Update: This morning significant server infrastructure upgrades were performed,which solved many problems players were having.
The following message was provided by Producer Naoki Yoshida:
I would like to inform you about the ongoing issues on the NA Aether and Primal data centers.
Due to high stress load and congestion, we are currently experience the following two issues:
Congestion within certain instanced battle contentServer crashes due to concentrated stress on the Duty Finder servers
Regarding the first issue, from around 8:00 a.m. (Pacific Time), we have strengthened the instanced worlds and diverted stress loads, enabling 20,000 players to enter instanced content each hour. As a result, the playable slots for instanced content have been increased significantly. We would like to offer our sincerest apologies that an extended amount of time was required to address these issues, as we strived to avoid large-scale server crashes within the data centers during our procedures. We will continue to monitor this situation 24 hours a day.
Regarding the second issue, we are experiencing continuous crashes within the Duty servers due to the consistently high stress loads caused by frequent matching requests from Worlds within the data centers. As we have confirmed that these crashes are causing some players to be unable to log in due to error 90006/90002, we continue to seek resolutions that address the root cause of these issues. As a temporary measure, we have implemented a work flow to restore the Worlds in 15 to 30 minute increments if the Duty server has crashed. We apologize for the inconvenience, but if you are experiencing the above error, we ask that you please try logging back in after 15 to 30 minutes.
We sincerely apologize for the large amount of time lost from your important early access time during the weekend. We will continue to monitor the high stress loads that the NA data centers are experiencing, and will continue to do our best so that players can play on all Worlds with stability. Once again, we apologize for the issues occurring for an extended amount of time.
Original Story: To say that I've been excited for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood's launch would be an understatement. It has dominated my brain functions for more than a month as I've spent dozens of hours preparing my character, studying the expansion's changes, and even leveling a third job up to 60.
After arriving home from E3 on Thursday night, I decided to drop into the game. It was here... it was finally here. The moment I had been waiting for: Stormblood's launch.
My first moments were rather positive. After waiting in a 20 minute queue I was able to hop into the game and pick up my first Main Scenario Quest. Things moved forward without a hitch, although I kept seeing complaints in Free Company chat about issues that were halting progress. "Maybe I'm just lucky", I thought as I cruised through a few quests and tried out the significant job reworks that had just been implemented.
Not so fast.
Just a couple hours later I would run into the notorious "Raubahn" catastrophe. Put simply, there's a Main Scenario Quest named "Best Served with Cold Steel" that you initiate at an NPC named Raubahn Aldynn. Unlike most quests, it initiates a duty, which requires a server-hosted instance where you fight a group of NPCs before moving forward.
The problem is: the servers are beyond capacity right now due to demand. Despite Square Enix supposedly investing heavily in upgrading its server infrastructure, going as far as migrating the entire server farm from Montreal, Canada to Sacramento, California.
As a result of this, it's unable to accommodate the instance requirements of most of the player base. In many cases, this means players are unable to join dungeons they find a party for. Although that's a problem, nothing is worse than the "Best Served with Cold Steel" issue.
This is a Main Scenario Quest, meaning that completing it is required to move the story forward. In addition, Main Scenario Quests are a primary source of experience for leveling from 60 to 70 for your first time. Since 99% of players can't complete this duty without a hefty amount of luck and possibly hours of perseverance trying to enter the duty while being massacred by "A system error occurred during event movement" errors, most of the community is stuck.
Also Read: The 5 Worst MMO Launches Ever
The issue is so bad that the community has begun working together. Players can be seen forming long queues that extend hundreds of feet, with length depending on participation and server population. On my server (Ultros), dozens of players have lined up in hopes of any shot at completing this quest.
I decided to capture the catastrophe using GeForce Shadowplay, and threw in a bit of humor and music for good measure. You can see the video below:
I wish the issues ended here. Unfortunately, there are quite a few broken abilities (i.e. Black Mage), significant job balance problems from 61 to 70, and bugged FATEs everywhere.
Frankly, it reminds me of FFXIV's original launch in 2013, which was one of the worst MMO launch catastrophes in recent years. The primary difference is that this time around at least Square Enix has set up a server queue system to get into the game, and pre-60 content is working just fine and dandy.
Some will argue that this is just Early Access, but I'm not so quick to believe that. If anything, matters are likely to get worse on Tuesday when the game officially launches, and non-pre orders hop into the game. At least, this was the case with previous major updates to the game.
As usual, I'll bear with the frustration, only because I love FFXIV, and so far the content in Stormblood seems great. Maybe by the end of the week I will have made some proper progress and can share what the content is actually like to experience.