Square Enix scramble to fix server issues for Final Fantasy MMO while Sony are giving PlayStation Network users their money back, whether they want it or not.
If you think Final Fantasy XIV had a bad launch, then you’ve not looked how its relaunch is coming along. First Square Enix had to withdraw the game from sale because the servers couldn’t cope with the number of people logging on, and now Sony are giving a refund on anyone that bought the game via PlayStation Network. From the official blog this doesn’t seem like a choice, if you bought it that way, Sony are taking it away and giving back your money, even if you’re happy to wait, you now have to buy it again. Which seems a little too heavy handed. Offering a refund is great, forcing one is a bit harsh.
Back at Square Enix, producer director Naoki Yoshida is offering apologies and explanations on the forums. Basically they figured a once-failed and relaunched MMO wasn’t going to do that well. ”I would like to take the time to personally apologize once again to all those players who have been affected by the extended World login and character creation restrictions which have been in place for the past several days. I also understand that apologies will not help you get logged in, so I would like to give you an update on the situation at hand and the various measures we are currently employing to alleviate the situation.
“On the night following the announcement of our plans to temporarily limit sales of the download version, A Realm Reborn recorded upwards of 218,000 concurrent connections. This is in spite of the fact that the peak login times for separate regions around the world arrive at differing intervals. We estimate that without time zone differences, the total number of concurrent connections would number anywhere from 300,000 to 350,000.
“As many of you know, this is the second launch for FINAL FANTASY XIV─something unprecedented in the MMORPG market. Considering the outcome of our first launch, our sales estimates for this one were decidedly conservative, as we believed that there would be a more gradual rise in users over the opening weeks and months.”
To be fair to Square Enix, a game that faltered on its first release isn’t likely to do all that well when it relaunches. Yet they also made FFXIV free for a short time, so the decision to see just how well Square Enix managed to fix things isn’t that difficult. With no money barrier you’re obviously going to see a far greater interest.
Obviously what came next was cutting off new logins and character creation. Character creation is because it’s the areas new characters spawn into that have obviously been hit the hardest, so just by people levelling up and moving on the problem will reduce slowly. Of course Square Enix aren’t just counting on people levelling. They’ve bought new severs. “As of this post, the servers have been acquired,” Yoshida continued. “The essential programs installed, and we are currently in the process of conducting our internal tests. Once these tests have concluded and the Worlds go live, we believe we will be able to better accommodate a greater number of our players, making logging in less of a hassle.” These will hopefully go live next week. Character creation restrictions will likely take a little longer to be lifted though.
Amusingly enough, I’ve heard rumours that the new one is actually meant to be a lot better game. You know, if you can actually get in.