It’s time for a new expansion in Final Fantasy XIV, and that means for me that a lot of people are going to not know how to get through content. Heck, I don’t know how to get through all of the content; it’s new to me too. I’m still figuring it out, and while there are a few people who are progressing even faster than I am and know how to clear everything, they are in the decided minority. I mean, the expansion, counting early access, has only been out for five freaking days.
So that means I get to enjoy the old standby of offering advice when clearing group content. And some people are… let’s be polite and say that they’re better at it than others. An entire guide about how to give advice which will actually have a positive impact is a bit beyond the scope of this article, of course, but we can at least look at the advice that never, ever works. Or if it does, it is entirely by coincidence, not design.
Is there any better time for DDoS attacks than right after the launch of a new expansion? Apparently not; Final Fantasy XIV
reports today that it has been getting hit with attacks for several days now
, causing network difficulties that the engineers are working as hard as possible to counteract. The official announcement is that the attacks have hit on June 16th, June 18th, and June 20th, with the attacks considered to still be ongoing.
This may account for some of the game’s server issues over the past few days; countermeasures are still being worked on. The game has also had a minor patch to address other technical issues and bugs, so players should have a better Stormblood experience waiting once they log on if the DDoS attacks don’t make it unplayable. (And if they get through the queues, but that’s just to be expected.)
Since there were so many early access issues with Stormblood, I figured I’d try to give you Final Fantasy XIV players a little something to chew on while Square-Enix smooths out the rough edges and handles today’s launch. Building on Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre’s recent interview with Naoki Yoshida/”Yoshi-P” at May’s Final Fantasy XIV event, we sat down again with him for a chat at this year’s E3. And while I haven’t personally spent nearly as much time in the game as a vet like Eliot, I’d heard that Yoshida was very much a gamer’s developer, so I was looking forward to talking with him about not just the game, but game design.
He did not disappoint.
The time is finally here. While pre-ordered players were able to play from Friday onward, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
officially launches today. Players of all sorts can log in and start fighting for the liberation of Ala Mhigo and Doma beneath the heel of Imperial occupation; the developers have even officially confirmed that the instance issues hitting the game at the start of Early Access have been largely resolved
. (Most players were able to solve those issues on Sunday, but the official statement is still nice.)
Not currently a subscriber? You can take part in the game’s Welcome Back campaign to take a trip in and see what all of the fuss over Red Mage and Samurai is about. Planning to remain a subscriber? You can take part in the game’s first subscription loyalty campaign to pick up a mount based off of the Falcon in Final Fantasy VI. Just want to catch a roundup and the launch trailer again? Jump on down below, friends.
There have basically been two attitudes throughout the past weekend with Final Fantasy XIV’s early access to Stormblood. Here, we’ll run it like a Tumblr meme; tag yourself appropriately in the comments:
- “Wow, all of this stuff is really cool!”
- “A system error occurred during event movement.”
I spent Friday and Saturday stuck in the latter, but Sunday I moved on the the former. But I can’t really talk about this early access period without talking about the server errors, what may have been causing them, and what should be considered when discussing them.
Because, make no mistake, this was not a fun weekend to be trying to play FFXIV much of the time. It was often dizzying in its frustration, and it was made all the worse because there’s always a communication gap with the game despite the best efforts of the staff. This in and of itself is something I really should write a column about, but that’s not today’s column.
There is no question that the early access launch of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has been a rough and bumpy ride. At least the team is talking to players, even if it isn’t all good news.
Regarding the congested worlds and long queues, Square Enix explained that it has to function this way: “The following worlds have consistently had the number of players logging in reach maximum capacity, with queues of 1,000 to 5,000 players waiting to log in during peak hours. When the number of characters logged into a world has reached its limit, a player can only login when another player has logged out, in order to avoid worlds crashing.”
The team is working on ways to increase the population limit of worlds and urges players to consider transferring to lower-pop servers. In the meantime, the current crush of players is being blamed for the game’s congestion and server crashes in connection with instanced content and the duty finder (which has caused a severe bottleneck in one part of the main scenario questline that requires players to jump into an instance).
Everyone knows there are going to be issues with an expansion on launch, and Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is no exception. Players have hit up against a pretty nasty one, however, even beyond the usual matters of queues and server loads; something seems to be causing issues with instanced content, including a very early part of the main scenario that’s causing huge population bottlenecks around one questgiver.
