Final Fantasy XIV is a very popular game, so popular in fact that the NA-based Aether Data Center has been forced to pause character creation amid server demand. The congestion issues being experienced across all of NA-FFXIV is caused by the combination of an influx of new players and a global server shortage limiting the developer's ability to expand current data centers.
According to a blog post released by Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida, Final Fantasy has classified the Aether Data Center as "congested", as the server is "constantly at full capacity."
"Despite expanding the maximum capacity as much as possible and closely monitoring the situation, the number of logins for each World have constantly remained at full capacity, which led to us taking this course of action," explained Yoshida. "This means players will be unable to create new characters on any World on the Aether Data Center until this classification is lifted. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this will cause for those of you who were looking forward to embarking on adventures with friends."
Yoshida said that increasing the total number of characters who are part of the Aether Data Center could further exacerbate the already significant login queue times that players on that Data Center have faced in recent weeks. Those who want to create a character can still create a character on another Data Center such as Primal or Crystal, though Yoshida acknowledged that those data centers are also facing congestion issues.
The shutting down of Aether character creation is a big deal to new players who were hoping to play with their friends on the Aether Data Center. In FFXIV, players can only play with friends who are on the same data center. So while, yes, you can make a new character, if you specifically wanted to play with Aether-based players you won't be able to.
The congestion of North American Data Centers has been caused by the games exploding popularity in the wake of big names like Asmongold moving over to the MMORPG (he is specifically on Aether), combined with global server shortages preventing the developers from properly expanding their data centers.
According to Yoshida, the server shortages are caused by the ongoing global semiconductor shortage which is exacerbated by the rising COVID-19 numbers in Japan which have raised concerns about their ability to implement any server adjustments on-site.
So while Yoshida promised the developer team is working on large-scale solutions for the data centers, it is unclear when help will arrive for North American players.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.