Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood‘s Early Access period before Tuesday’s launch is off to a rocky start thanks to a crush of congestion that is affecting the game’s server infrastructure. While login queue times were expected to be high, other issues are preventing players from continuing through the game’s story.
Backing up a bit: those who pre-ordered Final Fantasy XIV become entitled “Early Access”, simply meaning you’ll get to play the game four days ahead of the official June 20 launch. When server maintenance concluded early Friday morning, the throngs of people looking to dive in the game’s Stormblood expansion began progressing through the main scenario quest.
About an hour or so into that main scenario, players will need to complete the quest “Best Served with Cold Steel” to continue. This requires the player to meet up with Raubahn in The Fringes to participate in an instanced battle. After interacting with him, a cutscene plays while a request is sent to the instance server to create an instance for the battle.
Due to the massive congestion, the way most people were and are experiencing this is that their instance cannot be created, and after the cutscene plays they are returned to the field map — unable to progress in the main scenario. Many have now bottlenecked at this and another quest a short time later that requires another instance be created.
While players are still able to play and engage in most other non-instanced content, many who have waited hours upon hours to progress the main scenario have so far gone unsuccessful. It’s come to take many Final Fantasy XIV players by surprise with the relatively smooth Heavensward launch, but similar issues were present at A Realm Reborn‘s back in 2013.
Director Naoki Yoshida, in an update on the Lodestone, apologized that the issue “creates an unfair burden” on players, and shared that the team is doing their best to manage congestion in a way that won’t bring down servers. Yoshida says that if you’re currently experiencing these issues, try attempting the quest “at a later time.”
Update (6/20): Square Enix has released a statement saying that since June 16th (the start of Early Access), the North American data center has been undergoing DDoS attacks from an anonymous third-party. They go on to say that the “technical staff is taking every possible measure to address this issue but the attack is still continuing to take place by changing their methods at every moment. We will continue to monitor and work on recovery from every possible angle.”
The attempt of an attack like this is to shut down service by flooding the servers with requests, and cause some of the problems players have reported in Early Access and today’s launch — including the inability to connect or stay connected for a long period of time.
We’ll be providing updates in this post as this story continues, so stay tuned.