Final Fantasy XIV

Perspectives on FFXIV’s Extra Free Month

There are a couple of perspectives we can look at when it comes to Square Enix’s announcement of an extra free month coupled with further refinements to the game itself through patching.

One perspective would tell us to look at the coming free month and its associated changes as a form of promise. That is, if players promise to stick by FFXIV for another month, then it is hoped that Square Enix’s changes to the game will showcase their dedication to crafting a game that is friendlier than FFXI.

Another perspective would have us look at the overwhelmingly negative critical reception towards the game, thus seeing that this free month and its associated patches are an attempt to staunch a bleeding wound of potential lost consumers.

The truth, which is shrouded in PR-speak, is probably a mixture of the two perspectives. The director’s message and FAQ have been carefully crafted to show gratitude rather than remorse, making it seem as if Square Enix is coming from a position of strength. Square Enix’s stock has, in recent days, been slowly dropping, which may show that the confidence placed at the release of FFXIV has begun to dwindle.

As such, it would appear that the free month is a gamble the company is trying to make to maintain a strong long-term subscriber base.


Of course, this all speculation, mind you. There’s one other perspective I have yet to touch upon, and that’s the perspective of a 27-year old gamer who’s waiting for October 20 to come around as his aunt is visiting and is bringing him a copy of FFXIV. Two months of FFXIV is nothing to sneeze at, and if anything, I’m quite grateful for the opportunity to play a game that’s in a state of interesting change.

Square Enix Extends Trial Period for FFXIV Players

As my connection to the internet is kinda wonky now (random disconnects and general slowness of connection), let me just link and copy.

Square Enix Message Follows:

First of all, we would like to thank you for joining us in the realm of Eorzea, and hope you are enjoying your adventures.

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. 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. Please continue reading for further details.

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.

Today, we have released information regarding forthcoming version updates. For further details, please view the following Lodestone Topics:
?Version Updates Coming Soon! (10/15/2010)
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?Ask the Devs! (10/15/2010)
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?Message from the Director (10/15/2010)
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Free Trial Extension Details

All users who registered a FINAL FANTASY XIV service account and purchased a character by October 25, 2010 will be eligible.

*Character purchases must have been carried out no later than October 25, 2010 at 23:59(PDT).
*Accounts terminated due to User Agreement infractions are ineligible for extension.
*Holders of multiple service accounts may receive extensions on all accounts.

Extension Period
An additional thirty (30) days, for a combined free trial period of sixty (60) days.

*Free trial period end dates and initial billing dates will be automatically extended. Users are not required to take any action.
*Extensions will be for a period of thirty days regardless of billing cycle length. Regular billing will begin upon conclusion of the extended free trial.
*Should automatic renewal of options be disabled, the free trial will still be extended.
*Users notified by automated mail of either the end of their free trial period or the beginning of their billing period will still receive the extension.
*Extensions will be processed by the Square Enix Account Management System on or around October 19, 2010. An official announcement will be made at that time.
*Information regarding new billing period dates will be available via the Square Enix Account Management System.

Enjoying the Metagame More Than the Actual Game?

Something tells me I’ve written about this previously from a different viewpoint, but if you’ll allow me a little bit of gamer senility, I shall once again talk about a topic I absolutely hold dear.

I realized something about myself the past few weeks that I’ve been spending on the internet and playing games. I realized that if there’s one thing I enjoy more than playing games, it’s actually the meta-game that comes from not playing the game and instead talking with the community of gamers who enjoy the same things I do.

Because of the community, I’ve been exposed to a ton more games than I ever thought possible, which include everything from Minecraft to Darkfall. All of it made for good times and interesting stories.

There is a negative side-effect to this though. I noticed a growing tendency in myself to fall prey to the whole “Inception” mechanic of having a thought implanted into my head (albeit from sources I can name that are external). While looking forward to my impending copy of Final Fantasy XIV to arrive, for example, I heard about World of Warcraft Patch 4.0.1.

Now, instead of having my attention pointed toward FFXIV, my sights are set on trying out WoW in time for Cataclysm, so much that I’m jumping through the account retrieval system with Blizzard (if they ever read my email) to attempt to get my old account up and running again so I won’t have to purchase another set of keys to play the game.

