It took a year for it to happen, but it’s finally here. Late last week, some intrepid folks keeping an eye on various Square-Enix websites caught site of the clues, but it wasn’t until later that the word was officially given. Now, assuming you have a decent enough PC, there’s no excuse.
Just what the hell am I on about? Oh come on, people. It’s Square-Enix. It’s got to be, hasn’t it? Yes. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn now has a Free Trial / Recruit a Friend scheme in operation.
Anyone who has read my articles for more than a few months will know just how much I love to rabbit on about this MMO. I first got it when it came out for PS3, having given its original incarnation a miss (due to it being terrible). In a drastic turnaround, however, Square-Enix took this failure and almost completely re-worked the game, literally making FFXIV 2.0. It was released last year to widespread critical acclaim and it appears to be going from strength to strength.
One friend of mine – who also plays his fair share of MMOs, though nowhere near as much as myself – isn’t particularly fond of Final Fantasy. I don’t blame him: he didn’t grow up with consoles. He obviously doesn’t agree with my declaration of FFVII being the best game ever. But he did agree to try FFXIV should it ever get a free trial. Now I have him trapped.
The trial itself is pretty standard MMO fare. You download the client (or rather, the client downloader), wait for the actual game to download and install, then sign up for a free account at the Square-Enix site (called Mog Station). Once you do this, your 14 day free trial begins. There are some minor restrictions on trial accounts, but nothing that would adversely impact your experience. Unlike many MMOs, the first ten or fifteen levels of FFXIV are mostly solo-oriented. You learn different aspects of the game by actually doing them; much of the “tutorial” is woven into the storyline. Which is just as well, since there’s plenty to learn. New features are unlocked as you progress.
It’s unlikely that you’ll have reached Level 20 by the time your 14 days expire, unless you’re playing it really often. Even if you do, you’ll have the opportunity to level another class in the same manner, because this game is awesome like that. What’s more, if you were recruited by a friend who already plays, there are bonuses for both you and the recruiter. After the newcomer has paid for 30 days of subscription time, both of you get a circlet which increases your XP gain by 20% when below Level 25 (as pictured above… though it looks nothing like a circlet). Your recruiter also gets an item that will allow them to teleport to the outpost nearest your character.
After 90 days paid subscription, the recruiter gets a special Chocobo mount that seats two, allowing the both of you to ride in feathery style atop a giant horse-chicken. The best part is that you don’t have to wait the 90 days until you get these bonuses – if the recruit pays for 3 months or more up front after deciding “HOLY CRAP this is the best MMO ever!” then you get all the gifts right away.
Anyone who has even a passing interest in MMOs or Final Fantasy should definitely avail themselves of this deal. It’s only available on PC for the time being, but chances are good that you own one of those already. Check the game out and see what fun can be had. This is no Final Fantasy XI, so fear not ye who were burned by its old-school ways. This is an excellent game and you should all be playing it right now. No excuses.
A twenty-something gamer from the North-East of Scotland. By day, I’m a Computer Technician at a local IT recycling charity, where I fix and build PCs. Outside of that, most of my time is spent either sleeping or gaming, which I try accomplish in equal amounts.