OK, Yeah, Final Fantasy XIV's Relaunch Is A Disaster

OK Yeah, Final Fantasy XIV's Relaunch Is A Disaster

From an unfinished mess that no one wanted to play to a highly-polished gem that nobody can access in just under three years. Way to relaunch, Square Enix. Update: Added information on this week's coming server expansion and free game time credit.

I've been incredibly patient. During the early start last weekend, when Americans and Europeans were dealing with the inability to connect to any of the servers in their region, I gave Square Enix the benefit of the doubt. Having rolled on a Japanese server myself (quite by accident), I had no trouble at all logging on during peak Western hours. I felt for the folks having issues, but I was hopeful they'd all be ironed out in time for full launch on Tuesday.

They were not. They only got worse.

There was no logging into a North American or European server after 6pm Eastern Time Tuesday through Thursday. I mean, surely someone was logging in — the servers were up, and folks were playing — but I and many others had no luck whatsoever. Our only recourse was to hop on Japanese servers, where plenty of English-speaking fans were taking refuge.

Then the weekend hit, and things got impossible. North America, Europe and Japan were constantly full, and that's when they were showing up in the world selection portion of the client.

OK Yeah, Final Fantasy XIV's Relaunch Is A Disaster

Sometimes the Western servers would be unavailable. Sometimes the Eastern ones would disappear. Sometimes I would get a "Server is Full" error before even getting to character selection — was the login server full?

It certainly doesn't help that there isn't any sort of AFK kick timer in the game, so many players that do get into the game simply leave it on without logging out, afraid they won't be able to get back in.

Creating new characters on a majority of servers has been disabled, part of Square Enix's efforts to curb congestion. Earlier in the week they halted digital sales of the game to stem the tide of disappointed new players.

Square Enix's customer service for the game is congested as well, leading to problems unrelated to server congestion going unanswered. I've received many emails over the past few days from players who accidentally registered the game to a fresh Square Enix sub-account instead of their main Final Fantasy XIV account, which keeps them from bringing their legacy characters over and denies them access to veteran's rewards. It's incredibly easy to make this mistake, but getting it fixed is near impossible at the moment.

Fans are upset, and rightly so. The forums are raging. My email is filled with angry folks lashing out, sometimes irrationally — I'm pretty sure adding servers to Japan before America and Europe was a matter of convenience and not racism, as has been suggested. I get where it's coming from, though. Fans want answers, and since Square Enix isn't offering much in that way, folks are making up their own.


This is a game MMORPG fans should play. They just can't.


What makes the whole situation worse, aside from this being a long weekend for the U.S., is that the game people are desperately trying to play is really quite good. The convoluted mess that was Final Fantasy XIV has been streamlined into a more traditional fantasy MMO with all the Square Enix trimmings — iconic character classes, gorgeous music and scenery, etc. This is a game MMORPG fans should play. They just can't.

I've reached out to Square Enix several times over the weekend. I was told a statement was forthcoming yesterday. As of this writing, that statement has not been made.

So now I am angry. I wasted a large portion of my long weekend trying to play this game, following up on player complaints, assaulted by a constant barrage of server disconnect and server full messages. I'm getting snappy. I want to say things like, "You'd think the company that sent out a press release back in July boasting its game had over a million beta registrations would have prepared for a similar number of actual players, instead of letting this bullshit happen."

I guess I just did.

To all the players that I've emailed with over the past week, sorry this took so long. Hope to see you in Eorzea, eventually.

Update: As many have pointed out in the comments, on Twitter, shouting out loud at their monitors and such, producer Naoki Yoshida addressed the login issues, expanding players' free play time by seven days and laying out a plan to add more servers later this week.


Comments

    name an MMO/online only game that didn't have launch issues...

      Name another that had relaunch issues...

        Name one that actually bothered to relaunch.

          I'm not really au fait with the whole FF franchise so I decided to do some research on Metacritic user scores.

          It goes: FFIX: 9.1, FFX: 8.6, FFXI: 7.4, FFXII: 7.7, FFXIII: 7.8, FFXIII-2: 6.8, FFXIV Online: 3.8.

          So, I can see why people built up a loyal following in the late 90s / early 2000s. But it seems like, despite a slight uptick with 12 & 13, these games have been getting steadily worse for over a decade.

          Last edited 04/09/13 9:37 am

            Soooo you missed FFX -2 which although I cant be bothered looking up a rating, being a ff fan I know alot of people were disspointed with the sequel to both 10 and 13, (I loved x-2).
            You said over the last ten years? FFXiii-2 was released feb last year two years after FFxiii.