Producer and director Naoki Yoshida has been doing his best to keep players updated, but at this point getting past this early instance is largely a matter of clicking for entry repeatedly and hoping to not get the now-dreaded error message stating that the instanced battle could not be started. It’s not exactly surprising that the game would have some issues with early access, but players are left unable to progress beyond the first two areas of the expansion without some appreciable luck (and the instance servers aren’t at their most stable even for other purposes). The issue is being addressed, so keep your eyes peeled for updates when the logjam is finally broken.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
The time has come, everyone. Final Fantasy XIV
is now available for play on PlayStation 4 and PC, assuming you pre-ordered and registered your early access code. You can log in right now and explore everything! Or you can sit at work and know there will be a queue and everyone will have Red Mage to 70 by the time you get home. One or the other.
And yes, there is a queue. At the time of this writing, an issue is also affecting instanced content, preventing certain job quests or content in the Duty Finder from being accessed, but the development team is hard at work correcting the issues. So expect issues, but also expect work on them. It’s almost like an expansion launch or something.
Of course, if you are stuck at work, you can enjoy a video tour of the expansion dungeons just past the break. And don’t worry, it’ll still be here in a little bit. There are only, like, five level-capped Red Mages so far. That’s hardly any.
Tomorrow morning, Final Fantasy XIV
players will be able to start moving through Stormblood
, exploring new areas, leveling the new jobs, clearing new quests, and so forth. As a result, the enormous patch notes
for the expansion are now here, and reading through all of them will take a while. Even when you include the fact that the simply massive number of new items added into the game means that you won’t be sitting through that
Both Red Mage and Samurai will have their initial job quests in Ul’dah, so if you logged out in that city, you get full marks for prediction. The next part of the Main Scenario will start in the Rising Stones, and players will want to stop by Revenant’s Toll anyhow to exchange all Heavensward tomestones for Allagan Tomestones of Poetics, which now serve as the all-purpose stones for prior expansions. This also means changes to the roulette structure, changes to the UI, and… well, the point is that there are a lot of changes. Luckily, you have all day to read through the notes before the game comes back online tomorrow.
With the swelling of excitement over this week’s early access start to Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, the studio is taking all precautions to handle what it anticipates to be a crush of existing, new, and returning players.
For starters, Square Enix has opened up a brand-new world, Omega, on the Chaos data center. Players won’t be allowed to transfer off of this server for 90 days after creating their characters, although there are incentives (such as the waiving of the fee and a gift of chocobo feathers) for those who want to immigrate onto the world. Transferred characters will also receive reimbursement for their personal housing (if any is owned).
Additional incentives for creating characters on Omega will go into place until the population rises high enough. These include double XP until level 60, 10 silver chocobo feathers, a million gil, and 15 days of free play time. The last two rewards are given only to characters that reach level 30 in a class during this bonus period.
There are also lesser incentives being given to those who roll or transfer characters on a “designated” world with a reduced population.
Friday is the start of early access for those who have pre-ordered Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
, so it’s going to be a pretty happy day for a lot of players. It also marks the end of support for the game’s PlayStation 3 client
, so you’ll need to be playing on either the PlayStation 4 or on PC in order to continue enjoying the game.
Fortunately for everyone who prefers having it on consoles, you get an automatic free upgrade to the PS4 version, so all you’ll need to do is actually have a PS4 if you want to keep going. Since this was announced months ago, odds are high that everyone making the switch has already done so, but consider this your last-chance reminder. And if you have a great deal of affection for the last-generation console version of the game, make sure to log in today, since tomorrow will have the servers down for maintenance all day.
We’ve had many chats here on Massively OP concerning the best and most flexible player housing systems in MMORPGs — and lamented games that lack such systems entirely. But today I would like us to discuss housing systems that ultimately let us down.
Last weekend I jumped through a ton of hoops to finally get a small apartment in Final Fantasy XIV, only to find myself let down by the end product. The prerequisites were annoying, the cost prohibitive, and the decoration tools basic and weirdly difficult to use. Although perhaps the biggest let down in this category came with Guild Wars 2’s home instances, which during the lead-up to launch I had envisioned as being a much larger housing system. Now I know the truth, that the only customization I can put into these areas is a big hunk of candy corn to mine.
Which MMO housing system disappointed you? For a bonus topic, would you rather a lackluster housing system over no housing at all?