Ah, expansion launch day. When Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker begins its early access on December 3, everyone will be rushing to get a headstart on the walk to the end. Imagine thousands of folks trying to cram their way through the same door.
I still remember that absolute mass of folks trying to complete the duty “Best Served with Cold Steel” in the Stormblood main scenario storyline. First, it was almost impossible to target the quest-giver, Raubahn, in the midst of a huge mass of players. Even if you did, the duty instance itself had issues loading. It was such a mess that players called the entire experience “Raubahn (Savage)” or “Raubahn (Extreme)”.
And that was before the modern influx of FFXIV players.
Server problems are going to happen on launch day. Square Enix knows that, the community knows that. That’s why the FFXIV team has detailed its plans to fix some of the server congestion issues. First, there will be a login queue, preventing people from overloading the login server. This is alongside the ability to temporarily login on another world server, an option introduced in Patch 5.57.
One new wrinkle is the addition of an area instance system. This exists in some other MMOs, but Square Enix is trying it out for Endwalker. Basically, every zone on a world server will have a maximum player count, and once that cap is reached, the server will spin up a brand-new instance of that zone. As an example, if there are too many players in Garlemald, the server will create a second instance of the zone, and a third if that one reaches its maximum as well.
Each instance of a region will be numbered and visible to players: Garlemald 1, Garlemald 2, Garlemald 3. You’ll be sent to an instance automatically upon entering a region. The trick here is if you’re on different instances, you won’t be able to see players on other instances. You can still communicate with them via Tell, but their characters won’t be physically present. When it comes to parties, FFXIV will attempt to put party members in the same instance, but they may be split.
You shouldn’t worry too much though, as you can choose to enter a specific instance. If you enter a region through its normal entrance rather than teleporting, you’ll be able to choose which instance you want to enter. You can also use an aetheryte to access the same list.
It’s a pretty conventional fix to the congestion problem. It’s also a fix that’ll fade into the background as players get used to it, or daily player counts drop. A little fiddling, a little party coordination, and it’ll all be fine.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is coming to PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on December 7, 2021. Early Access begins on December 3 for those who pre-ordered. Check out all of our excellent and extensive preview coverage in the run-up to the launch of The Linkshell: our new Final Fantasy XIV vertical coming soon!