To say Final Fantasy XIV is popular would be an understatement. Since earlier this year, the MMORPG has had a huge influx of players jumping into Eorzea, congesting the servers. With the recent release of Endwalker, this has only intensified, leading Square Enix to once again pull the MMO from sale to stem the tide of players joining in and slamming the servers beyond capacity.
Players started reporting issues with servers in the evening last night, with many unable to log into Endwalker for part of the evening. The official FFXIV account acknowledged the issue and stated they were looking into it, though it wouldn't be the only bit of activity for Square Enix that evening.
We're receiving reports of players being unable to log in, or failing to log in, using their Square Enix accounts. While we don't yet know the full scale of the issue, we are currently investigating it. #FFXIV— FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) December 16, 2021
Around 9pm PT last night, Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida released a statement regarding the current congestion issues, as well as compensation for players as a way of apologizing for the ongoing issues. Effectively, Final Fantasy XIV is going to be removed from sale, as well as advertising pulled for the time being while the MMO developer deals with the widespread congestion issues facing the game.
"We apologize for the ongoing congestion that has been occurring since Early Access and the official launch of Endwalker. It's been nearly two weeks since the start of Early Access and players are still experiencing substantial congestion when logging into the game. "
Effectively, Yoshi-P states that players are experiencing these congestion issues as players slam the servers during peak hours. The amount of players "far exceed" Square's server capacity, and as a result the team has decided to pull the game from sale to help compbat this problem. Additionally, the team is restricting when free trial players will be able to log in, giving priority to sub players.
"Players are currently experiencing extremely long wait times due to the dense concentration of play hours which far exceed our server capacity, especially during the peak times, and so we have decided to temporarily suspend the sale and delivery of FINAL FANTASY XIV Starter Edition and Complete Edition. Additionally, although those with an active subscription are prioritized to log in, Free Trial players are unable to log in outside of late night and early morning hours, and so we will also temporarily suspend new registrations for the Free Trial."
Additionally, as long-queue times are preventing players from logging into the MMO during times they are paying for access, the team is compensating with more game time, bestowing an additional 14 days onto players on top of the recently granted 7 days of playtime. This will be available to all subbed players who have an active sub as of December 21st.
While the congestion has had some concerned about the release of the upcoming Patch 6.05 on January 4th, Yoshida states that, barring issues, that patch will be going ahead as sheculed. However, the team is planning ahead, as delaying Patch 6.05 would also mean delaying Patch 6.1 and beyond.
As far as when players will see the benefits of the additional data centers and worlds, Yoshida states that as a result of the ongoing components shortage, as well as COVID-19 issue hampering things, the team won't be able to realistically provide a roadmap for this until January 2022 at the earliest.
With the help of IT equipment vendors from all around the world, we are slowly beginning to receive information about delivery dates and figures. Considering the high specification requirements for FFXIV servers, along with the fact that adding a single logical data center requires hundreds of servers, we invariably need much more time, but we are starting to see some progress. In line with this, the Server and Infrastructure teams are working together to plan for new additions, and we hope to be able to provide some sort of roadmap by the end of January 2022.
This isn't the first time this year that Final Fantasy XIV has been pulled from sale digitally, as the developer had to do so to fight congestion earlier this year. As to why Final Fantasy XIV is so popular right now, despite being a genuinely good game, there are myriad factors, including the incredibly generous free trial.
We're knee-deep in our FFXIV Endwalker review, though our reviewer, Victoria, has managed to complete the Main Story Quests. Check out our largely spoiler-free review -in-progress.