So about a week ago, Square Enix and Sony launched Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Things didn’t go so well from the time of the pre-release Early Access period up to and beyond the game’s launch on August 27—essentially, there have been a myriad of server and connection issues, leading to frustrated gamers unable to, you know, play the damn game. Shades of Activition-Blizzard’s disastrous Diablo III launch, not to mention EA’s similarly ill-fated launch of SimCity couldn’t be ignored, leading higher-ups at Square Enix to issue apologies, and Sony to start issuing refunds.
Yes, refunds. How’s that for customer service?
A post on Eurogamer points the way back to a post on the game’s forum, where director and producer Naoki Yoshida talked to fans directly to explain the situation. Essentially, it can be summed up thusly: the game didn’t sell that well last time, so they didn’t expect so many people to try and play all at once. Golly!
“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.
Instead, to our pleasant surprise, we experienced tremendous support from a great number of players who were eager to get into the game from day one. To ensure that these players, once logged in, were able to play in a stable environment, we were required to implement login restrictions which kept server population near maximum capacity without exceeding those numbers.
The fact that we had to implement these restrictions is a direct result of my inaccurate sales and login estimates, and as producer, I must accept complete responsibility for this misstep. Each and every player who has been affected has my deepest apologies.”
The thing is, the servers are only designed “to support a maximum of 5,000 concurrent connections. This is not the maximum number of characters which can be created on a World, however, but the maximum number of characters which can be logged into that World simultaneously. When more than 5,000 characters log into a World at once, there is a higher risk of server crashes and login errors.”
The problem, of course, is that many, many more people are trying to play the game all at once, and it’s just not working out. I’m told by Landon, who’s friend is playing the game right now, that the connectivity problems have eased up a bit as of right now, but that hasn’t stopped Sony from issuing refunds to players who bought the game through the PSN between August 27 and August 28.
So I ask you, dear reader: have you encountered any issues with this game? Are you hopping mad? Does the idea of getting a refund mollify you somewhat, and make you more okay? Let us know.