Free to play period extended for Final Fantasy XIV Online

Negative fan feedback leads to extension of trial period as developers address issues

Square Enix is extending the free to play trial period for its MMO Final Fantasy XIV Online after negative fan feedback highlighted a number of issues with the game's UI, systems and gameplay. The company plans to have fixed nearly all of the problems which fans were displeased about by late November.

FF XIV saw a disappointing reception from critics on release, only managing a 54 per cent metacritic average. Early adopters of the game who bought the advance release collector's edition were given a month of free access to servers - a period which will now be doubled thanks to the "current state of the game".

In a statement on the official website for the game, Square Enix staff were unequivocal in their admission of the improvements which fans deemed necessary.

"Since the official launch of service on September 30, 2010, we have received a wealth of constructive feedback from the Final Fantasy XIV community, and the development and management teams would like to take this opportunity to express their sincerest gratitude," read the post.

"For those who purchased the collector's edition and began to play one week before official service began, the month-long free play period is drawing to a close. Considering the nature of much of the feedback we received, however, and the current state of the game, we have decided to extend the free trial period for all users."

"We would like to assure players that the world of Final Fantasy XIV is constantly growing and evolving, and the voices of the community are essential to that process. The development and management teams are carefully considering all player feedback, and working diligently to implement whatever changes and additions will serve to make Eorzea a better home for adventurers. We humbly ask for your continued support to this end," Square Enix concluded.

Response on the game's forum has been mixed, with some expressing great praise that Square Enix would act so strongly on fan feedback, while others complain that the changes are too little, too late.

"While at first glance it appears they've addressed "pretty much everything" when you start to list off all the of major things that still need to be addressed, the list they're planning on addressing seems quite small," wrote one poster.

"If you have any experience with Square Enix you'd see that this is as close as they'll come to saying, 'Yeah, we screwed up. We're trying as best we can to listen to you guys and make this game enjoyable for everyone. Here's a free month as a token of our sincerity'," replied another.

Final Fantasy XIV Online is currently available for PC, with a PS3 release planned for March 2011. Full details of the changes planned and the extension of the free trial period are available on the official website.

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Latest comments (9)

Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 7 years ago
A smooth launch for any MMO is critical. The risks of alienating even the hardcore fans is immense, with a launch that is almost unplayable. Nice to see SE trying to put a positive spin on this...well, shambles.
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Tom Wilhelm Ødegård Dpt. head Gaming, Spaceworld AS7 years ago
We've still to sell a single copy of this in my store :-P
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Ryan Locke Lecturer in Media Design, University of Abertay Dundee7 years ago
I love the look of this game, but in all honesty I'd prefer they ripped off WOW and made something casual friendly. This reeks of hardcore only. Perhaps a stronger ps3 release may do the trick.
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Pedro Engana Studying Information Systems and Computer Engineering, Technical University of Lisbon7 years ago
At least their trying to nake ammends. Not all developers do
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Stephen Page journalist 7 years ago
The problem is far worse than SE suggests, the very foundation of the game is broken.
The UI, atrocious generic combat system and 'quest' structure which facilitates solo play (a core element in FFXIV) has cursed the game from day one by it's attempt to be all things to all subscribers, a concept doomed to failure by it's very nature.
SE tried to create a game that had as a priority a solo play-driven fee-based solution that basically breaks the product as an MMO.
I suggest that FFXIV has a very short shelf life due to the obvious fact that the developers cannot correct major structural deficiencies only tinker at the edges due to the fore-mentioned weaknesses.

I personally believe that SE are attempting to push that suspect Industry-wide dream of a fee-based single player experience.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Stephen Page on 19th October 2010 11:54am

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Britton Taylor Quality Assurance Tester, TimeGate Studios7 years ago
Good cment Stephen. I really wanted to enjoy the game, but there is just too much of an emphasis on solo play. While I do enjoy this aspect the game has been far too lonely for me to truly enjoy. Hopefully the UI fix will address this? Doubt it.
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna7 years ago
There are hundreds of great games out there, so why bother playing a broken one?
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Tony Johns7 years ago
I had a feeling that FF XIV was released too soon.

They should have tried to focus on Final Fantasy Verses XIII instead.

And I am STILL waiting for a remake of Dragon Quest 6 to come on the DS!!!!
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Bryan Edge-Salois Freelance PC game & gear writer 7 years ago
When I reviewed this title, I was positively stunned at what a bad game it was in terms of design and execution. It is utterly broken from the ground up.
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