World of Warcraft (WoW) has had a reputation for a toxic community for a long time. This is not really unearned. Many people do not care how their actions impact on others and do not hesitate to pile insults and humiliations upon players that they feel are not playing the way they would like them to. This may be players that are not as good at the game, players who make a mistake, or simply just anyone else that isn’t them.
Grouping up with others via Dungeon or Raid finder often results in no-one speaking at all to each other and playing their own game without any attempt at working as a team. Note that I do not necessarily think this is wrong or a problem – apart from when things go wrong and then everyone starts screaming at everyone else!
When I started playing Final Fantasy 14 (FFXIV), I was amazed how friendly everyone seemed. I have never been yelled at, even though I have made mistakes. People are generally polite and I often get player commendations when grouping up via Duty Finder. On he surface at least FFXIV has a much less toxic feel to it.
However after playing this for a few months (I started playing around 3 months ago) I have found where the more toxic element is. I am not sure really here if the correct word is toxic or elitist to be honest. I believe that Square Enix is a lot tougher on outward toxicity than Blizzard Activision is. You can be perma-banned from the game for offensive behaviour in FFXIV for example. This seems to mean that people don’t scream at each other as much – but the elietest attitude still exists.
In particular I have found the attitude of: “I can do this, so it is easy and everyone else should be able to do this. I don’t need X therefore noone else should need X. If you can’t manage without X then all you need to do is “git gud”. I would probably not notice this attitude if I had not joined a Free Company (similar to guilds in other MMOs). People dont say much in party chat regarding this kind of thing as it can bring the wrath of Square Enix down on them, but in Free Company chat – people spout their opinions more freely.
In just the last month there have been heated discussions about tanks and healers doing their job properly (which is very different to other MMOs) and the use of Macros to name but three. Some of these I have listened to with interest, some I have been party to. Some have made me wonder if moving to FFXIV was a good idea or if I should have stayed in WoW.
Upon reflection it seems that a large number of the max level players expect everyone to play at a high level, people are always talking about what percentile they are in etc. This is something I would only expect from top raiders in WoW but it seems to be the case very widely in FFXIV. Those that don’t play at that level (and I have very publicly said in Free Company chat that I don’t – and have no intention of – playing at that level) need to “git gud” or get out.
Tanks are supposed to be DPS first and tank second. Basically DPS with mitigation and threat (hate or enmity I believe it is called in FFXIV). Tanks are supposed to do good dps and often do more DPS than some DPS classes. Healers again are supposed to do a lot of DPS, often expected to do more DPS than tanks – even though tanks are hitting enemies all the time and healers need to spend SOME time healing. Healers are judged on how much DPS they do – more than keeping the party alive. On logs sites healers get worse readings the more heals they cast. The less healing they do – the better they are. If that isn’t bad enough, they are the only “job” whose performance depends on the actions of others as much as their own. When DPS characters do not move out of AOE, or if tanks do not mitigate enemy abilities then the healer may need to spend all their time healing which will mean they are viewed badly. On the other hand, I have had groups where the DPS and tank were very good and I hardly had to cast a heal at all. On those groups I have performed much better and enjoyed a much higher DPS.
To cap that problem off, there is a large amount of feeling that “healers have it easy” because its “easy to heal in FFXIV”. Well it may be with a good party – but it can likewise be a nightmare with a bad one!
Do not get me wrong. I DO like FFXIV and I doubt I will be leaving it – but I actually feel less comfortable with the community than I have with the more outwardly toxic wow community.