            It seems to me that when ff keeps things the same, people complain its getting boring.
            But when they change things all people think about is the previous games and how they were so much better.

            Square enix has made 10's of games that use the same 'core' elements and the fans always come back, I honestly care shit all for alot of Final fantasy reviews because they're sooo godam bias.

            But yeah it's not the games... People are just growing up, moving on, reminiscing, and becoming the grouchy capitalists of the world :p

      I can't name any that "didn't have launch issues" but RIFT had very few issues, had one of the highest populations any MMO on release and their customer service was absolutely brilliant.

      Mind you, since then it's kind of sucked balls in all categories.

        Guild wars 2 launched very well

        Last edited 02/09/13 5:22 pm

          Yeah, I had no game-breaking issues with GW2 and didn't hear of many at all.

            only problem was no TP, other than that it was pretty smooth

          Err.. If you don't class having to wait 2 days to get onto your server of choice because you couldn't register while there were too many people online.

          But yeah, apart from that once I was in I had no issues at all :D

          Agreed, GW2 went well. Dark Age of Camelot back in the day also allegedly launched well.

          I vaguely recall the launch for City of Heroes also went fairly smoothly, but I may misremember. LOTRO also supposedly launched fairly smoothly.

          Guild wars 2 launch was terrible in my opinion, sure you could connect easily after the first few days of launch but there were many issues made it not enjoyable to play.

          Firstly Overflow, everyone that played GW2 within the first few months know of this problem. For the first few weeks it made playing with your friends impossible as they didn't have the "Join party location" option or w/e it was called so you would rarely see your friend on the same map. This also made joining guilds a hit or miss as you would meet someone nice join their guild only to find out they're on another server.

          The trading post, only available to the lucky few people that they choose. This mean't that there was no safe way to trade for the rest of the population as well as causing a imbalance in the spread of money to everyone playing. If you had early access to the TP you would have bought all the essential crafting materials as well as cheap precursors which were going for less than a gold when it was first put on market.

          Economy breaking exploit, such as buying certain gear (pricing error) for karma and selling it for a lot of money back, only for Anet to permaban everyone who did so a certain amount of times. (sure they gave them a pardon if they deleted the items but it a few weeks after when they've already lost interest).

          Not to mention a severe amount of bugged skill points and quest which prevented people from getting their 100% map competition.

          So my experience with Guild wars 2s launch was not a fun one or good one.

            OVER FLOW IS REALLY SMART like id rather be in over flow at the start of the opening week instead of a different server all together with the only way to change by paying and the kama cheat well like any game there's gonna be some one who finds away around it that they wouldn't see in beta that's a given for all MMOs FF XIV already had the lvl cheat to max characters i think your just picking at things that arnt really all that bad but we all have a voice and we all have things that annoy us in different ways for me was 100% great.

          yer Guild Wars 2 had the best launch compeared to other MMOs i believe its because they did lots of server test and really maxed it out to see how it would handle.

          Sad thing is ff XIV could be amazing but the world seems some how dead.

      "Project Copernicus" (trolol)

      Did the author of this article read the postings by the games producer?
      Login Issues: http://goo.gl/yf2nwV
      Apology : http://goo.gl/xzLn1R

      Guild Wars 2

    I played pretty well over the weekend. Sure when I first tried to log on it said I was 12th in queue, but 10 seconds later I tried again and I got on no probs.

    A MMO with a rocky launch? WHY I NEVER

      Put it this way.
      It was a three year relaunch. How can you keep getting it wrong?

        What are the odds people (not Legacy) would actually be interested in a game that once failed miserably three years ago?

    Yeah they totally should have launched with twice the amount of servers so in 3 months time when 75% of players aren't trying to play at the same time there are empty desolate servers and everyone can start bitching about empty servers, yawn.

      Why are you consistently an asshole?

        Why do gamers need to consistently bitch about things that a) is going to happen EVERY time, for instance every big mmo is going to have launch issues b) that they have completely no understanding of, for example servers aren't free and to setup and pull down at the whims of the players would increase the running cost exponentially.

        Because he's Kotaku's token asshole. That's why we love him! :)

        There is nothing wrong with being an asshole, as long as you're a fair asshole...

      Having experienced many mmo launches this is by far the very worst, in terms of just getting into the god damn game.

      Its not just the "main" servers like most mmo's that are full at "peak times" and then the other 75% are only half full. No in this case it's literally every single server is 100% full nigh on 24 hours of the day, they need more servers and they need them now.

