Normally everything related to FFXIV is an absolute pleasure to deal with, but getting into the Heavensward pre-order early access has been quite an unexpected challenge.
FFXIV was down all day Thursday for the big 3.0 patch which I downloaded Thursday night. I had absolutely no idea that I would have to do anything special to see Heavensward. I just assumed the patcher would know I had ordered it, it would download it, and it would magically appear the next time I ran the game after the servers came up.
So I logged into FFXIV before I went to work on Friday just to take a very quick peek at Heavensward. Well, the game didn’t look any different. Oh, I saw a few changes to the UI so I knew something had happened, but that was about it. I was puzzled, but I had to log out and go to work.
When I got home I logged in again to look around more thoroughly. The game still didn’t look any different. I went to Camp Dragonhead to find a quest to start my adventures in Ishgard, but there was no quest. I entered the little intercessory to find a quest-giver standing there with a level 50 quest I couldn’t get.
That’s when I knew something was definitely wrong and I logged out to figure out why I wasn’t seeing Heavensward.
It turns out I had left out the crucial step of applying a “bonus code” to my account to get into the Heavensward early access. Buried at the bottom of the order confirmation email I received from Square Enix early Friday was a link to “Click here to get access to your products.” That took me to a page where I could click a button to make an “activation key” for my pre-order bonus code.
With the activation key in hand, I had to go to another page-the pre-order page-to register the activation key, which then in turn gave me the actual bonus code. The big problem with this step was that, Friday afternoon and evening, the pre-order page was buggy as crap and it took a few hours of re-entering my login information, one-time passwords, and the activation key before it finally got to the end and coughed up a suitable bonus code.
Then it was off to another page in the Mog Station to actually apply the bonus code to my account. As with everything in the Mog Station, the first challenge is finding the right place to go to do the thing you want to do. After a scavenger hunt of clicking, I found a place where I could enter a code that matched the format of my bonus code (naturally I could not just cut and paste it in), and of course it said it was invalid. Whoops, I was trying to redeem a Heavensward code, not a Heavensward early access code. Those are two totally different pages, it turns out, with two totally different-shaped buttons to click. Don’t go to the big giant button that says “Enter the Registration Code for the Expansion,” instead go to a smaller button on the side that says … something I can’t remember because it’s gone from my account page now. On the second try, I successfully applied the pre-order bonus code to my account!
I ran the patcher, eagerly anticipating that I would now be able to log in and see all the cool stuff that I had downloaded the previous day. And then I discovered that I had not yet even downloaded Heavensward. I had only downloaded the 3.0 patches that applied to the old world. I watched helplessly while the patcher cheerfully started in on another 4-5 GB download.
Now, as I type this, the patcher is “Updating” and the Time Remaining is “Unknown.” Windows tells me the patcher is “not responding” and suggests that I either close the program or continue waiting for it. I’m not yet sure what I’m going to decide. Perhaps I should plan on doing something else tonight.
P.S. I stopped the patcher and re-ran it.
Success at last!