The Mog Log Extra: End of an era

Tell us why, given life, we are meant to die?

By now you know.

I wrote my first column of The Mog Log almost exactly five years ago. I've been writing it for the entirety of Final Fantasy XIV's run now. I've been talking about the online Final Fantasy games since before I was married, and it's been a wonderful experience. I had every intention of continuing to do so for another decade. As long as there was a place to talk about it here, I was going to make use of it.

This isn't just a farewell for the column; it's a farewell for something that's made up a huge portion of my life and changed my life in huge ways. As the fall comes to Eorzea, it also comes to us, and I wanted -- insisted -- that I would at least get to have one final chance to say goodbye. So let's take one last look together before we say farewell.

Rhio Aldul of Balmung.  Home located in Ward 8, plot 51 of the Lavender Beds.  Like I said, if you want to say hello, you're always welcome.  (And if someone who reads the alt text wants to share it in the comments, by all means.)

The future for the games

Let's not kid ourselves, Final Fantasy XIV has a bright future whether or not I write another word about it. We're heading into the game's first major expansion, which seems as if it's been a while if you look at the game as a whole and less long if you consider that the current game was basically a complete remake of the original. With minor missteps, the first part of the uberpatch has been well received. It's a well-done game that is steadily building subscrbers and getting better with word of mouth.

This doesn't mean everything will be golden. The game still has way too much of a love affair with randomness and wildly inconsistent ideas about things like housing. Plus it remains to be seen what lessons were learned about the current version's endgame, what did work and what did not. So there will be bumps here and there, there will be mistakes, and there will be things that go over like a lead balloon. I imagine the game has another five years before we need to worry about large-scale changes that might erode the core of the game, and by that point things would be changing anyhow.

I have hopes.

While Final Fantasy XI isn't the main focus of the column any longer, that also seems to be fair; the game is kind of quietly obsoleting itself, and that's all right. I can't tell you if it will see another expansion, and it is going to have to deal with the fact that it's rapidly dealing with the shackles of aging hardware that it has to work with. Dropping PlayStation 2 support was a good call, yes, but there's not much room to get into the game if you haven't already.

Ultimately, yes, that's all right. The game is a bit old now anyhow, and all things fade with time. As Final Fantasy XIV's star has risen, it has eclipsed its predecessor. That's a good thing, and if you're still having fun in the old world, more power to you.

The experience

One of the really golden parts of doing this piece for so long is that I've had the chance to really interact with the larger fan community for FFXIV. As the column has steadily shifted its focus for obvious reason, I'd like to think it became more and more relevant, relevant enough that people would occasionally steal entire articles of mine and post them in Lodestone threads without attribution.

All right, that part wasn't so great, but the rest was.

One of the big hallmarks that has kept the game as such a critical darling post-launch is its reputation for having a playerbase that helps one another. Yes, there are jerks, there are people who want to rush through everything, and there are players who make the experience less pleasant... but they're far less common. I wouldn't hesitate to say that we have a great community.

I've gotten to head off on podcasts and do one myself for the game. I've met wonderful people through the game. I've met wonderful people who don't share the same server as I do, but they're still players, and talking about our different experiences is a joy.

More than anything, it's the community I'm going to miss from this end. I'm proud of what I've written here. I think the last year of columns in particular has been pretty great, and as I'm looking back through what I wrote, I can be pretty proud of it all. If you look at it as a show, I think we had a good run.

I got to meet Naoki Yoshida in person, I've had people run up to me in Ul'dah and say that I did good work, I met a future roommate in the game, and I occasionally had people listen when I spoke. I can live with that.

It's been a long road.  I don't regret any of the steps.

The future for the writer

Nothing is certain, everything is hazy, and I don't totally know what comes next. Sadly, not another installment of this column here, but you have already gotten that.

Am I giving up on FFXIV? Heck no. There's a lot more life to be had in the game there, and you couldn't keep my wife and me out of Heavensward if you tried. I'll still be on Balmung, roleplaying and running dungeons as I do. If you want to say hello, I'm always there and happy to wave back.

I'll also still be doing Chocobo Dash. That's not going anywhere. And I've got my personal site that I've been working hard on for the past year, along with the Patreon page that is now my sole source of income. If you like what I've written here, I urge you to check it out. I still love writing about games, and I intend to keep doing so even if it's bringing me only a tiny supplement to my income working as a late-night gas station attendant.

I would rather not work as a late-night gas station attendant, but we all do what we have to.

Thank you, every single one of you, for coming in and reading, whether you've caught every column each week or just started last week. Thank you for commenting, thank you for sharing, and thank you for being the best audience I have had the pleasure and the good fortune to write for. Thank you for making the past five years of my life better and richer than they would have been otherwise.

"In that same fleeting moment, thou must live, die, and know."

Good night.

From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every other Monday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.