Final Fantasy XIV: Immigrating to Eorzea

Eorzea in its Seventh Astral Era has seen a huge influx of immigrants arriving on its shores to answer the call for adventurers; yet while these immigrants are promised great rewards, many instead meet an untimely end. In this sense while these adventurers are indeed given work and are vital to Eorzea’s recovery following the last calamity, they are thought of as expendable, casting a curious shade on the benevolence of the great nations.

Hydaelyn
The player meets the entity Hydaelyn, revealing their importance from the start.

The player character begins the game on their journey to Eorzea, an immigrant supposedly from another continent within the world of Hydaelyn. Once arriving at their chosen destination, they are directed immediately to the local adventurer’s guild. In fact it is a noted requirement for a foreigner to sign up to such guilds, meaning passage into this land is synonymous with becoming an adventurer. It is at these guilds that the player can begin to communicate with the world of Eorzea, acting as a go between for Eorzeans needing help and adventurers needing work. Through these guilds the player characters eventually gain enough prestige that they become noticed by the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and into the main plot of the title. However while the player character is regarded as a special entity, where does this leave all the further immigrants who aren’t so exceptional?

FFXIV The Question
This question at the beginning of the game is one of the first interactions the player have with the world of Eorzea. Ultimately there are no grand purposes in mind in the game’s early stages.

Generally adventurers are not held in high esteem in this land, despite the help and assistance they are providing. Indeed, as the player gains their notoriety they constantly have to reprimand native Eorzean citizens on their negativity towards these individuals. The issue with these immigrants is partly revealed within the opening sequence of the game: the player is asked why they wanted to become an adventurer, to which they can respond either to gain power, to win glory, to amass a fortune or to say nothing at all. These responses underlie this notion that these immigrants do not care for the land of Eorzea or its people, but merely what they can gain from it. There is a selfish, almost arrogant edge to every answer the player is able to give, or at least this is how they might come across to an Eorzean with the calamity still fresh in their mind. This issue is perhaps further exasperated by the fact communication between the Eorzeans and the adventurers are handled largely by the Adventurer’s Guild and not directly between the two. Thus without this communication link, there is little to curb the negativity the natives feel towards these immigrants, allowing it to manifest further.

Mist
Mist is just one of the three settlements players can make into a home. However, compared to the ravaged land of La Noscea, it’s easy to imagine the envy of those whose lives have been ravaged so recently.

This is especially noticeable in a handful of quests in which the player is asked to investigate certain townships which have been rumoured to be set aside for adventurers to inhabit. These townships (Mist, Lavender Beds and The Goblet) prohibit Eorzeans from purchasing land and are set aside solely for adventurers as a means to help encourage and welcome the mass immigration movement. These townships function differently to other areas in the games with their environs being dictated by the player communities within them, giving us a sense of a safe haven. Thus when the player reports back to those Eorzeans wishing to learn more about these townships, they are made to feel the wrath of their envy. Their lands have been ravaged and many have to employ the help of adventurers simply to keep afloat, meaning to see these immigrants having rights over land in their country they do not, leaves a sour taste for many. Furthermore these townships don’t encourage proper integration with Eorzea at large; instead they keep the adventurers separate within settlements of their own. Thus not only do the adventurers inadvertently gain the envy of the natives, they are also offered this exclusive life which naturally furthers this gulf between two cultures.

Lonely Adventurer.jpg
This poor individual is abandoned by her team mates for failing to save one of their comrades. Here, she fears the idea of being utterly alone in this strange land.

However what perhaps these native Eorzeans aren’t aware of is how these adventurers are utterly expendable. At numerous points on the player’s rise to the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, we are introduced to NPC adventurers who have lost others on their own quests. In Gridania, we see a group mutiny in the wake of their healer failing to save one of their comrades, while in Ul’dah a young woman who has given up hope after losing her lover, decides to give the adventuring game another shot. The leaders of the adventurer’s guilds take pity on these individuals, yet they do very little as their employers to pacify their woes. Indeed the guild leaders cast such issues aside as a necessary evil of the job. Ultimately the adventurers have nothing that ties them to Eorzea and thus nobody to miss them if they were to die on the job. These immigrants may be welcomed on the surface, but there is nobody who truly cares about their individual existence. Without the Echo the player is so fortunately gifted with, the average adventurer is unlikely to find much more than hard toil and loneliness in land of Eorzea.

Overall, immigrating to Eorzea is sold as this benevolent situation when the player first arrives on the continent, however once the opening chapters of the game have been completed the player cannot help but notice that the situation is more grim than it first appears. There is indeed no false promises given to these immigrants, for great glory and fortune can be attained as an adventurer. Only this is at the expense of negative native opinion, little opportunity to fully integrate and nobody but themselves to truly care about them.

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