A linkshell is a means of communication for players across realms in the world of Final Fantasy XIV. In practice, it functions as a simple system of group chat channels. It’s a way to build a sense of community, regardless of server. If you just want to check what’s good with your FFXIV folks or call for help with something in-game, you can do that.
For us, it was a thematic fit to name the banner under which we cover the critically acclaimed MMORPG here at Fanbyte. And at least the name rolls off the tongue. Trust us, we could’ve done a lot worse.
FFXIV is a massive game with intricate systems and mechanics, tons of playable content, and deep storytelling that hits us all in different ways. It has a particular culture around it that spans the globe, which we’ve been a part of for years as players. It’s also not slowing down any time soon. With The Linkshell, we’ve created a dedicated section specifically for Fanbyte’s ongoing FFXIV coverage, housing it in a hub as a resource for FFXIV players.
What We’re Trying To Do
As you can probably tell by sifting through our various pages, we have a few pillars that hold up The Linkshell — news, featured stories, guides, and the model viewer (and even more tools currently being worked on). And we are (and have been) putting a legitimate effort into all of those areas of the site.
Plenty of good resources are already out there for players — of course, we’re well aware because we play the game, too. But our aim is for The Linkshell to be broad-reaching while also a place where we can go in-depth with our expertise. After all, everyone is drawn to FFXIV for different reasons, and we want to create a space that can encompass all of the game’s facets.
The end-goal is to be a place where you can read a thoughtful analysis on a specific piece of the game, relate to an emotional ode to a character you love, use a guide for a Job you’re learning, and then see what kind of wild stuff Naoki Yoshida told us in an interview — all because you were first drawn to a 1,000-word article about why we all thirst over Ser Aymeric.
It’s important that we give ourselves the creative freedom to talk about all aspects of FFXIV because it’s a game that warrants it.
News is Always Popping
Something is always happening in FFXIV. On the news front, we’ve already been covering the latest information on upcoming patches, balance changes to every Job, Live Letters as they happen, updates on in-game features, seasonal events, and so much more. We’re also paying attention to what’s going on in the community and ongoing developments from Japan.
During the Endwalker media preview tour, we brought extensive and in-depth coverage from our experience. Even in between major updates, we’ve seen stories like the game being taken off sale for suffering from success, server expansion in the coming years… or the original Final Fantasy creator crafting his own in-game clothing line.
It’s wild out there, and we’re keeping up in ways you wouldn’t see elsewhere.
Expression Through Featured Stories
Because FFXIV is also a phenomenon from a narrative and cultural perspective, it seems as if the possibilities for talking about the game are endless. There’s over a decade of affecting storytelling, lore, and character development, which are the things that make FFXIV so special. It’s also a game filled with heavy themes, endearing moments, charming goofs, and incredible music that give it personality.
We all have our own insight and experiences — and for some, there are aspects of FFXIV that have genuinely affected our lives. The Linkshell is a place for us to put those thoughts and feelings into words, too.
Listen, who’s going to stop us from pouring our hearts out in front of the whole world with a 2,000-word article about a certain red-haired catboy? Even something as simple as seeing the game in a new light because of a piece of content we played is a story worth telling.
Incorporating things that happen within the community is also an important part of this effort, whether it be clubbing, theater, or musical performances run by players in the game itself. And from time to time, we’ll have opportunities to interview people like director and producer Naoki Yoshida or the English voice cast, and ask both the silly and serious questions you won’t get from other sources.
Our collection of featured stories will only grow deeper and more diverse as time goes on.
Guides, Guides, Guides!
Everyone needs help in some way. A tip or piece of advice is always helpful in a game as big as FFXIV. And oftentimes, folks need a big ol’ guide to show them the ropes of a raid or boss fight, or to simplify the intricacies of how to play a Job optimally.
We know there are several great content creators and useful sites that have fantastic guides and tools, many of which we’ve used ourselves — we’re still normal FFXIV players after all. However, our goal with guides is to be comprehensive while leaning on our ability to distill the complexities to their basics.
FFXIV is a huge game with a ton of layered systems and mechanics; it can be a bit difficult to decipher without a helping hand. New content will continue to challenge us, and older content can still be tough for newcomers. So, it’s our philosophy that even the simplest of guides are worth putting together, because everyone has different skill levels for different parts of the game.
We’ve already been putting in the effort of being a resource for guides with the launch of Endwalker — dungeons, trials, raids (including Savage), aether current locations, and more. We also have a ton of Job guides that we’ll be continually updating, as well as coverage on topics like leveling up fast, endgame gear sets and how to get them, and best practices for folks new to certain roles.
It’s always a work in progress, though. As the site grows, the quality and breadth of our guides will as well.
The Model Viewer and Upcoming Tools
The FFXIV Model Viewer is one of the unique tools we have on The Linkshell. Our talented friends and colleagues from Wowhead led the way and have built it from the ground up. You can create your character model, equip nearly every piece of gear to see how it looks on them, inspect it from all angles, toggle animations, and more. And this is all with the actual in-game assets.
Right now, the model viewer is functional and available on desktop browsers. A mobile version is currently being worked on and we’ll update you on when it’s ready. Of course, due to the nature of these things being complex and technical, there will be some kinks and bugs to work out. The model viewer will only get better as we continually work to improve it.
As of now, there are a few other things we’re working to integrate, like an item database not unlike what we see on The Lodestone. This will include gear pieces, consumables, materials, etc. We also plan to incorporate tooltips for the site, which will help our more technical coverage. We have a lot of ideas in the works, which we’ll share when the time comes.
It’s Always a Work-in-Progress
In the same way FFXIV is constantly changing and growing, so too will The Linkshell. We’re aiming to build on the solid foundation we already have, and further diversify the already-diverse set of voices we have contributing to the site. Considering our small team (that regularly contributes to Fanbyte at large) and the short time we’ve been working on this project, we’re hyped about where we are and where we’re going. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say.
This “official” launch of The Linkshell is really just a start, and we hope you stick around to use us as a resource for our unique insights. We’re also receptive to user feedback, so please let us know what you think! The future is bright for FFXIV — we’d like to think ours is, too. As FFXIV enters a new era, we’ll continue to be at the forefront of extensively covering it as we enter our own.