Final Fantasy XIV is arguably the biggest MMO out there right now, with a subscriber base that’s surpassed the old guard of World of Warcraft and relative newcomer The Elder Scrolls Online. Even if it wasn’t, well, it’s the biggest. In my heart. While I raided for years in WoW, I feel like I’ve built a life in FFXIV — right down to a plot of land in Kugane and my very own in-game wife. However, all good things come to an end… Here’s what it was like to get divorced in FFXIV.
I should probably start at the beginning. I got married to my best friend in FFXIV a few years ago. It was quite the event. Our entire Free Company (i.e. guild) came out to celebrate; things got rowdy. We’re talking drinks, general debauchery (it was very much a Vegas-style party), and people yelling about playing Pin It on the Moogle Priest. Don’t ask about that last one. My memory’s still hazy.
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Essentially, I married my best friend. Why? Because a part of me had genuine feelings for her. I’m not going to do a deep dive into that particular relationship because rehashing that kind of thing is honestly pretty invasive and weird, but I’ll give you enough salient points to piece things together.
Girl meets girl, one girl starts dating other people, then comes back to the other girl every time she’s not with them. Girl becomes girl’s confidant, but both parties not being open about their potential feelings confuses everything — end scene. Somewhere in between that whirlwind of interpersonal drama, we got married online.
Four Side Quests and a Wedding
To give you an idea of what that’s like in FFXIV, well, it’s work. You think being married in real life is work? Getting married in Eorzea is work. The game calls it a Ceremony of Eternal Bonding, but it’s more than just swanning into a store and buying a digital ring, then getting down on your knees. No, it is a journey.
You and your erstwhile spouse have to travel the length and breadth of the world to profess your love in front of all the various gods. There are 12 of them in Eorzea, the virtual continent where most of the game takes place, which means trekking around with the person you love on a road trip of truly exhausting proportions. If you didn’t have a two-seater Chocobo at this point in the game, or some similar mount, then it’s lot of tagging along and cracking jokes to pass the time — mostly about getting cold feet.
Then, once you’ve travelled up and down the world and magically not gotten sick of your future Eternally Bonded, you’re asked to get rings. You can choose to make these yourself if you want. That way they mean a little more to your partner. After the rings, it’s a traditional set of celebrations with your mates.
However, people mainly get married for the benefits in FFXIV. You get that two-seater mount, a bunch of cool glamours to change your clothes, and the ability to teleport to your spouse wherever they are in the world. It’s the game’s way of saying you’ll always be by each others’ sides, really, and for me and my best friend, we thought that would be the case.
Nothing good lasts forever, though. People change. That’s normal! We drifted apart after many a falling out and a misunderstanding, and while we’re still mates, we no longer wanted to be mated. There’s a lot that’s gone on which made the idea of being married difficult for us both.
For me, it was less about the title of being married and more about the perks. I can’t get on my Wedding Chocobo without thinking about her at least once, and for as long as we held on to our rings, we would always be able to head to each other’s location in-game. At any time.
Anyone who’s tried to shake an ex or a mate after the dissolution of a relationship knows minimizing ways to keep in touch is the way to go. You don’t want to drunk dial your ex, show up at their place, or even see them on social media. Having something that’s the FFXIV equivalent of a free, instant Uber to their place at all times? A definite No.
The Eternal Sunshine of the Single Mind
I needed a way to move past that part of my relationship with my best friend, and honestly, it was getting a bit dire. I spent a lot of time in our FC house just… sitting there. I sat by the kotatsu we argued over the placement of in the lounge area and stared morosely at the dango someone once left on the table. She loved sweets. I emote-wept in front of Eggcentric Crown Roast that was in our dining room, like a bad hangover from the last Hatchingtide event we suffered through together.
Enough was enough. I needed a conscious uncoupling.
So I set out to figure out how to get divorced in FFXIV. I’d heard various horror stories from ex-FC mates about this very thing. Trawling the Reddit led to a bunch of misinformation, too. Getting divorced appeared to be this strangely arcane, unknowable experience. People hated talking about it, and any suggestions offered seemed to be either too simple or too complicated to be accurate.
I decided that I’d have to make the trek myself to where it all began: the cathedral where we jointly decided to “eternally” bond. I packed myself off to the Sanctum of the Twelve. I was in New Gridania when I made the decision to do so, and decided I’d do a bastardized version of the trip that I took with my best mate. I wouldn’t teleport to the nearest Aetheryte (fast travel point) and do some haphazard sprint. I’d ride my Chocobo all the way there, through each loading zone, to give myself time to ruminate on the decision.
Cutting the Cord
It was dark out, initially, and rainy. I’d have been hard-pressed to find a more depressing time to figure out where to go from here. I dragged myself past the Hawthorne Hut, my Chocobo dragging its… hoof-claws as I tried not to think too hard about leveling together in this zone when we were both new to the game.
Eventually, I reached the Sanctum and dismounted to speak to an acolyte. I didn’t have to look too far. Nor did I have to put up with the NPC equivalent of an answering machine. No “hold the line, caller” dialogue boxes, or Twenty Questions about getting divorced.
It was so simple I could have cried tears of relief. “Do you wish to have an annulment of your eternal bond,” he asked. Yes. Yes, I wanted to get divorced, mate. Tell me what I need to do to get divorced!
I was steeling myself for something almost comically elaborate. Considering how ritualistic the act of getting married had felt in the game, surely it’d be something that took just as long, if not longer. However, here was yet another pleasant surprise.
All I had to do to get divorced was hand over my wedding ring. Yeah. I mean, it was far less dramatic than just chucking the damn thing into the Ruby Sea, but all I was asked to do was turn it over.
The act itself took all of about 10 seconds. I’d made my mind up a long time ago, of course. We were no longer living together in the FC house, and barely saw each other online. This was something that would surprise neither of us, so I clicked forward to advance the dialogue and gave my eternity ring away.
The rest, as they say, is history. Once your eternity ring is given away, your tie to your Eternal Bonded is no longer recognized by the game. You’re free to remarry or to live the bachelorette life — or to do anything you may deem fit, so long as you abide by the in-game rules of the Sanctum of the Twelve should you wish to get hitched a second time. Or a third.
Sure, it wasn’t quite the dramatic resolution I was expecting, but I was kinda glad about that. I don’t think I could have sat through another quest with my best friend designed to show us that we were really “meant to be together” by the game’s standards, and it would have been more than pushy for Square Enix to make getting divorced even more onerous than doing it in real life.
Do I have any regrets? Yeah, mainly that I didn’t wear the florid shade of red that I’d been eyeing up for weeks at my FFXIV wedding. Aside from that, though? It was a fun thing to do with a person that meant a lot to me, and if I ever want to do it again, I know I’m going to have the blowout of my dreams (and that any wedding night regrets can be solved by just handing over my ring the morning after). As far as getting married and divorced goes, FFXIV is the only MMO that has it in the bag.