Today and tomorrow mark the Fourth Anniversary of my obtaining Sky access and entering into endgame officially. On November 16, 2005, I spent two hours in Lower Jeuno shouting to form a party to finish Zilart Missions 6 through 12. The following day I was pearled for the now-defunct ObscuraNox endgame linkshell.
That decision changed my viewpoint on the game forever. Was it for the best? At the time, probably. I’d long wanted to experience endgame, but it burned me out after 7 months. I guess one can only spend so much time in The Aery never fighting anything before he decides he wants no part of it.
Do I consider myself an endgame player? Ringthree of “You Are Not Your O’s Kote” describes an endgame player in his “On the Cheap” series as the following:
You have to really be an end-game player. I am not expecting you to have every title in the game, and have done ever mission everywhere, but I do expect you to have done main story-line content. This should be a goal of an end-game player at the very least. Zilart should be finished up to at very least Sky, CoP should be finished up until the end, and Aht Urhgan up until the end. If you don’t have these, or at least most of it and trying to get to the end, then you aren’t an end-game player, you are just lazy or your are just making pretend.
By that definition I am one. I also do Dynamis twice a week, Limbus once a week, have a Nyzul Isle static, a Sky LS, an Einherjar LS, and have done Salvage in the past. My social LS also does some sort of endgame-related content on Sunday mornings. My inventory is also clogged with various rare/ex items that drop from Internet Dragons and the like.
So why do I continue to gravitate towards endgame content? Because there really is no end to it. EXP and merit parties do have a means to an end: achieving x level or x amount of merits. While one can always level all jobs to 75 and spend the entire rest of his life reconfiguring their merits, eventually he’ll end up 43,999/44,000 EXP and 10/10 merits and 9,999/10,000 limits on all jobs with the max amount of merit points spent. At that point, what can they do? Events ranging from campaign battles (/shudder), Dynamis, sky, sea, and all the other endgame content that will usually result in at least one death, thus producing the need to continue building up EXP.
I guess I’ll always have the lingering feeling to do endgame as long as I play FFXI. Do I consider myself “better” than those who don’t? Probably one on level. But I do respect those who exist in the game without doing any sort of endgame. Different things to different people.
As for me, though, I will continue doing endgame things while leveling jobs to increase the versatility of my role in endgame.