Final Fantasy 14 braces for Dawntrail login queues with plans to limit travel and crack down on AFK players

If you were playing Final Fantasy XIV in December 2021, you will remember the launch of its last expansion Endwalker – though not for all the right reasons. The otherwise fantastic cap to the near-decade-long Hydelyn-Zodiark was beset by a barrage of technical problems at launch, as the MMO’s servers buckled under the weight of record numbers of players, leading to hours-long queues to login that would often end in an error that then kicked you back into the queue. As someone that sat there for literal hours watching the numbers tick down, it wasn’t a great time – even if the wait was, ultimately, worth it.

With next expansion Dawntrail approaching, the question of how FF14’s servers will cope is once again upon us. Fortunately, the game’s team promise that they’ve taken “precautionary measures” since the gruelling experience of Endwalker nearly three years ago, bumping up the number of data centres and introducing whole new worlds for players to join to help account for the MMO’s boom in players over the pandemic and beyond.

Even so, the developers caution that things may still struggle under the sheer number of players logging in for lengthy Dawntrail marathons, detailing some of what to expect and how they’re hoping to make things at least a bit smoother than Endwalker.

In short: expect to find yourself in a queue once Dawntrail opens up to early access on June 28th, before its wide release on July 2nd. The devs do reassure that even if it seems like the number isn’t going down, you will be moving forward – though it’s worth noting that those paying for a subscription (which you’ll need for Dawntrail anyway) will be prioritised over those playing the base A Realm Reborn and earlier expansions Heavensward and Stormblood in the game’s free trial. Honestly, if you’re not up to Dawntrail and desperate to see the new story and duties as soon as you can, I would really recommend steering clear in the meantime. You won’t be able to even create characters on a congested world, so definitely don’t jump in now.

A Final Fantasy 14 viper swings towards a towering enemy as their dual-handed weapon glows blue
Image credit: Square Enix

Even once you’re in, there’ll continue to be some restrictions. Like with Endwalker, travelling between some data centers and visiting other worlds will be limited. That’ll remain the case until at least patch 7.01, though could last up to 7.05 if things are really bad. Needless to say, you’ll probably want to make sure you return any characters to their home world before Dawntrail arrives to avoid ending up stuck. Travelling between individual regions of the map will also be limited (get ready to see “Unable to move areas due to congestion” a lot), so you might have to wait a little before moving through areas.

The game’s auto-kick feature will crack down on inactive players more harshly, too – so don’t expect to be able to just sit in Limsa Lominsa to save your place while you grab a night’s sleep. Automatic logout will now occur after 30 minutes of inactivity – though, honestly, it’s just polite to log out if you’re not actually playing regardless, in my opinion.

Other efforts will include a queue system for instanced duties, including dungeons and main scenario quests, when congestion is particularly heavy, plus the return of separate instances for areas of the map – you can switch to a specific instance via an aetheryte, as in Endwalker.

In other words, it sounds like the team are doing all they can to try and remedy the pains of logging in suffered during Endwalker, but definitely don’t expect things to be as smooth as normal once the expansion hits. See you in the queues.

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