FFXIV Valentine’s occasion is the self-love letter I wanted rising up

I hate Valentine’s Day. Yearly it’s some overly cringy Hallmark expression of ‘love’ that equates actual human emotions to presents, love hearts, goodies, and completely dreadful romantic comedies. Even the perfect PC video games have been lured into this sugar-coated, rose-tinted world, providing an unlimited array of various Valentine’s cosmetics for gamers to select as much as twin with their in-game crush. This yr, although, the FFXIV Valentine’s occasion lastly broke that mould.

Entitled ‘To Thine Own Love Be True,’ gamers can choose up the search amid the pines of the magical Gridania, the place you’ll encounter Lisette de Valentoine (ha ha), an obscure Elzen girl who hails from the mysterious realm of Ishgard. We’ve met her dozens of occasions earlier than, however she shortly unveils that this yr’s Valentoine’s proceedings are to be led by her younger protégé, Astrid, and her sister, Emilie, who’re each desirous to dwell as much as Lisette’s expectations.

It shortly turns into obvious, nevertheless, that each ladies aren’t pleased taking part in their respective roles. Emilie, wearing a dapper swimsuit, would somewhat be performing in Astrid’s stead; the gorgeous attendant adorned in ruffles. After being known as dashing, good-looking, and all issues masculine, she returns to her sister to debate the matter, the place they each resolve to modify outfits and are, in flip, a lot happier.

Positive, it’s a tiny seasonal quest in an MMORPG, however all through the entire proceedings (which I performed alongside my associate, by the best way) I couldn’t assist however smile. It was paying homage to the primary time I ever watched Frozen – there’s no typical ‘boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love and run off into blue yonder’ story right here – it’s a story of self-love, and why you must by no means sacrifice loving your self to slot in with the world round you.

I grew up as an solely little one and went to an all-girls highschool. Whereas the opposite ladies favored to color their nails (in opposition to the varsity’s guidelines, by the best way) and speak about boys, I most well-liked to relax, play Dragon Age (or some other dragon recreation) and take into consideration romancing Morrigan – the exact same character who I’ve adopted as my digital namesake as we speak.

After I hit these turbulent teenage years, nevertheless, I binned all of my gaming-related clothes to try to slot in. I needed a black promenade gown; in actuality I went for a blue one. I needed to put on my eyeliner; as an alternative I went for mushy, smoky eyes. That continued into my college life, the place I wore a cream flowery shirt to my first lecture and hated each minute of it.

A tall woman with pink and white hair with rabbit ears listens as two smaller girls wearing a suit and flamboyant outfit discuss switching clothes

However why did I do all of that? The reply’s fairly easy, isn’t it? I didn’t love myself. At college I used to be taught to slot in and be Christian child who would marry an upper-class straight man and dwell fortunately ever after. I buried my infatuation for ladies, non-binary individuals, and trans women and men – partly as a result of I had by no means been advised that the latter two even existed.

After I was rising up, videogames didn’t cope with ‘real life issues’ in the identical methods because the likes of Life is Unusual or The Final of Us. There was no FFXIV Valentoine’s occasion again then to inform me that, truly, if I needed to put on a swimsuit to promenade, that was okay; that if I loved sporting extra masculine clothes over conventional female garb, that was okay. Youthful me wanted an occasion like this – in some ways present me did, too, as a result of it’s really easy for me to default to my ‘fit in and be fine’ programming as an alternative of really being myself.

Would a easy quest have modified my complete childhood life? In all probability not – however equally, eager to romance Morrigan did inform me that I used to be, certainly, not fairly as straight-edged as I believed I used to be. The smallest stones can create essentially the most spectacular ripples, and maybe younger Lauren would have realised that being your self is the perfect expression of self-love; even when only for a number of hours.

Two elf girls with pink hair look at a brown, white, and black frilly dress with concern

I actually consider video games today are an enriching expertise. They’re digital worlds that may form lives for the higher, and Sq. Enix achieved this and extra with To Thine Personal Love Be True. It’s a brief, significant occasion with cute rewards and a relationship-testing Valentoine’s occasion that could be a enjoyable but significant approach to rejoice the season.

I’m in a relationship with an exquisite man, who loves me unconditionally for who I’m. Wanting again on the previous, I can confidently say that I’m a lot happier now having discovered to simply be Lauren and be beloved as Lauren. Do I nonetheless hate Valentine’s? Oh sure, completely, however this yr Sq. Enix made it simply that little bit extra bearable – solely somewhat bit although, don’t go telling individuals I’m Cupid.

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