Continuation from #103!
#104: “Yoshi-P Sanpo Special Edition – Part 2”
Published in 2018/03/15 issue
This is the continuation of the “Yoshi-P Sanpo” story; an event where I wandered around regular servers on my official “Yoshi’p Sampo” character at the beginning of the year.
After celebrating the New Year with our FFXIV players—also known as the Warriors of Light—I began joining party finder listings for “Omega: Deltascape V4.0 (Savage)”, FFXIV’s high-end raid content, on the night of January 1st. At the time, it was the hardest 8-man raid in the game aside from “The Unending Coil of Bahamut.” Many players were trying to get their clears in before Patch 4.2 released at the end of the month.
My personal character had cleared V4.0 quite a while ago, and was already prepared for “Omega: Sigmascape” which would be releasing in Patch 4.2. So, it was the perfect time to do these world visits. My main job is Black Mage, so I figured I could contribute DPS and advice to parties trying to take down Exdeath and Neo Exdeath, the bosses of V4.0. At the time, it was commonly believed that Black Mages were weak, so I also wanted to prove that that was not the case.
The toughest challenge for me on these strolls was wrestling with my fear of people calling me bad. Pride is important for a gamer, no matter how trivial it may be. Although I’m FFXIV’s producer and director, when I play on my personal character, I’m just another Warrior of Light. Just like you, I play the content, collect Allagan tomestones, craft and gather, and hit the floor over and over trying to clear high-end raids. However, normally, no one knows that my character is Yoshida (aside from my real-life friends), so I can take it easy when I play. This time was different. Since I made my identity known, playing with regular players gave me a ton of pressure.
I don’t have much free time in my life, so it’s impossible for me to learn every job as well as I know Black Mage. That much is true. That said, I’m the one that gives the final approval when it comes to job balance decisions, so I hold a lot of responsibility. So, I have to at least have a good mastery of my main job. I don’t demand this of all of our developers, but for myself, personally, I feel that I need to in order to give persuasive feedback on job balance. I think about things from the players’ perspective. Thus, in order to prepare for these stressful public visits, I did some practice on my personal character beforehand. “Why would you go so far? Is this part of your job?” you may ask, but no, it’s simply in my nature to enjoy things this way.
Jumping into party finder listings takes courage. Part of the fun actually lies in seeing if people will recognize me in the first place. It’s funny when someone sees my name and goes, “Wait what?!”, but sometimes, they don’t point it out even though they clearly seem to have noticed. It’d be weird for me to declare, “Hi, it’s Yoshida. Let’s do this!”, so I decided not to introduce myself. If someone asks if it’s me, then I respond with an honest, “Yes!”
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, that’s very Japanese.” I’m neither praising nor condemning this practice, but Japanese people are raised with a reserved mindset of “not wanting to be disruptive,” so they typically stay quiet until they’re sure something is true. So, what happened most of the time was that we’d queue into the content and they’d examine my character first, before going, “Are you really Yoshida?!”
I ended up continuing these strolls until January 29th, the day before Patch 4.2 released. In total, I probably joined at least 50 parties. The instance has a 120-minute timer on it, and we typically kept trying for the entire lockout unless there was an early disband, so altogether, I spent 70-80 hours with everyone.
Most of the listings I joined were things like, “We want to clear! Let’s get that last 1% down!” or “Grand Cross Omega progression, and hopefully a clear!”, and probably less than 50% of them were able to clear. Nevertheless, chatting with the players as we continued to throw our bodies at the fight, occasionally wiping due to my mistake, and laughing together as we played… These all became precious memories to me.
I met many different parties during my strolls. In one of them, there was only time left for one more pull, and we miraculously managed to clear—I shouted in excitement with them as we posed for a screenshot. In another, after a hard-fought battle, I chatted with them and found out that one of them was a real-life mother, and her free company all got together to help this “Mother of Light” clear the fight. Yet another party had started playing in 4.0, and this was their first time clearing a raid tier. And then there was a tweet I saw that said, “I was going to give up, but yesterday I got to play with Yoshi-P, and now my motivation is back! I’m going to try to clear again!”…
I’m a game developer and a management overseer, but before all of that, I’m a gamer, just like you. What’s most fun to me is playing the game together and working towards the same objective. The first party of the day always had my mouse hand sweating, but that nervousness isn’t something I’d normally experience.
Since everyone was seriously going for the kill, the mood did get strained at times. But, that’s precisely when you shouldn’t force yourself to continue. I made sure to remember to say, “Alright, we’ve lost focus, so let’s make next pull the last!” That’s just how high-end content in online games is, in my opinion. I’m sure I was a bit envious of the Warriors of Light who were sincerely striving towards their goal of clearing.
Thus ended my special 2017-2018 New Year’s stroll. I’ve gone back to playing on my personal character, and I’m in the process of clearing Patch 4.2’s “Omega: Sigmascape V4.0 (Savage).” I’ll probably have cleared by the time this column is published, so I think I’d like to go on another stroll after some time has passed.
It’s a bit nerve-racking, and also concerning because I can feel my gamer reflexes declining as the years go by. These strolls might be fairly risky as a member of the development and management teams, but I’m sure that this is something that only I can experience, so I think I’d like to do another unannounced Yoshi-P Sanpo later, after I’m less busy with Patch 4.2 content. I look forward to playing with my future party members!
“Thank you, Warriors of Light, for all of the memories—and for so many screenshots that I can’t include them all!”