Update: We have set dates and information on this move as of Feb 28th.
Another of the large announcements that came from the Fan Fest was the addition of the World Visit feature and the change to Data Centers. Of course, the team announced the World Visit feature first… which sounds like a pretty great thing.
Basically, this is similar to the world travel feature GW2 had back before it became a megaserver. In FFXIV, you will be able to click on an Aetheryte in a main city and choose to move to any other server on your Data Center… as long as that server is not already over populated.
So, while that sounds good in theory, good luck in ever actually visiting Balmung. I mean… who knows. It might happen?
Part of the idea behind this is to allow people to play on another server when their own is filled to the brim (especially with the expansion on the horizon). There’s actually a whole lot you can do when on another server, and even when you log out, when you log back in, the game will remember which server you were visiting and plop you right back where you were before.
That’s pretty impressive. In fact, you can almost completely play the game entirely on another server if that suits you. There are a few limitations, such as what you can do with Free Companies, the fact you can’t own housing, and that you can’t sell on the Marketboard.
The interesting thing is that you can BUY on the Marketboard from any server. This means you can bounce around until you find a server with the lower price and… well… your market competition isn’t just folks on your own server anymore.
Of course, some folks didn’t like this much. But having a Data Center wide economy is going to be interesting. Especially after I saw the huge inflation of costs just moving from Midgard to Mateus.
Data Center Restructuring
Here’s the catch.
They took a good long look at the Data Centers for US and Europe and decided they were far too populated. The best course of action was to add a new Data Center and move some of the existing servers from the other Data Centers to the new.
This sounds logical. However… With the advent of cross world party finder and Linkshells, folks on existing Data Centers have already formed bonds and statics across servers. And now, if someone you know is getting moved off your Data Center, you’ve lost that connection with them, unless they decide to make a server move.
This does affect me directly, for example. When we left Midgard for Mateus, we created a cross world Linkshell for friends and FC folks who still wanted to keep in touch. Well, since Mateus is going to Crystal and Midgard is staying on Aether… I guess I’ll be closing that Linkshell down since its purpose is going to be moot.
Another issue being raised is that Balmung and Mateus were both dropped on the same Data Center. This makes sense on one hand, because they’re both the unofficial RP servers, and folks will want to share events, etc. But on the other hand, they’re also the two largest servers at this point. So, was that a good idea ?
Granted, they did drop a number of lower pop servers on Crystal as well. This could be incentive to have folks roll on those servers, then visit over to the RP servers when they want to engage in RP content. So, it’s not all bad.
However… it’s been pointed out that Greg (Gilgamesh) is considered the home of the raiders. And most of the servers going to Crystal are considered to be mid-core at best. I’m hearing the community say that folks will be jumping ship to Aether for the better raiding experiences and that will leave what people think as the sub-par players on Crystal.
Whether this is true or not… I suppose remains to be seen.
Free Server Transfers
To soften the blow, FFXIV is providing free server transfers for the first two weeks of transition.
To their credit, they’re also providing a lot of compensation to folks who make the move, especially if they have to give up a house to do it.
While this doesn’t promise a house on the new server, at least they don’t have to choke down the loss of the cost of the house for transfer. For me, that was a painful thing in my own move, even though I recouped it pretty quickly.
What does this mean for the community going forward? Who can tell right now. I’ll miss the Aether Data Center, but the World Visit system actually offers a good incentive for someone like me who has maxxed out the number of characters I can have on my main server… should I ever decide I want to add a few more RP characters to my list! XD
Does this change anything for you and your friends in FFXIV?