Don’t get me wrong, I love being on a Japanese server, especially with the friends i’ve made in Belias. I also couldn’t ask for a better FC. They’ve been nothing short of amazing. But sometimes there are challenges within the game because I am not a native Japanese speaker.
Right, a bit of background time. I’ve spent most of my life studying Japanese. I live and work in Japan. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with very few English speakers around me. My Japanese is pretty good. I’d say somewhere between N2 and N1. I will happily use Japanese whenever I need to and sometimes prefer it. However, I still make mistakes, I rely on gestures a lot, there’s also a lot of vocabulary and high level grammar I am unfamiliar with. I make a point of learning new stuff everyday. Especially when it comes to vocabulary. Stuff I hear and know I can use in my daily life.
When I first started FF14 there was a lot I didn’t understand, names of bosses, jobs, classes etc in Japanese. After all, I played the game in English. The correct terminology in Japanese was difficult to get the hang of at first. However, whenever I came across something I didn’t understand, I looked it up. Or better yet, asked my FC members, and they would explain it to me in simpler Japanese.
There are many English speakers on the server that have all banded together and rely on only each other to get through the game. Especially from what I’ve seen in Belias. They’ll do party finder and request English speakers only etc. I was lucky enough to fall into a Japanese speaking FC. They are the nicest people I’ve ever met and really helped me to enjoy the MMO experience. Besides a WoW demo once when I was at University, I had never really played with such a big online community before. I’m so grateful for all the help they’ve given me over the past 10 or so months. Thanks to them, I evolved into a pretty strong player pretty quickly.
But sometimes, especially with hard content, I can get a little frustrated. I try to study up on the mechanics etc beforehand, to get a deeper understanding so that I don’t jump in head first to a sea of Kanji I don’t know. If i’m with my FC, i’m okay because they know my language ability, they’re very patient and are willing to help me.
But if i’m on my own….. It’s terrifying.
I’ve had English speaking friends who have been ridiculed by other players for not understanding something. Abuse gets hurled at them, they get kicked from a party and the situation feels horrible. You get afraid, almost put off, of going again. You become scared to ask questions in Japanese for fear of a negative response. And when you’re just starting out in a specific place, it’s difficult.
For example, i’ve completed Omega 1 and 2 on savage but I’ve avoided 3 for weeks and weeks. I want to go, but the thought of going alone is daunting. I could makes a party in the party finder. But I don’t really know what to write. If there’s anyone unsure of something, how do I explain it? If I mess up, all I can say is sorry because there might not be anyone willing to explain in easier Japanese. And everyone just ends up getting annoyed and voting abandon. (Happened to me a few times). Also, sometimes people would look at the party details, see the E underlined and then look for another party. I’ve had people join, leave, then join a different party. This is all definitely more of a confidence thing I know, but I’m sure other English speakers may have had experience with some of these difficulties.
On the other hand, there are times where I’ve wanted to help. Recently, I’ve been trying to level up my Dragoon, which means going to a lot of ARR dungeons. The early stuff. Because of this I’ve encountered many new players, “sprigs”. They’re new, they have yet to explore their roles and practice the dungeons. Mechanics and roles within dungeons can be pretty hard to get down at first, and not everyone is lucky enough to have an FC so early on in the same. So because of that, I want to help them out.
There was this dungeon I went to last week, Sunken Temple of Qarn, I think. I was with 3 new players and it took well over an hour to get through it. As a DPS I had to help out the party a lot more than I should have. THE BEES! I was marking the bees, and yet the other DPS I was with didn’t pay attention and the tank died… quite a few times to be honest. They did get the hang of it by the last boss, but that’s where more problems arose. I was the only one attacking the adds. Between running around and trying not to be killed, I couldn’t type out what I wanted to. It takes a little longer for non native speakers to type, think of wording etc. We sometimes need to look up words. I really wanted to explain the mechanics to them. I wanted to help. If only I could type in Japanese quicker.
To help this, I’ve upped the amount of game vocabulary I’ve been studying. I won’t use it in everyday life, but in-game I know that it will make me a better player if I know it. I’m eventually aiming to become a mentor on the server. ( I have the commendations, I just need to up my dungeon count). I want to help people, be it in English or Japanese. First I need to get more confidence in my Japanese.
There will always be abuse in MMOs. It hurts yeah, especially when it’s about something so personal as your language. But you gotta pick yourself back up, connect with other players, find people you can play with. I will be trying my best to get more confidence in my language ability. And I’ll try not to be afraid of asking questions. It’ll be hard but it’ll be worth it, not just for in-game situations.
Don’t skip over non-native speakers on your servers, you might find some really great people. My FC gave me a chance, and you should give others chances too. E, J, G, F.. it doesn’t matter. We’re all playing the same game. There’s the auto translate… use it if you need to. There’s no need for verbal abuse. Let’s work together to make the game enjoyable. And help eachother out once in awhile.