By Serena Sparkles

There is something quite thrilling about playing competitively against another person, a thrill that you just can’t experience from playing against an NPC. But what happens when you’re a novice in regards to PvP? Not only can playing against another human be thrilling, but it can also be quite intimidating.

Thankfully, the XIV community never fails to provide support and reassurance to its members wanting to branch out into unknown (to them) areas of the game. PvPaissa, founded by Rinny in November of 2017, exists to do just that in regards to PvP in Final Fantasy XIV. As a centralized hub for all things PvP in FFXIV, this group’s goal is to encourage people to be helpful and kind to both new and existing players. By housing various guides and scheduling many training sessions, their mentors help nurture and teach wolf cubs the ways of The Feast, providing them with the tools and confidence to take on the other players in PvP. PvPaissa also hosts tournaments, such as the recent Rising Stars Tournament and the upcoming The Feast World Cup (taking place from mid-April until late May). The Meme Team, winners of the Rising Stars Tournament and participants in The Feast World Cup, were gracious enough to provide us with their background, thoughts regarding FFXIV’s PvP, experiences within the community hosted PvP tournament and their future goals as a group.

Q: Let’s start with who each of you are, what your role is on the team, and a little bit of yourselves.

Garflex: Hi I’m Garflex from the FC Eterna <TIME> and I currently reside on Sargatanas although I was originally a Coeurlian. My role on the team is healer but I might as well be called a WHM main since that’s all I play in PvP. I grew up playing World of Warcraft starting at the young age of 11 sometime around 2005. I played a Mage in WoW (DPS) and got heavily involved in Arena, which is WoW’s version of The Feast. I quickly became addicted and I’ve been an MMORPG PvP junkie ever since. Coming to FFXIV I knew I wanted to be a healer rather than DPS and I’ve stuck with it ever since. Although I love PvP, I also put a strong emphasis in clearing all the PvE content along with doing speedruns. Other than this I’m a small streamer on Twitch with aspirations to become bigger over the course of Shadowbringers. Stop by at twitch.tv/garflex and come say hi!

Syrupy Pancakes: Syrupy Pancakes is an alt with my main being Uw U’ on the Primal Data Center. I am originally from Aether but I transferred at the end of the first feast season which was patch 3.3 to Primal for a hardcore raid group. However, I mainly just PvP at the moment and I was the mentor and the melee for this team so I had to give everyone tips and advice on where they could improve. These guys were so good I didn’t have to tell them much though!

Ao: I am Ao De (owl-dee), a dunesfolk lalafell bard from Aether’s Zalera, currently with the Moogle Empire free company. My role is ranged DPS for the team. I exclusively play bard as I tend to enjoy the damage/support role more than other classes. [I] started playing when Heavensward dropped and took on an early passion for PvP and the extensive customization options the game gives. I main bow/arrow class in almost every game so my decision was a no brainer.

Shinkou: I’m Shinkou Akaihana from Balmung, I am the tank of the team as I tend to prefer roles that support my team and have a decent chunk of responsibility. I started the game in 2.1 but quit until 3.0 because I could only run the game at 20 FPS. I enjoy raiding, PvP, treasure hunts, and roleplaying. I occasionally stream PvP and PvE content at twitch.tv/tjcrimson, hoping to be more consistent as time allows me.

Q: What got you interested in PvP initially?

Garflex: I first tried PvP in this game towards the end of Heavensward. A healer friend of mine convinced me to duo queue with them for the 8v8 matches they used to have. We played and won enough matches to obtain the Feast mount which is 200+ wins. I recently got back into PvP after clearing the PvE content and getting bored of it.

Syrupy Pancakes: I originally tried PvP cause a girl I had a crush on asked me to. I tried to get as good as I could possibly be at it because I wanted to impress her. I ended up finding a new game mode that I really enjoyed playing, and made a ton of friends along the way.

Ao: I was always interested in PvP in MMORPGs in general because of the customization freedom. At first it was only Frontlines and Seal Rock was the main active PvP mode at the time. I wasn’t too sold on it. My initial goal was to get rank 50 (PvP had ranks 1-50 prior). Then I looked more into the FFXIV PvP and noticed the extensive amount of customization. You had a specific set of skills on certain classes, the gear you wore affected your stats, and of course glamour, lol. It started out with a goal in mind, but in time I started enjoying the mode more than other ingame activities.

Shinkou: Simply because it was PvP, I enjoy competitive modes and had to give it a few shots as the roles I intended to play when The Feast came out (NIN, DRK) were not very great. I eventually got Paladin to Lv. 60 and really enjoyed playing that the most in Season 4 PvP

 

Q: Do you participate in PvP in any other games outside of FFXIV?

Garflex: I’ve PvP’d in WoW like I mentioned, but other than that I’ve played FPS games like CoD, PUBG, and Apex [Legends]. I prefer MMORPG PvP in general though.

