The Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers Early Access period is officially here, and it's surprisingly going smoothly despite the predictions of many. Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers will be the biggest expansion released for the game yet, with a massive narrative revelation, new jobs and races, and a marketing engine that even enlisted future Warrior of Darkness Tom Holland and his coach Hannibal Buress to help hype the new content addition.
Final Fantasy XIV has over 16 million subscribers already, having recently hit an all-time high prior to the launch of its next major content expansion, an unheard of feat for an MMORPG. Usually, subscriber numbers begin to taper off towards the end of a previous expansion, especially when an officially announced one is on the horizon. Final Fantasy XIV has a history of bucking trends, though, with its first major feat having been the complete restructuring of the game in order to salvage one of the worst MMO launches in the history of the genre. Momentum for the game has never been more impressive, with a live-action Final Fantasy TV series reportedly in the works that will be set in the game's world of Eorzea.
All of that success, however, could have come at a price for the Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers Early Access period, which was predicted to suffer from extremely long queues to access servers. To its credit, Square Enix prepared for this predictable rush of interest in a clever way, requiring players to complete a certain number of Stormblood quests to gain access to Shadowbringers. As it turns out, that might have been enough: as of this morning, hours after Shadowbringers Early Access began, server queues are relatively short, with many reporting they can access the content in under an hour. That may not seem like a great wait time, but historically, some launches have forced players to wait many hours for the chance to play.
It's a shocking change from what many have become used to in the MMORPG genre, which usually features launch days that crash servers and force players to spend nearly a day waiting for the chance to log on. While there's a chance that will happen when Shadowbringers launches officially - or when time zones begin to overlap more and the servers begin to be under more of a strain - for now, Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers Early Access is going smoothly.
It's another indication that Final Fantasy XIV is a strong contender for the best MMORPG on the market today. Square Enix has demonstrated time and again that it understands what its players need - and how they will behave - and the currently manageable Shadowbringers Early Access period is yet another indication that the game is in good hands. Whether or not that holds over the weekend, it's a selling point that MMORPG fans will certainly pay close attention to moving forward.
Source: Final Fantasy XIV Subreddit