With Dawntrail, Final Fantasy 14 Hits Highest Player Count In A Decade

With Dawntrail, Final Fantasy 14 Hits Highest Player Count In A Decade

It’s normal for an MMO’s peaks and valleys in player counts to correlate with expansion releases and the fallow years in between. So it isn’t surprising that Dawntrail, the new expansion to Final Fantasy 14, has brought up the player numbers for Square Enix’s decade-old MMO. However, despite mixed reactions from players, people perhaps weren’t expecting it to set a new record for concurrent players.

The news comes from FF14 producer and director Naoki Yoshida, delivered in an official blog post on July 4. The post is mostly about upcoming changes to the game’s many jobs, but in the intro Yoshida takes a second to thank Warriors of Light for exploring Dawntrail, and reveals the good news about player numbers. “With your support, we were able to reach a record number of concurrent users we’ve not seen since the release of A Realm Reborn in 2013,” he writes. A Realm Reborn was the relaunch of FF14 after the 1.0 release was shuttered at the end of 2012, although Yoshida doesn’t give any specific figures.

Square Enix

The news is pretty shocking to me, considering the variety in reception to Dawntrail. The expansion is something of a new beginning for the MMO, after wrapping up a decade-long story with Endwalker in 2021. Rather than the universe-ending threats Warriors of Light have faced in the past couple of expansions, Dawntrail is a return to good-old-fashion adventuring, this time through the Latin American-inspired locale of Tural.

The new content has lower stakes than previous expansions, and makes the player a supporting character, allowing focus to shine on new character, Wuk Lamat. Due to these changes, the expansion has been incredibly divisive. Not to mention that unless you purchase a story and level skip, as a new player you won’t be able to dive right into the supposed “new beginning” of the MMO. I can’t quite figure out what it may be about this expansion that got everybody and their mother to play, as opposed to more critically beloved and widely talked about expansions like Shadowbringers.

In any case, I’m happy to see the over-a-decade-old MMO thriving. Hopefully a good portion of these new and returning players stick around for whatever is to come after Dawntrail’s fresh start.

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