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Final Fantasy 14 Taking Major Steps to Account for Massive Number of New Players

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Final Fantasy 14's producer and director Naoki Yoshida has laid out the team's plan to deal with server congestion that is being caused by a huge influx of new players.

Yoshida wrote a letter to the community that began with him thanking everyone for their continued support and letting fans know that the Endwalker expansion's current focus is on "implementing content and transitioning to the check and polish phase." Due to this upcoming expansion and more, many new players have decided to finally make the jump into the popular MMO, especially in North America and Europe.

This increase in popularity is seen not just in the global version - which includes Japanese, North American, and European data centers - but also in the locally operated versions in the Chinese and Korean markets. This situation has caused FF14 to experience record user numbers in all regions.

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While this is a great problem to have for Square Enix, it is also causing problems for FF14's player base, many who are having difficulty logging in and creating new characters. The demand was so high at one point, that Square Enix seemingly stopped selling the digital version of FF14.

One of the first things Square Enix will do to help players is to raise the simultaneous login caps. Login caps are put in place to ensure a server isn't overloaded with players and information transfer. If that were to happen, the Duty Finder would cease to function properly and instability would occur when entering instanced content.

In North America, data centers were recently upgraded to higher-performance models and this new equipment has allowed the team to, as of July 16, increase the maximum number of simultaneous logins across the NA data centers by 18,000 or approximately 750 per world server.

European servers will also be receiving the data center upgrade, but it is still in the works. This means the team can not yet raise the World login caps, but it promises it is "working hard to optimize existing servers in an attempt to increase the caps."

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This will hopefully help combat the six to seven hours of maximum login capacity that North American world servers experienced July 17 and 18. This made it so character creation was unavailable for a time and players were dealing with login wait times of 10-20 minutes. In Europe, wait times were as high as 40 minutes.

Square Enix also humbly asks its players to help with the current situation, requesting that those not actively playing to log out of their characters rather than remaining logged in while idle and that everyone should avoid creating new characters during peak times. This will help limit the number of people logging in at once, which causes heavier strain on the servers. It also notes that the login queue is only available for paying customers, and those on the free trial will have to wait until the queue is clear.

There will also be an auto-logout feature implemented as "an emergency measure to combat congestion." This was originally slated to launch alongside Endwalker, but it is now part of Patch 5.58.

There will also be new worlds and data centers created, but this obviously takes a lot more time. The team is in the final stages of preparing its new Oceania data center, and is also working on plans to expand even further in a much quicker time frame.

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Square Enix had intended to "assess user numbers and planned content" after the release of 6.0 and then work to have new servers or data centers by 7.0, but this current situation has caused them to reevaluate the timeline and see if it is actually possible to speed up the process. Unfortunately, the ongoing semiconductor shortage and travel restrictions make this task a much more difficult one.

Yoshida concludes by taking full responsibility for the current situation and that the team is "aware of the burden we have placed on our player base, and are working diligently to lighten it in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to develop measures to combat server congestion, and will keep you up to date with any and all developments in this area."

Hopefully, some of these issues will be resolved by the launch of Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker on November 23, 2021.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter
@AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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