As an avid fan of Ultimate Fantasy 14, I repeatedly log in on the evenings and weekends to play the sport. However not too long ago I seen a pattern whereas logging in; queues. It isn’t too uncommon to have a brief wait that just about instantly resolves, however this time, the road sat at over 300 gamers. It took ten minutes to easily get into the sport – and all I wished to do was mull round within the Bojzan Southern Entrance to grind away for a particularly shiny weapon. Ultimate Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is coming as much as eight years previous. So, why are extra gamers than ever logging in to play the smash-hit MMORPG now?
Let’s check out a number of the stats. Ultimate Fantasy 14 retains breaking its Steam concurrent participant data. On the time of writing, it simply broke one other concurrent document of over 67,019 gamers. However, that is only a peek behind the scenes for Ultimate Fantasy 14’s present participant rely. Many individuals nonetheless play the sport on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and one other native PC launcher, which is way tougher to trace with public data.
Nonetheless, what’s uncommon is for the builders to situation an announcement concerning the explosion of progress, and an apology from the sport’s director Naoki Yoshida on the latest phenomenon. He detailed instant actions for Ultimate Fantasy 14 to have the ability to deal with this unprecedented surge in reputation over on the sport’s official weblog. Motion has been taken to cull queue instances instantly, and a server improve initially supposed to be used on the launch of the newest enlargement, Ultimate Fantasy 14: Endwalker, has already begun to roll out. However, why is that this all taking place?
Greater than only a meme
Upon the discharge of Patch 5.3 for Ultimate Fantasy 14 final 12 months, the sport prolonged its free trial interval to incorporate the award-winning Heavensward enlargement, the place gamers are actually in a position to play the sport (with some restrictions in place) as much as degree 60. This contains entry to all courses included in A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, and the wealth of content material sat exterior of the principle story quests that you just’re in a position to expertise, too.
Over the past 12 months or so, this has develop into a little bit of a meme for diehard advocates to persuade their pals to play the sport, and it is working. Why? As a result of Ultimate Fantasy 14 isn’t just about operating hardcore raids with your folks – there is a wealth of side-content to finish exterior of fight, too. Issues comparable to crafting or gathering to create your personal gear, or making meals to offer you buffs are all actions that take time away from the principle, dramatic story quests, but in addition create a stronger sense of tradition inside the recreation. For instance, some gamers are intent on merely taking part in crafters, focussed on creating the strongest gear to equip them and their pals with. This takes a major period of time to organize the mandatory supplies, however they’re nonetheless official methods to benefit from the recreation.
Exterior of that, the builders of Ultimate Fantasy 14 have additionally taken steps to streamline A Realm Reborn, chopping out a major quantity of most important story quests which primarily served as padding beforehand, giving newer gamers a extra cohesive and well-paced expertise of their first foray into the world of Eorzea. This all builds as much as the implausible Heavensward enlargement and all content material related to it, which homes a number of the greatest storytelling that Ultimate Fantasy 14 has to supply. This potent combine inside the free trial of permitting gamers to expertise the highs of the sport in Heavensward, and rushing issues alongside within the now rickety and aged A Realm Reborn signifies that they’re attending to the higher elements of the sport faster than ever.
Along with this are the raid content material and various courses inside the recreation. Not like World of Warcraft, you do not have to begin an alternate character for those who want to play one other class, and the sport encourages this by providing you with boosted EXP when levelling an alternate class, too. Over the past 12 months, we have seen some accounts “max out” a free trial, getting each doable class to degree 60, and kitting them out with the absolute best gear and gadgets. With no obligation or subscription connected, these gamers can expertise a number of the greatest Ultimate Fantasy 14 has to supply and play it for probably hundreds of hours with out operating out of issues to do in-game.
A wealth of content material
Now approaching eight years previous, Ultimate Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is a fountain of content material. Of specific observe are the visitor writers, who add to the world of Eorzea via their very own distinctive lenses. These are lovingly crafted with appearances from some bonafide JRPG rockstars within the type of the Yasumi Matsuno-written “Return to Ivalice” raid collection in Stormblood, along with the “Save the Queen – The Blades of Gunnhildr” storyline in Shadowbringers. Most not too long ago, the staff additionally collaborated with Drakengard and Nier director Yoko Taro for the “Yorha: Darkish Apocalypse” raid collection, which provides to the official Nier canon, too.
