As I’ve only been playing FFXIV since March of 2021, I’d never experienced the launch of a new expansion for the game until Endwalker launched in December of 2021. I had early access so I could create a male Viera as soon as possible, but I quickly discovered that doing anything “soon” after Endwalker’s launch wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped. I speak of course of the queue boss that all FFXIV players endured at early access launch and then actual launch.
Usually, when I log into FFXIV on Crystal, there are 10-20 people in the queue and I get in almost instantly, but when early access launched, the numbers were in the thousands! I was astounded! It would take me at least two hours to get into the game in the evening. I managed to create my new Viera male but that was because I logged in early in the morning to do so.
But as I had to work during the day, evenings were when I had the most time to play, so once I got in on a character, switching really wasn’t an option.
Although the long queue times were frustrating, they did have an unexpected benefit for me in that I was “forced” to play whichever character I logged in on for the duration of the evening. Now I could have just not played at all too until the congestion was resolved, but FFXIV is my de-stressor after work and I wanted to play. So I found myself logging in on my Miqo’te female and original FFXIV character, D’azri Estrela most of the time and thus I started doing the MSQ with renewed excitement.
At first, I thought I’d just finish the Heavensward patches and then maybe D’azri as another class or two. But I got so sucked into the Dragonsong War quests and the story that led into Stormblood that I just kept going in the MSQ with her as a dancer. Then I got sucked into Stormblood’s story and progressed through that relatively quickly for me.
I really enjoyed Stormblood even though it was a departure from Heavensward and many of the characters we’d dealt with there. It was interesting learning more about familiar characters and meeting new characters with their own unique personalities and stories.
By the time I got into the Stormblood patches, the congestion was mostly resolved, but I wanted to keep going because it was leading into Shadowbringers. Shadowbringers was the expansion that was “new” when I started playing FFXIV and it felt surreal to me to finally be starting it.
However, as I started Shadowbringers, I began to feel a bit burnt out on the MSQ and slowed down a bit. I was enjoying the story, but I was also tired and found I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should.
So now that D’azri is a level 80 dancer and has brought the night to a few places in the First, it’s time to switch gears a bit. Without the long queue and congestion, I can go back to switching among other characters if I want or level D’azri in other classes.
It’s nice to have more freedom of who I play in FFXIV again, but I am grateful to the queue boss for steering me down a path that exposed me to more of the great storytelling in the game. I’m sure eventually I’ll finish Shadowbringers and get into Endwalker, but there’s no rush.