      I myself went for a Jap server (150 ping vs 400 NA) and I log in about 7:30 am each morning and its still "full" and i spend then next 15 minutes spam logging in because there is no que system until something sticks. I then stay logged in for the entire day because if i get DC'd or log out past morning I wont be getting back in. I wont even be able to attempt to login because the entire Jap world list will be permanently down untill the early morning.

      I would also state this is by far the best mmo in terms of leveling experience I've played. They have done a tremendous job of making you feel apart of the world and fully invested in it. SWTOR tried to do this and failed, the quests themselves were nice and had decent enough writing but it lacked that indescribable spark, FFXIV has that and is the first time I have ever not wanted to power level as fast as humanly possible an enjoyed everything there is to offer.

      Last edited 03/09/13 4:30 pm

    Calling it a disaster is a bit much and a misleading title...
    Summary of article: Game is brilliant... infrastructure not so much (yet!)
    Also square are not only adding JP servers, thay are adding NA/EU ones at the same time.
    sources and info:
    http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/news/detail/0edd08e8117972bca5bb6abbb07c1574f8a6f73a
    http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/76132-Login-Issue-Update?p=1132817#post1132817
    http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/73680-Further-Details-on-Access-Restrictions?p=1111872#post1111872

    First week teething problems. if anything this should make more people confident in the game - if it gets this sort of mass interest for a whole week it means people are enjoying it enough when they get in that they want to keep playing.

    The login restrictions mean that the game is fairly stable when you actually get in as well, and I much prefer that to the alternative.

    I've only had one issue and that was during early access so it was likely to happen either way. The game is really fun and calling it a disaster from your personal experiences is stupid.

      Im with you on the fact that the game is incredibly fun, its a massive massive improvment on 1.0 and IMO one of the greatest MMO's for pure potential in a long time..... looks and runs beautifully, the systems now make sense, crafting, jobs, leves FATE's they all add up to a great combination.

      BUT
      On Sat it did take me litterally 5 hours, attempting to login every 5 minutes to get logged on.
      But once logged in i stayed stable and it ran beautifully for 8 hours, no hiccups no lag, no drops its crazy how far its come, and i'll be playing this for a very long time if it keeps improving like it has.

      they just need a queue system instead of having to constantly try again over and over untill you get in.

    In all fairness though, when things were going pretty well in earlier Beta phases, the forums were still boiling with a lot of negativity. That's not to say that the mojority of players are against the game but there are a fair number of people who are unhappy that are a great deal more vocal.

    Yoshida P has already stated that he did not expect such a high population of players to start playing an already failed MMO from the get-go and has apologised on his behalf as it was a misjudgment regarding how popular it would be at re-launch.
    I am playing on the Oceanic (unofficial) server; Behemoth and it is a nightmare to get on. That said, I feel no frustration directed at SE team, moreso the arrogant pricks who don't actually log off when they are done for the night, simply because they think they are the only person in the world and NEED to be on as soon as they are ready to play again.

      Actually, behemoth is the lowest popped unofficial oceanic server - Tonberry and Tiamat (both JP) are much bigger.

        still doesn't change the fact it takes me 6 hours to log in if I'm lucky

    lol i feel u bro i couldnt log in over the weekend also lol
    i understand that its over populated but why cant they implement somesort of queue?
    its like u try to log in " oh the world is ful please try again later " no queue system

    ok there is a queue but i think it only allow like 2 people 2 queue ffs lol

      Except there is a queue...

        Nah, the problem with the 1017 error is that the queue seems to top out at around 250 or 300 users or something, then after that point it doesn't even bother letting people into a queue, it just tells them to try again later, basically having to start at the back of the queue over and over. A lot of people find that more frustrating than at least having some kind of progress indicator.

          I've been queued at 705 so im thinking it may stop at like 1000.

          lol this is the process,,, click on start -> click on ur name -> click ok -> "world is full please try again"
          after spamming that couple of time and when ur finally in the queue u accidentally click cancel LOL i swear

            Ahahaha. Yeah, I did that on the weekend. Fortunately, going IMMEDIATELY back in, I was able to get the queue again.

            ...Which said only 47 people in the queue, even though for the minutes previous I'd been getting 1017 error. So not sure how that works and why we hadn't had the queue beforehand.

    This one time, I was third in the waiting line. That's the worst it's been for me. A few other times I had an issue where my character wouldn't load so ya know what I did? "Oh well, I'll go play something else and try again later"

    Sure did save me the trouble of having to write an angry blog article! Oh me and that silly little thing I have, what's it called again? Oh, yeah, patience....

