Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: NA Data Centers Moved, High Pop Servers Locked, Jimmies Rustled

A lot has been going on in FFXIV this week, sending ripples of frustration through some parts of the community. This isn’t so huge that it’s making big news outside of the FFXIV community, but I’ve been a spectator of rustled jimmies all over the place.

So, what’s happened to rustle jimmies? Two things:

I’ll explain what these mean and why people are frustrated in a moment. But, right now, we have four types of FFXIV players:

  • People who are upset because they feel negatively impacted by the data center move
  • People who are upset because they feel negatively impacted by the server locks
  • People who are upset about  both
  • People who were positively effected by the server move, don’t know what’s going on, or don’t really care what’s going on

And, I guess there’s me, who knows what’s going on, wasn’t positively effected by the server move, but didn’t get my jimmies rustled by a slight increase in ping time.

NA Data Center Move

Everything (except the downtime) sounded good about the move before it happened. The idea was that better and stronger servers would impact the game in a good way — especially when we’re looking at no longer routing through the troublesome Level 3 choke points and hopefully strengthening the server for upcoming improvements on game inventory capacity, etc.

Yeah, some of us were without the game for two days, and only credited for one day. I think people were already antsy because of the downtime.

midgardsormr

But what really got people upset about this?

The fact that signs point to the new location (which S/E kept secret) is in Sacramento California, on the opposite coast of the original location. What players were hoping for was a more central location. So, people got to pinging the new servers, and some folks discovered a much higher ping than they used to have, especially those in Europe and South America.

I have no idea what my ping used to be, but seeing that I’m on the East Coast, I’m sure it went up. I did play around a bit in PotD last night, and didn’t see any unusual lag or antics. But this wasn’t anything heavy or taxing. I’m also not a cutting-edge player, so people like raiders are the ones who would see the effects of these things more so than I would.

I’m sure that there are many people out there who are having a rough time with the server move. It’s hard to say if it’ll shake itself out in time or not.

Server Population Balance

It’s pretty well known among NA players that our two highly populated servers, Balmung and Gilgamesh, are both on the Aether Data Center. This also happens to be the home of my server, Midgardsormr.

I remember how at Heavensward launch our Data Center in particular became impossible to log into, and I’m going to guess it’s partly due to having two very high pop servers on it. In order to make things a bit smoother for Data Centers for Stormblood’s launch, S/E has preemptively taken action.

This makes it kinda sucky to be on a high pop server right now. First of all, no one can create a character or even transfer a character (temporarily) to these servers as of yesterday. Second of all, once Stormblood launches, “login restrictions will be put in place on highly populated Worlds which may result in players having difficulty logging in.”

Yikes.

highpop

However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Here’s some good incentives S/E are giving for people to move to low pop servers when Stormblood arrives:

  • Because all servers are high pop in EU, they’re creating fresh new servers for EU for Stormblood!
  • They’ve significantly increased how much gil you can bring when you transfer to a new world
  • Free world transfers to specific new and low pop servers (this is across all data centers, including NA)
  • Experience bonuses on those chosen servers
  • Free game time and gil awarded to newly created characters on those servers (who reach a specific level)
  • Reimbursement for people who currently own a house, for the cost of the house and furnishing
  • Support for Free Companies who are making the move together

This all sounds pretty nice to me. But, of course, there are folks who are still very unhappy that their servers have been locked, and with no prior warning. I see this especially from those on Balmung, where most of the role players congregate.

balmungdeath
An actual Tumblr post

Right.

Now, I don’t have anything against Balmung — I have a few alts there myself. And I totally understand why people who RP want to be on the same server as other RPers. However, I’ve never felt like this was a healthy balance, not just for the server and technical side of things, but also the community.

When new people came to the game, and they asked, “What’s the most active server? Where should I roll?”

The answer usually was, “Balmung or Gilgamesh are the most active, but both of those require a transfer.”

Yuk.

If you’re a role player who wants to be involved in the community, you didn’t have a lot of choice but to move to Balmung. There’s never been a chance for strong RP communities to form on other servers because the general populace would tell you that Balmung was the only place to go for your RP.

Honestly, while I’m sure there are plenty of great people and RP opportunities there, I’ve also seen the kind of non-RP discussions that happen in open chat in the cities there. Some people see it as a stage to say just about anything that comes to mind, no matter how lewd it might be. And they consider it normal, funny and a part of their server identity.

I would love good, clean RP with friends, but I don’t want to see that kind of discussion in the streets of my starting cities. So while I’m sympathetic to people who are upset about the server locks, I also hope this is an opportunity for the RP community to find a new place to migrate and grow, hopefully without all that baggage following along. That was never going to happen as long as transfers to Balmung were open.

This will also give more people a chance to enjoy features, such as housing, which is nearly impossible to get on the larger servers. So my final thought on this: it’s a good thing.