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Clarification about servers from Yoshi-PFollow

#1 Jun 06 2013 at 2:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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Good evening everyone. Producer and Director Yoshi-P here.

We recently announced that, upon the start of official service for FFXIV: ARR, a new regional data center will be established for North American and European players, ensuring an enjoyable gaming experience for players in all regions.

Because of this change, we've divided the original 10 worlds from Version 1.0 between our data centers. However, this has brought up many questions and misunderstandings, and so I'd like to try and address a few topics.

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■The Need for Multiple Data Centers■

First, I'd like to explain why we've decided to establish a second data center.
Available in Japanese, English, French, and German, FFXIV is providing a service to users around the world. Despite this, the game's servers were maintained only within Japan.

Considering Japan's location with regard to the countries we service, data has to travel an incredibly long distance. The internet is comprised of millions of integrated networks, and as the distance from our servers increases, so does the number of networks data must transfer through. As a result, there are many instances where data is not transferred through the shortest route possible.

As data passes from network to network, there are also instances of partially missing data and transfer delays, resulting in packet loss. With data not always taking the same route, delays become longer not only as data is sent to our servers, but also when data is sent back to users. In short, when users are located closer to the data centers, transfer rates increase, resulting in a smoother, more enjoyable gaming experience.

For example, both Version 1.0 and FFXIV: ARR feature an encounter with the primal Ifrit. Ifrit uses a skill called Eruption, which releases powerful explosions from various locations on the field. Cracks can be seen in the ground to indicate a player needs to escape, thereby avoiding serious damage. However, due to lag created by distance from the servers, there were many cases where this mechanic did not function properly. Although players had clearly escaped the vicinity of Eruption on their screens, the attack was already registered by the server. The development team created content with a certain connection speed in mind, but because of the distance between Japan and other countries, the design of content alone was not able to account for the connection issues in Version 1.0.

Despite these problems, we were happy to see players were still enjoying the battles we created until the end of service in Version 1.0. With plans to create many more exciting battles in FFXIV: ARR, we knew that unless we could address connection problems, it would not be possible to offer a truly high quality gaming service. We believe players do not want to play another game that creates unfair advantages simply because of where one lives.

Although it may prove to be a challenge for us, we've decided to establish a data center outside of Japan to improve global service for FFXIV: ARR. Should service be extended to more regions in the future, it may be eventually possible to establish more data centers.
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■Dividing the 10 Worlds from Version 1.0■

As mentioned in the announcement, the 10 worlds from Version 1.0 marked "Legacy" have been divided between a JP and NA/EU data center.

When deciding on how to divide the worlds, a count was taken of all active and inactive accounts, as well as which regions the accounts were from. Based on the number of accounts from each region, the worlds were divided between the JP data center and the NA/EU data center.

With that said, I ask players to be aware of the following:

1. Each world is built to sustain a maximum of 5000 simultaneous connections

Each world has been designed to handle a maximum of 5000 simultaneous connections, not to be confused with the number of characters. Using the Duty Finder, players will be matched together with players from other worlds to enjoy group content, but keep in mind this matching is only for instanced content.

When considering the number of players that pass by one another in day-to-day play, along with the number of free companies and communities that are formed within a single world, it is ideal to have as many players as possible together in a single world. This is why we divided up the servers after carefully counting number of players in each region. Our goal is to make it easier for players to come together and build communities within the game. The worlds have also been properly labeled to ensure players are not rushing into the servers blindly.

2. Projections for returning players

We've also run simulations to predict the possible number of returning players who canceled their subscriptions in Version 1.0. Analyzing character data from the final save in Version 1.0, we tried to account for every combination of class and job levels characters may have, as well as who may or may not decide to start on a new server.
With all this in mind, we ran simulation after simulation to see if the Legacy servers would exceed the maximum number of connections even with the return of old players.
(Incidentally, we have saved data for 1,400,000 characters. I said 140,000 at the Niconico Chokaigi 2 event, but I was short one zero.)

3. Separate worlds rather than merged worlds

At one point during service for Version 1.0, we carried out a server merge. During this merger, we indicated which worlds would be integrated into the others, and also allowed players to freely choose which server they would transfer to. However, because the servers are now being split into regions, we cannot employ the same methods used before.

Although we considered creating mirror copies of the JP and NA/EU worlds, this would result in lower populations and possibly necessitate server merges again. Furthermore, relative distance to the servers would hinder our ability to provide quality service to players in different regions. Because of these various risks, we decided not to go ahead with this plan.

4. Measuring connection speeds from each region

Upon deciding to create a second regional data center, we were especially attentive in our tests of connection speeds from locations around the world. Europe in particular is home to many different countries with varying infrastructures. The data center was established after the results of our testing ensured satisfactory service could be provided to users in all regions. Players in Europe can rest assured that there should be no connection problems if you choose the NA/EU region.

It hasn't been announced officially, but although FFXIV supports four languages, we have players from countries all around the world. Spanish-speaking countries, Portuguese-speaking countries, Canada, Australia, Singapore, India, and even Arab countries. With the introduction of a new regional data center, these players will also have more options available to ensure a pleasant experience.

These additional regions were also considered when deciding on dividing the worlds, and we ask that you all think very carefully before making a final decision. Choosing the appropriate world to play on is very important.
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■Preparation for Deliberations and Proactive Announcements■

As mentioned previously on the forums, all players with an account from Version 1.0 will be eligible to participate in the beta test starting with phase 3. E-mail notifications will be sent to all account holders regarding this announcement, as well as information on world selections. We've also created a special opening that can only be seen when playing on a character from Version 1.0. So that players can reconnect with old friends, linkshells have been carried over without change, and friend lists have been restored as lists of pending friend requests.

Also, when making a new character, players will be free to play in either region. This will allow the opportunity to test connection speeds, and judge which region will allow for a more comfortable gaming experience.

Of course, there are still players who will be forced to change servers, and I deeply apologize for any stress this causes. We will do everything we can to ensure all players are informed of these changes and facilitate communication between players both in game and on the forums, so that players can maintain their already established communities.
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■Closing Remarks■

I realize the need to select new servers has raised a number of concerns and questions. However, this decision was based on countless simulations, deliberations, and preparations made for FFXIV: ARR.

The establishment of an NA/EU data center is a daunting challenge for us. However, we believe that this will lead to a larger community for FFXIV: ARR, as more people from around the world will have access. The added support of a larger community will allow for updates on a larger scale, as well as the release of patches in a more timely fashion.

These changes are all made possible through your continued support and feedback, and we look forward to your continued cooperation in the future.
#2 Jun 06 2013 at 2:24 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
As mentioned previously on the forums, all players with an account from Version 1.0 will be eligible to participate in the beta test starting with phase 3.


Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
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#3 Jun 06 2013 at 2:26 PM Rating: Excellent
Louiscool wrote:
Quote:
As mentioned previously on the forums, all players with an account from Version 1.0 will be eligible to participate in the beta test starting with phase 3.


Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.


That's the most satisfied line of text I've ever read
#4 Jun 06 2013 at 2:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Carmen Ghia wrote:
Quote:
As mentioned previously on the forums, all players with an account from Version 1.0 will be eligible to participate in the beta test starting with phase 3.
Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
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#5 Jun 06 2013 at 3:00 PM Rating: Good
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I love Yoshi-P on the realz ya'all. He is so quick to thoroughly clarify things when the internet is clamoring with rumors or distaste.
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