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Japanese vs. English Servers in FFXIV (Part 1)
I've now been playing on the Japanese server (Ramuh) in an all Japanese guild for the past 6 months, so I believe I can say a few things at this point about what the differences are between that server and my previous NA server Leviathan. I initially started playing on the Japanese server partially because I've been trying to learn some Japanese (there just aren't a lot of folks that speak it in my area) and partially because I was curious about the Japanese playstyle. I had previously noticed in playing games like Aion, Tera, and ArcheAge on Korean servers that the Koreans played instances and especially PvP differently than the Americans did. I was very curious about these type of differences between Japanese and American players and I was especially curious if the game was tailored to the Japanese playstyle at all, because it is a Japanese game.
So... let's start with the monster easily identifiable differences that anybody could pick up on if they spent even a little bit of time on a Japanese server...
There are no gold sellers spamming/whispering on Japanese servers
Yes, you heard that correctly. It's apparently a NA "thing". This is easily the most noticeable difference. Note that I did once see a guy in Limsa Limosa that was spamming public chat, but that was back in August and December is over. I'm one of those people that blacklist every gold spammer that whispers me and has to clean out their blacklist once in a while from hitting the max count on the NA servers. So this is a comparison of my NA server blacklist with the Japanese server blacklist.
When I log over to the NA server if I'm hitting a lot of different locales I can easily get 7-10 whispers for gold in an hour. My guess about this one is just that the Japanese don't buy gold. I looked on the auction house at some items and indeed they are much cheaper on the Japanese server than on the NA server, although of course that's not hard evidence because there are server price differences and fluctuations. It just corroborates the idea that if you want to play gold seller free, don't play in NA.
The characters look different!
I play a Lalafell character (though my reasons are different from most - I really hate the uncanny valleyand try to play characters that don't look extremely human because of that) and I don't remember the last time that I was in an all Lala party via the Duty Finder on my NA server. Happens all the time on the Japanese server though. With all the Lala, I sometimes feel like I have come home to my people!
There are a lot of very, very cute and unique looking characters on the Japanese side, although you really need to be a bit careful, because a lot of those adorable Lalafell girls are actually played by men. Yes, I'm aware that happens on NA servers too (hence GIRL = Guy in Real Life), but they're usually playing sexy women/cats on the NA server and not cute little girls. It's apparently a cultural difference. I will also say that personally I feel that the Japanese are more fashion conscious with their characters (or at least MORE of them are fashion conscious), but to be fair, I do also know a fair number of NA folks that spend a lot of time dressing up their characters (*cough* Sparkle Sunshine*cough*). I have also noted that the Japanese characters do tend to be more colorful than the NA ones in general.
Japanese Server Characters
NA Server Characters
When entering/leaving an instance, the Japanese
always speak in party chat
Sometimes on the NA server folks will say "Hello" or "Hi", especially if you start them off on it. On the Japanese server, everybody speaks on entry into an instance. At any rate, the Japanese use a more polite greeting than just saying "Hi" that implies you'll participate in the group and do your best. It usually is some form (there are more and less polite ways to say this) of the phrase よろしくです (yoroshiku desu). Upon exit, you'll probably get something similar to (this is the more formal version) お疲れさまで`した (O tsukaresama de shita), which basically means good work.
When entering an instance in the duty finder, some folks will see that I speak English (because I still play the game itself in English, so the E is marked on my party view) and they will use the auto-translate feature of FFXIV. For some reason, the general opening phrase for a party comes out in English as "Let's do it!", which definitely is not anywhere close to the meaning on the Japanese side. So for all you Americans that have been quietly snickering in the corner at what "Let's do it!" can mean (no, there's not going to be an orgy in the instance), be aware that it's actually something polite with no snickering on the Japanese side. When they leave an instance, they'll say "Good Game", which is pretty similar to what the phrase means on the Japanese side. It's also common on a good run for people to /bow before they leave the instance.
There's one other phrase that confused the heck out of me in auto-translate. When something bad happened, commonly somebody would say, "Let's have some fun!" in auto-translate speak. Apparently, the meaning on the Japanese side is closer to "Let's be at ease" or "Don't worry about it.". Go figure!
English Speaking Players are Just... BADSince the Japanese may look at the party window and see that I speak English, I'll occasionally get a surprised person that compliments me at the end of the instance in English (I play a WHM). They are generally surprised, because unfortunately the majority of people whom speak English and are on the Japanese servers are actually very, very poor players. Much worse than the English speaking players on the NA side. So bad that I tend to groan when I get into an English speaking party on the Japanese server.
I honestly don't know why that is the case - I don't have issues like that on the NA server where EVERYBODY speaks English... the best that I can guess is that the English speaking players don't know the tricks to dealing with a laggy connection and maybe their primary reason for being on the server isn't actually playing the game. Granted, I wanted to learn Japanese, but I also enjoy the game itself. Speaking of which...
Tricks for dealing with lag if you're not in Japan
I'm physically in NA and so I deal with a fair amount of lag. Since I don't want to be the dead beat in my instance party, I've learned tricks to cover for all the extra lag I have when playing. Here are a couple of ways that I deal with the lag:
- Play a character class that is more flexible for when you end up with lag. WHM is a great choice because they're the predictive healers of the game and you have a lot of tools to prepare for damage that you know is going to happen. Melee characters tend to be the worst to play when you have lag.
- If you're leaving an aoe zone, then change direction. The change in direction forces a server update and can mean the difference between getting stuck in an aoe that visually you are definitely not standing in and not getting hit at all. It's a real life saver.
- Memorize the pattern of an encounter. My Kiwi friend had to do this for Titan Extreme, because he had to predict what was going to happen. He is a WHM and was part of a team that sold Titan Extreme runs back in the day, so the encounter can be memorized. Note that Titan Extreme has been the ONLY instance where the previous trick wasn't enough to get me out of trouble all they way.
Part 2?So as I mentioned at the start of the article, I'm going to split this up into multiple pieces. These are the most obvious things I've noticed playing on a Japanese server. Probably the more interesting stuff though is the actual playstyle differences. What I mean is that if you run instance X a lot on the Japanese server and then go run it on the NA server, you'll be surprised because somehow that instance you had memorized is no longer played the same and the entire flow is different.
The funny part is that I like the way the Japanese folks do things better, but it's a personal preference sort of thing and maybe a little bit that the game really is designed with Japanese players in mind.