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It has now been 3 weeks since FanFest 2016, and I have to say it was truly an amzing experience. In the weeks leading up to the event, when I said I was going to Las Vegas, people would ask why. I would tell them that I was going to FFXIV FanFest which would often lead to more questions. So I ended up just telling people I was going on a road trip with friends to meet other fans of a game I have been playing. However it wasn’t until I arrived that I was reminded that meetups like FanFest are more than just about a game, because without the fans, a game is just software and the development team certainly knows this. Many times you would see a member of the development team surrounded by a bunch of fans, trying to interact with as many as possible, while their poor handler was trying to keep them moving on only to stop again a few feet later and repeat the process all over again. They love the players, and strive to make this game everything that it can be.

I also had the treat of being friends with some of the Phoenix Down Radio crew, and was able to see things from the side of the content creators in the community. Time and time again, I would see the various podcasters meet up, many for the first time in person, and I watched as they would introduce themselves, offer a handshake or hug for those who were huggers (but by the end, EVERYONE was a hugger, and offered up teary goodbyes as they went their separate ways.) Many of the people we ran into time and time again as we all made plans to go from one part of the event to another, and tried to meet up as a larger group at the end of the day. (As a side note, the sushi dinner with PDR and Maelstrom Radio was amazing, I want to do it again!) At the end of the event, I got to see how much each group loved and respected each others’ work in the community. In the next few weeks and months, you can be sure there will be plenty of cross-over events planned between the shows, as each has their own special take on the community to share with the other groups’ followers. I can’t wait to hear more about the upcoming PvP discussions, Lore specials, and how to lead the PUG life.

Lasty, but certainly not least, my favorite part of the festival was meeting everyone at the event. Whether in line for a mini-game or Battle challenge, it was easy to start up a conversation with the person next to you, as we already had something in common. In many cases though, before too long you would find yourself in a conversation that has nothing to do with FFXIV, and by the time you reached the front of the line, you would be sharing contact info with them in hopes of rekindling that conversation again. We were all there to celebrate a game, Final Fantasy XIV, but what the event really reminded us of was how much we loved this community that the game brought together, and what we truly were there to celebrate was each other. Thank you for this opportunity to tell my story.

Ryael Arkash
Hyperion

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