Got an email from Square Enix talking about FF14:
Curiously absent is, you know, Combat? Fighting? Raiding? Hell, even Story is absent.
Also, the Free Trial (which extends all the way to level 60 and an expansion) prevents you from joining Free Companies, using the Auction House, and if not outright preventing you from owning a house, caps you at 300k currency which is probably not enough to purchase one. Maybe the assumption is that you will be so enamored with the game as soon as you start the trial that you will fork over money right away. It’s misleading either way.
I do technically still have FF14 installed and some residual interest in slogging through the beginning nonsense to get to the presumed “good parts” of the plot. I don’t think I noticed any streamlining when I last tried though. We’ll see.