Final Fantasy XIV Has Brought Back An Oddly Important Fan-Favorite Feature

By Jason Collins | 1 month ago

final fantasy xiv

We’ve got great news for Final Fantasy XIV players; the dev team has decided to bring back the oddly important feature that has absolutely no impact on your gameplay and progression. Starting Thursday, Final Fantasy XIV players can stay in-game for as long as they want, doing absolutely nothing without any repercussions to their gaming session. We know it sounds ridiculous — and from the gamers’ perspective, it most certainly is. But nonetheless, the oddly important feature has returned.

According to Kotaku, Square Enix has decided to remove the AFK (away-from-keyboard) timer from Final Fantasy XIV, granting players the ability to stay logged in forever without the game kicking them out. This feature was implemented shortly after the game faced massive server congestion issues in light of its expansion release in December as means of fighting server congestion by automatically ending the gaming sessions of players who aren’t actively playing the game.

Before we continue, allow us to elaborate on the importance of AFK, or “away-from-keyboard,” in Final Fantasy XIV. It absolutely has no positive impact on the player’s gameplay experience and progression, and the only thing this feature does is allow players to stay logged on forever without removing them from the game. In truth, many players weren’t even aware that the game doesn’t have an AFK timer built-in and doesn’t boot out people who aren’t doing anything in-game. For comparison, World of Warcraft, which is getting an expansion, automatically removes players after 30 minutes of inactivity.

AFK is tied with the gamers’ being active on their characters and not the character’s activity in the in-game world. For example, you can stay in-game forever without doing anything with your avatar and just chatting in-game. You, as a player, are still active, and the game won’t automatically log you off. But most MMOs automatically log out their players if they don’t maintain at least that level of activity — just sitting and chatting. Auto logouts and AKF timers are perfectly reasonable features, as they maintain online stability, something that Final Fantasy XIV struggled with before returning to sale.

So, why do Square Enix and FFXIV community base care about AFK being enabled? Well, it makes the online world feel fuller and more alive than other MMOs, and traveling to any of the in-game cities means you’ll bump into plenty of players just hanging out. In fact, some of them don’t even log out at all and just let their in-game avatars dance away the time between gaming sessions. This reminds us of Silkroad Online, a Korean MMO mostly run by bots with very few active players. But if you visit any of its cities, you get the impression that it’s the world’s most-played MMO.

So, is the removal of the AFK timer really an important decision? Well, to a small number of passionate Final Fantasy XIV players, yes, the ability to stay AFK forever is really important. But to the rest of the gaming world, it’s a less-than-reasonable decision that might, one day, lead to massive server congestions and another removal of Final Fantasy XIV from sales.