We’re just a few short weeks away from the grand re-launch of Final Fantasy XIV on August 27, but some folks are going to get to play even earlier than that. Break out your Lalafell swimsuit calendars as we mark down the final beta, early start, and welcome back campaigns for FFXIV.First up, new players will be able to get a taste for game before they dive in via the final beta test, which runs August 17-19. Then the servers go down for five days, coming back up on the 24 for early start pre-order customers, giving them a three-day head start.
Players who registered for the original Final Fantasy XIV and then left because it was horrible will be able to play the game for free from launch until September 9, at which point they’ll have figured out if they want to run screaming again or not.
Got that all written down? Oh, add this: there’s a free companion app, Final Fantasy XIV: Libra Eorze, due out the week after the game officially launches. I’m guessing its bathroom reading.
Who’s excited? I played in the beta, and the new game is solid, if a bit uninspired. I did hold back a bit though, wanting to save the core of the experience for launch — I hate spoilinng the game for myself in beta. So, we’ll see!
I’ve been in this since Beta before 1.0. I was in Realm Reborn beta phase 1, 2 and 3. My Wife and I will be playing, as will one of my friends.
I don’t make any excuses for Final Fantasy XIV (1.0). It was absolutely shitty what that dev team did to us fans of FFXI, and fans of MMOs in general. The game was unfinished. People who played the beta before launch that they were simply hiding content and polish. Then 1.0 hit, and… nothing changed. The game was horrible. I kept checking in periodically while the game was still free to play. It never really got better. In fact, I would say it got worse.
Then, Yoshi P. called for subscriptions to come back. I understand why, but I couldn’t support the vague promise of a better experience by paying for… well nothing. I wouldn’t have payed to play 1.0, as much as I wanted to see RR succeed. Fast forward, Realm Reborn Beta Phase 1.
Everything was suddenly better. Perfect? No. Better? Hell yes. The game was instantly recognizable, yet a completely improved and fined-tuned experience, even in Phase 1. As I progressed through the weeks of Phase 1, 2 and then the amazing Phase 3, I was convinced. I have my PS3 version on preorder, and if I have to buy an extra copy for PS4, I probably will (I hope I don’t have to).
I really like what they did with RR. Is it the world’s best MMO? No, far from it. But is it the MMO for me? Absolutely. They took some of the best things about FFXI (IMO), wrapped it into something much more accessible, friendly, but still challenging and modern. The way I look at it is, could I take someone like my Wife, who knew nothing about FF, FFXI or most MMOs, thrown her into the game and had her succeed? No. She would have needed direction, help, countless internet forums and guides. And even then, things were convoluted, complex, and unclear.
Realm Reborn does not suffer from this. This is an experience I can share with my wife, that we will have many hours of fun with. I’m excited.