Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker players will get free game time following rocky launch

FFXIV Endwalker Reaper, doing some kind of spooky ability with their scythe in a snowy area.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker launched just a few days ago on December 3, 2021, and the new expansion represents the culmination of a decade of experience and storytelling for Square Enix's internal developer Creative Business Unit 3. It's also the most popular the game has ever been, more than doubling the number of peak concurrent users from the previous expansion, Shadowbringers, on Steam alone.

As such, Final Fantasy 14 has been unfortunately plagued by login issues. And while the game itself has proven to be stable, login queues have had players waiting hours to be able to play. 

The concerns have since been addressed by game director Naoki Yoshida, who did so in a blog post on the matter, while stating that seven days' worth of free game time will be given to all current subscribers who own the full game.

"Across the FFXIV service as a whole, the number of simultaneous logins has reached the hardware limit," Yoshida explained in the blog post, "and as a result, logging in has required an extremely long time, especially during “peak hours” when we tend to see increased player activity. For this, I am truly sorry.

"Considering that we are asking players to wait in queues for extremely long periods of time and the ongoing situation making it difficult to play normally, we have decided that during the official release of Endwalker on December 7, we will be granting 7 days of free game time to all players who own the full version of the game and have an active subscription."

Yoshida added that additional free game time could be granted "depending on further developments on the congestion situation," stating that such extensions would be announced at a later time.

Suffering from success

Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker has arguably been the most highly anticipated expansion for the online game to date, being the conclusion of the story's first major arc and adding the brand new Sage and Reaper jobs for players to get invested in.

Some of us here at TechRadar were also, unfortunately, affected by the current login issues, as we demonstrated in our Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker live blog detailing the expansion's launch. And while the game itself is surprisingly stable, getting there required no shortage of waiting during peak hours.

Square Enix had anticipated these issues ahead of time, even delaying the original launch of Endwalker by two weeks to help prepare. The game has also exploded in popularity over the past year, thanks in part to a steady stream of popular World of Warcraft content creators making the switch to Final Fantasy 14, and bringing their audiences with them.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker Reaper

(Image credit: Square Enix)

As an online-only title, Final Fantasy 14's login issues are an unfortunate side effect of its success. A glance at SteamCharts shows a peak concurrent player count of 95,000 on the Steam platform alone, more than double the peak of 2019's Shadowbringers expansion, which capped out at 41,000 on Steam.

While the login issues are upsetting for many, particularly those who took time off work to play Endwalker, we have to give credit where it's due. The seven days' worth of free game time is a nice touch to make up for the current monolithic queue times. And if the issues persist for a while, more free game time would offset the feeling of wasting one's subscription on simply staring at the login screen.

We do, however, wish the Final Fantasy 14 team the best of luck in fixing these issues. Endwalker itself has so far been fantastic with its fittingly climactic main scenario questline alongside the new Reaper and Sage jobs which are easily two of the most fun to date.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.