It’s Not You Final Fantasy XIV, It’s Me
Look, when you called me on Friday and told me you were going to be in town this weekend, I should’ve just said I was busy. God, I was busy. It was stupid for me to make plans, to get your new number, to check online and see how good you look now. None of that should have happened. I should have politely said ‘no thank you,’ hung up the phone, watched another episode of Sherlock, and gone to bed.
Instead, I put on a pot of coffee, ordered a pizza, and we stayed up until 2am…on Sunday. Now you’re gone and I’m writing you this email. I’m tired, my body aches, and I’ve got work in the morning. We can’t do this again. Look, I know we’re not even officially seeing each other, but I’ve got to break up with you.
Damn it Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It’s not you, it’s me.
I know it sounds trite, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it’s the truth. I’m just too old for this shit. The last time I did this, I was just out of college and working at some stupid photo development shack in the middle of the suburbs. I could slink into work 15 minutes late on a Monday, the stink of a weekend that included everything but showering coming off me in hazy waves. Amped up on energy drinks I’d have forgotten what the phrase “a reasonable hour” meant.
God, it was so much fun.
Now though, I don’t just have a job, I’ve got a career. If I don’t show up on time, shit doesn’t get done. I’m not living in the back bedroom of my parent’s house anymore either, I actually have to do my own dishes, and, while eating off the ripped off top of a pizza box is cute when you’re in your early twenties, when you’re 29 it’s fucking pathetic. I’ve even got a cat, a thing whose entire existence is predicated on my ability to put food out for it on a regular schedule.
I mean, it’s not you at all. You’re so fresh and full of life, especially when all your particle effects are going and your quality is pumped up. And your systems? God, they go all the way down. I could spend days just farming mats and crafting items, grinding away at guildleves until I’m chapped and sore. Ten years ago, I would have.
God, I remember this one time, when I was with Warcraft back in 2007, I quit my job at Game Crazy just so I could try and get server-first level 70. I almost got it too, bested only by a duo of Chinese immigrants who, I would later discover while running Karazhan with them, shared a one-room apartment with the fourth and fifth level 70s on the server. Later in the expansion, I would stay up until 5am just because I liked running instances with a group of Australian death metal enthusiasts who’d karaoke Michael Jackson songs on Ventrilo while we cleared Botanica. They’re memories I’ll forever cherish, screenshots that have moved from computer to computer with unerring certainty.
And at first, it felt like that. I listened to all your stories, eagerly bounded after quest markers, and ignored the persistent buzzing of my phone. They could wait, I was with you. I was lost in your sweet cadence, enthralled with your flashing damage numbers. I could see us together forever, me coming home from work and you serving up a hot plate of endgame content for me to conquer, expansion packs all around the house. For a while there, it felt like the future I’d always dreamed of.
Then I started clicking through our conversations, my eyes glazing over whenever you opened your mouth. No, what you were saying wasn’t stupid, I just…I’d already heard it. Go get this, go kill these monsters, it was the same story I’d been hearing since high school, just with different names. My thoughts drifted away into a future where, all my tasks completed and the game done, I could just…sleep. I won’t lie, when you left, the only swelling I felt was relief.
You’ll find plenty of dance partners, Final Fantasy, don’t you worry. You’re pretty, young, and you’re coming to next gen consoles. I envy all of the young bucks who’ll boot you up and lose themselves in your silky smooth framerate and stunning environments. They’ll treat you the way you deserve to be treated, with reverence and adulation. Me, I’d just fall asleep during your raids and beg you off during your holiday events.
Trust me, this is the right decision for both of us.
At least, until my wife goes out of town for a week.