Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn just massively expanded its free trial, increasing the level cap from 35 to 60 and giving trial players access to the critically acclaimed Heavensward expansion. Returning players who want to take advantage of the free offering, however, won’t be able to sign up for the trial if they’ve ever subscribed in the past.
The issue was brought up in Steam community forums a number of times, with one player complaining that the free version wasn’t accessible to anyone who has ever given money to Square Enix, and another warning that the free trial was not comparable to the free-to-play model seen on other MMOs.
A Square Enix representative confirmed this was the case, telling GameSpot “if anyone has purchased any version of FFXIV in the past, they cannot participate in the free trial with that account.” So while a free trial account can be converted to a paying account, a paying account can’t be reverted back to a free trial. These restrictions also apply to accounts that participated in the FFXIV beta over seven years ago.
In simple terms: you either need to commit to free play and its restrictions for the long term, or buy the game and keep up the monthly subscription fee. If you’ve bought the game and you let your subscription expire, you won’t be able to revert to free play.
Square Enix did say that free trial accounts created when the level cap was at 35 will automatically convert to the new free trial version, however, but previous free trial users should make sure they have the right client. While trial players and full accounts play on the same servers, the two versions use different clients, with two different Steam pages. “If somebody is trying to reboot up their free trial account, they need to make sure they are using that client,” Square Enix specified.
Accounts for the Final Fantasy MMO have always been a little confusing–while the game can be purchased through Steam or through Square Enix directly, any expansions will have to be purchased through the same storefront or the game won’t work correctly. The full version of the game also requires a monthly subscription to play.
Though the free trial now includes more of the game, it still restricts players from a number of game functions such as trades, the Market Board, Free Companies, microtransactions, and more, as well as a limit on the amount of in-game currency they can acquire. The FFXIV Starter Edition–which allows access to the same game areas as the free trial, but with these restrictions removed–retails for $20.
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