Good morning you happy people in digital land. I am up roughly 30 minutes early today, so here is hoping I can still ramble out something vaguely intelligible. I am going to warn you… today’s post is going to be pretty ranty. If you are susceptible to that sort of thing you might simply skip it. Additionally if you are one of the legion of Final Fantasy apologists that seems to have sprung up on the forums… you might also want to skip the post.
The above animated gif pretty much displays the last three days of trying to play Final Fantasy XIV Realm Reborn. I have gone through this process hundreds upon hundreds of times attempting to play the game since Saturday evening. Originally I accepted this as being a weekend problem that they could not fix while the united states data centers were in “weekend” mode. However we have now had a full work day in the US and as of last night the problem is still present. Ultimately what I take the most offense to is the fact that I have no real hope of logging in unless I waste my entire evening following the above sequence of events for hours… hoping to finally win the login lottery.
I find it completely inexcusable that a game like this does not have an actual queue system. To the best of our knowledge the upper bound of the queue is roughly 500 players. Sunday evening we saw a few queues in the 400s so we are guessing that 500 is the nice round number it is set to. You would think that you could simply just spam away at trying to login until you saw a queue… and you would be wrong. At three points last night I got into the queue… and all three times I was in it only for a few minutes before being returned to the dreaded 1017 error. While we have not reached the category of “worst launch ever”, I have to say they are taking the cake for the most incompetent infrastructure already.
The Root Cause
This the sanctuary hub in the middle of the Central Shard near Gridania. This is the sight you see at almost EVERY single city or hub in the game… players afking en masse. Since the ability to log in at any given time is uncertain, players have taken to NEVER logging out as a way to combat this. Since the logins are strictly locked to a specific number of players on the server at any given time… we end up competing for a smaller and smaller number of slots on a nightly basis. Apparently it is standard eastern mmo practices to NEVER idle kick a player from the server. As a result US/EU players are abusing the hell out of this and simply leaving their game running 24/7.
Essentially the crisis we are playing under is the epic conclusion of a bunch of really poor game decisions. If they implemented a 15 minute idle kick that alone would likely clear up almost all of the issues. Combine that with a real queue that you could functionally wait in knowing that eventually you would get into the game… and it would lower a lot of the aggression of players. Right now based on the temperature on the forums and social media in general… we are reaching a point where we the players want blood.
Yesterday Naoki Yoshida issued an official apology… and quite honestly it is falling on deaf ears.
On behalf of the FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn Development Team, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to those Early Access participants who have had difficulty using the NA/EU data centers.
In response to a variety of issues, we have conducted emergency maintenance several times over the past few days. The first instance, which was conducted six hours following the beginning of early access, was for the purpose of addressing the errors 90000 and 3000, which were first discovered during phase 4 of the beta test.
Our server team then began taking measures to improve the performance of the lobby and duty finder servers. The subsequent emergency maintenance was necessary to implement their changes.
This maintenance proceeded as planned, and afterwards we verified that the stability of instanced battles and the duty finder was much improved. However, we then discovered that certain lobby servers had been improperly configured, and we were forced to conduct another brief maintenance to resolve this issue.
Although we have successfully addressed a number of serious issues in the past several days, we have nevertheless decided to implement login restrictions for the time being due to the extremely heavy load being placed upon the servers. In this way, we can ensure that the maximum number of players can play the game without risking a server crash. I know no one wants to wait to log in, but I hope you all understand why we believe this precaution is necessary.
Once again, I would like to sincerely apologize to all our players who have been unable to enjoy Early Access due to the tremendous congestion, the ensuing issues, and the frequent maintenance.
Everyone on the development and operations teams is dedicated to providing the best possible experience for our customers, and we will continue to do our utmost to resolve the remaining and any future issues.
FINAL FANTASY XIV Producer/Director, Naoki Yoshida
Essentially this apology while reasonably sounding… says absolutely nothing. There is no course of action that they are taking to improve the problems. Instead they say they are continuing to throttle the server logins… without showing any signs of doing anything to fix the root problems within their game. What makes this all the more heinous is this is the second life for this game… a second chance to make it success… and so far they are squandering it with some pretty horrible support practices.
Right now I expect some sort of compensation for the head start that wasn’t. We preordered with the expectation of being able to get in and play and that simply has not been the case for a hell of a lot of players. This is just not an acceptable practice and I expect that the preorders should receive some sort of compensation for the lost head start time. Essentially if you cannot log in during non-peak times… you cannot play period. Ultimately my choice is either to join the problem and never log out… or to give up on being able to play at all. Last night I finally gave up because at that point I had wasted two and a half hours clicking the 0 key over and over trying to log in.
Here is hoping that they pull their heads out of their collective asses and get some competent infrastructure staff on board that can fix their issues. I wish to god the game were not enjoyable, otherwise I could simply write it off… however when you ARE able to get in it is rather fun. Ultimately it was the multi-classing that sealed the deal for me… and I am quickly falling behind my friends that can log in and off peak hours and play. I just hope they fix something… because right now the current state of the game is ridiculous.