I Feel Guilty Accepting Help In Final Fantasy XIV

It’s the holiday season, which means I’ve been unwinding with my secret favourite game of 2018, Final Fantasy XIV, and levelling up character classes. I started levelling Blacksmith in order to make a friend a holiday gift, but I found myself propelled to higher levels thanks to unprompted charity from peers. It’s made me wonder: can I really call myself a proper blacksmith if I didn’t do it on my own?

I’m not much of a crafter in online games. I usually dabble enough to keep myself geared but never dip my toes into the markets. In the lead up to Christmas, I decided that one of my characters was going to make a sword for their in-game partner. That meant sitting down to grind out a few levels in the Blacksmith class. I poured a fair amount of time into gathering materials and crafting items until I was around level thirty. The current max level is 70, and I was pretty content to hover where I was. But when I mentioned my casual smithing in a Discord channel I lurk in—run by the players behind some of my server’s best roleplay combat tournaments—I had a slew of kind and enthusiastic players offer to show me the ropes of other crafting classes and help me level up my Blacksmith skills fast.

All of these high quality rings were granted to me for free, to help me level up via delivery quests.

In order to level a crafting class, you could just sit down and make a bunch of various sundries. That’s how I was doing it. But Final Fantasy XIV also has renewable quests called “leves.” For crafting leves, you’re required to make a specific item and deliver it to an NPC. The better quality the item, the more experience points you get. Soon after I told my friends about my crafting, they set me up with “leve kits,” which are pre-made collections of high quality gear that I could deliver immediately to the necessary NPCs. Suddenly, I was awash in mythril broadswords and high quality mining equipment. I was able to do enough deliveries to leap from level 30 to level 50 in a few hours. I’m currently sitting on kits that will boost my Goldsmith and Culinarian classes similarly high. While that still leaves me a way off from the max level, it’s cut out a big chunk of my initial grind. And, if I’m being honest, I feel a little guilty.

This isn’t a knock against my friends’ generosity; it’s more about how gaming has led me to think about achievements. Surely there are players out there who did things the hard way. Are they better Blacksmiths than me? Better players? I imagine that some people would think so. Video games can be competitive, and it can often feel like collaboration is something of a dirty deed. But my experience here highlights exactly what I find so compelling about shared online worlds. My blacksmithing journey might not be as hardcore as another player’s, but the help I received and the enthusiasm I’ve been met with highlights the power of community and social spaces. This is an MMORPG. I just happened to lean more on the massively multiplayer part of it for my own journey.

One kind player has taken to crafting me special gear as I level up my classes.

I’m torn. I love how much my crafting has drawn me closer to my community and friends. I have folks offering me high quality tools and gear that have helped me produce fantastic work. I’ve gotten to know people in a new capacity outside of roleplaying, asking questions about a side of the game I’m unfamiliar with. Besides, I’ve accepted similar kinds of charity before—once, a handful of Kotaku readers helped me finish up Monster Hunter: World’s story mode. It’s fun and reaffirming, even if a tiny part of me worries I’m not “legit” enough. Maybe it doesn’t matter: I’m connecting with friends and enjoying my journey.


Comments

    Even real blacksmiths usually have some kind of mentorship. If someone wants to help you achieve new heights without repayment maybe they enjoy being able to pass on their craft as much as others like you enjoy picking it up. even in a videogame it's not like this would be all that unusual.

    I wouldn't feel guilty. Levelling DoH / DoL is incredibly boring.

    I know the feeling, for me it's because I expect to pay or give something for help and factor that in when working toward something.
    For example, when WoW added transmogging I got obsessed with finding a really basic (but slightly rareish) scoped rifle for my troll hunter.
    I found the materials and gathered some rarer mats + gold as payment and eventually looked for help in commissioning the item, the fella who responded refused to take anything except the materials needed to make the gun and I struggled to show how much I appreciated the act without sounding weird or overly thankful (because the payment was my bloody appreciation lol)

    Weird thing is I tend to do the same for people who work under the same assumption, the folks who are genuinely appreciate the help and were willing to put the effort in.

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