I wanted to start this post off with an apology. A lot has changed in the last month, with the housing situation, patch 2.1, and people coming and going, and there hasn’t been any communication from the leadership, in an official fashion, to the Espers community. That isn’t how we intended to run this company, and it wasn’t fair of us to go so long without saying anything to anyone about what our plans were (even if they were still ‘in progress’). We’ll be working on communicating better in the coming weeks and months and we hope that you can bear with us as we work on that.

That said, there are exciting times ahead, and I look forward to discussing them all with you.

Departures

Some Espers, including some of our original members, have had real life issues interfere with their gaming time, and as such have not been able to continue playing for the foreseeable future. It’s always sad when we lose someone we’ve gotten to know, and we always hope they’ll come back to us in the future, and we’ll welcome them back.

That said, we endeavor to keep our accounts in order; we’ve been periodically removing people from the free company who have been idle for more than 60 days; we’re soon going to reduce this to 30 days, but I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what was happening first.

One of the main reasons we remove people from the FC is so that we have an accurate count of how many people are in our FC and are actually playing. For example, if our member list were never cleared out, we would have well over 250 members, and trying to plan housing or events for 250 members is much different than trying to plan for 30 or 70 or 100.

Anyone removed can simply ask for an invite back if ever they return; that said, if you are planning an extended hiatus from the game (vacations, finals, work trip, etc), please let one of the officers know. We will change your rank to Sabbatical, which will let us know that you’re only leaving temporarily and you’re planning on coming back soon, and we’ll keep you in the company so we can be the first to welcome you back.

Lastly, one of our founding members, Mike (Dash Riprock), is on an indefinite hiatus due to other obligations. He will be missed until his return, at which point we’ll wish he’d stayed away. ;)

Housing

This is the big one! Free Company housing has been a hot topic lately, and you deserve to know where we’re at, so here goes.

The housing contest has ended, and winners have been drawn for all but the very last week and for the grand prize; winners for the last two weeks have yet to be announced, however, and we will be getting all of that wrapped up hopefully this weekend.

We are currently sitting at a balance of 13 million gil; this is far past anything we had originally anticipated, so please join me in thanking the contributors to the pool; all donations, large and small, are greatly appreciated, so thank you to everyone for their hard work and contributions.

Unfortunately, even the huge amount we’ve raised is well under what we need to purchase housing for ourselves. So: the housing contest will continue! We’re still working out details on how it will work, and while we may just go with the same format as the previous contest, we’d like to hear what you have to say about it. Did you enjoy the December contest? What did you like? What needed improvement?

Providing Input to the Free Company

That leads me into my next point: input. I want to remind everyone that this free company is for each of you. We make decisions every day on how to steer this ship based on what we know and what we hear, but if there are issues, suggestions, or comments, we really want to hear them. We want to make choices that best represent everyone in the FC, not just the few that we talk to on mumble or group up with in parties, so please, share your input with the Specialists or Officers you see, or post on the main forums and we’ll answer you as soon as we can.

If this isn’t the best FC for you, let us know how we can change things to make it better. I can’t guarantee that we’ll make every change someone asks for, but we’ll do our best.

Mumble

That, in turn, leads me to another topic: voice chat. As you all (hopefully) know, we have our own voice chat server, running the Mumble chat software. This software is free for anyone to download and use, and is relatively simple to set up (including a guide on our website that was helpfully assembled by one of our members).

I would like to encourage all of our members to consider joining mumble and seeing who’s around. It’s a much better way of getting to know people than Free Company chat in-game, and you can even do it from your smartphone, so there’s no barriers for anyone, PC or PS3.

Mumble also has text chat built-in, so if you don’t feel comfortable talking; don’t have a microphone, or if everyone else is sleeping, you can still join and participate in the conversation.

If you do find yourselves on mumble, feel free to look around. Mumble consists of a series of different channels for different purposes, but you’re welcome to join any channel with people in it (or not) with a few caveats:

  1. Any of the ‘Raiding’ channels are meant for those raid teams; if there is a group of people in there, there’s a decent chance that they’re doing the harder endgame content, so please keep distractions to a minimum and don’t join unless you know it’s okay (e.g. by asking in Free Company chat).
  2. The Officers channel can only be joined by Officers, but if you try you’ll just get an error so don’t worry about that.
  3. The Library channel is meant for people who want to remain on Mumble so that they can be contacted, but who don’t want the background noise of a conversation coming through their speakers; for example, if you’re in a voiced cut-scene, if you’re doing a hard fight and you need to pay attention, or if you’re just relaxing with some tunes while fishing. You can join the Library if you need to talk to someone, but keep in mind that they’re probably looking for some quiet time, so try to minimize interruptions and keep conversations to a minimum.

Other than that, feel free to join up, and you’ll find that people are generally welcoming, friendly, and hospitable, and you might get to know your fellow Espers even better!

The Rules

Lastly, I wanted to touch on one other issue. There have been a few issues lately of people making comments that are slightly inappropriate, and we wanted to try to discourage this behavior before it gets worse. I know a lot of us have gotten to know one another and formed a close-knit community, but we’re always getting new members and when you don’t know people it’s easy to take things differently than they were intended.

Remember that harmless comments to friends can come across poorly to others; for example, the classic ‘omg a girl on the internet’ comment can be offensive to people; likewise, generalizations about people of a certain gender, age, race, language, and so on aren’t acceptable in general conversation. Before you say something, stop and think about the audience and ask yourself if anyone might take issue with what you’re saying, or take it the wrong way. No one wants to play fun police, but no one wants to ruin anyone else’s fun either.

Avatar of Dan (Lulu Lemon)
Author: Dan (Lulu Lemon)
When not training for the hunger games, Lulu is often found questing through Middle Earth with his Aes Sedai companions in search of the Sword of Shannara, or learning the Force from Morpheus, the leader of the X-Men at Hogwart's.