It's the launch of a new MMO expansion, and you know what that means: queues. Early access to Final Fantasy XIV's Endwalker expansion kicked off today and players are reporting hours-long waits, frequent errors and more while trying to join servers.
In a forum post, Endwalker's developers say that the game's surge in popularity over the past year means that they're expecting "a number of logins that is yet to be seen since the launch of FFXIV," but that the global semiconductor shortage means they can't fix the issue.
"Since the launch of a new expansion is when a large number of players will be playing for extended periods of time, we are expecting far more simultaneous logins compared to usual," reads the post. "Furthermore, following a dramatic increase in the player base in all regions since this summer, we are currently experiencing record numbers of active users, and therefore are expecting a number of logins that is yet to be seen since the launch of FFXIV.
The post says that they have "optimized" servers ahead of the launch to increase login caps, but that the semiconductor shortage means they're "unable to add new Worlds before the release of Endwalker."
"Although we were unable to add new Worlds, we have implemented every other measure that was possible, such as replacing the matching servers with higher-performance machines, optimizing processes, increasing processing speeds, and raising the number of simultaneous logins," they say.
Square Enix also explain how the queuing process works, noting that players of the full version are prioritised over free trial characters, and highlight functionality that lets characters visit less crowded servers "within the same Data Center."
There's also detail about error messages, including an "Error 2002" being reported by many users. The error is apparently caused when "the number of characters waiting in a login queue for a logical Data Center exceeds 17,000", but the only solution is seemingly to "wait a while before trying again."
It's entirely typical for a new MMO or large expansion to lead to long wait times for players. Most recently, New World was plagued by queues after launch, prompting its developers to scrabble for a solution.
This is Endwalker's early access launch, but wait times will presumably get even longer when the expansion releases fully on December 7th.