FFXIV Oceania data server opens January 25, Square Enix plans expansions for all regions
Final Fantasy XIV and its struggles with server congestion may finally have a clear path ahead. Sticking to the promise to provide an update this month, director and producer Naoki Yoshida took to the MMO's Lodestone blog to detail new upgrades - including the Oceania data center launch, expansions for all regions, and the resumption of digital sales.
First revealed back in February last year, the Oceania data center was initially planned for next month, but Yoshida says it's on track to go live two weeks early on January 25. The new data center, Materia, will hopefully improve latency struggles for players in countries like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and others as it launches with five new worlds: Bismarck, Ravana, Sephirot, Sophia, and Zurvan. Character creation bonuses for players on this server include 15 days of free play time, double EXP until level 80, and one million Gil.
Anyone looking to transfer can also do so at no charge and receive those EXP bonuses along with Gil compensation for any player housing relinquished during the process. However, it's worth noting, you don't automatically get a new plot after transferring. Instead, residential districts will be unavailable upon Materia's launch until the housing patch in version 6.1.
The server transfer process is opening back up, too. After suspending your ability to transfer between worlds, FFXIV will once again let players relocate their characters to a new server with rules you may have already been accustomed to. In addition, players transferring to less populated worlds may see bonuses to incentive the move, while other congested zones could still be closed.
Existing data centers in Japan, North America, and Europe will also see upgrades in varying implementations. In July, new infrastructure should add room for at least 50,000 more players at a time for players on Japanese data centers. North American servers are scheduled for two major upgrades, the first begins in August 2022, and another follows in summer 2023. The first expansion will add four new worlds, and Yoshida also noted that another "large-scale upgrade" is being considered for the next big release, version 7.0.
European servers will see 12 additional worlds, which will also roll out in two phases. Initial upgrades are scheduled to begin July 2022, with the next planned for summer 2023. Yoshida's explanation for every region also stressed the team's struggle to source new infrastructure, citing the semiconductor shortages again and asking for patience and understanding from the community.
The end goal on server capacity and hardware improvements may take a little while, but the plan is clear enough that Square Enix is comfortable opening up digital sales once again. Yoshida noted that you'd be able to buy FFXIV on January 25, the same day the Oceanian data server launches, but these sales may close again as worlds see extreme congestion during peak times.
Yoshida's server report didn't forget the Data Center Travel System, either, but folks eager to travel around FFXIV will have to wait a bit longer. When the system does launch in patch 6.1x, you'll be limited to visiting worlds on the same logical data center - so you can't play with friends in other regions. Essentially, folks in North America can mingle between Primal and Aether, but you can't go visiting anyone in Japan, Europe, or Oceania. Yoshida says cross-region is possible, but its actual implementation is "still under consideration."
Since last year, the MMO has seen a surge in popularity complicated by global supply chain struggles and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yoshida has remained surprisingly open and candid about those woes, and while it's not immediate relief, it's a light at the end of the tunnel for players waiting in long lines and facing frustrating connection errors.