My faults

June 1, 2010

Although most of my memories of being in the LS and playing FFXI were joyful and memorable, I am man enough to admit that not every day was sunshine and rainbows.  There were hard times.  Stressful moments.  Memories which are probably better left forgotten.

However, today I want to dive in a little bit and expose, what I feel, are my personal faults in the game.  I want to write these notions out so that time and I will not sweep these truths beneath some rubble.  I guess I’ll just start with what I feel is most important.

I wasn’t the best leader.  There are plenty of things which I could have done better.

Not to say I wasn’t an effective leader.  I think I achieved the majority of the goals I set out for myself during my time as LS lead.  However, I think the member base, more often than not, gives me too much credit then I deserve.

I don’t think people should praise me for all that occurred during my time in the admin team.  If there is one simple truth to FFXI and an endgame LS, it’s that teamwork is required.  It’s all a team effort and for me to get all the attention and the spotlight, doesn’t sit well with me.  I had a great sack team and wonderful members.  Every sack that has severed with me and since my absence deserves all the credit and the acclaim from its members.  Every member performed with absolute precision and had an active hand in the work we preformed.

In many ways, being on the admin team is like being an actor in a play.  The audience (NQ member base) is present and the actors (the admin team) require the audience to clap and to acknowledge them for the show to go on.  I feel that I tarnished this balance and caused some misdirection during my time in the LS.  Some of my actors didn’t get the applause they deserved and I was wrong to let it go unanswered.

A lot of props go out to Feign, Katalya, Houzukimaru, Naobi, and Phage for dealing with the crap that I put out during some of my bad moments in the LS.  Be it if I was just venting or being more of a taskmaster then a comrade, they bore the blunt of my harshness so that the NQ members need not.

Looking back, I’m man enough to say that I wasn’t the best leader and that I was wrong in many ways.  I had problems letting go and sometimes my ego would get to my head.  I think the praise and the appreciation should have been shared throughout my team and not just directed at myself.  For all the over abundance of praise I get, I feel that it took away from someone else who deserved it more than me.  For that, I am ashamed of myself.

One of the things I admitted during me stepping down from the game was that it was very difficult and unknown to me to let go.  My sacks would have to literally rip the responsibility out of my hands directly else I would find some way of overworking myself.  Looking back, I had a problem trusting people.  And that’s not to the fault of my peers, but the fault of my own.  I didn’t communicate well enough of my expectations or have the ability to “turn it off” in my mind when I was away from the game.  There were many times when I would step off my returning flight home from work and the first call off the plane was to one of my sacks and getting a status update on the LS event.  Some may call that committed, I call that obsessed.

With the self justification that I didn’t want to burden people, I would always over commit to the work which needed to be done.  Be it points, attendance, running events, or just showing up.  I always wanted some form of supervision.  Looking back, I sneer at my old self for being so stupid and selfish.  I was like an over protective parent that inhibited their child’s growth of independence.

For some naive reason, I always thought that I would have time for the LS and the game.  For a long time, that was the case.  I was a college student and then a new graduate.  Suddenly, life started taking back a few minutes of my day until juggling the game, the LS, and the rest of my life proved even too difficult for me.

I was overwhelmed and never thought of a Plan B.

Today, I’m a different person.  I see these faults of mine from then.  No one is superman.  No should get all the credit.  Trust is a big factor in building a legacy.  At some point, you have to take your hands off the back of the bike and let the next generation steer their way. 

The way they choose, and not with you overlooking them.

This post is meant for everyone who has ever been a member of Prestige.  You guys did it all by yourself.  All I did was give a little direction and bring out your potential.  I am to this day, still very very proud of the work that we did and continue to do.

Gifts ungiven

December 22, 2009

Something I always wanted to do was to write about some of my experiences as LS leader.  Since I’m no longer in that admin position, I’m able to reflect on the past few short years and go over things I did well and things which I wish I did better. 

