Maybe I am in a honeymoon period, but the game has become 3x as fun since I came to Aether!
I have played with my FC mates a little, doing roulettes and dungeons. It's such a difference to log in to something other than complete silence, to have people to talk to about content and game activities, to hear about their experiences, and to queue up with friends instead of strangers.
They were very kind and held me an Innocence farm. We had 3 successful kills, but somehow on the 4th attempt we all started derping out, and there were a number of wipes. Doing content with friends is very different from doing it with randoms. It is funny to hear the laughter and squeals of panic going off in Discord when someone fails a mechanic, and everyone tries to scramble out of the way of the resulting trainwreck. Lol.
I guess people are right: if you want a good social experience, you have to find a good FC or similar social group if you want to really enjoy FFXIV. Join a casual or RP fc if you want socializing, raid FC if you want to do progression content, find some discords based around the things you enjoy like pvp or housing design, etc. Or, gather like-minded people and start your own. Not everyone wants a rich social experience, but if it is your goal then you have to actively seek it out!
I also did Eden Normal with them and had a blast. Panda was DPS, while the healers were my FC mate and her friend, so I just trusted them 100% and focused exclusively on fighting, and they did not let me down.
The same cannot be said for me. Somehow, every blog involves me doing something extremely silly. In E1, our WHM accidentally died before the boss was pulled. However, I was so focused on the upcoming fight and the countdown that I actually did not notice, started the countdown, and pulled with one of the healers still dead!
Imagine me, the Tank from Hell, standing there with the countdown at 10 seconds thinking "OK, I will use FoF opener and hold Intervene for delta attack, blah blah double weave blah blah fflogs blah elitism blah blah orange parse", while there is a dead healer lying on the floor 2 meters away. I think if you look up "Irony" in the illustrated dictionary, you will see a pic of my dumb ass precasting Divine Veil to help the healers ... with a K.O.'ed WHM lying at my feet. Lol.
* * *
I was in Labyrinth of the Ancients with an FC mate, and when I said hi in party chat, 6 players responded. I said I was surprised at such a warm response, and we talked a little about the different cultures of Primal and Aether. One player said that Aether is nice as long as you stay away from Gilgamesh assholes (prompting the Gilgamesh player in party to speak up and say something like "But I'm not an asshole. :)", haha).
I have heard a lot of such stereotypes. If you believe people, Gilgamesh is either all elite raiders or toxic bullies (or both), the streets of Balmung and Mateus overflow with erotic RP, etc.
Let's just say that I am skeptical of such server stereotypes. Guys, there's no way you can generalize the behavior of entire servers! 1. Every day, new players join who are unaware of their server's alleged culture. 2. Most players do not interact exclusively with others on their server. The existence of world visit, cross-server DF and PF, and many datacenter wide social groups such as linkshells and discords, dilute any kind of local culture that might form.
Anyway, it was a surprisingly well-behaved alliance raid. Nobody pulled Atomos early and locked people into A, and my PLD co-tank helped to tank the iron giant on allagan bomb instead of letting it run amok. I had a great experience!
I have been saying this for ages, the game opens up if you at least TRY to be a little bit social. It might NOT work, but then again, it might open up a while new world for you.
If you think people chatting in roulette raids was nice, try Eureka. Of course that ship has sailed for you now, but the chats there were really great sometimes when you had talkers.
Honestly, no one ever saying a word would just drive me crazy. I could NEVER do the Asian centers because of that.
We are glad to have you Siggy. Lol after all those trap runs I'm shocked you didn't run for the hills.