Friday, July 24, 2020

Intermittent FFXIV Players Better Off Starting Over On Expanded Free Trial

FFXIV apparently has so little need of intermittent revenue from low level, infrequent players, that it is willing to allow permanent free access to its first sixty levels including its entire launch game and first expansion.  Changing the trial so that someone who has the time to binge the game is able to play for a month straight could convince that player to stick around.  A telling side effect of the change is that I am apparently such a small fish that they don't care if I ever pay them again. 

In 2013, I played 2 months of FFXIV on both PC and PS3 (using the game's crossplay).  I tried a number of the game's jobs, ultimately leveling a character named Johari Jeutremie to 27 as an arcanist, and I always meant to go back someday. The game is about to launch a patch that overhauls the level 1-50 "main story quest" I never completed, and will allow new players as much game time as they would like without paying. There may never be a better time to revisit the game.

Unfortunately, Johari is not invited.  "Upgrading" a trial account to a paid account is a permanent, one-way process that forever cuts off access to the free trial, even if you are nowhere near the trial's level cap. I can afford the subscription fee, but I would inevitably play once and cancel 65 days later, having been billed twice more without having logged in again. I would be paying to get less access to the game than I would as a free player able to come back for a day every few months if I want, when I am unlikely to finish the story and first expansion's level cap in the foreseeable future.  Even if I did someday hit the trial's level cap, it could rise again in the future; I would be locked out all over again if I paid. 

The only sensible choice is for me to start over and never pay again. I don't love free-loading, but it isn't personal. A single player who becomes a year-round subscriber is worth more than a dozen tourists like myself, and my hypothetical $13 isn't worth risking making it easier for current subscribers not to pay year round.