What a week its been!
As some of you may know, my International LS is located on Masamune which was recently revealed to be remaining inside the Japanese data center. The recent reveal of data center locations has caused quite a bit of tormoil as people try and make a decision as to where their “home” should be come Beta phase IV.
As such, I’ve witnessed lot of panic, and deliberation going on as people try and make this really important decision. We all will suffer loss regardless.. as for many of us, we aren’t only part of one linkshell, but a few of them, and as groups and individuals decide to stay, or go, it brings closer the realization that ….we will all be loosing some friends in this process. To me it puts a bitter sweet edge on the coming launch date that I had previously been so ecstatic about.
In a way, I kind of wish SE they would have left “region” out altogether and would have just labeled servers as “Data center A” and “Data center B” and rather just tell people to try out a character on both, and see for themselves which data center provided the most comfortable gaming experience. To me, there is more to my enjoyment and gaming experience than ping.
I work for an ISP, so I guess from that point of view, to me it serves to even further diminish the data point that a “ping” represents, because it is not necessarily a static element. I know that at any given time Network Operations, in order to deal with upstream difficulties can switch internet traffic routing without so much as a word to the end-users. This will at times add hops that weren’t previously used, and for the most part no one is even the wiser that the change has even occurred.
Personally, I”ve been put through quite the cycle already. There have been days where I’ve felt pretty resolute to stay on Masamune, and there have been days when I’ve looked at points that people have brought up and felt almost forced to make a decision to leave out of fear of “what might happen”. Especially hard when I consider that the decision I make, and the votes I submit, will affect not only myself, but a whole linkshell of people I care about.
At this point though I think I’m prepared to make the case to stay…
The main points that people bring up in regard to why they are moving are two-fold.
#1 -Better Ping… well I’ve kind of already covered my view on ping in general, but my second piece of information that I will just throw out there is the following:
One of our LS members, Lord Plague is from EU, which is an area known to have the worst connections to the data centers. Lord Plague is also the only individual in our LS that I can think of who already owns all 7 of the relic weapons.
This means that multiple times he has completed the hardest content in the game, from an area that is understood to have the worst connection, playing on the old problematic 1.0 design.
Now I know that there were others who’s connections or set-ups couldn’t handle it in EU, but this knowledge still gives me hope because we already know that some of the lag issues have been streamlined more in 2.0 through its new game design. We’ll test in Beta 3, but I am not imagining the difference is going to be so drastically game breakingly different between data centers for most players. Granted Lord is a very skilled player, still if he was able to achieve it, it to me means those achievements are possible even in non-perfect situations.
#2 Diminishing regional presence
So regarding the very probable point that servers being labeled with the regions may very well cause a diminishing return in players who join from outside the “labeled” region, I’ve been thinking hard about that too, and here is just one consideration I’d like to share….
When the game is first released, and people pick it up on their own accord “because its the newest thing out” I totally believe that most of those people likely follow the “recommendation” and go with a regional server. Some of those players may stay and become part of our greater FFXIV Community, and some will go as they figure out it isn’t their “cup of tea” or maybe even because the next “shiny and new” title gets released, and their ADD kicks in..
After the initial release madness wears down though, and marketing has slowed… most new players who will pick up the game from that point on will do so because of “word of mouth” advertising. They will pick it up because their friends or family have talked about it.
In my experience, whenever I’ve chosen to play a new MMO, my server determination tends to have very little to do with what the game recommends, and more to do with where the friends or family that convinced me to try it out in the first place are currently stationed.
So yes, I have no doubt that because of their decision to label with regions, it will very likely tip the balance more towards one end of the spectrum than the other as far as population goes, I can see that. I still maintain however, that there is definite power in the community to affect how this plays out. Especially right now.
The decisions we make right now will make all the difference, because if we all turn and run right now, I really believe there won’t be another opportunity to encourage that truly “International” experience that we’ve had in the past. Its an experience that many (myself included) really love and appreciate about the FF online titles, and one that I believe sets it apart from other MMO’s. To be quite honest I’d be really sad to just abandon it.
Most people I really believe are making this decision to move out of fear of being left behind. If the servers hadn’t been “labeled” as regions… if they would have rather been “Data center A” and “Data center B” with SE recommending you try both and see if one is better for you, this wouldn’t be an issue and I bet that 8/10 of the people who have decided to move, wouldn’t have even considered it, but because they used “regional” markers, it has many scared.
I know there are those who have good reasons to move, but overall I kind of feel like that it isn’t totally necessary for me to be on a “local” server in order to be successful, or to enjoy my time ingame. Bring on the challenge! I survived Dalamud! We can accomplish anything with this community!