Square Enix has a plan for dealing with Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail's inevitable server crush, which includes saying 'we apologize for the inconvenience' 5 separate times

Screenshots taken of a preview build during the Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail media tour.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

We've all been there before: A big new online game launches, the servers get crushed, we can't get in, we get mad, we go out and burn down our local Pizza Hut. Or something like that, anyway—the point is that it happens every time, and it's a headache. Fortunately, Square Enix has a plan in place to help alleviate that pain for the upcoming Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail.

"With the launch of a new expansion, we are expecting far more simultaneous logins compared to usual," Square Enix said. "In light of the congestion that occurred during the launch of Endwalker, we have taken precautionary measures such as expanding our data centers and adding new Worlds."

"Add more servers" is indeed the classic solution to the problem of overloaded online games, but Square Enix doesn't expect that to be enough. Player numbers have continued to rise since the launch of the Endwalker expansion, it said, and Dawntrail will likely see a sudden and significant spike of people "playing for extended periods" immediately after launch, "which could result in Worlds reaching their login caps and therefore longer login queues."

Thus, further measures are being taken. First things first: Please be patient. Even if the login queue doesn't appear to be shrinking, Square Enix promised that things will still be working and you'll get in when it's your turn—so stick around, because if you cancel and try again, you'll be moved to the back of the line. Players with the full version of Final Fantasy 14 will be prioritized in server queues, while those using free trial accounts will have to wait until the login queue is cleared.

A number of other restrictions will be put into place with the release of the 7.0 expansion patch to help manage congestion, including limitations on travel and character creation; Square Enix also urged players to ensure their characters have returned to their home worlds before the launch of Dawntrail, as their ability to do so after the expansion goes live could be hampered by overloaded servers. A queue system for instanced content is also in place, just in case. Those measures will remain in place at least until the release of the 7.01 patch, which is set to arrive on July 16, and possibly until the 7.05 patch depending on how things shake out.

If things go really sideways, players may encounter "Error 2002" while selecting a character in the character creation menu, a measure intended to keep servers from crashing from extreme traffic. Players who run into that problem are asked to "wait a while" before attempting to log in again, presumably to give things a chance to simmer down. Error 2002 can also occur because of network issues while you're waiting in the queue; if that happens, you've got roughly 60 seconds to reconnect and get back to your place in the queue, or you'll be bumped to the back of the line.

And you can forget about just staying logged in forever once you're connected: An AFK timer will automatically boot anyone who's been inactive for 30 minutes.

Square Enix also provided a helpful schedule of expected peak congestion times, although it warned that because the early access release period is happening over a weekend, you might be hosed no matter when you try to get in.

  • Japanese Data Center: From 2:00 a.m. (PDT) / 9:00 (GMT) / 10:00 (BST) / 19:00 (AEST) to 8:00 a.m. (PDT) / 15:00 (GMT) / 16:00 (BST) / 1:00 (AEST)
  • North American Data Center: From 1:00 p.m. (PDT) / 20:00 (GMT) / 21:00 (BST) / 6:00 (AEST) to 11:00 p.m. (PDT) / 6:00 (GMT) / 7:00 (BST) / 16:00 (AEST)
  • European Data Center: From 4:00 a.m. (PDT) / 11:00 (GMT) / 12:00 (BST) / 21:00 (AEST) to 4:00 p.m. (PDT) / 23:00 (GMT) / 0:00 (BST) / 9:00 (AEST)
  • Oceanian Data Center: From 12:00 a.m. (PDT) / 7:00 (GMT) / 8:00 (BST) / 17:00 (AEST) to 6:00 a.m. (PDT) / 13:00 (GMT) / 14:00 (BST) / 23:00 (AEST)

Finally, world and server status, and notification of any problems beyond the scope of what's already covered that may come up, will be shared through the @FF_XIV_EN and @FFXIV_NEWS_EN Twitter accounts.

It's pretty clear that Square Enix expects some issues when Dawntrail goes live—the congestion plan contains no fewer than five apologies for the inconvenience—but it also seems to be doing all it can to get out in front of it, which is a lot better than just hoping for the best. It should also serve to reassure players that even if things go wrong, yes, somebody's workin' on it. 

Early access to Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail, for those who preorder the expansion, will get underway at 2 am PT/5 at ET on June 28. Full release will follow four days later, on July 2.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.