Final Fantasy XIV prepares for "lengthy wait times" due to Endwalker server congestion
Square Enix would like to apologize in advance for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker server woes. The company announced its plans to lighten the load through Endwalker's launch but expects all Worlds to experience "maximum login capacity and lengthy wait times" from the MMO's surge in popularity.
Endwalker's early access period begins this week, December 3, but director and producer Naoki Yoshida has long warned the community Square Enix can't seem to keep up with the growing demand for server space. As new players poured into the game through 2021, Final Fantasy XIV struggled to keep up—and that was before Endwalker even launched. The latest blog post explains much of what Yoshida has said before: COVID-19 made an already struggling global supply of semi-conductors even more challenging to find. That shortage means Square Enix can't prepare their server infrastructure as much as they would like to prior to Endwalker.
The company is saying sorry about the whole thing already, explaining, "We would like to apologize for making this sort of announcement at a time when many of you are looking forward to the expansion, as well as for inconveniences that may be caused by congestion."
It's bound to cause some frustrations, but Square Enix shared details on what they could do to prepare to some extent. There's the usual login queue system, but they warn you may not see the number counting down. Even if it appears that way, Square says you should stay in line and not cancel—or risk falling to the back of the line. In patch 5.57, Final Fantasy XIV saw an update that lets you visit other servers if yours is congested or even in the case of a crash. It's a feature we haven't experienced with expansions before, and the situation has never been quite so challenging, so it's hard to say how much it will help in the days to come.
And if you want to create a new character, you should do that now. Square Enix warned servers facing congestion problems won't accept new players, so you'll have to wait until the game calms down to create that new bunny boy alt or drag that new friend along for the ride. If you see Error 2002, the server is hitting its peak; apparently, the error is there to keep things from crashing when the MMO is too overwhelmed. There's also the usual automatic logout you deal with now and instanced zones we've seen in previous expansions.
There's no doubt about it, the situation sucks, but the game's dev team has a long history of being surprisingly transparent about challenges and how it will address the MMO's problems. Understandably, we'll all be annoyed with waits and disconnects, but it's clear there's a lot of folks working hard to bring you the best they can. After Endwalker's delay, I'm working on being a little patient myself. Whatever you do, make sure you've got a plan B for entertainment backup this weekend.