Square Enix has announced that its hefty maintenance job on Final Fantasy XIV has now been completed, and explained exactly what has been done.
The primary purpose of the maintenance was to alleviate stress on the game's servers and hopefully put an end to Error 1017, the now-notorious login restriction that prevents you from even queuing up to join the game if there are too many concurrent users on a specific World. Attempts to address this issue have largely focused on the game's Duty Finder system, which previously allowed players from all Worlds to be matchmade with each other to take on instanced group content such as dungeons and boss fights.
Following the maintenance, the Duty Finder now organizes Worlds into groups and only performs matchmaking within the group that your character is based in. There are two groups per region: in Japan, the Aegis, Alexander, Atomos, Carbuncle, Chocobo, Gungnir, Ifrit, Ixion, Ramuh, Ridill, Titan, Typhon and Valefor Worlds make up one group while the other consists of Anima, Bahamut, Durandal, Fenrir, Garuda, Hades, Kujata, Mandragora, Masamune, Tiamat, Tonberry and Ultima. For the North American and European data center, meanwhile, Adamantoise, Balmung, Cactuar, Diabolos, Exodus, Goblin, Hyperion, Lamia, Malboro, Moogle, Odin, Ragnarok and Siren make up one group while the other includes the Behemoth, Cerberus, Coeurl, Excalibur, Faerie, Gilgamesh, Leviathan, Midgardsormr, Phoenix, Sargatanas, Shiva and Ultros Worlds.
"As a result of the countermeasures taken to alleviate stress on the Duty Finder servers, we expect to be able to increase the number of players able to login simultaneously," reads the announcement post. "However, if those login numbers still surpass the maximum number of possible logins in the various Worlds, please be aware that we will continue to implement login restrictions." In other words, this isn't a guarantee that things will be better -- at least not immediately. If problems persist, we can probably expect things to get a bit easier when everyone's free month of play runs out and people decide whether or not they want to carry on.
The stress relief also marks the end of restrictions on creating new characters on a number of Worlds that previously locked out new players, though measures will still be in place to ensure that Worlds do not become overpopulated. In addition, three new Worlds have been added to the existing lineup: Pandemonium in the Japan data center; Famfrit and Lich for the North America and Europe data center, with the latter being specifically marked as "Europe-recommended." The option for World transfers is not yet available; it's set for launch later this month.
Despite the fact that the maintenance is intended to alleviate the login issues and restrictions that have been plaguing the game since launch, the announcement post notes that logins will continue to be "severely restricted" for the period immediately following maintenance. It's possible that by the time you read this, said restrictions may already be lifted, but in the event that they're still in place, Square Enix notes that restrictions may last from "a few minutes to ten minutes" depending on server load, and that they will be lifted gradually as the situation is monitored by staffers who, presumably, drew the short straw.
There's no mention of an AFK kick, so presumably such a system has not been implemented as yet, despite it being a popular request from some players.
At the time of writing, I haven't had a chance to try out the newly updated servers but will give them a shot later today. Has anyone had a noticeably improved experience so far?