Aether League Portraits:  Interview with Xy Xx

Also known as Mateo, Xy Xx is one of the most versatile members of the community. Having participated in all modes as a player, he also played a support role in community events and will keep this going in the Aether League. Volene had the chance to benefit from his unique insight and ask him a few questions for the 4th installment of Aether League Portraits.

Volene: Hi Mateo! I wanted to start by saying thank you for accepting this interview, it’s really nice of you.

Xy Xx: Thanks for doing this! Super entertaining to read and see all the different insights.

Q: Thank you! So, could you start by introducing yourself?

A: Most people know me as Mateo - however, I name changed to Xy Xx in the middle of season 3. Coincidentally, season 3 was the first season that I participated in. I always loved PvP, and casually started in the Wolves Den (l entered as soon as I could with the wifey at level 30 and we had a blast, despite being rocked LOL). That passion really started to grow when the first Frontlines map, Secure, was released. I literally quit everything in the game to queue 24/7 as a Marauder, or Bard (my only two jobs at the time). Meanwhile, in the Wolves Den, my hype for PvP was at an all time high... seeing the shouts by Joe Never about #FNF (Friday night fights), along with the super intimidating teams/players popping in out and out of duty (Stefan really sticks out as one player that I looked up to a lot)... Ultimately, I was one of those players that, as much as I wanted to participate in these high level matches - I was crippled by fear of underperforming and never really found an -in-. Seal Rock rolled around, and I followed a similar pattern as I did with Secure... until one day I just got bored.

I quit for approximately a year and a half, only to return at the behest of one of my greatest friends in FFXIV, Air Weaver. He raved how FFXIV PvP was so amazing now with the new arena mode, how I'm missing out, if I can lend him money for a name change, etc etc. So I returned in time for the beginning of season 3. I remember my first day back to FFXIV clearly. I was invited to Straigus's PvP linkshell on Balmung (I believe it was called Casus Belli at the time), and on the same day, I was invited to participate in a custom match... scratch that, not invited, DRAGGED by Air Weaver. I played Warrior, as this was my main before I quit, and apparently it was a simple job to play in the Feast... according to Air. Fumbling like a mofo and being literally thrown into the fire against some of the best players, I somehow adapted and started to love the game once again. Grinding through solo queue on various jobs, but mostly Monk, I earned a spot in the top 100 ranking on the solo queue board for season 3. Season 4 I competed as well with a bit more confidence and a few tricks of my own. Once again I competed on various jobs, but mostly stuck to Monk . In both season 3 and 4 I also competed in Light Party Feast. This was my baby and where I learned the most. Season 4 also marks a really special memory for me, and that's the advent of the scrim nights that Kiri Gaia directed. Eventually I helped Kiri run the show behind the curtains and fell in love with the community. Which brings us to the Aether Cup, a silly idea between +ONE and myself that to this day is regarded as one of the most popular community-led PvP events. My role was that of co-organizer, recruiter and shout caster.

Q: Right, so as a player, you've participated extensively in ranked Feast solo queue, Light Party, Frontlines too, and you can play all four roles at a very high level, but what made you stand out in this interview is that beyond that, you've also been involved in the community as an organizer and even done shout casting during the Aethercup - I can't think of anyone else whose implication in the PvP community has been so broad. Of all you've done, what would you say was your favourite part?

A: Thanks for the compliment! It's difficult to answer, because my experiences in solo queue, Light Party and even Frontlines allowed me to build relationships and familiarize myself with the community, allowing me to speak and direct freely. There's perks to each endeavour, so I'll answer like this: Through solo que I've met a huge variety of players - yes, even GARO players (NICE JOB!). Light party I felt a different and elevated degree of competition that was honestly very enlightening. Frontlines was super cool as well… working with so many, usually strangers towards a common goal was fun fun fun! Organizing events and shoutcasting became almost the next logical step... it was a natural transition and I had a ton of fun! That said, I can't pick a favourite instance - they've all helped me grow as a player and have really seeped into a passion for the game :)

Q: With that in mind, in retrospect, how would you say the changes in Stormblood have affected PvP in FFXIV, both within gameplay and outside of it, like with the community? Say, one good thing and one bad thing?

A: I knew you'd ask that! My personality is one of an optimist. So even if things are really gloom, I'll be the one trying to find that elusive light. At first, I was cautiously optimistic with the changes. After playing a few matches in a solo queue format, I actually enjoyed the gameplay - it was really refreshing. As time went on however, I grew to long for the 3.X system, citing lack of depth and skill differential between players. Fast forward to today, I believe I've solidified my stance. The bad: Allowing level 30 characters to compete in ranked gameplay is a damn shame. I truly feel the wintrading problem has been exploited a lot easier due to this, along with multiple alts cluttering the board… top 100 is a challenge for this season. The good: the community has grown exponentially! Cross-server custom matches have allowed us to host awesome events such as the Aether League!

Q: Speaking of the Aether League, of course you also decided to participate, both as a player and a staff member. In fact, some consider you the League's co-founder beside Scyn - do you think that's fair?

