I want to start this post by saying that while it’s sad that Stormblood EA didn’t start smoothly, this wasn’t something I didn’t expect to happen. It’s the risk you take when you buy into Early Access, and I remember quite well the Heavensward EA… and how the data centers crashed repeatedly.
I took Friday off with the hopes of playing as far into story as I could this weekend with Syn. We’ve duoed every storyline in the game, and this wouldn’t be an exception. She has a business trip, and is flying out today, so the idea was that we’d see as much of Stormblood as we could while she was still around. However, that didn’t happen.
Bottle Necking Story
Friday morning was uneventful, and we got plenty done. However, as more people joined the expansion, a few very painful bottle necks began to appear in the MSQ.
The first happened when you needed to enter a solo instance, Best Served with Cold Steel, by talking to Raubahn. You’d go through the cutscene, and then the game refused to load the instance. You’d just get kicked out back to the map with an error.
As time went on and more people attempted to enter, it looked something like this:
And this was just 1 of 3 instances of this map…
Apparently, to prevent the servers from crashing under the weight of the solo instances, they severely restricted the number of players who could access it. This meant that the servers stayed up, but the story was stuck (in two places).
Some lucky folks did get through, but the rest of us, me included, sat there and hammered the quest, skipped the cutscene over and over and over again, and prayed RNG loved us enough to let us in. I’d do this half an hour at a time, in between leveling and other stuff, but I’d have to say I spent at least 3-4 hours of EA trying to get in.
Yeah, I’m stubborn.
Of course, this caused a lot of frustration, which gave way to memes and jokes on Reddit while we waited and failed to gain entrance. Poor Raubahn was the center of the jokes, and apparently, he was even trending on Twitter a while.
Another thing that FFXIV is trying and not doing well with are creating instances of the same zones. This is new to FFXIV. It reminds me of what they do in Guilds Wars or Guild Wars 2. But GW2, this system is not.
It’s nice that they’re trying to prevent maps from bogging down. However, they didn’t think the feature through. Whenever someone in your group gets kicked due to server issues, the game does not look to see which instance their group members are in, and dumps that person in the instance with the lowest number of people automatically.
This means, they usually don’t end up back in the same instance with their party. Also, there’s no easy way to choose which instance you are put in aside from zoning out and zoning in again.
After several such happenings, and spending more time trying to get in the same instance as each other than finishing the quests, Syn and I gave up and just did the quests separately.
What I did get to see of the new zones was exciting, though!
Another issue for people who actually got past the MSQ roadblocks was in battling the first primal of the expansion. Apparently, if you win the fight and go to exit, some people were getting completely locked out of their characters. I mean, seriously could not log back in again at all.
This was apparently caused by people using emotes, such as /sit or /doze, while queuing up for the fight. Seems like S/E support is manually helping folks out who have this issue.
I woke up early this morning, feeling a little sick to my stomach (I’d eaten something that didn’t go well with me), and I knew I wasn’t going back to bed. So, at 6:30 AM EST, I got up and started clicking Raubahn until I was sleepy enough to finally lay down again.
It didn’t seem to matter that it was early morning, the crowd was still huge and I had no luck getting in. So, I gave up at 7 AM and went back to sleep. I slept in later than I meant to, and when I finally woke up and showered, I found chaos.
First, I saw my sister had tried to call me 17 times this morning (not including the number of times Syn tried to call me). Then I saw I had a bunch of text messages and Discord was pinging.
Huh?? What’s going on?
Syn tried everything to get my attention while I slept. XD
Note: I never keep my phone in my bedroom when I sleep. Even on vibrate, it would wake me up.
I love my friends. <3
Syn was so frantic because she thought, at first, the reason we were getting in was because Balmung and Greg were down. This could have been a real possibility. Instead, S/E actually did finally get a work-around going.
Anyhow, I called my sister, she told me the quest was working and to get my butt online. I did just that and was thrilled to see I could, indeed, progress into the instance.
The battle there was actually fairly lengthy and complex. It wasn’t just a quickie thing to jump in and out of the instance for, and it had more than one part to it. I can see why it was taking people so long to get through.
So I beat it! I’m past the first bottleneck… just in time to see Syn off on a plane. *sigh*
Anyhow. The FFXIV community is rejoicing.
Despite the issue with the Cold Steel quest, I am having a ball in Stormblood. I know it sounds strange, but I have more excitement and hope now for my time in FFXIV than I have in years.
I’ll talk about that tomorrow and the next day, though. Today, I just wanted to chronicle the Rise and Fall of the Great MSQ Bottleneck. 🙂