During these past few months, I’ve been enamored with PvPing in Hydaelyn, the world of Final Fantasy XIV. In the past, I always looked for a game centered specifically around PvP which lead me to avenues such as Aion, and Blade & Soul, however, when I picked up FFXIV I had planned to give up the PvP life. I just wanted a nice place to relax and enjoy the world, rather than play competitively. That worked for me for about three years or so. However, after recently finding my way back into the PvP community due to chasing that sweet top 100 prize, I realized why I have always loved them so much and just what exactly they mean to me.
Something about the mindset hardcore PvPers share, at least that’s what I suppose it is, makes it very easy for me to connect with them. I’ve met a lot of amazing people who I’ve grown close within FFXIV, many of whom are my best friends now, even out of the game. Yet, there’s always been something missing for me. I had started to believe as though I had moved beyond the age where I was able to meet someone and have an instant connection, being able to stay up all night having an endearing and heartfelt conversation.
Thankfully I have had the pleasure of meeting several great people during the course of my Feasting career, the ranked PvP mode in FFXIV. I always love how I meet people during The Feast, too, since you can’t actually talk during the mode itself.
My first encounter was with a tank who I constantly went head-to-head with in matches. I kind of already felt a small connection with him before we even talked because of the sheer amount of times was matched against each other, and I always thought he was probably a total jerk since my only encounters were with him as my enemy. However, while waiting for our queue to pop, something prompted him to strike a conversation with me when we happened to be in the same area. I was hesitant at first, but by the end of that night, we had become best buddies. It was a really nice feeling, and I had thought I was no longer capable of having these sorts of encounters.
A more recent encounter I had was by complete accident. I had opened my contacts list to add someone I had met in a dungeon run, after taking a break from The Feast, and by mistake clicked on someone else’s name who was in an earlier match with me. Yet, despite this being an accidental meeting, we hit it off right away by bonding over our hopes to get back our spots in the top 100 during the last days of the season, as well as our regrets of kicking ourselves off of the board by queueing due to paranoia about our scores not being high enough. We had both fallen off of the board at the last minute and were trying to use every chance we could in that final week in order to get back on there, and because of this, we had a substantial amount of time to talk while waiting for our queues to pop. Now, maybe it was just because we were both sleep deprived due to caring so much about the game that week while also balancing work and school, but we opened up a lot to each other and had a great time as a result.
In only a few months of re-entering the PvP community, I’ve made stronger connections than I have in the four years that I’ve focused more on the PvE and casual content. I still don’t know why it is that I have this type of connection with players that I meet while PvPing. Maybe it’s the aspect of a rivalry; the constant will, and dedication to improve, or perhaps it’s just a similarity in how the minds work in people who enjoy PvP. It may even just be that it’s refreshing to meet likeminded players in a game mode that is often filled with anger; frustration; and disdain towards others. Whatever it may, I’m just glad it exists and that I’m able to meet these people - especially in environments that are often so toxic.