One of the primary reasons why I never opened up more often about my leadership activities was that I didn’t feel it was appropriate for a leader to be too open with their thoughts.  Thoughts of doubt and regret- all which are human – are usually kept away from public eye as not to discourage the image. 

And in the end, one of the main reasons is that you don’t want to be seen as vulnerable.  When you’re in an admin role, you want to shoulder a lot of the burden and motivate members.  A lot of the times, you keep it all within and it kinda develops and manifests over time.  

The things kept in my mind aren’t necessarily bad either.  I feel there’s more good than bad.  Much of it is sincere thanks to the members and my gratitude for everyone’s hard work that unfortunately goes unspoken for by me.

Don’t call it a comeback.

December 16, 2009

But it seems I’m back.

See you in Vana’diel!

A few bad apples

July 6, 2009

Hearing news of yet another EGLS ending due to drama and unethical management. 

All you need is a few bad EGLS leaders and everyone suddenly has the misconception that all endgame shells are as deceitful as those bad apples.

Sometimes I think that the reason why these people act the way they do is because they view FFXI is simply a gane.  No harm, no foul.  If one steals gil in the game from someone or organization, its totally different from real life.

Or maybe they take the game in such a serious fashion that they must steal and cheat to survive.  They need that advantage.

Whatever the case, it pity those who give EGLS’s a bad name and for their sakes, I hope their real life morals aren’t imagined via the game.

Looking at inside

June 18, 2009

So it’s a few minutes before bed and I’m checking the internet for some last reading passages before I enter slumber.  Of course this is now the moment where something comes to mind that I want to express on paper (or in the virtual world of the internet.)  Something that’s been on my mind on and off for awhile now but never knew how to phrase it or where to begin.  With my tired mind and mental blocks down, I think I have it down to a few concrete paragraphs to type out.

Writers note.  I find it interesting that the moments when I want to write the most if when I’m about to fall asleep.  Its like only at this time of the day do my mind carry off from the thoughts of responsibility and society, that I can arrange my thoughts more freely and naturally.

I will never understand why some players in FFXI play the game for only their personal benefit or put their personal desires and demand over the respect of others. I understand that they may equally not understand why I play FFXI in the terms that I set myself.  When asked the question, why do I play this MMORPG or be part of an endgame shell, I answer honestly and simply:  for the service of others.

Now, this is not the typical response that my friends hear in answering their question.  So the question becomes deeper and more specified.  What are my personal goals and desires?  And once again, answering with a full heart of honest, my answer:  nothing for myself, but to help those I am around succeed.

It is such a crazy thought for some people that I don’t want anything in the game more then simply helping my friends and seeing growth of the individual.  There are so many dimensions in which a player can grow.  They can evolve in play skill, leadership experience, or personal growth.

I do not understand the people out in the servers who pride their personal worth over the respect of others.  Case in point, people who are elitist scum who stick up their noses like some aristocrat who pretends to know nothing of being new to the game or ever needing help.

I sometimes think to myself that I try to do much.  Maybe perhaps my heart is made out of too much gold and that nice guys finish last.  I’m not trying to be modest when I say I am one of the poorest players in game.  All my time I devoted to the LS and my friends.  Screw farming, being my brother’s keeper is more fun and satisfying for me then any gil.  Gil is what keeps the problems away, not the panacea of the game’s troubles.

I’m content in the game.  I’m grateful for everything that has come our way and wish I could properly thank everyone who helped us get to where we are.  Sometimes I wonder if I could ever be that doppelganger of myself and care more about the gear on my shoulders then the relationships with others.

In more ways then perceived, the way one plays FFXI has a direct correlation to how one carries themselves in the real world.  I grew up with family values and proper morals and ethics.  The way I carry myself in the game is a mere extension of myself in the real world.

This brief spurt on the game is not directed any anyone of at any event in particular.  All the news I hear of people getting banned for shameful activity and seeing how some people focus on themselves over others has this web spun in my head.

