If there’s one thing 2020 has been good for, it’s video games. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time playing Final Fantasy XIV, and it means that my Free Company (guild) in the game have spent an equally inordinate amount of time together playing through dungeons and a host of endgame content.
We have been meeting at the same time and day every week, without fail – Tuesdays at 8pm, since you asked – and for me it has been one of the main social aspects of my year. Our next meet up will be something a little more interesting, especially in comparison to past weeks. This week, my friends, we will be having “A Very Cat Boy Christmas” and I’m 100% here for it.
A friend of the Free Company visited during last week’s session with in-game Santa outfits for all of us, so we ran the latest Eden raids all dressed in festive attire on Tuesday, to the bemusement and confusion of anyone that crossed our paths. One hapless Samurai player even wrote “dafuq” in the text chat as they loaded in, before we beat down on Eden’s Promise: Umbra together.
This week, we’re going to have a Christmas Party, complete with video chat, a few drinks and some more chilled runs of content than usual. We’ve already decked the Free Company house (called the Scratching Post, no less) with several decorated trees, snowmen and garlands, so we’re just going to sit and chill in our house together in-game while we chat. Sure, we might venture out to do some raids, but that’s not what it’s about.
We aren’t the only ones celebrating Christmas in Final Fantasy XIV, though we are possibly the most feline in our festivities (don’t hold me to this one). With a little help from Square Enix, I’ve been able to reach out to other players in the community to find out what they have got planned for their holiday break in Eorzea.
For instance, Morgana and their friends are travelling the world this season to hand out items to players that they have collected – goodies such as minions, mounts or glamours to spread the festive cheer. They have done this with friends over the last few years, but this year they are stepping up their work to “Santa’s Workshop” levels. They said:
This year, I am hoping that we will be able to reach even more people by having several teams stationed on different worlds (servers). If we are able to make anyone’s day with such gestures, then this is certainly time well spent.
The spirit of Christmas is very much alive in Final Fantasy XIV, as you can see. As we all know, Christmas isn’t always about grand gestures. Sometimes it’s just about humble traditions, which is what Lerine has been doing for some time. They have been taking festive photos with the tree in the Sapphire Avenue Exchange of Ul’dah for years, getting better at Gposing (FF14’s in-game photo mode) each year!
Of course, with Christmas comes the Starlight Festival in Eorzea, a yearly in-game event celebrating the festive season with songs, gifts and cheer. 2020 is no different, with the event returning to Gridania’s amphitheatre, and seeing the player help an Ul’dah merchant understand the true meaning of Starlight by helping them decorate the city.
Players have had a lot of fun with this event, especially the resulting prize of a snowman mount that you can bounce or fly around Final Fantasy XIV in – it looks ridiculous but personally I adore it. Lerine has been enjoying the event greatly too, saying that their heart was full by the end, with a huge smile on their face. They said:
Going around to help fix the decorations was a lot of fun, and the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the quest (yes, even Kamlito, even though it took him a while) was contagious.
Morgana echoed these sentiments, but also added that the Starlight Festival is their favourite in-game event of the year and it’s honestly not hard to see why. They also noted that the events in the story for the event seem to resonate with what’s going on in the real world too, something I hadn’t noticed at the time, but makes the event all the more powerful in hindsight.
Obviously it’s a very different kind of year this year, and as the UK and other parts of world find themselves in various states of lockdown, many are looking to celebrate Christmas safely. Morgana will be able to attend some of the events that they’ve usually only been able to host in previous years, and Lerine is taking the time to snap more Starlight photos, even attempting to get photos with all of the snowmen around Eorzea. That’s not a small task!
For myself and my friends, I think simply chilling with them at our Cat Boy Christmas Party or just dropping in to run roulettes or raids with them this week will be enough. It’s not much, but in our current circumstances, it’s great to be able to just relax with friends. Whether that be running high end content and shouting at each other, or just sitting around doing shots for arbitrary reasons – which now I write that out sounds a lot like Christmas anyway to be fair – it is great to be able to have friends around at Christmas, however you manage to do that.
From us here at TheSixthAxis, Square Enix, and Bastion – have Merry Christmas, Eorzea!