FFXIV & Mental Health: A Quick Take

I call this a quick take because i'm neurodivergent. I'm not a professional, and i'm not really a seasoned hard out player of this game yet. I'm still somewhat of a sprout when it comes to Final Fantasy 14. Just a note: I am starting to use my blog posts as scripts for upcoming videos. So if you prefer to read and don't get closed captioning easy from Youtube - the content in my videos are similar to what's in my posts. (And if it's not, i'll attempt to update unknown content in the forums.)


Experiences in this are two fold!


  1. I have Autism and ADHD and severe anxiety. I am 38 years old, and the combination of these things are largely why I live at home with my mother. Both my mother and I due to our issues have been known to combat bouts of depression.

  2. My mother is 65 years of age and just under a year ago underwent a double surgery to correct her sinuses. The second of those surgeries was a full frontal craniotomy and affixing titanium screws. She had major CSF/brain fluid leakage prior to that and was told she had crumbling sinus cavities. She has other things, such as of course - Anxiety, and OCD.

So one of the things with having mental health and playing this game is - how do you battle the issues you have while playing the game? I can't speak for anyone, but myself. I can touch on things that my mother's mentioned, as this is something we entirely enjoy as a family (ok her husband doesn't play, and nor does my birth father lol).


GOOD EXAMPLES: Routine

Routine when you're playing duties such as raids, dungeons or even things like mount farming. This helps set up a sense of easing the fear of the unknown. You can't predict everything, and you don't always end up in a duty with mentors, seasoned players. What you can do when you need routine as much as possible, is when comfortable - ask questions.


Sometimes when entering a duty (not always) I have asked about " what are the mechanics, is there anything i need to know". This may slow things down in a dungeon or duty, but in saying that - it's extremely helpful. When mentioning routine, I must say that sometimes - throwing routine out the window can help in an opposite way! Having fun, is ALWAYS the best point of call within playing Final Fantasy 14. Throwing routine out, learning something new can break you out of a habit you may not want or need.


In my case? I used to use mining as an excuse after i'd had a bad day or a bout of depression to just avoid everything. Sure, this is a great way to take a few hours and do something different, but if this becomes routine for someone like me - I may get wrapped in it, and refuse to come out of it. Breaking this kind of routine is why I adore the "routine" of having a free company.


Mechanics

Mechanics and Rotation are a KEY format to a lot of the way Final Fantasy 14, along of course with other MMO's - works. I can only speak on FFXIV, as while I have tried other MMO's - I haven't stuck to them long term. I would assume these count for Guild Wars 2, Outriders (not really an MMO), PS2 (Phantasy Star), World of Warcraft etc.


When talking about HOW something works, if someone needs an extra amount of information - it's not a bad thing. I noticed this when I was watching a twitch channel i've recently followed. Numbering things, when you're playing for example - THORNMARCH.

I won't make a clip for this because i'm trying to avoid using images or videos in this specific post. Sylvanias and friend VigilantHylian - were engaging in the ARR based trial. VigilantHylian felt it was important to number and mark the amount of MOOGLES there were - and the order in which to fight them.


This is an example of how you can help either new players, or people with disabilities get around certain mechanics.


Friendship & Teamwork

Making friends is an extremely fun and important way to stay afloat in a game like this where everything is entirely new. That being said, some people even through the ideology of TEAMWORK - still prefer to work as alone as they can.


People are willing to accept friendship, and that's awesome. But please don't overwhelm those around you. If someone isn't quite ready for raids, PVP, mount farming or anything higher level - then guide them slowly and let them come to you on their pace.


