone become a stronger player, lead by example, and no matter how successful you become, never let your heart travel too far from where you were when you first began your own journey.. You will need to draw from that experience to help lay the foundation for the community we look to build… Please look forward to it. ^^