For some, Final Fantasy is just a game to log on and battle. For many others, the game means so much more. Deep friendships are created, and many times a deep impact on someone’s life. This month we talk to (-UU-) Liam and some of his friends. Liam plays in Kellebram (1777) and has autism. Liam’s story embodies so much of what is good in the Final Fantasy world, and he’s a pretty awesome player!
FFXVANEHUB: Hi, Liam, please tell me a little about yourself.
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “My name is Liam. I like to play FFXV and draw, I like to read, and l like to play other games like Minecraft because I like to build also with Legos.”
FFXVANEHUB: Tell me about your Empire?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “My empire is a lot of fun! I am citadel 46 and I have 241 million power. I have a lot of monsters and I have very nice people in my empire, but if you poke them they do fall down. My empire has a bakery and a pool. I like to have parties and friends come to swim and I hunt a Garula for bbq. I have a lot of stone but I do not have a lot of obsidian. My empire is very friendly!”
FFXVANEHUB: What is your favorite part about playing Final Fantasy?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “I like hunting monsters! I like to dress up in Beastmaster clothes, and I can hunt level 6 monsters! But that takes so much time to save energy for it, so I like to do level 4 monsters the most! It is hard to choose a favorite part! I like to hunt monsters and collect resources so I can build and do lots of research. I like to see my power get a lot more and I like to have parties and friends do come to see me!”
FFXVANEHUB: What has been your favorite Monster and why?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “I like the Tonberry because I have gotten a lot of eggs from chests when I do kill them. My favorite in my farm is two; I like my Electrified Master Tonberry and my Specter. I wish I could make them walk around more, because I do not attack so I do not get to see them march a lot.”
FFXVANEHUB: Who is your favorite character and why?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “My favorite character is probably Luna, because she is very protecting like a mom and she is also very brave like my mom. I like to have her guard my empire, but all of the characters do have good things about them, and I do like to see the good things and tell them thank you! They are all brave and Prompto is like a rock star to me so I like it.”
FFXVANEHUB: Tell me your favorite memory playing the game?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “I have a time that I did get 200 million of power, and I was very excited of it, and I did ask the realm if I could have a party to be happy with everyone. They did say yes of it! I was so happy too! My friends did fireworks and put out the Moogle balloons and did come to visit in my Citadel for the party. I did make a lot of cookies and Garula for it! And I did have my friends come to be by my empire and it was a lot of fun! I was also emperor for two whole hours and it was great! I did be the emperor and give the nice titles of my friends. But there were not enough nice titles, and it did make me sad not everyone who is my friend could know something nice of them. I would like more nice titles. I did not use the mean titles because I do not want bad for anyone in Kellebram. Even ones who do attack me might learn being a friend if I do show them how. Even if they do attack and I have friends who do capture their hero because of it, I do say please let the hero go home to their friends because the people will miss them and they might be scared, and do tell them that it is more power being full of mercy than of mean. If you can be a big fighter against someone, but you choose being nice, it is showing you are a strong person because it is always easy to be mean especially when someone is mean at you. It is not easy to be mercy and kind. That is more stein and power, and maybe I hope they will learn to be a friend instead! That does make me happy of it!”
FFXVANEHUB: Tell me about some friends you’ve made in Final Fantasy?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “I have a lot of friends and I do like everyone! My Ven buddy was my first best friend ever! He did capture my hero! And then he did set him free and ask me of joining his guild, and I did it because even if he did attack me we can learn being friends and we did. I like my Mia and my Haleyscomet because they are always nice to me and I do look to say hello in the realm chat. I have my Ninna and Paulj03 and Tay and Reu and Hoang and Keegan and Hadeze, but I call him Shadeze and he calls me Meatball! And I like Timmrhodes and snugglebug and Bre and Sunny and Bran and Strat. I like Goalie and I did like Itzluis a lot but he does not play any more. That is sad of it. When I did be afraid of Tomas and Cirq, I did think they would attack me! But do you know they are actually very nice? Very power but very nice. I think it makes me think they are knowing how to play the game and how to be a friend and that is important. I want to be of power like my friends! I only have two not friends, but they said they were friends but did attack me and it was upsetting. I am hoping they will see I am nice and will be nice to me too! I am liking to have friends from all the places! I have Hoang of Vietnam and I do look to pictures of his beautiful country, and I did not know it is so beautiful! And Glories of Germany, and I did look to say guten tag to her so she knows I am saying it in words she will understand! And my Ninna teaches me her Mexican words and we say fierropariente together when we are excited! It is so much fun and I really do like my friends!”
FFXVANEHUB: What advice would you give to new players just joining Final Fantasy?
(-UU-) AllHailLiam: “I think when I started to play I didn’t know what a guild was for, but if you find a guild with good friends, you can hunt monsters and get loyalty and learn about people in your guild and it is great! Collect the resources and kill the monsters so you can build your empire! It does get tough when you need a lot of resources or gold, but it is so much fun to build and be stronger and stronger! And soon you will be a helper instead of always asking for help, and that is a very good feeling! But also please remember being of mercy and being kind. It is hard to see people because there is no face but sometimes you can hurt feelings of someone, and it is good to say sorry and to be a fair empire. Always be fair even if it is war.”
Thoughts from Liam’s Friends
Liam has touched so many people in his Realm. Below are a selection of words from his vast army of friends and teammates!
