Today, Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida provided an update on the state of the game’s suspension of sales following the massive congestion that led to long queue times around the Endwalker expansion’s release last month. Starting January 25th, Square Enix will resume digital sales to new players, but they will monitor the situation to determine whether another suspension is necessary to prevent further congestion. Monitoring that includes the resumption of registration for the free trial version.
Yoshida also laid out plans for the expansion of the game’s operations, which includes opening a new Oceania data center, expanding existing data centers in Japan, North America, and Europe, resuming the Home World Transfer Service, and implementing a Data Center travel system.
The same day digital sales will resume is when the team plans to open the Oceania Data Center. The original plan was to include three Worlds on this data center, but this has been increased to five Worlds with the hopes that there is room for everyone who desires to transfer to “Materia” data center. Square Enix will also waive the transfer fee to do so.
The following day, on January 26th, Square Enix will resume the Home World Transfer Service, which had been suspended due to the concentration of players making progress through the game. The day gap between the Oceania Data Center opening is to monitor this operation. This feature will be available to all players in all data centers, but you may not be able to transfer to Worlds that are labelled “Congested” due to high levels of activity.
Data Center Travel will be implemented in a patch following 6.1. This will allow players to visit Worlds in other logical data centers within the same physical data centers only. While travel to other physical data centers in other regions is possible, the team is still considering its implementation. This feature will be initiated from the character selection screen, rather than in-game at an aetheryte. Keep in mind that there will be more restrictions that traveling between Worlds in the same data center.
Over the next several years, the team is planning to increase the number of Data Centers and Worlds available for players to select.
In Japan, 1 additional data center will be added for a total of 4, with the 32 worlds distributed evenly across the four data centers in a 8:8:8:8 configuration. This includes re-grouping some Worlds for an even distribution. Implementation of this plan is scheduled for July 2022.
In North America, the expansion will take place in two phases. Phase 1 is scheduled for August 2022 and will introduce a new logical data center (in addition to Aether, Crystal, and Primal) with Phase 2 introducing new worlds in the Summer of 2023. The eventual configuration of Worlds will be 8:8:8:8, but the new data center will only start with 4 Worlds. The team is also considering an even larger scale upgrade at the time of the next major expansion, and details will come later.
In Europe, there will also be a two phase expansion. Phase 1 in July 2022 will add 4 new worlds to each existing data center for a 10:10 configuration, and Phase 2 will introduce a third data center (in addition to Chaos and Light) where the World configuration will be adjusted to 8:8:8. However, the team has even further plans to add a fourth data center at a later date, taking into account it may need to be used sooner rather than later.
All in all, this is a massive expansion to the game’s current operations that will play out over the next few years as the game continues to adapt to a high level of interest. In closing Yoshida once again apologizes for the headache that congestion caused players around the expansion launch, and that the upcoming regrouping of worlds on the Japanese (and European presumably) data centers may cause.
More details on the content to come in the 6.x series of patches leading up to the next expansion will be shared in late February.