When I see a player go above and beyond the call of duty for servicing someone else, that’s the heart of the game right there.  Not the victory story of that one time when X, Y, Z happened.  Not the time when the rewards from the battle were so great.  It’s the little moments that matter.  Sticking through tough times when things seems low because you have nothing to go on besides faith and friends, now that’s an adventure.

Emotional Rollercoaster

January 22, 2009

Thanks to Wysperfauna for this awesome video!

 Bane of Prestige Linkshell

Last night’s DynaWindy run really reaffirmed something that I forgot in recent weeks.  What I love about the game is when during extra-ordinary moments, ordinary members will brave the wind and tackle incredible odds.  I think thats what makes me enjoy leading as much as I have in the past.  The threat of defeat and euphoria that is success that comes from hard work.

Still, it is emotionaly taxing and draining on the mind. 

For a small team of players to manage leading a large pack, keeping attendance and points, decipher the garble of text on the screen, and somehow manage to play their individual job well is a marvel of players’ skill and mental focus.

You must really love the position or hate yourself.  I always joke to myself with that thought when someone assumes the mantle of leading.

If I compare it to football, being a shell holder is like being the head coach and quarterback.  Your sacks are your defensive and offensive coordinators who happen to be your running back and front tackle.

When I think back a little over a year ago, leading a simple 12-15 man event used to give me a lingering headache afterwards.  Since I was new to the whole experience, my mind used to be at 100% throttle for the entire 3 hour event.  Now-a-days, I’d like to think I’ve grown from it and leading a 18 man event only requires 40% of my attention.  Its not just I who has grown over the year, its all our members as well.  People slowly learnt the ropes and understood my thinking.   A lot of what I want to say, isn’t said because a member will bring it up a second before I finish typing my thought.

Now its not the case anymore.  Our member numbers have increased two fold.  200% of what it was one year ago.  Instead of having a 9-12 man Limbus, we have 24+ members on a Limbus evening.  The sacks and I have to take a holistic picture of the event and divide our resources evenly per the strategy chosen.

All this isn’t a bad thing at all.  Its part of growing.  The leadership and I have to learn how to deal with this.  I’ve always said that I’d prefer to be over numbered then undermanned.

With the increase in numbers, I have come to realize that I cannot to be as personal to each member as I used to.  Back in the day, it’d be easy to at least talk directly to each player and give them a small part of mind when I was leading upwards of 18 people.  But now, with 30+ members, its hard for me to give everyone my attention.  Instead I have to be direct as I can.  It’s not my style of leading but its necessary for me to keep focus and everyone safe.  So if I may come off cold to people, it’s not that I’m unhappy.  It’s just because I’m trying to conserve brain power.

Now-a-days I have to prep myself before I log into the game to manage an event.  A unfocused leader is a detrimental factor.  I try to give myself one hour to relax from work and get hydrated for the event.  All the preparing and thinking happens there.  As soon as I log into the server, my mind is in game-mode.  I compare it to playing sports and getting fired up before the kickoff.

Sometimes I think about the pioneers of the game.   The people who first popped Kirin without knowing anything and had to learn it through trial and error.  The players who created the current paradigm of tanking, magic offense, and alliance structure.  It may be odd, but I look up to these people like a forefather.  I can’t imagine what went in their heads years ago when FFXI was an unexplored territory.

In an attempt to balance work-game life and adjusting to my new work schedule, my play weeks are shortening.  I’ll only be reliably on Tuesday and Wednesdays of the week.  Tuesday being big game kills and Wednesday our Dynamis evenings.  Since its my first weeks on the job, my presence in the shell will be reduced and the command will be shifted to my reliable sacks.

In the upcoming months, I hope to take a more backseat position in the shell and allow Fei and Kat to exercise their leadership skills.  We have a lot going on and planned and I’m excited to be part of a great shell.   For now, I’m going to try to rest as much as I can between events so that my stoneskin of  life can get recasted.