Kacee: “I started playing the game with my son, who has autism. He had downloaded this game, and I had no clue what it was. I told him I would look into it, and we used this game as our ‘thing,’ talking about what to collect next, learning the ropes together. Waiting for doctors, getting blood work, after a long trying day of therapies and meetings, we would sit together and unwind as he would search all over for a monster to attack, or I would point out a resource tile for him to send a march. The game became our thing. His go-to to decompress. We would distract ourselves by figuring out the game together. He loved to count the resources we gathered, hunt monsters and come up with stories for every character in the empire, who he thinks of as ‘his people.’ As the empire grew and moved on to a different guild, Liam became more brave about chatting with guildmates, and learning about other players. He began to do something he had never been able to do before: make real connections with others. And other players were so receptive of him, that the relationships flourished. He began to open up in ways I had never seen him able to do before. He began calling people ‘friend.’ And I think they feel the same about him. I am always over his shoulder, and I have made some wonderful friends through a channel I never would have anticipated—my child with autism.
Because he has autism, he isn’t able to always separate reality from imagination, and the game became very real to him. He thinks of the hero as himself, and the people in the empire as having a life and a family and a story. He imagines a pool and a bakery, he invites other players for pool parties (when they send reinforcements) and offers them cookies for their troop (when he shares resources) though he has now expanded to cake and quiche as well. But, Liam took being attacked very personally, worrying for the people in the empires, and others would protect him, and reach out to players to tell his story and ask they resist attacking him. Liam surprised me in all of this—he began to reach out as well, offering comfort to someone whose hero had been banished, or offering a peaceful solution to someone who had attacked him. He made a memorial for his fallen troops by trees in the backyard. He will enthusiastically point out the couple by the bank that he thinks is breaking up. He notices the farmer stretching while the farmer’s wife continues to work, he notices when some flan are lined up just right and look like they are dancing. And he notices others. Where they are moving, when they change guilds… he will send away all of the resources he has been collecting to build, when someone needs help after being attacked. He looks up information about the countries his friends are from, and tries to learn greetings in their native language. He is so full of enthusiasm for sharing what he has learned, and players have seemed excited that he takes such an interest in their culture and families. He is quick to suggest a kind solution to a disagreement. He has made some strong friends in some big guilds, and they have welcomed him and look out for him in the kindest of ways—Kellebram celebrated Liam’s birthday with fireworks and balloons, he was made emperor, and refused to give out any negative titles, ‘only the nice ones.’ He was disappointed there were not more positive titles so that more people could “feel like friends.”
The empire has grown to cit46 so far, but we are working on expanding. Perhaps he isn’t the strongest player in the realm, but I think it’s fair to say he has one of the strongest hearts. He has made friends in every guild, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly or after a conflict, but he has made incredible strides in his daily life because of playing the game. I think he has brought a smile to more than one face in the realm as well.
I appreciate every kindness paid to Liam—I couldn’t imagine how much their friendship and encouragement have impacted him, helped him—daily—while he struggles in a world that throws difficulty after difficulty at him. He has learned to put misunderstandings behind him, he has learned to accept some negative situations as learning experiences, but mostly, he has learned that he is capable of having and being a friend, worthy of support & love, and he learns to return that same positivity with every interaction. It isn’t possible for me to mimic these types of interactions in the real world, where an immediate response is required, or hurt feelings shut down communication or cause further contention. An unlikely source of learning, the game also provided him a very real source of friendship and extended family—for me as well—and I can not possibly express how truly grateful I am to have stumbled into this game, into these relationships, with a boy who was only interested in counting apples and killing flan.
I could never have imagined that it would also become a wonderful opportunity to know so many wonderful people, for Liam to make a friend, to feel empowered and wanted and part of a group—he has never had that outside of our family. And now, our friends of Kellebram are family too. Liam has brought guilds together, has brought enemies to work for a common cause, and through it all, has remained as peace-loving and monster-hunting as he started. Liam loves FFXV and is always excited for new monsters and events—I am excited to see what an impressive impact he has had on other players, many of whom are touched by autism in their own families or friendships, many of whom have never had the opportunity to interact with someone on the spectrum, and they now have an understanding of the struggle, and the blessings, that having a different abilities and challenges can bring. Liam has brought a lot of people together in Kellebram, and I think that is wonderful to be able to share my son and this experience with so many different players.”
(SLii) Moeseph: “It’s a pleasure to play this game with someone as kind and enthusiastic as Liam. There was a moment where I thought I was done playing due to dealing with things in the ‘real world,’ and Liam told me not to stress things out. I am grateful to play with him, and continue to be impressed with his skills and attitude.”
Jeszeus: “Liam is definitely a realm favorite. He has a wonderful heart, and only wants to make friends and enjoy playing together. His passion for the game is only outdone by his innocence and compassion for those he meets. He is a constant reminder of the world before adult cynicism came into play, and an inspiration for us all. Kellebram loves Liam!”
TsSnugglebug: “You will never know a more perfect person, or a more genuine soul than Liam. This boy is an amazing child who lives his life daily on the autism spectrum. For those who know something about that kind of life, you may realize that these amazing kids cling to certain things in life that bring them any kind of normalcy and calm. To Liam, the game we love has become so much more than that…more than just a game to pass the time…it has become his peace. None of us have ever known a more caring, giving, loving and genuine person than our sweet Liam of Kellebram. If you haven’t had the chance already, get to know our Liam, you won’t regret it.”
Keegan: “The comments and outlook on life that Liam frequently presents to our realm are the same things that I hope that my son learns in time. MZ doesn’t have a citadel level or ranking that compares to the heart and good nature of Liam. He is the true Realm champion!”
Liam’s story is very special, and reminds us all of the main reasons we play Final Fantasy; the community and to have fun! Thank you Liam and friends for taking the time to speak with us, your story is amazing and very inspirational!