jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

For the past couple weeks we've been having some major interpersonal problems, which combined with our hormones making us feel weird have brought us down to basically zero functionality.

On top of that, we tried to go back to FFXIV again, and it only took us a few days to be reminded of how ugly and sexist the culture is (both in terms of the players and the non-player characters) and how much it hurts just to be here. Let alone try to befriend anyone.

We're extremely sorry to everyone who has been waiting on us to write anything, whether it's a response or a game or a fanfic. We're trying to take care of ourself and get through this and stop getting hurt, and it's hard.

We're sorry to keep asking for everyone's patience, but you will all have to wait a bit longer.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is Mira Fox, the character we play in FFXIV. Apparently there are a lot of RPers in Eorzea, and some of them even use Fate. Who would have thought?

(Please note that the use of "men" to mean people is a turn of phrase that is unfortunately common in Mira's world, and which she might be only beginning to question.)

Read more... )

Character sheet formatting (and the I'm a Keeper stunt, representing her species) yoinked from Knight Kat's character sheet. This is what the characters for [community profile] capsulerp will look like once we get them posted, so let us know if you have any questions ~

jewelfox: A portrait of Rei Ayanami from the Evangelion series as an anthropomorphic albino red fox, in a sleeveless lavender top. (rei)

Content note: Sexism, rape, and abuse.

Creeps and assailants of any kind—rapists, harassers, inappropriate co-workers, slimy strangers in a bar—rely on complicity to function. They know it is unlikely that their actions will elicit repercussion. They commit crimes [...] without fear of ever being punished because they’ve learned that they won’t be. And so we have a culture that treats [victims] like voiceless, undermined objects of servility. [...]

Silence may seem civilized, but passivity is diabolical.

- Carly Lewis, The Year of Complicity

The original piece is specifically about certain high-profile, famous rapists, whose fame entitled them to commit horrible acts while others looked the other way. I feel that it really describes why I haven't felt comfortable in any Free Company in FFXIV, though, and I will explain why so that people who don't play the game can relate it to their own experiences.

Read more... )

I hope I will eventually find enough people in-game who value my friendship that I'll feel safe in their home and their chat.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

In the human social circles we've been inside, there is enormous stigma against saying that you've been hurt, especially by someone who's part of the circle.

The assumption is that you've brought it on yourself. You chose to take offence. You chose to be victimized, or your choices left you susceptible to it. You now choose to play the victim, and it has to be a role that you play because no real victims exist. Not here, not in our circle, not as a result of our kind.

The second-fastest way to lose friends is to point out who they victimize.

The fastest way to lose friends is to require them to take responsibility for having hurt you. Especially if you're too hurt by them to do it in a polite way, because politeness is the social grease that's smeared over violence to mask it.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

There's a MormonAd (basically a pre-internet meme) in one of their church magazines which shows a bug in a bowl of ice cream, and reads "IT'S GREAT EXCEPT FOR THE BAD PARTS."

The ice cream, in this case, is media, and for Mormons the "bad parts" are anything that "drives away the Spirit" ... which means they cause them to feel unacceptable emotions, like cognitive dissonance, sexual arousal, or adult anger and frustration as expressed through profanity. The more hardcore a Mormon is, the more of a learned fear response they have to emotions that normal adults have, which is why more hardcore Mormons used memes like this one: To shame kids for not having that response, and for thinking it was okay to watch R-rated movies and South Park.

You can see why they didn't want Mormon kids watching South Park. Content note: Racism, ablism, and a couple inaccuracies. (1) Click here if you can't see the video.

You see what I did there, with the note just beneath that video? This is how grown-ups handle people's different levels of tolerance for offensive content: By clearly labeling stuff using a shared vocabulary. The point isn't to say "if you like this then you're a racist;" it's to warn actual people of colour (in this case First Nations / Native American people) that "if you watch this then it might ruin your day," and let them make an informed decision.

It's hard to explain or justify doing this to people who've never imagined someone's day actually being ruined by this stuff. Or who chalk it up to "choosing to be offended." Healthy people don't have the kind of PTSD triggers that are caused by discrimination, and the kind of broken people that Mormonism and other abusive societies produce often don't realize they have triggers.

How abuse f**ks kids up, part 22

Claire used to just about go berserk when she saw gratuitous violence against innocents, like in action movies where they dwell on the villains casually killing people. I had no idea that it was because these scenes caused her to feel the anger we were never allowed to have or express, at our father of origin for beating the crap out of us. Because of that, we didn't know how to describe why we felt this way, or how to see the fact that these movies affected us in ways that they didn't affect other people. We thought that either we were broken, or everyone else was.

