Servers for Square-Enix’s troubled MMO Final Fantasy XIV have now shut down, paving the way forward to the completely redesigned Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The closure didn’t go quietly though, and we’re not talking about proud fanfare or sobs of despair.
According to Kotaku Australia reader Endzo, “What was supposed to be a grand finish to the long awaited ending of 1.0 [reference for FF XIV] instead met users with error screens, disconnections, and login troubles.” Apparently, a tide of both current and former players managed to overwhelm the servers in their efforts to bid goodbye. Those lucky enough to log in later found themselves facing random disconnects and various other issues, marring the expectations of facing “gargantuan level 100 monsters that up to now were only seen in cut scenes.”
That, however, is already history — Square now needs to focus on delivering their promises for A Realm Reborn. “Since announcing our plans for the future of the title last October, we have been working tirelessly to include all of the elements that we have promised,” says Naoki Yoshida, producer and director of FF XIV. “This new title not only becomes a symbol of a completely new FINAL FANTASY XIV, but also marks the beginning of a new stage as the latest title in the FINAL FANTASY series. I hope you’re looking forward to it!”
Takuchat helpfully provides the transcript for a candid interview with Yoshida, in which he talks about the many changes for A Realm Reborn. It begins by confirming Hildebrand’s reappearance (a comedic NPC) and “boing boing” chests for players, before proceeding to talk about the nitty-gritty of Magitek armour, the content finder system, raids, markets and even houses.
Current players who wish to play the game on the PS3 as well will have to purchase a separate code; they may then choose to play their PC character on the console, presumably once the accounts are linked.
“The first phase of the Alpha Test has been completed, and we have managed to solve almost all of the issues when player numbers increase. We’ve made it possible to safely run the game with 800 people in a single area, but once the area exceeds 800 people we’ve seen some heavy lag. [... W]e will open Alpha globally on 11/26.”
“Currently we are about two months and two weeks behind schedule [due to] the vast amount of adjustments that needed to be taken care of two months ago,” says Yoshida in response to a question about the Beta test, and for an updated development road map. “While we’d like to stay on schedule, we want to make sure we create a top-tier MMORPG that can compete against the rest [...] in the market.”
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is being developed for Windows and now Sony’s PS3. Beta testing is currently expected to begin in late-January or early-February. I strongly urge all players to read the transcript in full, as Yoshida goes through in some detail the many gameplay concerns players have. All I want is to run a chocobo ranch.