Hey VGA, I’m not known for posting articles here but a series of events that have happened to me while trying to buy and enjoy Final Fantasy XIV Online since before it’s original release in 2010 have lead me to the need to tell my terrible story and vent a bit. Sure, I know I am one amongst hundreds of thousands that Square-Enix disappointed with the original release and pissed off all over again with the recent Realm Reborn remake release server failures BUT I promise you my trials in reaching the impossible (a really good online Final Fantasy game) are far worse than most, if not all.
It all began with Final Fantasy XI in a way. Word of an online Final Fantasy game was strange news and I expected to be disappointed but really wanted it to work at the same time. I joined a contest on Gamespot.com to join the FFXI beta and was 1 of 100 winners! The game was slow and dull but I figured the final release would be better. It wasn’t. That sucked but it was easy to give up on the game and forget it.
Then Final Fantasy XIV was annouced! Wow! This game has got to be good right? All the problems with XI would be gone and they would draw on all of the other MMORPGs out there to make something even better. People were full of doubt but I refused to be the pessimist and pre-ordered the collector’s edition.
Shutting my mind off to the warnings from gamers all over the world was my first step into the FFXIV nightmare. In my haste to pre-order the game (as if it would sell out to pre-orders), I jabbed at my keyboard quickly to fill out my shipping address and credit card info to confirm my order. A few days later my OCD kicked in and I double checked my order. Moments later the walls of the room heard more cursing and smashing than it had during even the most frustrating of moments playing Street Fighter IV online… I somehow put in my previous address as the shipping address. My brand new Final Fantasy XIV collector’s edition was going to ship to a place I didn’t live anymore! Some random person would get to accept the package and take my game!
The days leading up to the shipping date, I tracked the package carefully every morning. The morning I saw the dreaded words “in transit”, I was at work… and it was busy. I had no choice but to get the hell out of there if I had any hope of getting the game as early as possible. My boss wasn’t too happy to hear of my “doctor’s appointment” that I forgot, but I was out the door and on my way to my old apartment the next city over.
For nearly two hours that afternoon, I sat on the steps of a building I no longer lived in hoping nobody would ask me anything. After some awkward looks from people entering and exiting the building, the mail truck arrived on that street for deliveries! The delivery guy walked up with a huge package and I flagged him over. Strangely, the guy didn’t ask for I.D… I told him my name and he just handed it over. This was a very cool moment as I walked away with the game I was chasing down for so long.
Then I played it… and it was bad. Terrible quest system, boring material gathering, overly complex crafting system… it was just horrible. The up side was that Square-Enix wasn’t arrogant enough to defend it. Instead, they apologized and eventually shut it all down in shame. But they promised a return with huge changes to the core of the game; building it from the ground up.
It was a little more than a week ago that A Realm Reborn went public. This time around, I waited a bit to read about how the game has changed. People seemed to like it… the few who could play it that is. Somehow with years of working and testing, Square-Enix set themselves up for the re-launch with a fraction of the server requirements. It seemed like there were more people trying to access the game than were actually playing it! In response, Square-Enix, once again, extended the free trial period and stopped the game from being downloaded while they fixed the new problem. If you try to buy the download today you’ll find:
Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, we are currently experiencing extremely long wait times for users to be able to log in and play. As a temporary measure, we will halt sales of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN’s digital download products so we can accommodate all of those wishing to play. We are working to expand our server capacity in the coming days. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this causes.
This sucked for me because I wanted to get it and try it. I passively looked around for a physical copy of the game but only found it on PS3. No big deal really… it’s probably just as good on PS3 with my style of play. So, I picked up a copy and installed it onto my PS3 knowing I likely wont be able to get in.
Unfortunately, the attempts to login were a tease. It never really gave a clear “servers are down, go away” or something like, “player queue: 2,488,837”. It always seemed to reach the loading screen… almost get in… then disconnect. For hours I played the slot machine-like FFXIV RR login cycle. Until… I got in. Finally!! After three long years, I was playing a proper and enjoyable Final Fantasy online game! After nearly two hours of encouraging play, the game froze, and more cursing followed. I had to start all over again to get into the game.
After another half hour of trying, I decided to give up. I was happy with the sample I got and was looking forward to playing the game for real. To take a break, I switched on Netflix and started watching Predators. Do you think the story ends here? Am I playing the game now? NO!… The curse of Final Fantasy online games in undying and hooked itself into my gaming world once more and feeds on my frustration. Part way through the movie my PS3 turned off on it’s own with 3 beeps… and it wouldn’t turn back on. After some checking around I found out this error is known as the YLOD (Yellow Light of Death):
It’s OVER!! I come this close to finally playing the game fixed and fun… and my PS3 dies. So now I’m just screwed. I own 2 copies of FFXIV and can’t play either of them. Can’t even download it either. And even when I can download it, that just means I have to pay for it all over again! This means I paid $40 for less than 2 hours of the game. But why not buy a new PS3? My now dead console was a launch console after all… it’s expected. Well, the PS4 comes out in a couple months so there’s no point.
Sure, there’s a fix to the YLOD but I’m not taking this thing apart for that. The FFXIV curse wins… I give up!
So, to all of you out there who bought the game and can’t log in right now, don’t worry about it… things could be worse. 😉