Final Fantasy XIV is a great source of memes. You’ve definitely heard of it by now: the highly praised massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Final Fantasy XIV, with its enlarged free trial, Heavensward expansion, and no playtime limitations. The FFXIV copypasta, like most memes, became viral for a reason. And the reason for this is that FFXIV is fantastic.
Tom’s Guide has already detailed how to get Final Fantasy XIV’s free trial, but we never explained why this massive game is worth your time. (It goes without saying that it’s worth your money, given that the first several dozen hours are free.) My on-again, off-again relationship with Final Fantasy XIV has resumed, and this time it may last.
- A Realm Reborn
First, some background about the game: Final Fantastical XIV is a Japanese MMORPG set in the fantasy realm of Eorzea. You construct an adventurer and participate in a massive series of story arcs, both alone and with other players. Real-time fighting, questing, crafting, and all the other genre conventions are present. You’ll acquire new skills, perfect your play style, complete cooperative dungeons, and get to meet a cast of friendly non-player characters (NPCs) who will help you along the way as you progress from level 1 to level 60 (and beyond, if you pay up). It’s more story-driven than most MMOs, but if you’ve played World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic, you’ll feel right at home.
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FFXIV has quickly become one of the market’s most popular and well-liked MMOs. What’s interesting about the game is that it seemed bound for a shameful finish from the start. When Final Fantasy XIV was released in 2010, critics and fans alike panned the game for its cumbersome UI, shallow gameplay, and buggy design. Nothing short of a complete makeover could save the game, and Square Enix delivered. The game was retooled and rereleased as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Players enjoyed the experience this time around, and have persisted with it for four expansions and counting.
When the COVID-19 pandemic was just getting begun, I began playing Final Fantasy XIV. I needed a means to spend time with my friends and coworkers now that real-life gatherings are limited. Some of them suggested we attempt FFXIV because there was no cost to play and most of us had at least a passing familiarity with the Final Fantasy series. I had planned to check in for an hour each night and utilise the game as a virtual chatroom. But, thanks to the engaging tale and sophisticated gameplay, I found myself staying for hours each night, honing my skills and gear. I had finished the primary story of A Realm Reborn before I knew it.
Although I’d had my fill of FFXIV for the time being, I didn’t abandon it completely. I kept dabbling in the game, testing numerous gaming mice, keyboards, best headphones or headsets, and other accessories for an hour or two at a time. But it wasn’t until lately that I returned to the game in earnest – and found myself faced with a difficult dilemma.
- Time and money
In the tech business, there’s an old adage that “if a product is free, you are the product.” I’d understood from the start that Square Enix wasn’t giving free the generous trial of Final Fantasy XIV out of the kindness of its digital heart. The corporation wanted me to get addicted to the game and willing to pay to see the rest of the story. That bet could be ready to pay off.
I returned to FFXIV because I was unable to complete the extremely intricate set of tasks between A Realm Reborn and the first big expansion, Heavensward. I discovered that my gear was insufficiently powerful after researching the game’s difficulty increase online, and that I’d have to run some dungeons and acquire some late-game cash to compensate. Running the dungeons has removed the rust from my talents and gotten me the necessary equipment. However, it has brought me dangerously near to the free trial’s level cap.
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When I reach the level cap, I’ll have to decide whether to purchase the game ($60) as well as a monthly subscription ($13 per month) or simply move on to another title. In terms of sheer playtime, FFXIV has already given me my money’s worth (so to speak). But now that I’ve taken the time to flesh out my character, I’m feeling more immersed in both the gameplay and the high fantasy story.
However, the community is the main reason I enjoy spending time in FFXIV. I’ve played a lot of MMOs, and I’ve never encountered a bunch of players as nice, laidback, or good-natured as the FFXIV population.
In the end, I may or may not pay for the FFXIV subscription. But, at the very least, I’ve realised that the meme has a point. It’s not a bad idea to try out the free trial.