Syrupy Pancakes: In terms of MMO PvP, the only other MMO I’ve PvP’d in is Blade and Soul. Otherwise most other games I play, like online shooters and MOBAs for example, are always PvP.

Ao: Yes, I always had a passion for Smash Bros, so I tend to go to local tournaments to test my skills when I have the time.

Shinkou: MMO-wise, I’ve played Guild Wars 2 since release and participated in several PvP tournaments and ladders until I devoted my MMO time to FFXIV. Outside of MMOs, I play shooters like Quake 3 Arena and Rainbow Six Siege. I also play Tekken and other fighting games as well.

Q: How does PvP in those games differ from PvP in FFXIV?

Garflex: World of Warcraft PvP is very similar to FFXIV in the general sense. Both games feature a set amount of players fighting against each other in an arena. The main difference is that WoW arena is either 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 unlike FFXIV which is just 4v4 in a competitive sense. The other main difference is that you can queue as whatever composition you desire. For example, in WoW you can queue 3v3 as 3 DPS unlike FFXIV where you’re always in a set composition. They both feature their own assortment of sleeps/stuns/binds and an ever-changing meta from patch to patch. The one big difference is that WoW doesn’t have server ticks; this makes PvP much more fluid and allows the usage of macros to use multiple abilities at once.

Syrupy Pancakes: I’ll compare it to Blade and Soul since the other games’ PvP are in a different genre which is too different to compare. Blade and Soul PvP is more of like a fighter where you can have a team of 3 people (or solo 1v1s) and tap in and tap out against the other team of 3 and everyone has their good match ups and bad which isn’t the same as FFXIV PvP. I’d say for FFXIV PvP, there aren’t exactly counter matchups, it’s more of the synergy of the players on your own team (no one can win a Feast game all on their own), and the executional decisions you make on the team that will win the game. Also FFXIV PvP, specifically The Feast, has more comeback mechanics in comparison to most other games’ PvP, so it feels anyone can win any game regardless of skill since the game will be heavily favored towards the losing team because of how medals work.

Ao: Hmmm, well for one PvP in this game is team oriented whereas Smash is a standard 1v1/2v2 fighting game. The medal system is one thing that is very unique to FFXIV that isn’t in many other PvP games I played prior. There are also timed buffs that appear throughout the match that can change the match greatly at a higher skill level. These timed buffs aren’t visibly present in Smash. In FFXIV there are “windows” when an ability is on cooldown and cannot be used until the timer expires. In Smash there is frame start/end lag, which is much shorter but has the same concept there. Many things in both of these games are different; however, there is a ton that translates from one to the other. Spacing/positioning is very important. Knowing when to be aggressive vs. when to play defensive will help anyone in the long run. In Smash there is a percentage gauge (higher means closer to death), in FFXIV there are heavy/light medals. The more heavy medals someone has, the easier it is for that target to die, vice-versa for light medals. Matchup is also one thing that translates differently but is still present in both games. For example, as a bard main I tend to play differently against a black mage instead of when I am against another bard. In FFXIV, team compositions are more important to have a grasp on in higher level play. This way you can formulate a quicker strategy that works best against that team versus the previous.

Shinkou: I’ll only speak on Guild Wars 2 as the others are vastly different as a whole. Guild Wars 2 is a faster-paced game due to how actions are registered sooner than later and the ability to use dodge roll to avoid damage. The game also features more self-sustain than a reliance on a trinity (Tank, Healer, Damage).

 

Q: With such a bad stigma attached to it, what would you say to encourage other players to give PvP a chance and to form their own independent opinion of that aspect of the game?

Garflex: I would encourage players to give it a fair shot and be patient. Don’t expect to enter the arena and instantly play really well and get the win. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are in PvE, PvP is a whole different ball game. I’d also tell new PvPers to analyze what happened every time you die and how you can do better next time. First and foremost though, be open to criticism so you can improve! I can also confidently say that the better you get at PvP, the better you get at PvE. When going from PvP to PvE I feel like a god because of how much slower everything feels in comparison. Coming from a healer POV this is huge because I can save members of my group quicker and more consistently.

Syrupy Pancakes: I think people don’t have an open mindset about it, so they fall into the stereotypes and cookie cutter opinions that people always throw at PvP. People always say that it’s full of toxic wintraders, but that is completely false. While there are toxic people and there are wintraders, you shouldn’t let one bad egg spoil the batch. People who say these things about PvP haven’t tried it or haven’t tried to get in involved in it, if they did try it, they would realize that not everyone is a toxic wintrader like they think, they don’t see the great things like PvPaissa (Wolf Pup’s Den) which are aimed to help the community grow and help people improve and have fun. They don’t see the events being held to bring people together and are also very entertaining! People exaggerate the bad eggs in the community which are a huge minority, the rest of the community is usually always against people like that and wants them to stop.

