Friday, January 21, 2022

Latest Sales Plans And Infrastructure Expansion For Final Fantasy XIV

On the Primal data center, queue times to log into Final Fantasy XIV have returned to just about normal over the last week. From friends I have on other worlds, cross-realm travel is even possible before 9pm Pacific again, although congestion still occurs. But Square Enix can't continue to not sell the game. This morning's Lodestone announcement of an all worlds maintenance from January 24, 2022 8:00 p.m. to January 25, 2022 2:00 a.m. (PST) is a sign of things to come.

Last week, FFXIV's Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida sent out an update on Square Enix' plans for 2022. On Tuesday, sales of FFXIV will resume with the resumption of the Home World Transfer service on Wednesday. The transfer service will be open to all players, not just those transferring to the Oceanian Data Center.

The Oceanian Data Center? That's right, Square Enix is opening up a new data center containing 5 worlds. Square Enix is waiving the transfer fee for those players, primarily in Australia and New Zealand, looking for a less laggy play experience. The move will also hopefully free up space on the Japanese and North American worlds for additional players. Square Enix created an informational post listing all the perks of transferring to Materia, the name of the Oceanic data center here.

The launch of the Data Center Travel System should debut in a 6.1x patch. I believe that indicates a launch of the service sometime in April or May. The four key points of the feature highlighted were:

  • Players will be able to visit Worlds in other logical data centers within the same physical data center.
  • Players will not be able to visit Worlds in other regions/physical data centers.
  • Though cross-region travel is technically possible, implementation is still under consideration.
  • Travel is initiated not while logged into the game, but from the character selection screen.

In order to increase capacity in Japan, Square Enix needs to reconfigure each logical data center so they all hold 8 worlds. Currently, each Japanese data center contains 10 or 11 worlds. The reconfiguration is expected to increase the number of possible simultaneous logins by at least 50,000 players. The work is scheduled for July 2022.

We believe that—taking into account the floor space of the data center where the servers are physically housed and the current semiconductor shortage—this will be the fastest and most efficient method for large-scale expansion. In terms of community maintenance, this will involve a partial regrouping of Worlds, which we understand will cause a great deal of inconvenience to players using the Japanese Data Center. We intend to do everything in our power to mitigate this by implementing data center transfer and through use of the Home World Transfer service. We offer our sincere apologies in advance for any trouble this will cause, and appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Square Enix plans to expand the North American data center to match Japan's, moving from 3 logical data centers containing 24 worlds up to 4 logical data centers with 32 worlds. The first four worlds are scheduled to come online in August 2022, with the other 4 added during the spring or summer of 2023. The company is considering adding additional worlds for the release of the next expansion (Patch 7.0).

The eight worlds per logical data center configuration is also coming to the European Data Centers. Europe will see the addition of 12 worlds. Currently, Europe has two logical data centers, each with 6 worlds. In July, Square Enix plans to add 4 new worlds, 2 each to Chaos and Light. The creation of a new data center with 8 worlds is planned, but no date was given.

I'll provide an update next week on my experiences with login and world transfer queues to see how well Yoshida's planning worked. While he didn't do the planning himself, we all know if things go poorly he'll claim all the blame.

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