A: This time, yes, I've decided to participate. Our idea with the Aethercup was very exclusive. The Aether League has spun that upside down to be very inclusive… anything can happen! Scyn is most definitely the brainchild of the project - it wouldn't be fair of me to identify as the co-founder! That honour goes to all the staff and league officials working together to make this dream a reality.

Q: Could you talk about this dual involvement of yours? Do you think it could become a problem, for example with real or perceived conflicts of interest? Why, or why not?

A: Certainly. As a participant, and team leader, I have linear goals. Do the best I can for my team, inside and outside of a match. As a staff member for the league, I'm charged with keeping the backend running smooth and troubleshooting any issues. I believe these to be mutually inclusive and as such, do not foresee any conflicts of interest; most of the league staff and officials are actually team leaders/participants as well... I'm really happy with the sportsmanship displayed thus far. Our community has a lot of growth potential, looking to the future I feel the lines between staff and participant could widen a good amount by the sheer volume of PvP enthusiasts; everyone will settle into their appropriate role in due time!

Q: Moving on, let's talk about your team a bit. You signed up as the leader of team Embrava, which is made of yourself, Atreus Auditore, Air Weaver, Frost Belle, Kiri Aiga and Jay Park. Is that correct?

A: Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh

Q: Now, you might know that the very reason this interview series came to be was because I was told by Air Weaver that if I wanted to know what SBAV stood for, I would have to ask you during an interview. Well, nearly a month later, here we are, and your team isn't named SBAV anymore. Still, I would be sad if my quest were to end like this. Could you grant us more insight about your old team name?

A: The origin of the name comes from Kiri Gaia, who, when asked what it stood for, FORWARDED the question on to Air Weaver… who then… well, SBAV stands for Send Bobs And Vagene. Our answer to when asked what it meant in a voice interview would have been saying sendbobsandvagene really really fast. Our old Discord name was of course SBAV, which got replaced by our current team logo. Atreus has immortalized the old SBAV in his new Discord avatar. ALSO... we ran 3 damn polls to come up with a new name, which is now (nerd talk incoming) Embrava, for the FFXI Scholar spell that granted Wolf Heart-like buffs, and the shortened name AV to reminisce Absolute Virtue, which is also an FFXI reference... you could only kill AV with Embrava at certain stages of the game.

Q: Anyway, if you don't mind talking strategy now - while it's widely assumed that some members of your team aren't exactly moving parts (thinking mostly of Atreus on Paladin and Frost Bell as healer), many of your players like Air Weaver and yourself can fill multiple roles within the team, and for example the melee could be played confidently by 4 different people. With that said, you have been seen practising Black Mage a lot during the League's scrim nights - is this the strategy you will be rolling with come the League start on November 12th?

A: You're absolutely right. My vision for the team was to have flexible players, that way we could utilize many different compositions and strategies. Black Mage has been a job I've been wanting to play for a long time, not even motivated by Accelerator, but the job's identity and actions spoke to me. In 3.X I coined the terms "throwing rocks" on healer, because I had a trigger finger and really liked... throwing rocks... there's just something about the offensive and defensive capability and more importantly the skill cap and busyness of the job that really attract me. However, my job is not set in stone, and neither are my teammates... we used the scrims, win or lose, to test different strategies and explore their strengths and weaknesses. That I feel is the beauty of the current light party system - the meta is up for grabs.

Q: And with that, what are your expectations for this upcoming first split? Do you think your team has what it takes to be crowned victors in December?

A: My honest opinion is that anything could happen... I'm excited and nervous at the same time. Regardless of the outcome, I feel confident in our team - we'll definitely come out guns blazing and have a lot of fun in the process. If I could use this opportunity to get something off my chest, I'd like to talk about team ECF; the coined “god team”. As a staff member, one of my roles was organizing scrim nights along with Nikoza and acting as recruiters for the league. The most common response I got from way too many individuals was “No use competing as long as ECF is a thing.” This irks me to no end, I do agree that the team is comprised of some legendary status players, however, that does NOT make them unbeatable. Playing against such a team is a privilege, it is a win/win situation. There's games you win and there's games you learn. I guess this is my way of saying... MAN UP. (P.S. Embrava for season 1 champions 2017 8D 8D 8D 8D)

Q: Well, that was all I had planned. Was there anything at all you wished to add?

A: Oh yes! First of all, thank you Volene! This has been great fun - you bring honour to the Duskwoods. Secondly, I encourage everyone to get out there and experience the Feast in a light party format. It is a completely different beast compared to solo queue. Lastly... to anyone that's reading this and is in some part intimidated to participate as I was, I urge you to bust out of that shell. Do it for the rewards, sure, but stick around for a while and get to know the community, try your hand at some community-led events and ask as many questions as you possibly can. We are all very approachable, memes aside - toxicity does NOT relate to the PvP community. You'll find the Nice Jobs generally come from wood-tier individuals.

Q: Well then, thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions, and best of luck with the League start in a few days!

A: queue up pussy