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What The New Data Centers Mean For Final Fantasy 14's Future

Square Enix has some great news for North American "Final Fantasy 14" players: there's going to be a brand new Data Center opening on November 1, 2022. Dynamis, the fourth and latest North American DC, will be starting with four new worlds and is being implemented as the first part of a two-phase plan to help support the North American player population — which is, in turn, part of a larger ongoing campaign to expand "Final Fantasy 14" servers worldwide to ease player congestion issues.

North America is actually the last region to receive a server expansion after the incredible spike in players that actually forced Square Enix to pull the game from shelves for some time. The first was Oceania, with the opening of the Materia Data Center in January 2022, followed by Japan and Europe receiving a new Data Center and four new worlds respectively. By the time all phases of expansion are complete sometime in mid-2023, "Final Fantasy 14" will be sporting a total of 21 brand new worlds across four new Data Centers implemented worldwide.

The game hasn't seen such aggressive server expansion since it was rebooted as "A Realm Reborn" in 2013, when the majority of the existing worlds were created — with such a huge shake-up of player populations across the globe, what will having these new Data Centers mean for "Final Fantasy 14" going forward?

There'll be less player congestion during new releases

Let's face it: The launch of "Endwalker" went terribly. Login queue times were at a record high of up to five or six hours, people were getting booted from the login lobbies due to server errors, and it all boiled down to the fact that the "FF14" servers were simply not equipped to handle such an extremely high volume of players following the explosion in popularity leading up to the "Endwalker" release (via PCGamer). According to a statement from producer Naoki Yoshida, the development team had actually anticipated the need for new servers as early as the first quarter of 2021, but were unable to implement the hardware before the release of the expansion due to a global semiconductor shortage.

Difficulty procuring and implementing hardware continues to be a problem even now, resulting in delays to the ongoing expansions — with the upcoming November 1 implementation of Dynamis having been originally scheduled for August — but it seems the worst of server congestion is being dealt with. Square Enix even mentioned further additions to the North American servers closer to the release of the next content expansion, and for the most part, it seems "Final Fantasy 14" is well on its way to ensuring a large-scale fiasco like the "Endwalker" launch won't happen again.

There'll be many new opportunities for players

Actually evening out player counts across the servers, however, will actually be up to the players themselves. As with the creation of the Oceanian Data Center Materia earlier in 2022, Dynamis will be starting out completely empty for either newcomers or players from other servers to populate. Square Enix is offering bonus incentives for those creating a new character or moving existing characters onto new worlds — but starting out fresh presents more opportunities than simple gil rewards or waived fees. 

For one, players who were previously unable to snag one of the limited housing lots on the original servers will have wards and wards of vacant houses to purchase. Even if one should lose the first round of the housing lottery, the sheer amount of available housing there will most likely be many more empty lots to bid on for the next round and a much higher likelihood of winning one. 

But houses aren't the only pieces of real estate players can capitalize on: a brand new Data Center means a new library of character names for each world, giving players a chance to grab that name that's already been taken multiple times over on other servers. If Materia's explosion of off-the-wall character names is anything to go by, Dynamis will almost certainly be seeing an influx of brand new G'raha Tias, Y'shtola Rhuls, and other outlandish variations thereof when it opens at the beginning of November. 

It's the start of a whole new community

While DC-exclusive raid metas are more or less a thing of the past thanks to the recent implementation of cross-DC travel, a new set of worlds means a new set of communities with an overall atmosphere and culture that's yet to be decided. Those who made the move to Materia during its opening were able to witness this slightly turbulent formative period firsthand, as the Oceanian players who've been playing on English-speaking servers and those who've been playing on the closer and lower-ping Japanese servers ended up clashing when it came to deciding what the norms and conventions of the server would be.

Admittedly, Materia was the most extreme example of culture clash that "Final Fantasy 14" players have seen so far, as all other prior server expansions and rearrangements were contained to their respective regions. Dynamis will mostly likely not be seeing huge disagreements or disparities when it comes to player conduct, but it will still be introducing a whole new element to the existing triple-dynamic of the three North American DCs where Aether hosts the high-end raiding community, Crystal is the roleplayers' hub with very little interest in raiding overall, and Primal remains the middle ground for the average player. As Dynamis becomes the first North American DC to be starting completely fresh, it'll be interesting to see what kind of community reputation it — as well as any future new DCs — will foster as "Final Fantasy 14" continues to grow.