Don't you just wish, sometimes, that you could make people understand? That you could show those sexist white male jerks on Twitter what it's like to have people make rape jokes around you, or "jokingly" threaten your body with sexual violation?

... yeah, that's what happened to us shortly after we realized that we were transgender.

We got the kind of crash course in feminism that a person gets from presenting as female online, from having our work on GNOME more or less ignored by the male contributors to having irate Final Fantasy XIV players chase us off Tumblr for posting stuff they didn't like. Stuff like screenshots of the kind of blatantly sexist and rape-y stuff that the game is just saturated in, that we put on our sarcastic blog about how "FFXIV Is Totally Not Sexist."

Examples; content note for rape, sexism, and spoilers )

The tl;dr is that it feels like every woman who can be threatened with rape or harassment is, and -- a handful of high-ranking NPCs excepted -- the women in Eorzea all read like they were written by a man who finds sexual harassment funny.

I found the sexism funny, at first. Not because "lolwomen," but because it was so blatant and ridiculous. I started the Tumblr so people could laugh at it. But after a year of being harassed just for pointing it out, and dealing with creepy jerks who were other players in the game, and seeing women get threatened with rape and chased out of their homes just for being women on the Internet, it's not funny to me anymore.

The rape and sexism in FFXIV now feel less like bad jokes, and more like "the bad parts."

It's a great game, except for them. I'm just not sure I can deal with them anymore.




(1) Joseph Smith initially claimed only that he'd been "forgiven of his sins," and only later started saying God told him all religions were wrong. Also, he first tried to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon in Canada, instead of founding a religion with it. It wasn't until after Mormonism picked up steam that he started having affairs and soliciting children, at least the ones that we know about.

I don't know what the Quakers have to do with anything, aside from generally being awesome (and living on the Moon).

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Holiness is a terrible destructive force. It does not heal; it brings no comfort. It divides the pure from the impure, and it does so violently.

I do not wield it in any capacity as a healer. I wield it the way a thaumaturge wields fire and ice, and I do so with the same intent. You who glorify “purity” and “sanctity” would do well to remember that.

-- Mira Fox


A globe of purple and white destructive force, which looks like a crystal lattice.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

tl;dr The overheat mechanic from the BattleTech / MechWarrior games is a really good metaphor for being triggered when you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Detailed explanation

BattleTech is a board game played with miniatures which represent BattleMechs, which are basically big walking tanks. It has a whole slew of spinoff games and novels, including the MechWarrior PC and console games, which most people are probably more likely to have heard of.

Most of the games let you customize your mech. The big limiting factor, though, that keeps you from slapping on as many weapons as you want and mashing the fire button, is the fact that firing weapons heats up your mech and can cause it to shut down.

Click here if you can't see the video.

Someone I knew once put twelve fire-linked extended-range large lasers on a single mech chassis, just to see what would happen. As he put it, the "fire" button doubled as the ejection seat switch.

It's an easy mechanic to get the hang of, because it's ludicrously detailed but all the details make intuitive sense. Using energy weapons overheats you faster than using projectile weapons. Operating a mech on a desert planet generates more heat than driving it through the tundra. Standing hip-deep in water while firing weapons helps cool your mech down. And if you want, when building your mech you can skimp on armour plating or advanced electronics and put in a bunch of heat sinks, which work exactly like you'd expect.

How this relates to PTSD

Having your PTSD triggered is not the same as "choosing to be offended," or throwing a fit because you aren't getting your way. (In my experience, the people most likely to accuse others of doing that are narcissists, who all seem to think it's a legit debate tactic or parenting method when it's them doing it.)

PTSD triggers are called triggers because they're reflexive responses, like the ones most people have upon seeing a jump scare or being tapped on the knee with a hammer. They can immediately put someone into "fight or flight" mode. But when you've been socialized not to do either (like in my case), or you "heat up" too much or too rapidly, they can make you just freeze up instead.

Just last night, someone said something that created a huge spike of "heat" during an FFXIV raid, when I already wasn't doing too well, and I shut down just like a BattleMech that overheated. I was watching the fight going on around me, and I couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't move. I couldn't talk. I could barely even think. I felt like a deer in their headlights.

I'm having trouble even writing this, because I remember how I felt and I freeze up again.

What you can do

It's not hard to explain how to deal with someone who has PTSD. There are really common triggers to avoid, like rape jokes and anything sexist / cissexist / homophobic. There are signs to look out for, like that deer-in-the-headlights look and someone freezing up and being unable to talk, or suddenly becoming really defensive. And there are things you can do, like say "I'm sorry if that was a trigger" and "it's okay if you need to take a break."

