By Luke Voogt
Grovedale and Reservoir gamers Scott Baldwin and Tim Lower have only met once, but their friendship has withstood the test of lockdown.
They first crossed paths several years ago through their avatars on quests in the virtual world of Final Fantasy XIV Online.
Red Rooster franchisee Scott started playing the game in 2013 as an alternative to first-person shooters.
“They got me with the free 30 days,” he laughed.
“I was heavily into Call of Duty and things like that, but player-versus-player games tend to create a bit of conflict, and I was getting sick of that.”
“Tim seemed to be everywhere that I was going and we seemed to be doing similar stuff. We sort of hit it off from there.”
The pair met at the PAX gaming festival in Melbourne in 2018.
While they have not seen each other since, Tim, who works at panel beater, helped Scott order parts and avoid being overcharged when he had a car accident a few months ago.
Scott and Tim say their comradery has proven invaluable during COVID-19, amid International Friendship Day today.
“We jump on voice chat semi-regularly, have yarn and complain about Melbourne lockdowns, which inevitably flow onto Geelong,” Scott said.
“It’s good, in the absence of seeing people, that you can speak regularly, because going home and speaking to no one isn’t any good.”
Their Final Fantasy friendship group includes players trapped in Sydney’s latest lockdown, according to Tim.
“There’s one guy who’s right in that Fairfield cluster. Luckily, he hasn’t got it,” Tim said.
“It’s always nice to have that somebody there. We all lean on each other when we’ve got issues.
“There are serious chats but mostly we just talk rubbish amongst ourselves to let off steam.”