[Column] Final Fantasy XIV’s Patcher Is Still Busted Garbage


For the record, I wanted this article to be an MMOments on how Final Fantasy XIV has been coming along, what changes have been made to the game, and what I did with my extra time allotted thanks to the welcome back campaign currently ongoing. I really did, I love Final Fantasy and XIV is one of my favorites, and yet here we are. Complaining about how the patcher is still utterly broken on a game developed and published by a company as large as Square Enix, and that is utterly pathetic.

Even more depressing are the hoops that Square Enix forces its customers to jump through in order to get the game working, assuming it even does once you jump through said hoops. Among the various Steam, FFXIV, and Reddit threads I’ve seen with players working out how they got their patcher fixed, workarounds include downloading through a mobile hotspot, taking your PS4 to a friend’s house, connecting to a VPN service, taking your computer to someone else’s house, and the list gets even more absurd from there down to just relaunching the client upwards and occasionally more than a couple dozen times while praying that it eventually just works. What ever happened to the days of shutting off your anti-virus?

According to the ever defiant fanatics on the various forums, this is my fault, or my ISP for that matter, and nothing that can be traced back to Square Enix at all, totally. These people have no real technical knowledge or evidence to back their claims up, nor do they seem to agree with each other on the exact explanation, but it’s important to know that it isn’t Square’s fault. Evidently installation is like the one inch curb that, while thousands and thousands of other games, websites, and services have no problem passing over with no issue, Final Fantasy XIV on the other hand can’t handle the step without tripping and breaking its neck.

And I find myself sitting here, scratching my head, looking at every game I own on Steam, Origin, uPlay, etc (at this point probably somewhere over 1,000 titles) and thinking “I don’t have this problem on a single other game, I have never had this problem with a single other game.” None of them make me connect to a VPN, tether my computer to my phone, add domain exceptions to Internet Explorer, take my computer to a friend’s house, and I’d like to point out that this is with the PC version. The PS4 version is having the same problems. It’s a console, you boot the game up and it’s supposed to just work. Why is it that apparently Square Enix is the only company to not have figured out the horrifically complicated enigma code that is building a functioning patcher?

I really want to know, and I want Square Enix themselves to tell me. Let’s go on a limb and say that it is actually a problem that the ISP is causing, and I’m not being sarcastic. Let’s say Verizon is the cause of this issue because I am on FIOS. Why is it that Square Enix seems to be the only company triggering this reaction? What is so unique about this patcher that it can’t clear the hurdles that every other game I have played, be it downloaded directly or through P2P sharing, has managed to work around? Could it be because the service providers hate Square, or is it more likely that through a combination of bullheadedness and incompetence that Square’s patcher doesn’t work where everyone else’s does? On second thought, it’s probably easier to blame the ISP so you don’t have to fix anything.

Ultimately the only entity that loses out here is Square Enix, considering the countless threads I ran through from the past few months of people who had bought the game through Steam only to be unable to play it, then requested refunds, or those who had resubscribed or returned for welcome back campaigns only to immediately quit again because they couldn’t pass stage 1 (installation). These are people who aren’t going to come back, Square, the kind of disgruntled customers who, in later times, will look back on their last experience and not want to deal with that again for the hope that maybe you got your stuff in order in the meantime. These are people who will go to the other MMOs that don’t have that problem, or as I like to call it, all of them.

Other than that I have no opinion on the subject.

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