You don't have to understand how it feels to be triggered if you can just think of a mech shutting down, and let the person cool off and get back to "all systems nominal."

Click here if you can't see the video.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So apparently, if you log out while you're in your Free Company's estate in FFXIV -- even if you're in your private room at the estate -- when you wake up you're on the front doorstep.

I am imagining a housekeeper who goes around tipping everyone's beds out the window so they can clean under them.

Did I mention I found a new Free Company to hang out with in FFXIV? >_>b The Moogle Conspiracy on Balmung. They're LGBTQ-friendly and seem to be pretty helpful to newbies and stuff as well.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
They just released the PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV, and one of the collector's edition bonuses -- which owners of previous collector's editions got for free -- is the "wind-up Moogle" pet.

If you get two or more of them together at the same time, they start dancing. And it is SO ADORABLE OMG.

I saw it get up to five before one of the Moogles started glitching out.

A group of four tiny flying, white-furred creature with bat wings and orange pom-poms dancing with each other in a circle in front of a bulletin board, in a cloud of colourful musical notes.
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The following essay was originally posted on the Final Fantasy XIV forums, where it will probably be eaten alive.

Full disclosure: I played FFXI for seven years or so, starting in 2004. I love FFXIV, but for different reasons than I loved FFXI.

When I started playing FFXI, I was completely taken in by its graphics, its community, and even its timesinks. It taught me the ferry arrives in 15 minutes, you need to have food to go levelling, and be careful ninjaing past Valkurm Dunes goblins. I took it all without questioning it, because this was my world and I wanted to go on adventures in it. And when it came time to do Divine Might, I /shouted and rallied my friends until we were herding 18 cats, which to me was the bigger challenge than the actual boss fight itself.

I'm glad that I have those memories, and I think the world needs more sandbox (or sandbox-ish) games. FFXI and EVE Online are "niche" titles, but with surprisingly loyal players. And if FFXI's slowly shrinking while EVE's slowly growing, it's partly because FFXI's based on 10-year-old tech and went neglected for years.

I'm not sure it's possible to build into a game, by design, the kinds of emergent gameplay those two have to offer. I don't think you can queue up in the Duty Finder, for the kind of unforgettable experience that was my friends and me beating FFXI's Ultima with 10 seconds left on the timer. I don't think scripted, themepark games should replace sandbox ones, and I think it's sad that 1.0's fans and SWG's fans lost theirs (multiple times, in the case of SWG).

But I also think they're unfairly romanticized. And I think sandbox fans like me tend to gloss over their faults, and give other people the sense that we think we are better than "casual" gamers, which are really just "anyone not as invested in ___ game as I am."

I think we should stop doing that.

For every one who has glowing memories, there are a lot more who remember a bewildering and frustrating game. For every one who remembers discovering how to beat a tough boss fight, there are a hundred who looked it up on FFXIclopedia (or Erecia's guide, remember that?). Sometimes you want to do it yourself, but you want to be told how to do it. And sometimes, you just wish the darned ferry would get here already.

For every day I spent having awesome adventures, I probably spent ten getting my head handed to me in Valkurm, or running around doing tedious crap and waiting for JP midnight. We don't remember this stuff as well, but they're all that the people who quit remember, which is why FFXI and EVE both have so many haters. Not because the "casual" gamers weren't "hardcore" enough to "learn to play," but because the games disrespected their time and money investments, and failed to fulfill the promise of being an awesome Final Fantasy / Internet Spaceships adventure.

Who made that promise, and how they made it, we could probably argue about. But FFXI and EVE are simply not like the games next to them on the shelves, and someone who bought FFXI thinking it'd be like FFX would be in for a rude shock.

(Just got my FFX/X-2 preorder, BTW. It's gorgeous.)

FFXIV:ARR, I feel, fulfills that promise. Say what you want about it, it is a Final Fantasy game, complete with boss fight and ending sequence. It's just unique among FF games in that you can keep playing after you beat it, unlocking more jobs and teaming up to defeat superbosses, and the developers keep adding new features and storyline quests.

I think their "ideal player" is a core FF gamer, who's new to the MMO world. I think that's the person they design for. And while I sometimes miss not having stuff spelled out for me, I'm also not sure what the difference is between having to research crafting recipes and food stats on FFXIclopedia, and having the game's UI just tell me. Beyond the fact that one of those things makes me do the same work as FFXIV's devs, unpaid.

TL;DR Sandboxes are fun, but people aren't worse gamers than I am because they don't want to do unpaid dev work.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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