That is all along with the principle storyline, which has solely gone from energy to energy with each enlargement. However, there are different issues for gamers to immerse themselves into, too. Of observe are the “Final” raids, for these in search of a problem. These can take as much as 100 hours for gamers to progress via with a staff and supply the toughest challenges in Ultimate Fantasy 14. So, those that wish to play tougher content material are by no means at a loss for issues to do, both.
Exterior of fight and story, there are additionally issues comparable to hand or land courses as beforehand talked about, along with participant housing. Some individuals within the recreation open up their homes for use as locations of gathering, or golf equipment for roleplayers to go into. There is a wealth of issues to do, and that record is just ever getting progressively constructed upon with the discharge of every new enlargement. As a participant who has spent two years within the recreation, I nonetheless haven’t touched enormous cases like Eureka, the place you will get particular gear and mounts, or the deep-dungeon Heaven on Excessive. It may be overwhelming at first, however when you get a way for the sport, and what you get probably the most out of, you may simply lose weeks to only chopping down bushes, for those who’re so inclined.
A surge of streamers
If we check out the previous 12 months for Ultimate Fantasy 14 on Twitch, we have seen a major soar in early July, because of streamers comparable to Asmongold, RichWCampbell, CohhCarnage and extra shifting their focus over from World of Warcraft, and starting their journeys on the earth of Eorzea. This was met with some trepidation by the Ultimate Fantasy 14 group, with many fearing that the affect of a few of these streamers might carry forth a extra poisonous tradition inside Ultimate Fantasy 14.
The affect of that is nonetheless but to be seen in Ultimate Fantasy 14 itself, exterior of small incidents comparable to a streamer boosting their character’s degree, then diving right into a tough raid with none understanding of the right way to truly play the sport. Nonetheless, the bigger streamers like Asmongold and RichWCampbell are taking their time to undergo the sport organically, and seemingly having fun with the expertise alongside the way in which
Many of those new streamers felt upset by the newest patch for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, which is what triggered Asmongold, by far the preferred World of Warcraft streamer to check out the sport, after having repeatedly dismissed it prior to now.
Regardless, the sport has erupted in reputation on Twitch. In response to Sullygnome, an internet site that’s typically used for monitoring metrics over on the streaming service, Ultimate Fantasy 14’s common viewership has jumped by 377%, with over 435% of max viewers and an upsurge of 33% within the variety of broadcasters taking part in the sport itself when judged in opposition to the earlier 30 days. This correlates properly to the queue instances many gamers skilled throughout this timeframe, that means that the affect of those streamers can’t be understated when this most up-to-date surge of recognition.
Certainly, this has spawned loads of memes. Specifically, one of RichWCampbell uninstalling World of Warcraft live on stream whereas a Lalafell participant character dances within the background. Now dubbed the “Uninstallafell”, this wave of World of Warcraft expats has lead the cost for introducing a brand new viewers of potential gamers to Sq.-Enix’s hit MMORPG.
An open and humble staff
Because of the disastrous launch of the unique Ultimate Fantasy 14, the staff behind A Realm Reborn have at all times been extraordinarily open and sincere with followers concerning the state of the sport, its improvement and extra. In the newest Fanfest, we noticed composer Masayoshi Soken reveal his battle in opposition to most cancers over the course of the pandemic, with director Naoki Yoshida in tears. Most not too long ago, the staff’s response to queue instances because of the latest reputation of the sport was detailed swiftly, and comprehensively, adopted by an apology that some gamers may not be capable to idly dance round in cities or go AFK as typically. This type of open tradition breeds a loyal group and fanbase. With Endwalker’s launch simply across the nook, we have seen all of those components mix for a 160% increase in preorders compared to the final enlargement, with plans for extra investments in servers and datacentres to handle the quickly increasing inhabitants of Ultimate Fantasy 14 gamers.
Ultimate Fantasy 14’s historical past simply received a bit of bit weirder, however the quickly increasing participant base of over 22 million registered gamers is simply one other sturdy level for Sq. Enix, who’ve now firmly steered the sport out of catastrophe, and right into a collection of well-regarded expansions and now stands as probably the most in style MMORPGs right now.
https://www.eurogamer.web/articles/2021-07-28-whats-behind-final-fantasy-14s-surge-in-popularity | What’s behind Ultimate Fantasy 14’s surge in reputation? • Eurogamer.web