For Australian players, the wait for local Final Fantasy XIV Online servers has been a long one. It’s a tale as old as the MMO genre itself. Popular online game blows up. Australians are curious and would like to play it! Unfortunately, the only compatible data centers are often based in the US or Europe. This leaves Australians with a choice of latency in two flavours: bad or unplayable.
Final Fantasy XIV Online always cut Aussies a bit of slack though. Our closest servers have always been in Japan, which is a great deal closer. It’s helped keep our ping high, but not so high that the game is adversely affected. All of that is about to change.
Today, Square-Enix will switch on Materia, the brand new data for the OCE region. Materia will cover Australia, New Zealand and parts of South-East Asia. For the first time since launch, Australian FFXIV players can play without lag.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, we spoke with Final Fantasy XIV Online director Naoki Yoshida, the great Yoshi-P himself, via email.
1. Why did you choose Materia as the Oceanian data center’s name?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this email interview! The name Materia is actually the name of the first logical Data Center on the physical Oceanian Data Center. If it receives a huge boost in players and our service is expanded with a second logical Data Centre, we’ll need to decide on more names. So, what I mean to say is we had no intention to call it Materia because of the location in Oceania, and instead the starting point was our desire to give it ‘a name that expresses a concept’ from the FF franchise. The name Materia is derived from FFVII and many FF fans are familiar with it, so I think people will easily grow fond of this name. There are many types of materia in FFXIV too. As such, another reason for our decision was that we thought it would be great for various players to gather in a logical Data Center bearing this name.
2. How many worlds will Materia begin with? US, Japan and Europe have 6 worlds. Can Oceanian players expect the same?
Originally we planned to open 3 Worlds. However, considering the rapid influx of new players and the future potential of the game, we decided to start with 5 Worlds at this initial stage, including 2 additional Worlds that we had planned to launch later.
3. Will ANZ players be able to travel between data centers? I have friends on Coeurl, will my Oceanian characters still be able to play with them?
For the initial release, the Data Center Travel System will be set as such that players can only travel to other logical Data Centers (in a given region). This is because, while we have indeed technically designed the system to enable players to transcend the boundaries of physical Data Centers, we need to carefully consider the differences among the in-game economies and sense of values between each region. That is why we will initially restrict the service to travel within any given region. To reiterate on what we announced, it is technically possible to travel to Data Centers in other regions, so I’d very much like to hear player feedback about this.
4. I know that character transfers are free, but what about free companies and housing? How will the new data center affect these systems?
As with current Home World transfer, it is not possible to transfer the entire Free Company or Housing as is. I apologise for the inconvenience. Instead, there are many support features and services available, so please be sure to read the details announced separately in a Lodestone Topics, “Oceanian Data Center Opens on Tuesday, 25 January”. (Editor’s note: these details can be found here)
5. How do you anticipate Materia will affect current server congestion? Can players expect to see a reduction in current queue times?
Currently, we’re seeing a gradual return to how things were before endwalker‘s launch, regarding the way players are engaging with the game. Also, we’ve observed that the amount of time logged in and the amount of time played continuously after logging in have started to vary from person to person. Some of the extremely populated Worlds are experiencing congestion during peak hours, but we expect that things will gradually calm down over time. Furthermore, since there were no Data Centers in Oceania before, players in the region tend to be scattered across the three Data Center regions – Japan, North America, and Europe – and are mainly concentrated in certain Worlds. As these players move to the Oceanian Data Centre, there will be a greater spread of players across the Data Centres, which we believe will have some impact on reducing login queue times.
6. Are you able to talk at all about Island Sanctuary yet? Will its release coincide with Materia’s launch?
Island Sanctuary will not be released as one of the 6.0X patches, but in the Patch 6.X series instead. Currently, the development team has completed a mockup and implemented the system, enabling us to now play the beta version. Please look forward to information about the release schedule that will be announced in the future.
7. Can players expect any special items to celebrate Materia’s launch?
Since this involves the opening of new Worlds, various bonuses and items will be available for players choosing a new World. Having said that, we have not prepared any special items. If you’re new to the game, we do have everything you need to get your adventure off to a smooth start, and so I hope you’ll enjoy your adventures while taking advantage of what is available!
Our thanks to Yoshida-san for taking the time to chat with us. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is out now.