Did you know that the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy 14 has a free trial that now includes the award-winning Stormblood expansion up to level 70 with no restrictions on playtime? The game's community has turned that sales pitch into a long-standing meme, but despite the trial's continued growth, the devs say there are "no plans" to take FF14 fully free-to-play.
"I believe the free trial will continue to be expanded, but we have no plans of making the client itself free at the moment," director and producer Naoki Yoshida tells Eurogamer. "Since a huge amount of time and money has been invested in the expansion packages, the revenue from sales of the expansion package itself is still very important in order to continue to make expansions on this scale. We would like to constantly aim for the best on the business side as well to continue making a lot of content to be enjoyed."
As it stands, FF14's free trial is arguably more generous than most free-to-play MMOs, offering hundreds of hours of content including the first three pieces of what's arguably - it's me, I'm arguing it - the best story in the entire Final Fantasy series. The big restrictions on the free trial are predominantly limits on maximum currency and player trading that are designed to help combat gold farmers.
The big thing keeping the free trial from making FF14 into a free-to-play game all on its own is that once you buy in, there's no going back. Every time you want to play FF14 after buying it, you've got to have an active subscription, even if you just want to explore the early levels with a new character.
But hey, if you're extraordinarily patient, in several more years you might even be playing the Dawntrail expansion as part of FF14's free trial. If the trial keeps expanding by one expansion pack every few years, the devs will eventually catch up by the time the game runs out of steam, right? Well, given that even Final Fantasy 11 is continuing to get new content these days, don't expect the 14 trial to get you caught up anytime soon.
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