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Final Fantasy 14 director says the new AFK timer shouldn't ruin the fun

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(Image credit: Square Enix)
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Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida still wants you to have fun mucking about in the game, even with the recently added AFK kick function.

The MMO has been having an insanely good time recently—it smashed its concurrent player count (opens in new tab) on Steam and somehow even managed to sell out of digital copies. (opens in new tab) Even traditional World of Warcraft player Asmongold jumped on the hype (opens in new tab), which probably aided the game's spike somewhat.

While it's been great to see Final Fantasy 14 flourishing, it's also meant that queues for servers are an absolute nightmare at the moment. Some free trial players have found they're not being let in at all, which is understandably causing some people to become a little frustrated.

Square Enix has attempted to ease the congestion a bit, releasing a patch earlier this week that boots anyone from the server who's been idling for more than 30 minutes. It's meant that often bustling areas like Limsa Lominsa have become noticeably quieter (opens in new tab), with fewer players idling or dancing while they have a bite to eat or go for a walk in the real world.

Anyone who's spent even a few hours in the game will know how core these dense areas have become to the game's feel and community, and it's something Yoshida is aware of too. In a message to players (opens in new tab) this morning, the director said he knows how important these interactions are to overall experience and immersion.

"I myself have played many an MMO, so I know how watching other players bustle past during mealtimes physically and mentally prepares you for challenging dungeons later, and how a spontaneous dance performance can brighten everyone's day," he wrote. "These are ways of roleplaying, and they are part of the fun of MMORPGs.

"Therefore, I want you to know that while I deeply appreciate you being considerate, activities such as the above are part of the game too, and you don't need to show so much restraint that you stop having fun!"

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Yoshida went on to tell players to "enjoy FF14 in your own way" and "show our new players how alive its world is." He also touched upon the difficulties the AFK timer brings to high-level fishers, saying "it is of course fine to remain logged in" while trying to wait on the big catches. The overall message seems to be that it's okay to do fun things like dance or play music, but be respectful of those who want to hop in and play too.

It's not the first time Final Fantasy 14 has had an AFK kick function—the release of Stormblood also saw it implemented. Square eventually went one further though and enacted a daily server-wide kick because of people attempting to circumvent the kick through macros or timers. It kinda sucked.

It's nice to see Yoshida trying to tackle the issue while also being incredibly aware of how the culture of his own game functions. He's always been a core part of Final Fantasy 14's success, and it's easy to see why the community respects him so much. Just look at the way he talks about World of Warcraft (opens in new tab), easily his biggest competitor. Gotta love the guy.

A fresh writer in the industry, Mollie has been taken under PC Gamer's RGB-laden wing, making sure she doesn't get up to too much mischief on the site. She's not quite sure what a Command & Conquer is, but she can rattle on for hours about all the obscure rhythm games and strange MMOs from the 2000s. She's been cooking up all manner of news, previews and features while she's been here, but especially enjoys when she gets to write about Final Fantasy, Persona, The Sims, and whatever other game she's currently hopelessly fixated on. There's a good chance she's boring another PC Gamer writer about her latest obsession as we speak.