Today Square Enix announced some of its plans for the future of Final Fantasy XIV, including the reopening of the sale of new copies of the game.
Due to the massive congestion of the servers due to the launch of the Endwalker expansion, sales have been suspended for about a month.
New players will be able to purchase the game again on January 25. The date also has significance due to the much-awaited opening of the Oceanian Data Center.
We also learn that the home world transfer system will resume on January 26, and will be available for everyone, not just those who want to transfer to the Oceanian Data Center.
Further information involves the Data Center Travel System that is now slated for one of the patches of the 6.1x cycle, on top of details about server expansion plans for all existing regions, including Japan, North America, and Europe.
You can read the full message below, penned by producer Naoki Yoshida himself, who also reveals that announcement related to the future of the game will come at the end of February.
Opening of Oceanian Data Center
The Oceanian Data Center, which we’ve been planning for some time, will be opening approximately two weeks earlier than scheduled. This may be a little sudden, but we’ll be bringing it online on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 (JST).
Additionally, taking into account the current number of players in Oceania, the original plan was to initially add three Worlds and later introduce two more. In light of the recent influx of players, however, we’ve decided to add five new Worlds from the start. With this, there should be more than enough room for everyone in Oceania to transfer over. Those in Oceania who have struggled with network latency issues should also have a better play experience.
This will be explained in detail separately, but these being new Worlds, we’ll be offering incentives to transfer to them, such as waiving the transfer fee. We hope you take advantage of these bonuses.
Recommencement of the Home World Transfer Service
Due to server congestion following the launch of Endwalker, the Home World Transfer Service is currently suspended. However, with logins becoming less concentrated due to players making progress, and the Oceanian Data Center now ready, we’ll be resuming the service on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 (JST).
This comes one day after the Oceanian Data Center opens on January 25, in order to ensure a smooth and stable launch. We’ll use the time to confirm that the data center can operate without issue, handling logins and normal play, when it goes live. We ask for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
Furthermore, upon resumption, the Home World Transfer Service will be available to all players in all data centers, not only to those transferring to the Oceanian Data Center. Those who wish to change Home Worlds may do so, with the exception of transfers to certain congested Worlds.
For more details on the bonuses for transferring to a new World, please refer to this announcement.
Launching of Data Center Travel System
In response to congestion following Endwalker’s release, we had postponed the launch of the Data Center Travel System. It is now being planned for a 6.1x patch. To briefly explain how the system works:
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.
As I previously mentioned in a Live Letter, while the system has been designed to allow cross-region travel, we’ll be limiting it to travel between logical data centers within a physical data center at first due in part to differences in game economy and values. We’ll be paying keen attention to the opinions of players as we consider whether or not to introduce cross-region travel in the future.
Compared to the World Visit System we already have in place, the Data Center Travel System will be subject to more restrictions for those functions that are managed per logical data center, such as free company chat and cross-world linkshells. This is due to the fact that it isn’t possible to keep an eye on chat and cross-world servers outside the bounds of a logical data center.
Aside from that, however, there are just about no restrictions. Be it undertaking quests, forming parties, or using the Duty Finder, you’ll be able to play the game as usual (If you have a means to communicate with others, such as the Lodestone or the Companion app, it should be possible to form static parties).
If you want to join a free company or linkshell in another data center, you’ll need to transfer your Home World, but we think that the system will otherwise provide an enjoyable experience. We ask for your patience just a little longer.
Expansion of Japanese Data Centers
Currently, our Japanese data center comprises 3 logical data centers and 32 Worlds. In 2013, when A Realm Reborn was released, we aggressively increased the number of Worlds to cope with congestion. As a result of this, we now have a situation where 10 to 11 Worlds are handled by each logical data center, making efficient operation impossible. As a result, we are unable to increase the number of simultaneous logins per World in the same manner as with the North American and European data centers, leading to extreme congestion.
Therefore, from a long-term perspective, we are looking to add one more logical data center and lower the volume of Worlds per logical data center, thereby significantly increasing the maximum number of concurrent logins possible by several thousand per World.
