Lone wolves, the one-man squad, the masterless ronin; all pertinent descriptions of my MMO play style that could just as easily be described as being a grumpy, anti-social bastard. A spate in Azeroth taught me the fundamentals of grinding and the eerily similar Neverwinter showed how it could all be done for free – albeit with a little spare change for pesky microtransactions. Time with JRPGs revealed the intricacies inherent in grinding – balancing high-level quests against the appropriately stocked equipment sack – along with the puzzle-piece plotlines from which almost all JRPGs derive their stories. Raids had been conducted but either the feeling of intruding into a closed enclave or the shadow of inadequacy did little to break the mesmerising spell of solitary exploration. There comes a point in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn when raids become mandatory and that feeling you felt on the first day of school – of entering a playground with no familiar faces – rose up again. The lone wolf had to join a pack… but that’s jumping ahead.