Just like when the game was actually running as intended, Final Fantasy XIV's ending was a colossal bummer for a lot of people. Of course, server hiccups are to be expected at any MMO's demise, as more than your average number of players spam /dance and clog up the servers with more funk than Bootsy Collins without his Space Bass. Even so, it has to said that the night of Final Fantasy XIV's grand finale was a special kind of hot garbage.
The setup, however, was great. With the game's demise imminent (and its reboot/sequel/desperate plea for forgiveness, A Realm Reborn, on the way), the developers wrote the finale in as an in-game cataclysm, courtesy of the moon crashing down planet-side. This being a Square Enix joint, however, Armageddon couldn't just be delivered via your average Michael Bay MacGuffin. The moon was, in fact, a prison for the classic Final Fantasy summon Bahamut. In layman's terms, the moon was a goddamn dragon.
The whole thing was engineered by the equally nasty (but not nearly as appealing to our nine-year-old selves) villains, the Garlean Empire. So, while Bahamut was getting ready to bring enough badness to kill, like, three Bruce Willises, the combined player population did battle on-foot with magical Nazis, as well as 'roided up enemy spawns meant to bring the community together in order to topple.
Unfortunately, most people never got to experience all of this as intended. Hoards of issues like server lag, login errors, and disconnects forced many a player to the side. Those players that could get and stay in, as well as suffer the poor performance, quickly remembered they had canceled their hot Wednesday evening plans to sniff the corpse of a game that critics agree had been booty to begin with.
The saving grace to all of this? After a moderate load time surviving subscribers were treated to a stellar FMV cutscene showing the fruits of their labor -- utter failure. The moon exploded, Bahamut descended, and the "warriors of light" representing the player base disappeared as major story characters were bleached out of existence. "Maybe if you had spent less time noticing how terrible our game was, and more time trying to save the world this wouldn't have happened," it seemed to say.
It was a grim and hopeless counterpoint to the often saccharine series, mollified somewhat by the "pre-order now!" flog for A Realm Reborn at the end. And, in fact, ARR opens with a slightly modified version of the cutscene -- extended to show that everyone survived, having been sent into the future to admire flowers, butterflies, and the flesh-rending talons of chocobos. Still, for a few, brief moments it looked as though that rarest of pop culture oddities had occurred: the bad guys had won.
Thankfully, the good guys are still around to kick some Tonberry ass. As long as you keep shelling out 15 bucks a month.