Stormblood launched in early access today, and the servers are getting bodied. As I see it, we wouldn't have constant lag, frequent disconnects. and players forming massive lines in a desperate attempt to get a quest done if Final Fantasy 14 didn't make such attractive expansion packs.
Source: Stuart Jingles on YouTube
What seems completely ridiculous to folks who haven't played Final Fantasy 14 during its relaunch or previous expansion pack launch isn't an unfamiliar sight to players who've been doing this for a while. Everyone with an active account is trying to get online at once to venture into new lands, complete new quests, and play a couple of new job classes. Lapsed players are back, as well as new players caught up in the excitement.
The line above, posted to YouTube by Stuart Jingles (via NeoGAF), is a result of the massive server congestion. At the end of the line is an NPC who starts the expansion's first big instanced singleplayer quest. Once activated, the player is pulled into a new story instance created just for them. Get 20 or 30 players trying to do that at once and things break. When I tried to access the quest earlier, I got a cinematic cutscene and was spit right back out.
So players form lines, hoping that if they start the quest one at a time, they will get through. Does it work? Eh. Is it entertaining? Most definitely. Frustrating? Oh God, yes. Having spent an hour trying to log in to the game and getting kicked out due to data server errors, and getting in only to freeze constantly, disconnect and die due to lag is just the worst.
By the time I got to the NPC for the quest it was just a desperate mob.
Even better, in my case, I was bit behind on my main, so I levelled a Black Mage up to 60. I've never played a Black Mage past level 10.
She sure is pretty, even if she is technically disconnected here.
The only thing better than being a fragile class dealing with lag is being a fragile class you don't know how to play dealing with lag. A lot of players are finding themselves in the same boat though, as sweeping changes to how each class works has them relearning how to play under some pretty horrible conditions.
I eventually gave up attempting the quest and went off in search of my new job class, Red Mage.
It's a neat class. The player has to maintain a balance of white and black magic in order to fill a gauge on the screen. Filling that gauge powers up sword attacks, doing major damage to enemies. Then the mage dances back and starts the cycle anew.
I think I'm going to like the Red Mage, at least once the servers stabilise. These early access periods are often more stress test than anything, and right now Final Fantasy 14 is having trouble handling that stress.
Oh well, at least I can finish my Red Mage training without...
... well, fuck.
This will all be ironed out by Tuesday, when Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood launches in earnest.