Week 16+17 (May 11th – May 17th) – Field Notes (4/4)

MMORPGs and Meaningful Player Learning (Part 2)

Bryan Afadzi

In the previous blogpost, I brought up the point that the amount of player-to-player interaction vastly differs when considering a single-player game in comparison to an interaction driven experience that is an MMORPG in regards to the learning of a virtual world and its intricacies. During my one of my play sessions, I tried to talk to players in order to figure out how accessible Final Fantasy XIV was and in the following encounter, I believe it highlights one of the biggest aspects that makes the genre so enticing: genuine player-to-player interaction.

Another sweet encounter

While adventuring through Gridinia, completing quests and progressing in the story, I came across a played named “Kai Usagi” who had been defeating enemies in a joint event known as a “FATE” where players join together to clear a certain objective. After this particular FATE, I engaged with Kai Usagi, saying a simple “hello” and giving an expression of joy. From there, this player started responding back and we had a full-on conversion…while being surrounded by an annoying amount of hornets.

Having a chat with a random player atop a large tree branch.

In our chat, after introducing myself, I asked this player several questions such as, “are you new as well?” and “do you have any tips for a new player like myself?”. While I am still new to the world of Final Fantasy XIV, it was apparent that despite their level, this player still had a great amount of knowledge due to talking about “leveling this character” and using game terminology I had never seen before.

Through our chat, not only did I get advice about the leveling curve of the game (information which would not have been given through an in game tutorial), but I also got pointers on how to handle the progression of my character class and how to go about gaining experience to level up efficiently.

Imagine trying to have a meaningful conversation while being surrounded by swarms of hornets. How bothersome.

A welcoming community

Throughout my time playing Final Fantasy XIV this semester, the one thing that I’ve noticed is just how welcoming and open the community is, whether it be within my own free company or even in talking to strangers. The community that makes up the life of this game is always open to helping out fellow players, especially newer players who are just getting into the game. Everyone (within the community) knows that Final Fantasy XIV is a dense JRPG with many complex systems and that for a newer player without any prior exposure to the game, can be incredibly daunting to tackle it. In my time with the game, those who I’ve chatted with have not only been reassuring in this endeavor, but they have also supported me by giving me tips and humoring my conversations.

A member of my free company logging on and recieving a warm welcome from various members.

I believe MMORPGs’ biggest strength lies in the player interactions one can have where instead of being a lone adventure with single player games, becomes a team effort where even the newest of players can find support from all around. Furthermore, due to the interaction driven nature of these games, it provides a unique experience where even if completing the main campaign is not the main focus, there is still something worth continuing to play for in playing with others alongside yourself.

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