Many of us view this game as a special place to hang out and enjoy things. If you're on the Crystal Data Center, this is also a place to have healthy jokes about who's server is the worst. We know we have the weirdest Data Center, and we know that Aether's trying to take 2nd place. DO NOT LET THEM. (KIDDING)


But yet, without the new friends you've made - or in my case, meeting new twitch streamers, meeting new players in PVP instances - how else can I learn and grow? Sure, exactly what I mean here is that maybe someone's schtick is not wanting too much to overload them - so if they're not OK with messages, they're not OK with friendship - just step back! :)


I wouldn't be where I was today in the game if it weren't for my free company. Twitch streamers that I follow and hang out in their discords (Hime-sama, i'm looking at you specifically!! The only other rabbit i have on my friends list beside my mother's alt, and our FC buddy Bodi!) - have specifically mentioned that friendship is a LARGE part of how they game!


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CRITIAL / NEGATIVE EXAMPLES:


UI Issues

The user interface in Final Fantasy especially while VERY extremely well designed from a designer perspective - it's EXTREMELY difficult for neurodivergent people sometimes to function with the way the UI is laid out. I constantly am shuffling my hot bars around when things confuse me.


There are times I wish I could CLOSE the chat and just see the on screen battle information. There are times the hotbars don't have full information and i'm lost in the middle of trying to fix my HUD layout. I have heard on discord from fellow players who have struggles - that they're trying to keep up with the focus. Splitting focus in battle is only EASIER for me coming from playing games with hotbars (MINECRAFT LOL). Understanding the split isn't easy - so some people have the whole UI organised in a chaotic area just so it's easier to view for them.


Main Story


Similarly, a discussion around having ADHD and paying attention to MSQ came up. We're not all cut scene skippers, but there are parts of MSQ that are extremely difficult to focus on. Even with medication, if it's praetoirum even normal people are screaming to shut the cut scenes down!


Yet in other parts where it's the middle of the lul in the storyline, where its' the calm before the storm... Some of us struggle to keep engagement. There's not enough to distract us from reality, ergo annoying the shit out of us when we're bored stiff. I can utterly agree with this issue. Some of the MSQ Is like watching paint dry in ARR, and despite the juicyness - this is a critical issue that may prevent more players who are neurodivergent to play this.


Behaviour and Toxic Culture

This is an extremely important thing to talk about. The toxicity can be enough to trigger anxiety, depression or deep bouts of stress for players of any mindset. So if the neurotypicals are struggling, how are we in the divergent class progressing? Me? I'll be in my FC house bedroom snuggling my carbuncle until the whole thing blows over! Kidding. No, we have to address toxic behavior. I am not talking about how people perceive a content creator on youtube type behaviour. I am talking about in game player issues. When playing a duty, how informed as not so new players should we be? If we forget something, should we apologize, and move on and learn from it or just walk through the dungeon all sullen and frumpy?


We need to treat each other with more care. If people NEED help, don't mock them for it. If people need your help, don't MOCK THEM FOR IT. Similarly, if someone wants PRIVACY, give it to them.


We also need to have better communication in how we play our dungeons, trials and duties.



MIXED / NOT SURE EXAMPLES:


Modding


I am not here for commenting on this. We just need to get better verified clarification because we don't like being banned. Though, the reason this is here because sometimes modding's purpose is to help the game run a bit better? Should we ban people for that? It's a mixed answer because it's almost under the "Automation" or changing game files. So it's against copyright per se to do something like this. Sure we've all done this on Diablo and Diablo II. But after napster, copyrights across the board have become FAR more tight knit.


Tools of the Trade



While I only just reached word of sites that track your mounts, your progress in battle and more? I want to recognize that these sites are extremely hard work and take care with the data they record. I find it extremely awesome that there are tools to track your progress. Giving you a sense of achievement. For people of any type of mindset, background or otherwise - it's always nice to get a fully functional report on how your battles are going!



Community Discords



These can be two things. BRILLIANT OR UTTER TRASH. You have to decide how to run your community and keep it safe. If you're not watching after your members, things are not going to be helpful. No I am not ratting anyone out just saying! People are on the internet, and not everyone can read the same line twice and understand exactly what you or I actually mean. Clarifying doesn't always help. So be careful what you say, because we all end up in hot water when we end up on the wrong side of something we've said.