So you all know at least 3 types of companies or guilds in MMOs.
Let’s start with the most common one: The bonus-giving AFK-association. Despite the member count being in the low hundreds, nobody talks, nobody interacts with each other and nobody plays together. The only exception to that is the one dungeon per week, where 2 people from the same company are randomly matched via dungeon finder and don’t even recognize each other.

The second type is the raid group company that consists of 12-15 members. 8 of them are closely knit together and go raiding every second day of the week. The remaining 5-7 people are players who want to participate, but are only allowed to come along when someone is sick, or are players who want to brag that they are in a far progressed company, while warming the bench.

The third type is your first company/guild. You know the one. The company where it all clicked. Maybe everybody was new and full of wonder, but the company chat was bristling. Everybody in the company knew the quirks of most other members. You remember that one member that was extremely into Heavy Metal? Or the one with the open mic, where you heard all the family discussions in the background?
It might have not been your first company, but it was your first company.

1 Week before Shadowbringers released. F.l.t.r.: Shadow, Momo, Kong, Aqu’a, Laila, Ejimso

1 year and 2 months ago, February 2019, I had been playing Final Fantasy XIV for 3 whole months and was just grinding through the main story line of Heavensward. I had been playing all kinds of MMOs before, starting with World of Warcraft in 2003, moving through Guild Wars 1&2, Warhammer Online, Eve Online and many more, but I really enjoyed the Story in FFXIV. It was like playing a classic RPG with nice and simple mechanics.

I gave up on finding a good guild/company in MMOs years ago. I had that one good guild in WoW in 2005-2007, that I felt could not be recreated. It was my first company, back then, and everything afterwards had been awful experiences. DPS-elitists, egomaniac raid leads, and walled-off communities quickly turned me away from playing in companies.

But at some point I wondered if I was missing out on content in FF XIV. Maybe I needed more people for some things? What was I missing? I did not know about many activities (I have yet to do chocobo racing!) and if FF XIV had to be described in one word, then it would be “overwhelming”.

So I started looking around for a company.
My expectations were:
1) At least one person that can explain stuff to me.
2) No elitists that tell me how bad I am.
That’s it. Not more. That’s how low my expectations were and I imagine some people reading this and going: “Oh those are actually pretty high standards. I would be fine if I wasn’t insulted in Russian by my company officer.”

August 2019 and you know what? I cannot differentiate edgy catboy 1 and edgy catboy 2. Maybe one was Aqua. Who knows? F.l.t.r.: Bcrowness, Ciri, Laila, Kong, Melech, Ejimso, Lilja, Mojo, Momo, Selva, Shoshola, Krather, Shadow

As I started digging through the recruitment sub-reddit for companies on Phoenix. My online experience in the early 2000s heavily relied on forums so I thought that was a good start. And there were like 2 frequent posters on that subreddit. Well, off to a good start with a limited selection. Still better than the companies recruiting over in-game chat, that sound eerily similar to pyramid-schemes.

I started talking to this Laila Arrbyte, who seemed experienced, nice, and tolerant to casual players, which lead to me joining quickly thereafter. Both boxes ticked by at least one person. Yay.
Quickly getting to know the -back then- core of the company, I understood that the foremost principle of this company was being welcoming and helping, which was awkwardly refreshing.

Now many months have passed. We had one in-game wedding, we tried extreme and savage content as a casual group, we have casual Wednesdays, we have at least 60% of a savage static group in our company, at least 3 people who know how crafting works and we have people spamming terrible terrific memes on our discord.

Many players left and more joined, but through it all I understood that companies are like flowers. You have to tend to them. You cannot only take their fruits, but you need to also offer as much nourishment as you can. And I think Laila will agree with me that we had our dry seasons, but right now, we are a company that is in full bloom.

April 2020. F.l.t.r.: Cthulhu, Vivianbel, D’jevv, Ulanne, Denni, Luci & Ryve (Lalafel), Momo, Darion & Aqua (Tree House), Laila & Ciri, Lilly, Kong, Alaqua, Pelle, Shadow

So keep in mind to ask for help, but also free some time to help others. If you want to do any group content, ask company members to join. Be grateful and accept help from our crafters, and help crafting when newer people need it. Join us when we goof around on discord or in game. Everybody is welcome. And that is what made Sleeping Dragons another first company for me.

-Kong