      I think things are compounded more by the fact that you're gonna be/are paying by the month, and if it's (gonna be) down/unplayable for a week, that's still a large chunk of paid time...

        I can understand that. Personally, it doesn't bother me. By now, people should know that server issues come with the territory of being the first to play.

    Complaining that Square haven't been communicating about things is a load of crap. It's an MMO Launch, there will be problems and the team will be busy but I have rarely seen any MMO-devs communicate half as much as Square-Enix have been during launch.
    STO: Legacy of Romulus for example, so many bugs and server issues yet not a single word from cryptic about anything for about 2-3 weeks after it launched.

      It's like when you have an exceptionally worried boss or client who keeps calling you every half-hour for a job that you've TOLD THEM is going to take several hours. "No. Not done yet. Just like I told you there wouldn't be half an hour ago. We're just working through it. And look! YOU JUST MADE IT TAKE FIVE MINUTES LONGER."

    Well it got to the point they stopped selling the game.. that's a sign that they are in deep doo-doo.. a massive company like SE, who is always getting yelled at for price gouging and generally caring more about the bottom line (not as bad as EA admittedly but still, there's a bit of hate there at the same time)... for them to cease digital sales of the game.. big problems.

    And then as the days went on, I kept seeing more and more servers brought down due to congestion.. more and more rage happening due to lack of information and time-frames.

    I was going to grab the game last week.. and I umm'ed and arr'ed about it.. so glad I held off. I will grab it after all this settles down.

      GW2 stopped digital sales in its infancy too. It's still going well, and has a less interesting world than FFXIV has so far.

    It feels like there's an attempt to make another SimCityGateWatchDisasterReportArticle group out of this.

    Diablo 3 was awful at launch, then people got over it in a week.

    This will be fine in a week - and who's to say that, when they saw 1M beta registrations, they didn't add servers for 2M, then get hit with 4M attempts to connect?

      Well.. thing is.. they only have capacity, based on the last update, for 230,000 concurrent users. They knew there was 1mil beta registrations and yet still tout the line "we didn't think it would be that popular".. how can you say such a thing with the registrations staring you in the face? :) hehe.. They knew that there would be AT LEAST 1 million people.. they allowed for 200,000 (with expansion to date, 230,000)..

      Yup.. it'll get sorted.. people will get over it and then we can all enjoy the awesome game that this is... but right now.. in the present moment.. there was hundreds of thousands of people trying to play and they can't.

        You aren't taking into account the huge number of people who use the beta as a demo, and then never actually play. They also know that a large number will not be playing in a few months. Only a fool starts big with MMO's - start small, buff up. They're a little on the small side, but 400k users would still be surprisingly large. 280-300 would be the safer bet.

          Yes, I get that.. but this isn't a new franchise.. this isn't.. say, Mechwarrior: Online.. which is a reboot.. no.. this is one of the biggest franchises in the gaming industry, period.. I just feel that they didn't have confidence in themselves and the launch reflects that.

            This is a reboot of a failed game that was still being slammed quite heavily towards the end of beta. It also isn't one of the biggest franchise in the industry, period. This is Final Fantasy *Online*. The normal RPG FF is a huge franchise. Online, whilst large, is no where near as mainstream as you suggest. In hindsight, should they of had more servers? Yeah, in hindsight you could probably go as far to say they could drop the price a bit. But since nobody has the perfect vision of hindsight, they had to be conservative. Doubly so since the last time 14 launched it resulted in massive department layoffs, major monetary losses and and all round clusterfuck. It's not a mater of 'lack of confidence', it's a matter of being smart and not taking any kind of risk.

        Exactly as seegrey said. Using OB as a sign they should've upped their servers is frankly, pretty stupid.

          Yeah but 1M beta and allowing for only 20% on launch.... 80% is a fucked up attrition rate, no developer could honestly say they developed a game so as only 20% of people actually will want to play it.

          That's equally as stupid.

            Last time 14 was launched, it didn't even get of the launch pad - it just exploded downwards. 40% would be a nic healthy start for a previously unknown game, 60% for a known game version two(like, ff online -> ffxiv). However since this had already died in the water before, and was still getting slammed hard by the beta testers, 20% is a pretty good start point. Conservative, but given the history of the game, risk taking would be a major no-no at this point.

    Get over it mike and play something else if you really have to. It'll sort itself out eventually.

      Yes, that's fine... if Mike wasn't a games tech journalist.. but seeing as though he is.. reporting on this kind of stuff.. is well... kind of his job.

        I agree. 'Disaster' is an overreaction though. I'm not saying people should be used to bad experiences, but considering its JUST been launched, some credit has to be given to Square for doing what they can. They've been fairly transparent with their reasons for the launch hiccups.

