How is it that the Final Fantasy 14 community is so gosh darn nice?
I was thinking about it while making coffee this morning — during my last sojourn in WoW back in the middle of Pandaria I ran a loooot of LFG and LFR and yet I find it hard to remember a single run that didn’t have at least one jerkwad in it. Complaints about healing/DPS meters, slurs in chat, revenge group kicks, “go go go go go”.. for just about every random group I would put a movie on the other monitor and explicitly ignore chat. When I think about queuing up for a random group in WoW, I feel nervous about the possibility of being insulted by strangers.
To be fair I’m only level 31 in FFXIV, but I have had plenty of opportunities to use the Duty Finder (aka LFG) while working on the main storyline and seriously every single time I’ve been matched with folks who are at best friendly and helpful and at worst quietly competent. It’s almost spooky.
In FFXIV, the first time you visit each dungeon using the Duty Finder your entire group is informed that “someone” in the party is new. The first time I saw that notice it was actually a little worrying. Oh no, someone will figure out that I’m a supernoob! Prepare for insults or maybe a group kick! But no, instead I discovered very experienced players who actually volunteered to clear extra pathways for my achievements or quests. Once I was even in what turned out to be an all-noobie group, and we took turns quickly reading boss fight descriptions and relaying critical moves to the rest of the party. It has been a universally pleasant experience. What’s the deal?
I can think of two differences between WoW and FFXIV that might point to a reason, and first is the age of each game. WoW has been around long enough for folks to get pretty jaded. (If you too are an old school player you need to read this Dark Legacy comic right now because oh my god it’s pitch perfect.) Everyone is expected to know exactly what to do because, ugh, where have you been for the past decade? It doesn’t matter if this is a reasonable expectation or not.
The other difference is that FFXIV moves at a much slower pace than WoW, and so perhaps appeals more to players who are feeling pretty relaxed about their leisure time. WoW has a rush to level cap, while FFXIV has a rush to level cap… and then whoa, slow down and repeat that like a dozen more times for each class. Grinds that might take hours in WoW are stretched out to days in FFXIV. (Whether you enjoy that kind of thing varies, of course.)
Even more importantly I suspect is the fact that WoW’s Global Cooldown is 1.5 seconds while in FFXIV the GCD is a whopping 2.5 seconds. That extra second actually makes a huge difference in play, meaning less frenetic combat, more measured response. In WoW I would spend groups spamming flash heal or hitting Circle of Healing on every cooldown, but in FFXIV the emphasis is on aggro management so I spend less time casting and more time planning my next spell. It’s not for everyone, but I think that slower pace keeps some of the “go go go” crowd away.
Obviously I’m not saying that everyone in WoW is a meanie, but that game sure does have its loud, rotten apples and it’s been extremely pleasant to play a game where I feel good about running random group content on my own. Way to be impressively nice, FFXIV folks!