'Players don't need to worry about that': Final Fantasy 14 director says the team is well-armed for Dawntrail's launch rush, no repeat of the Endwalker queue fiasco or day-long DDoS attacks

An image of the first Hrothgar in Final Fantasy 14 smiling as she regards her home, Tural, in Dawntrail. She is a large lioness-like lady with a bright, optimistic expression: sailing under a clear blue sky.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Naoki Yoshida seems determined not to have a repeat of Endwalker's launch woes. Its release in 2021 was a real lightning-in-a-bottle moment: The pandemic was still causing full-blown lockdowns, World of Warcraft players were heading to Eorzea in droves, and the expansion was wrapping up a decade-long story. It was a game suffering from success, causing servers to buckle and the game to be pulled from sale for six weeks as things stabilised.

Admittedly, that can cause a little bit of concern when we're right on the cusp of another expansion launch. But after sitting down and talking with Yoshida, he's confident that things won't be the same this time. "Previously, the situation was that just physically we didn't have the servers. But now we've acquired a sufficient amount of servers from around the world, so players don't need to worry about that."

For those unfamiliar, Endwalker's main troubles came from not only a lack of servers, but the fact that ones available simply weren't capable of handling so many players. As Yoshida tells me, each server had a capacity of approximately 1,500 people. During Endwalker's peak, the team was seeing upwards of 5,000 people trying to access a server. Now I'm not very good at maths, but that's over three times the amount of people the server could reasonably handle, which is a helluva lot. 

Compounded with the fact that there was a huge semiconductor shortage during the pandemic (and during Endwalker's peak), it meant that Yoshida and the team weren't able to snag some emergency servers as things continued to buckle under the weight of a gargantuan number of players. 

Now general world things and Final Fantasy things have stabilised somewhat, it's given Yoshida the power to go into Dawntrail better armed. "I consulted with the president of Square Enix and I asked him if we could buy servers," Yoshida told me. "And these past few years we have acquired a large number of servers for that purpose: In Europe, we have four servers. In North America, eight, and in Japan we have four. So if we do find there is a large congestion, then we can make those servers available at the press of a button."

(Image credit: Square Enix)

He continued: "We have finished all of the preparation of those, the maintenance on those servers. And Final Fantasy 14 is installed on the servers as well. So the only thing that is left is for me to give the go sign and then those servers will become available."

Yoshida says the team will keep an eye on how things go, ensuring that everyone is able to log in somewhere—whether that be squeezing onto your home server or temporarily fleeing to a quieter one—without fragmenting the playerbase too much. However, he was determined to make sure that any Final Fantasy naysayers didn't look at what will hopefully be a smoother launch and assume it indicates dwindling popularity. 

"'Well, there isn't that congestion, so it must mean that people have dropped out of Final Fantasy 14 right?' Well, I would really appreciate it if you could inform those types of people that it's just down to the fact that we have been putting in a lot of effort and a lot of preparation to help our players."

Yoshida also took a little time to briefly touch upon the DDoS attacks that plagued the MMO during the early half of May. "If I explain in any detail, it will provide hints to the attackers, so I won't add any details about that." he tells me. "But what I can say is that we have gone through a process of having perfect defences." In what can only be described as very unfortunate timing, it turned out a DDoS attack was occurring during our interview. However, there hadn't been one for two weeks prior and there hasn't been one in the weeks since.

Most importantly, Yoshida knows the group he needs to try hardest to assuage. "Particularly, I think people will be concerned about what would happen around Savage [difficulty raids] release, but I can assure you that we have our defences lined up so there's nothing to worry about."

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.