I remember a short conversation I had with my sackholder, Feign when I first got passed the position of leader of Prestige linkshell.

He told me that in a few years, managing a linkshell or guild will become a skill to put on one’s resume. That taking care of linkshell operations and all the thinking and planning behind it would be similar to putting one’s past work or leadership experience to an employer.

A year later, I have to agree 100% and whole heartily.

If in the future I am a recruiter for any company, I would be pleased to see a entry on one’s resume detailing their linkshell/guild leadership.

I would ask questions about the basic organization of their shell, their role and responsibilities, and how they believe they contributed value to their shell and how it related to the position they were applying to. I would also ask hard questions, such as obstacles they had while being in leadership position and how they arrived at their final resolution.

This entry is to highlight some of the softer skills that I expect from any member of my shell and what should expect out of me.

Below I will be using the term “character” to represent the in-game avatar and “player”as the actual person.  Hyourin is my character. George (me) is the player that plays Hyourin.

Very easily the majority of the player base view their characters in terms of stats, job levels, area access, merits, etc. These are the only ways we can measure our characters. Gear is also an extension of one’s character and is a source of much focus for many.

It is more important from an admin view to see the player, the face and mind behind the avatar. Qualities such as attention to details, speaking, and following orders are all very important to management. Thinking outside of the box, knowledge, and how to react to difficult situations further developed player skills. The skill level of a player can be considered the counter part to their gear.

With all that stated above, a truly competent player-character is one who has a correct balance of the two strengths. Gear will only take a player so far. Whereas, there is also a glass ceiling which limits a player independent of their skill level. 

You can’t solo Zip if you’re under-leveled and skilled for the task.    You also can’t do it if you have no experience and haven’t t taken the time to do research.

When a player applies and accepted into my shell, there is a social contract that the admin team writes with that individual. We, the shell, will do our best to support their growth and development. Their responsibility is to work hard and have an open mind.

While walking with Drayno at Fan Fest 2008, I admitted that I found leading a shell to be more fun the actual game.  I don’t strive for gear or merits as much as I strive to become a better manager of operations.

The social contract is two dimensional for myself.

One aspect to towards the character, such as a piece of gear that a member is striving for. As long as I am in the position of lead, I will always keep that one item per member on my mind. The other aspect is less visible and that is targeted at the player. My social responsibility is to promote a clean, safe atmosphere for my members to experience and learn endgame. Learning farming routes, God/Jailer strats, how to work with others, and leadership skills. These are all unseen treasures that drop from every event.

The legacy that I hope my admin team and I leave when we do stop playing FFXI would be the player skills. Working in teams and how to communicate effectivly in endgame. These are the things which I hope will carry with my members beyound their days in Vana’diel. Be it at their next job or in a institution of learning, they can apply their experiences in the game to real life situations.

This is also to say that I have learned and grown equally as much as my shell in past year plus. My organization skills, attention to detail, and big picture thinking have all gotten skill ups these months as lead. (Yeah, I had to toss that FFXI quirk in.) 

I have worried the “what if” situation that would occur if I were to stop playing.  Would my shell be ok?  Do they have anyone to fulfil my job positions in the alliance?  I have given it good amount of thought in case I had to stop playing.  Like leaving a job, I would give due time and make sure all the dots are connected before I made my departure.

Linkshell as a whole can be compared to a business where you receive on the job training.  It can also be seen as an university where you attend class to learn and develop. And in some situations, it’s similar to a small business or parenting.

There has been recent talks on the possible situation in case Prestige amassed enough bank to fund a relic.  The topic on whether or not to sponsor an Aegis for myself came up.  I turned it down and will continue to since my shell is my “relic.”  I truly have no use for it.  In relation, I have friends in other shells doing big things.  Finishing up their Salvage sets or progressing in their Relic upgrades.  In compression, my character isn’t much to look at.  I pride myself in the unseen skills that one exercises as linkshell lead.  However, I don’t think my friends will ever understand that.  That to me, seeing my members succeed is more important that seeing myself gain worth.

