Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood’s Early Access gets off to a rocky start with congestion woes [Update] Square Enix statement alleges DDoS attack By Tony Garsow on June 17, 2017 at 11:03 AM

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.

  • Miqote

    They need to compensate the players for this. This is ridiculous.

  • Randy Marsh

    They most likely will. They had to give us a week free back in 2013 because 2.0’s EA was as ridiculous, if not more.

  • Randy Marsh

    I’m still shocked on how this was able to happen again after how smooth 3.0 went, this is annoying for people like myself who want to do the story more than leveling the new jobs and do roulettes. I have nothing to do in the game at the current moment, which is extremely upsetting to me.

  • Nick Greeley

    On the bright side, Samurai and Red Mage are both super fun! Been wasting my time leveling SAM because I know the MSQ is a lost cause lol

  • Stonespear

    I spent 2 hours yesterday trying to click Rauban for the Main Scenario quest. I got halfway through then disconnected. Logged straight back in to a 3219 person queue which took another 3 hours to get through. By the time I got back in Rauban was completely inundated with people.

    Then even more disconnects start hitting and no-one’s place is reserved in case they DC rather than just logging off. There’s no grace period at all.

    I want to know what the scenario designer was thinking, putting instanced quests right at the start of an expansion.

    Thoroughly unhappy with this release. It’s atrocious and not at all acceptable seeing as it’s, basically, unplayable.

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  • Breathless

    Can stumble into issues even with open-world content in some cases – those few new starter zones are just overcrowded so you may not even be able to teleport there.

    Congestion itself is not really the main grievance, everyone’s expected high traffic for EA (everyone except SE, that is, apparently). But this is a design bottleneck far too early into the MSQ when about 90% of everything else is locked behind this – something that’s already happened in certain early quests in 2.0, which makes it even more baffling that they did it again. And about 90% of us is stuck here, but hey at least they’re doing a zone-specific emergency maintenance now for the other 10% that managed to pass. The rest of us just have to “be patient” and “do other things” while gods only know if THEY are actually trying to fix Cold Steel or just play at waiting it out. I mean, it’s now 48 hours later, half of EA is over, and it’s still the same.

  • Randy Marsh

    Yeah I concur, the game is practically unplayable at a lot of old content also. I’ve had so many friends log off and do other stuff because they kept crashing in Pre-SB instances. I was constantly getting kicked from the game while trying to do 50, Main Scenario, and Trials roulette mainly because of the congestion.

    However I do not mind them dumping instances at the start, 3.0 did have solo instances at the very start iirc with encountering Bismarck in the Sea of Clouds and the heretics in the Western Highlands, never once crashed on me. So I’m confused on what screwed the pooch big time when it came to this solo instance for EA. I’ve tried for a total of 7 hours throughout the last two, gave up after a certain point.

    I just wish this could be fix fast, but sadly I do not see it happening until the beginning of the week on Monday.

  • Stonespear

    The problem now is that even if they’re working on a fix, the congestion will have eased by then. I suspect they’re not doing much of anything congestion-wise as they don’t really have to and therefore won’t.

    That’s conjecture but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    And you’re right about 3.0 which had instances at the start. I wonder what’s so different this time around?

  • NewestType

    Why are other sites saying 3.0 had the same issues? I think it’s a misunderstanding. Cause I don’t remember this in 3.0

  • Stonespear

    I’m not sure about that one, NewestType. I’m sure I remember 3.0 being very smooth outside of occasional disconnects in launch week.

    4.0 is just atrocious. I managed to play for a whole hour today.

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  • Stonespear

    Completely agreed. The MSQ should have been split into three or four branches at the very start, allowing players to spread out and ease congestion on one particular area, then bring them all back together after a few quests.

    I’m absolutely furious with the handling of this by SE. At this point they can just say “we’re working on a fix for MSQ” and do nothing at all, because the congestion will ease over time. The lack of initiative is frankly pathetic.

    I’m STILL stuck in login queues and trying to get MSQ’s done. The DC’s and no grace period of time after disconnecting is making me just not want to play. I’m tempted to just cancel and come back in a month or something when it’s eased. Of course, I’ll be way behind all of my friends and therefore have noone to play with but that’s the same issue atm since they’re all being no-lifers and speeding to 70 while I’m stuck at 61.

  • Breathless

    It is some kind of incredible that at any other time when I DC, I can’t even log right back in, because the game just tells me I’m still logged in. For at least 2-3 minutes. These days? Get DC’d and you can get right back – to the end of a login queue. Really interesting….

    3 days out of 4 of EA was spent on being stuck on Raubahn and I could only progress because I eventually just caved in and moved. Dunno how it’s been since then, but it was definitely a demotivating experience for the launch. PF is already full with Extreme FARMS even (ofc, practice or learning is never a thing) – I can’t even fly in any of the new zones yet, at level 63. Just fantastic.

  • Stonespear

    The rushers to 70 aren’t really a problem imo, best to just ignore them as best you can – the more lenient and chill players don’t tend to get on with them in my experience. There’ll be plenty of learning/practice runs in PF by the end of the week/weekend, I guarantee it. 🙂

    The EA though is an absolute shitshow. It seems to be calming down now but not due to any “hotfix” by SE. They had no intention of fixing or easing congestion at all, just letting it die down and making EA completely worthless for the majority of people who can’t sit at their computer 24/7 in the rush to 70, or use some kind of automated macro to keep themselves active else you get logged out for being AFK within 15 minutes or so. I went to make dinner last night and couldn’t get back in until just now. Unbelievably ridiculous.

    The “hotfix” was due to a dungeon that was bugging. Funny, really. How many people had gotten past Raubahn at that stage, or far enough ahead to discover this bug? Meh. This whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t intend to forget it when the next expansion rolls around. SE have a terrible habit of not learning from these things.

  • Breathless

    Definitely agree they can’t seem to learn from their mistakes: the whole Raubahn debacle was an exact repeat of what they did in early ARR MSQ, which even back then caused this same issue. So yeah, it’s there.

    Meanwhile, here I am a week later, having just hit lv65. That’s how demotivating EA was, as far as I’m concerned. :/