I played FFXIV 1.0 when it first came out in 2010. It was pretty terrible and I only got to level 9 before I quit. However, because I did actually buy and register a copy of the original game, my original (albeit very low level) character still exists on one of the original “Legacy” servers. When the new version of the game entered beta, I eventually got access and started playing with a friend who had also played briefly during the original release. Both of us were absolutely amazed at the changes and how much fun the game was. It was a completely different game! And it was incredibly fun. The next thing we knew, we had started hyping our friends on it and we’ve now got a group of about eight people playing on one of the new servers.
When my buddy and I first started playing the beta and determined that we were definitely going to play this game upon release, we discussed whether we would go back to our old “Legacy” server of if we would just start over on one of the new servers. Since neither of us had played for very long during the original release, we thought that starting anew on a brand new server seemed like the smarter thing to do. After all, there would be no existing economy and the population should be lower because it would be starting from zero. On the other hand, Legacy servers would have their existing populations and then their friends would add on to those populations. We had this conversation during beta phase 3 and it seemed perfectly reasonable.
Apparently, it wasn’t.
Phase 4 Open Beta was plagued with server crowding and errors, causing people to not be able to log into the game. We were able to play, however, and our progress wasn’t going to get wiped. It was going to carry over into Early Access and then the live game. When I brought up the server woes carrying into Early Access from Phase 4 in our Facebook group, the general consensus was that Early Access shouldn’t be as bad as open beta. After all, Early Access is only available to legacy players and people who pre-ordered the game.
So Early Access started on Saturday. (Actually, it started at 11pm Friday night in my timezone. Woohoo!) I spent more time mashing the 0 button on my keyboard trying to get into the game because the North American and European data centers were having huge problems than actually playing the game. When I WAS successful in logging into the server, I would get disconnected or I’d get a runtime error. Then I’d be locked out of the game again. Half the time, the login server couldn’t even FIND the list of NA/EU servers. However, I never had any issue logging into and staying logged into the Legacy server that my original character is on.
So the game is officially launching today. That means that in addition to the people who pre-ordered the game, there will be new players that are just buying the game today and logging in. After all the emergency maintenance that they’ve done over the last three days, logging into the game is still sometimes problematic. I am seriously considering switching to my old server and starting over. The issue is that I’d be leaving my group of friends behind. My loyal husband would follow me, but that’s it. Playing an MMO without a social network is extremely difficult unless it’s a solo-friendly game like World of Warcraft or many of the free-to-play games out there. In our group, a couple players have already reached level 30.
I’m really torn. FFXIV:ARR isn’t the only thing I do in my spare time and when logging into a game is an exercise in frustration, I have to wonder why I’m playing at all. All I can do is wait and see, I suppose. After the first month or two, the populations should level out. But seriously, why should I have to wait that long?