Early Dawntrail Players Could Spend Less Time in Line Than They Did For Endwalker

If you’re in line, stay in line.

key art from Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail
Square Enix

With Dawntrail’s release date just around the corner, Final Fantasy XIV players are gearing up to challenge the game’s latest dungeons, but the hardest fight may be getting into the game at all. A difficult period after launch is basically an MMORPG tradition, as thousands of players try to log in at once and overloading servers. Fortunately, Square Enix has a plan to limit server congestion around Dawntrail’s debut, and while it won’t alleviate the problem entirely, it could make for a less desperate situation than Endwalker’s launch.

Square Enix laid out its plan in a blog post, which also offers a few helpful tips to keep players from spending their entire weekend staring at a login queue. The most important point for new players is that character creation will be disabled on any World (server) that’s currently congested. Around launch, that likely means just about all of them. If you’re planning on starting a new character for Dawntrail, make sure you do it before the expansion launches, or try your luck on the newest Worlds. In North America, that means you’ll likely end up on the Dynamis Data Center, which launched in 2022.

Before you set sail into Dawntrail, you’d better be ready for a long wait.

Existing characters will also see restrictions in World Travel, which lets players temporarily visit other servers. For the most part, you’ll have to stay put, as Square Enix is turning off the ability to move to most Worlds and Data Centers. The exception is the new Dynamis Data Center, which will remain open. Traveling there could also be a good way of avoiding long queues on your own server.

Aside from being strategic about when you create a character and what World you play on, there’s not much that players can do to make logging in easier. Square Enix warns that it expects long login queues, though players with the paid version of the game will get priority over free trial players. The developer does warn that logging in after 8 p.m. Eastern will be especially tough, but traffic will probably be heavy across the entire early access weekend and at least a week after Dawntrail’s launch.

Trying out new Jobs is one of the joys of a Final Fantasy XIV expansion.

Square Enix

Even getting into your server doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done waiting in line. Queues may be added when moving to different areas or entering instances (such as dungeons) when it’s necessary to battle congestion, so be ready for a lot of downtime to start your journey into Dawntrail.

And whatever you do, don’t leave the game for too long of a break if you want to get back in quickly. Final Fantasy 14 will kick players out if they’re inactive for 30 minutes, to prevent anyone from simply logging in at the start of the weekend and going idle when they’re not playing to skip the queue next time. Square Enix implemented the same restriction around Endwalker, which was a bit of a controversial move. The game has formed an entire culture around being AFK (away from keyboard), including groups of players who will synchronize their dance emotes to put on shows while they’re not actively playing, often with fancy matching outfits. But a short hit to street performances in Limsa Lominsa seems a fair price for getting more players into the game.

There will be plenty to discover in Dawntrail — as long as you’re patient.

Square Enix

All of these restrictions are expected to lift by the launch of Patch 7.01 on July 20, or potentially the next patch if servers are still crowded. Overall, there’s nothing that should disrupt players too much in Square Enix’s traffic calming plans. As long as you plan ahead to move to the server you want to play on and remember not to walk away from your keyboard for too long, you shouldn’t be affected too much.

If this is your first time logging into a massively multiplayer online role-playing game on expansion launch week, this may all be a little much, but as someone who’s seen releases from World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade to Final Fantasy 14’s Endwalker, I’m here to tell you that it really is necessary. Being one of the first people to play an expansion is a real delight, as you’ll get in before the internet is full of spoilers and ideal strategies are already set in stone for the latest bosses. My first runs through the early dungeons and first raid of Endwalker remain among my favorite memories of Final Fantasy 14, as groups of players work together to figure out tricky mechanics, and even getting crushed by some unexpected new attack is its own kind of fun. Getting to experience all that again with Dawntrail does seem genuinely worth all the hassle — just try not to let it wreck your sleep schedule too much.

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail launches on July 2 on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

Related Tags