Whatever model that I chosse to adapt to my shell, I’ll always remember that:

We are a group of frends, that happen to kill big things that happen to drop things we want. We are not a machine without emotions and understanding.

If anyone here every applies to work for me, you can sure put your FFXI (any MMO) experience on you resume. I’ll be more then happy to bounce thoughts with you.

A second chance

December 11, 2008

Somehow I find myself back to this small corner of the Internet to mule off my thoughts and feelings of my life and FFXI.  I’m not going to go back and retroactively tell you on what has happened in the past months.  Actually, I expect all my old readers to not even play FFXI or care what I write anymore.  

None the less, the next few posts from me are for personal reasons.  Primarily to reaffirm my personal Alma mater.

Fan Fest 2008

Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of attending this year’s FFXI Fan Fest 2008 in LosAngeles, CA.  There I met up with Drayno, a long time LS mate and the large, unique FFXI community.  It was a lot of fun and I already to plan next year’s 2009 festival.

For a small amount of time, I had a small lose of faith in the game.  I wasn’t sure if the actions and leadership decisions I were making the correct ones.  I was upset at SE for promoting a game that mistreating my close friends – bad drops, a faulty system, lack of support in some areas.

Going to Fan Fest reestablished something that I thought I had lost in myself.  I met with countless people from the community and got to know the faces of the players.  Players from different servers, different jobs, who came as far as Australia and across the world.  I met families that played FFXI – mom, father, son, and daughter.  I met people who had been playing since Beta and some less than 6 months. 

Fan fest is not only for the hardcore gamer, just the hardcore fan.

It was quite a moment to take in as I sat in a room with 1,000 attendees listening to a live concert performed by Kumi Tanioka, one of the composers of Star Onions.  To hear music you have heard for so many years being performed live by an artist is something I wish could share with everyone.

As I sat there absorbing the melodies and the moment, a realization occurred to me.  For the first time, I was not the odd man out being the FFXI fan.  Everyone knows of the WoW fan.   But there I was, next to people who were fans of a game that I was a fan of!  It was enough to bring a tear to my eye.

The people is what made my trip so enjoyable and refilled my love of the game.  I owe a great debt of gratitude to those that I meet and shared stories with.

Self-reflection

During some of the hardest moments in the game, I have had the privilege of being held up by my close friends and LS members.  When times are rough, its when normal members step up and have their true selves shine through.

With recent real life events in the news today, I can’t help but to worry bout my members.  The troubling US economy, extreme high job lose rates, etc.  One of the aspects of being a LS lead is that you somewhat become attached to the heartbeat of the LS.

I know members who have had their jobs lost due to the recent troubling economy.  I know people that cannot afford their Internet one month to another.  I know members working two jobs trying to make ends meet.

It was all this negativity compounded by the fact that I was helpless to assist in others’ real lives that made me dislike the game.  When Byakko didn’t drop Haidates from four pops, I wasn’t upset at the drop rate in particular.  It was just just something added onto of the mess and trouble.

All of this kinda ate inside me until I remember what I told Houz awhile back.  Houz also went through something similar and my advice to him was not to take all of the LS member’s personal lives into self responsibility.   In essence, I told him that his role as LS sack was not be LS councilor.  It’s literally impossible to tend to 40+ peoples’ problems and issues while keeping an objective, clear mind.

I can’t control the economy or fix everything.  But, what I can control – LS operations, I will do so with the well being of my members first and foremost.

Linkshell

Prestige just celebrated our first year anniversary back in October.  It was a lot of fun and I’m happy to continue to share the responsibly of this linkshell with my admin team and members. 

Small story. 

A person, who shall remain unnamed, actually made an off comment at my shell.  I wasn’t directly offended but it did bring something to my attention.

