Other groups have posted White Mage perspectives, which help me master a class that I consider my main.

Thankfully, I live in the era of Twitch and YouTube. It’s never been easier for players to share their experiences. Where there used to be a wall blocking you off from content, there are now windows through which you can peek in and see what’s on the other side. In some cases, like with World of Warcraft Classic, you can even look back in time to see what something was originally like and compare it to how things are now. The most exciting process is to follow raid groups as they race to beat content. Final Fantasy XIV’s last major patch advanced the story and added a Nier Automata raid with a “normal” difficulty level, but it also added “The Epic of Alexander.” It is an “ultimate” level raid, the most bananas difficult content imaginable. You need to be geared up with the best possible loot and organize with your pals to spend days or even weeks figuring out fights and completing them. If you’re not among that elite number, too bad. Still, I’ve gotten to watch those fights unfold as the first players to complete them have posted videos of the battles from numerous perspectives. (Lately, I’ve been enjoying Goldentot’s streams.) By watching these streams, I get to learn the fight and then vicariously enjoy whatever victories different players pull off. Better, I can enjoy these fights as they happen along with thousands of viewers. It is communal, an experience that’s somewhere between being in an esports arena and actually playing the game.

These viewing experiences make it easier for me to accept that there are simply going to be things I will never get to play, even in the games I love and devote countless hours to. There’s a bit of a lesson in that. With time, you can learn to accept being a more casual or mid-tier player. Competitive zeal fades away. You don’t crave your own victory, you cheer on as other people win their own fights. It’s brought a new depth to my own experiences and pulled me into an even wider community where being a spectator feels just as good as being on the front lines.