Number of logical data centers: 3 ⇒ 4
Number of Worlds: 32 ⇒ (unchanged)
Capacity: Overall possible simultaneous logins encompassing all Worlds increased by 50,000 or more
To this end, we would like to ask you to bear with us as we reconfigure the composition of Worlds from a three-logical-DC configuration of 10:11:11 to a four-logical-DC configuration of 8:8:8:8.
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.
The installation of new logical data centers and large-scale changes to World configuration are currently scheduled to be implemented around July 2022. This will allow us to take the needed time to carefully analyze the situation and prevent matching imbalances in each logical data center. Once again, we ask for your understanding as we proceed with this important upgrade.
Expansion of North American Data Centers
Currently, the North American Data Center houses three logical data centers and 24 Worlds (an 8:8:8 configuration). In order to cope with a drastic increase in player population, we are planning a two-phase major server expansion. Due to the global shortage of semiconductors, it has taken considerable time to procure server equipment, but the schedule calls for the first phase to be implemented around August 2022, with the second phase to follow in the spring or summer of 2023.
In the first phase of the expansion, scheduled for August 2022, one new logical data center will be established and four new Worlds will be added under it. In the second phase of the expansion, we plan to add four more new Worlds under the newly established logical DC, resulting in a four-logical-DC configuration of 8:8:8:8. While we had originally hoped to add all eight new Worlds at once in August 2022, the aforementioned semiconductor shortage has dictated that we introduce the upgrade in two stages. Again, we ask for your understanding and patience in this matter.
In addition to the above, we are also considering a yet-larger-scale upgrade at the time of the next major expansion (Patch 7.0). We will be sure to update you with further details regarding this as our plans take shape.
Expansion of European Data Centers
Currently, the European data center comprises two data centers and 12 Worlds (a 6:6 configuration). In order to accommodate the substantial increase in player population, we are planning a major server expansion in two phases, similar to that planned for the North American data center. Due to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, it will take time for requisite server equipment to be delivered. As such, the first phase of this expansion is scheduled for July 2022, while the second is scheduled for the summer of 2023.
In the first phase of the expansion, scheduled for July 2022, a total of four new Worlds will be added, two under each of the logical data centers presently housed in the European Data Center. In the second phase, one new logical data center will be established and eight new Worlds will be added under it, resulting in a three-logical-DC configuration of 8:8:8. The aforementioned semiconductor shortage requires we carry out this upgrade in two stages, and we ask for your understanding and patience as we continue making preparations.
What’s more, in anticipation of further expansion, we are working to secure floor space for a fourth logical data center. Preparations are also being made in the event the addition of this logical data center is needed earlier than anticipated.
Resumption of Digital Sales to New Players
After due consideration of the following factors, we will be resuming digital sales starting on January 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. (JST):
Opening of the Oceanian Data Center, and the capacity to accommodate additional players.
Our desire to provide a suitable environment for new players in the Oceania region.
The play time and log in frequency of current players is steadily returning to normal levels.
However, in the event servers continue to experience extreme levels of congestion, we may consider suspending digital sales again. We are aware that certain Worlds are experiencing high server traffic at peak times, and while some may consider this decision to resume sales to be premature, we ask for your understanding in this matter.
We would also like to resume registration for the free trial after monitoring server stability a while longer.
Once again, I wish to apologize for the delays to server expansion caused by the global semiconductor shortage. The necessity for communities to separate due to the regrouping of Worlds is another inconvenience that may prove unavoidable for some players, and we ask for your understanding as we work to alleviate this issue.
Despite these hardships, however, we believe this server expansion is a significant step forward in providing players the best gaming experience possible in FFXIV. Work on bolstering the servers will continue well into 2023, expending a vast amount of financial resources and manpower, but we will do our utmost to ensure this endeavor has no negative impact on your ability to play, so we would appreciate your support while you continue on your adventures.
As mentioned earlier, we’re also hard at work not only on further job adjustments, but other exciting new content for the 6.x series, as well as plans for our next expansion (Patch 7.0). In fact, I have a few announcements planned for the end of February, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our next Letter from the Producer LIVE.
Until next time, here’s to another great year of FINAL FANTASY XIV!