I have a great sense of pride for my shell.  I’m sure any deserving member of other shells are prideful of their shells.  But, don’t let pride of your own shell belittle others.

I believe in my members and love the shell whole heartily.  I won’t go around parading it to others comparing my members to others.  No.  I’m a proud parent and my members wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by my off behavior.  But, if you want to get me worked up, just point any disrespect to anyone around here.

I respect established shells and upcoming shells.  I’ve been to both sides of the spectrum.  We do not steal NMs, we do not trash talk.  We will help smaller shells in Sky with pulling or killing NMs if they asked us. 

I’m here to destroy the fallacy that all endgame shells are bot claiming, out to grief, non-human cults that only care bout drops.

Plans for 2009

I actually tried writing again once a few months back but I didn’t like what I read on paper.  I came to the conclusion that, the more one writes about FFXI from the goal oriented view, the more it’ll feel like not a hobby.

With this in mind, I’m going to try to keep my future plans short as to merely reflect my direction in the game outside of leading a LS.

  • Obtain 200+ merits by Fan Fest 2009.
  • Finish my THF, currently at level 55.
  • Start on the sub-jobs related to SCH, RDM, BLM, and BRD.

I think this was a good restart at things.  Lets see if I can keep the ball rolling.

Hoooooo hummmmmm

February 4, 2008

I’m sure that all the FFXI bloggers understand the idea of having too much to say.  Sometimes, having so many things happening so quickly, the words are lost.

 So, I’m going to try to tread some water.  What I’ve been up to in Vana’diel, what’s been happening, whats coming up, and what I want to accomplish in the near future.

I hate blogging in bullet points, >< forgiveness please ; ;

Since my last blog post, I have…

  • Made a very nice friend name Ariendal.  She gets me parties^^  Makes leveling WAR enjoyable again.
  • Leveled WAR is 2k tnl to 73.  I can soon whip out that Maneater and go ape-shiet on VT and T mobs. =p
  • Fought Kirin twice.
  • Reunited with my long lost friend and mentor, Devillti!  However, he got his old character hacked and stolen.  Now he’s restarting again as Devipapa!
  • Helped my primary CoP static plowed thru CoP missions is about to be on Airship.  Just the Snoll BCNM tonite and then we are go live for Airship!
  • Recieved the White Rivet from Limbus.  Gallant Surcoat +1 otw!

In the month of Febuary, I would like to (have to) …

  • Finish leveling WAR to 75.
  • Farm for the gil needed to get my cursed items for Heca items, Brutal earring, and various other WAR supplies.
  • Fight Kirin umpt-teen times to finish up all our pop sets. (3-5)
  • Start doing more Sea events.
  • Do as many Airship runs as needed to get all my friends to Sea.
  • Get Windy Rank 9 / 10 for myself and friends.  <– So unlikely ; ;
  • Jump into my De’Lorean and go back to the past for WoTG.  ‘cuz I’m a lazy bastard and I haven’t yet ><
  • Start some ToAU missions with friends.
  • Decide on the next job to level.  BRD?  I enjoy singing… in real life XD
  • Get ready for Proto-Omega in March.  Ho…man?

I’m going to pass on the next few Heca body drops for sometime.  Allow some people who haven’t gotten anything from Kirin to get something.  I hope we get a Haidate drop on our next Byakko for my man Rav.

Last thing, mix of game life and real life.  Houzukimaru, Yukimu, and I are going to road trip down to Tampa to meet with Mitssuro, Omniknight, and Katayla.  Work got me shackled this month so I look forward to a weekend out with the boys.

Proud

January 23, 2008

I’m so proud of my LS.

Wait.

I’m so proud of my LS that are my friends.

Good job on our first Kirin everyone.  Yall made me real proud last night.  I don’t even care that I got my Crimson Legs.  Just so happy that we made it to here after such a long journey.