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FF14 Play Style

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.

But… Why?

Back in July I talked about how Final Fantasy XIV was going F2Pish. The official date had come and gone since then, and I promptly forgot about the entire thing. Then I recently got an email from Square Enix:

Oh, a whole four days of playing free. This sort of shit seems pretty quaint in 2020. “But wait a minute,” I thought. “Can’t I play for free up to level 60 and into the second expansion for as long as I want?”

Indeed, the bottom of the ad:

So, I have full access to the Heavensward expansion “as an owner of A Realm Reborn.” But only if I pay for a subscription. Alternatively, I could create a new account and have that same access indefinitely for free. Hmm.

It’s not quite the same thing, of course. The free trial has a bunch of limitations that come with the gold-spam prevention territory: no /Yell, no Tells, can’t invite people to a party, can’t access the AH, etc. There is also a 300k gil-cap, which is hard to determine whether it would be stifling or not without having played the game since 2017.

But what does not make any sense whatsoever is why previously-subscribed members cannot take advantage of the expanded free trial with their lapsed accounts. I have to imagine that players who log back in after several years would be more likely to stick around and be tempted to re-subscribe if they could use their existing characters. Square cannot be worried about bots or spam, as lapsed players have already paid money. And even if these old accounts were hacked or whatever, just ban them like you would any other account.

In any case, I was looking at starting a new FF14 account via Steam just for ease of use. Unfortunately, the store page for FF14 only included a paid version that “comes with a month subscription.” So, it’s not a free trial at all for people conned into trying the game via Steam. Unless the Download Demo button actually does it?

I would typically perform some additional investigative journalism, but I was already downloading the Free Trial via the “normal” route and got lazy.

We’ll have to see how things shake out. I am recently back from a two-week staycation that was supposed to be filled with gaming, but instead was filled with flooring. As in, ripping up carpet and putting down LVP. I was hoping that between Fallout 76 and Genshin Impact (perhaps a future post) I would be able to resist the siren call of a new WoW expansion. FFXIV would be some extra insurance.

Then again, sometimes substitutes just make you want the original that much more.