The most popular MMORPG in the world launches its next big expansion at the end of this week, which means Final Fantasy XIV’s servers are about to get hammered. While the ongoing global semiconductor shortage has kept Square Enix from adding new servers for Endwalker’s launch, the developer is taking steps to help reduce congestion across existing servers and keep players from waiting too long to get online, including making sure paying players get priority over people dipping their toes in.
Early access to FFXIV’s Endwalker expansion begins at 4 a.m. Eastern on Friday, December 4. That’s when the millions of players who’ve preordered the expansion will be attempting to log into servers already crowded due to the explosion of popularity FFXIV enjoyed over the summer months. The game developers warn of the upcoming overcrowding in a letter to the community posted late last night. Though the current servers have been optimised in anticipation of a flood of new and returning players, the lack of available hardware means Square Enix won’t be able to open new worlds to accommodate the overflow.
What the company has done is replace existing servers with higher-performance machines, increased processor speeds, and upped the number of simultaneous logins available across servers. These measures should help more players get online at once, but it could also lead to unforeseen issues regarding newer server hardware, so prepare for some server turbulence.
There will be login queues. To help battle these, Square Enix is giving priority to owners of the full game over those participating in the ongoing free trial of Final Fantasy XIV, so if you’re still testing the waters now’s a good time to decide if you want to jump in or not. The post suggests players on particularly crowded worlds use the “Visit Another World Server” subcommand on the character select screen, which will allow them to play and progress on a less crowded server until things simmer down.
Popular new expansion areas will be instanced, meaning multiple copies of the same area will spawn to ensure smooth operation and reduce lag. Players will be booted from servers after 30 minutes of inactivity. If you attempt to stay logged in by doing things like auto-running into a wall or using timed macros, you’re being a jerk and no one will invite you to their dungeon raiding parties.
No matter how much Square Enix has prepared, the server situation for Endwalker is going to suck. All I can recommend is to be patient and find other things to do while you wait out queues, like going on Twitter and posting a picture of how big your queue is so everyone else can tell you how big theirs is. That’s all sorts of fun. See you in Hydaelyn, hopefully.