        ...Besides, you have previously stated that you haven't bought the game yet. I'm not sure whether I have extremely fortuitous timing or not, but I've had zero trouble playing it. Perhaps if I had been trying to play 24/7, it might bother me enough to do something else.
        As for the term 'Games Tech Journalist', I'd be using that term extremely sparingly. Mike's probably a cool dude, but the article reads as more of a blog piece or an angry facebook post.
        Anyway, this
        http://www.troll.me/images/squall/-whatever-thumb.jpg

          Fair enough.. yeh.. but sometimes the best articles are from the heart rather than from the mind.

          Despite all the 'perceived' misery.. I am still anticipating getting the game.. I'll leave it for another 3 or 4 weeks before I grab it :)

    Or maybe, you could cut the game some slack and marvel at the fact that it is so goddamned popular that even the stress tested servers CANNOT handle the loads.

    Yeah, I gotta admit, I rage at the game when it won't let me in half the time but I still find it amazing that the number of people trying to play this is just that large.

    i really do feel bad for the more devout fans who preordered their collector editions and havent been able to even create a character yet. it's a crappy situation. i just hope people don't jump on a bandwagon and say that square-enix is the worst because of this hiccup. the people who worked on this game are obviously shattered that their fans can't experience it. the new director took full responsibly for the mistake, owned up to immediately and gave people an extra 7 (or 10?) free days to play the game for the incident.

    something that frustrates me though is that there NEEDS to be an AFK-kick system. and there needs to be a more regulated queuing system that is fair. right now, it's just first in, best dressed... but we all play at our own convenient times...

    i'm having a lot of fun playing this game. is anyone is on the fence about it, i'd say please wait until this week passes...and THEN purchase the game. i still highly recommend it.

    How weird. I just logged into the Hyperion (NA/EU) server just now. Without encountering the 1017 error or waiting in queue.

    Surely something isn't right here...

      It's either half-past midnight, or 3:30am in the US, depending on where you are. Timing is everything. :)

        Heheh, I know. My timing has been perfect in this game, though. I've already beaten the level 44 boss (great music, spoilers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le0T73RHXwk) and I've rarely been hit with the 1017 issue. So I only have good things to say about the game :D

    *snork*

    "I’m pretty sure adding servers to Japan before America and Europe was a matter of convenience and not racism, as has been suggested."

    Yeah. That kind of racism is only OK if Americans are doing it, dangit!

      I always wondered how they would react to the problems Oceanic customers get... and now I can do this - "ZOMG ITS NOT BAESED IN UR COUNTRY, QQ MIKE UR OWN GAEM NOOBS!"

    You know, I've been playing since Beta 3 and honestly can't say I've had enough issues to rage too hard. I was kind of annoyed last night when my partner got in and it took me another 15 minutes, but that's really the worst that's happened. Yeah, ok, I get logon server failures and stuff from time to time, but it's a minor inconvenience at worst.

    Anyone on the Valefore server running a LS/FC I can join? /tell Intrepid Rock

    Looking forward to the complaints about maintenance time from Americans who get special treatment in every other MMO. Delicious tears.

    i got the collectors edition on ps3. got none of the stuff i was suposed to get in game and now my code wont work. cant keep my caricter from the beta but my friend on pc can. cant get in to behemoth at all. 120 bucks i wasted for nothing. glad i did waste it i am a big fan of ff but dam!!!

    Did you see the postings by the games producer?

    Login Issues at Launch: http://goo.gl/yf2nwV
    Apology for current issues: http://goo.gl/xzLn1R

    Essentially they are seeing huge numbers... way beyond what they expected. I would't call popularity a problem... would you? Just wait until new servers come online and things will settle.

    I will say the fact there is no AFK auto log out has to be killing them, i have been logged in for 3 days straight on the same toon, mind you not that one i want to play, but i don't want to have to deal with trying to get on again at this point, hoping the server upgrade makes a substantial difference, but we will see.

      Yeh, I found this pretty strange.. AFK detection is a pretty standard thing for MMO's for the last 5+ years.. I'm surprised that it wasn't in at launch.. then again, it wouldn't take much to macro/script the game to move the character around in a circle or whatever.. or even move randomly around an inn with a little bit extra setup..

      I can kind of understand why people do this, but at the same time, it's a pretty jerk thing to do. While you're sitting there idling, people who are actually sitting down to play the game can't get in.

      If all the jerks sitting in game idling actually logged out, I bet the issue would be somewhat reduced.

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