Ao: Give it a shot. I mean, try not to associate the bad stigma to PvP as you play. When you can be open minded about trying something out without holding onto other people’s beliefs, that is when you can truly formulate your own opinions. Give it time. If you do not like PvP when you are first starting out stick with it and try to learn more about it before dismissing it altogether. Who knows, you might find yourself smiling at the crazy things that could occur in any match.

Shinkou: After speaking to many people who avoid the content, do it for achievements without caring about the others involved, and those who are passionate enough to give it a shot, all I can say is that all forms of content can seem good or bad depending on the effort you put into learning about it. I personally didn’t enjoy approaching the crafting elements of the game and figured I could just buy everything while never having to approach it. It wasn’t until I invested some time into it and openly sought out ways to learn it better that I found I really enjoyed it. I’d recommend taking your time to learn about it instead of following through with whatever immediate frustrations you encounter and writing it off as a whole.

Q: I understand that you formed this group in order to enter into the Rising Stars Tournament, hosted by PvPaissa, which you won. Congratulations!! Was there any training or preparation for the tournament, or did you just go in and wing it?

Garflex: I’ve been PvPing off and on the past few months just so I could improve my play in general. Other than our initial scrims as a group (without Ao De) we had 1 scrim day the weekend before the tournament so we could build some synergy and get used to our callout system. So basically we just winged it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Syrupy Pancakes: We scrimmed twice with this group of 4; we scrimmed once however with the previous players that were going to play before they got too busy to play.

Ao: We played once as a full team the week before and that was enough for us to sort of know the fundamental things we needed to carry to the tournament. The other practice we got was in the first round of the tournament. Playing in the tournament is very different than practicing. As the matches went on, our synchronization improved and we were able to highlight things we could improve on as we got closer to the grand finals.

Shinkou: Not much, we trusted in our individual skill and previous experience with each other in both solo ranked and previous instances of teaming (specifically Ao De and myself.)

 

Q: Were there any moments in the event that stood out? (Funny stories, crazy moments, etc)

Garflex: My team members already stole all the best highlights from the event, lol.

Syrupy Pancakes: Probably Ao De barely living in this clip ( https://clips.twitch.tv/LaconicUnusualManateePlanking) and also us losing in the very last quarter of a second in this clip (https://clips.twitch.tv/ImpartialPlausibleDonutRedCoat).

Ao: The ½ a second loss that we endured. That moment went from excitement to disappointment as the “DEFEAT” sign appeared on our screens. We had no idea if we won or lost so when the realization came, the chat got silent as we sat there in disbelief.

Shinkou: Personally, I was glad that after our first loss in the finals that I stated that we would lose no more games after that and followed through with it.

Q: With the Rising Stars Tournament completed, what is next for this group?

Garflex: Winning the Rising Stars Tournament automatically qualified us for the FRC. So with that in mind, I’d love to keep PvPing with this group until then and hopefully after as well. I have a lot of confidence in our players and I can see us doing very well or even winning future tournaments. We are going to need a new melee since Syrupy has a FRC team already, so tell all your PvP melee friends and send them our way!

Syrupy Pancakes: I plan to help the team in every way I can, but I can’t play with them in the upcoming world cup, since I am from the FRC Primal team “bUrself,” so my priority and play will go to them instead.

Ao: Hopefully we can play a couple more times before the next tournament. With our melee leaving, we will have to find a replacement.

Shinkou: The Feast World Cup will be our next focus, I would really like to make it to the final stage and test myself against the best in the world. It’s quite an opportunity and really want to make the most of it!

Q: For those readers who are now inspired to jump into PvP and potentially follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give to them to get their journey to PvP greatness started?

Garflex: My main advice is just to simply queue up and jump into the fray. The best part about PvP is how simple it is to get into a game and start having fun. No finding or waiting in a PF before jumping into content and as long as people are queueing you can play any time of day or night. Other than that, check out some PvP streams of the class you play and analyze their play. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! I’d also recommend joining the various PvP Discords, which are the perfect place to ask questions.

Syrupy Pancakes: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, everyone is friendlier than you think and always try to find something you can improve on after each game, even the ones you win. That is the best way to get better and thus get into the top 100.

Ao: Play the game, have fun, and never stop learning. Defeat can teach you a lot more than a victory.

Shinkou: Get your feet wet and if you really want to compete, definitely study up as there is a bit of depth to understanding not only how your job works but how others can work with and/or against you as well. As said by one of the greatest PvP minds in the game, “No matter what happens, stay positive and keep focus!”

Interested in learning more about PvPaissa, the Meme Team members or PvP in general? Check out the following links:

PvPaissa Website: https://pvpaissa.com/

PvPaissa Discord: https://discord.gg/sUy86UC

PvPaissa Twitter: https://twitter.com/pvpaissa

PvPaissa Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/pvpaissa

Garflex Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/garflex

We at Aetherflow Media would like to thank the Meme Team once again for taking time out of their busy schedules to shed some light on the FFXIV PvP world and wish them the best of luck in The Feast World Cup!