The funny thing is I realize that I’m being consumed by something akin to greed, yet I’m enjoying the feeling of talking to people about my anxiety of getting my account back, or of asking for help with Fallout 3 mods, or even of just giving in to the urge to listen to a spirited back and forth of opinion from bloggers with differing opinions.

My question now, however, is if this is mentally healthy, or if I need to throttle this back a bit in order to be deemed mentally fit to do human-type stuff.

One of the TV shows I watch has a quotable quote on this particular subject of wanting or liking something. Basically it goes something like, “It’s alright to want something. What’s important is what you do with that desire.”  I think that has a lot of importance for this particular scenario, and if you folks would like to share your thoughts on the metagame of following games and of what would turn gaming into an unhealthy pastime, I’d love to know.

FFXIV’s Seemingly Disconcerting Temporary Stock Price Drop (Updated)

Note: I’m currently trying to piece this together, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes in this write-up.

According to some scattered updates across the web, Final Fantasy XIV was recently cited as the cause for one Square Enix stockholder’s sale of all his stocks in the company, creating a profound, though temporary, drop in price for Square Enix stock.

Yahoo Japan’s Stocks page for Square Enix holdings was linked on a post on Gamefaqs that was subsequently linked to FFXIVCore. In the report from the forumgoers, it appears that a private investor who owned a percent of Square Enix stock posted the following (translated from Japanese) on October 2:

First thing in the morning tomorrow, I intend to instruct those who manage my precious SquareEnix stock (however little it may be) to arrange to sell all of it. To Square, thank you for the enjoyment of your products up until now, with the exception of this last one. Goodbye.

It would seem that this particular fellow was summarily disappointed enough at Square Enix’s most recent outing, Final Fantasy XIV, enough that he sold off his stake in the company.

The actual report translated by the forumgoers appears to be this post on Japanese site Yucasee Media. Sadly, this still needs some verification from either an official source or a really good translator, so I’m not sure what to make of it.

While the stocks did rebound at the end of the day, there’s a chance the sensational nature of this particular stock drop will potentially make waves in gaming media if it’s been verified.

Additional Notes:

1. Yucasee Media’s front page is potentially NSFW due to one picture, but it appears to be a sort of lifestyle and fashion hub with a money section.

2. More importantly, I checked Reuters for the stock of Square Enix Holdings, and it would seem that the stock has recovered from worse in the past. If my understanding of the stock readout is accurate, then Square Enix may have actually benefited from the release of FFXIV overall rather than lost soemthing. That said, while I would expect it to be treated as a non-issue given the nature of the stock market, it may serve as fodder for the folks who think FFXIV isn’t helping Square Enix unless looked at from a longer-term context.

Starter Class Tools Reference for FFXIV

Yet another thing I missed when it came out yesterday (The Ask the Devs banner is always the same, so I got confused) was information pertaining to how an FFXIV player can acquire all the tools he needs to start switching classes.

Beyond the “Read More” link is a table from the FFXIV Lodestone that details who sells what gear in which city, and where you can find that particular person (with coordinates corresponding to horizontal and vertical axes on the map).

If you’re interested in starting out with some pretty good fighting gear yet actually preferring to craft in the beginning of the game, you may want to choose a Disciple of War class to start and then buy the requisite tools for your desired crafting and gathering professions once you get settled in your city of choice. This Starting Equipment guide may also help newcomers in making an informed decision, though it’s a bit outdated.

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Latest FFXIV Update Tackles Experience and Item Corruption Issues

I’m a bit late to the announcement, but I thought the folks reading the blog might want to read this. FFXIV’s latest version update has addressed a number of rather important issues, which include experience gain in parties and an item corruption issue.

The update notes state that experience is now divided among party members, and not simply to party members who participate in a battle. I’m assuming this can be quite helpful for some of you, especially if you’re taking a support role rather than an active fighting stance.

The update notes also bring to light a rare item corruption issue that can occur during outages. In this case, if a corrupted item is placed into the bazaar, the whole server can go down.To combat this while they try and figure out the issue, Square Enix has placed restrictions on the corrupted items being sold by specific players.

In any event, feel free to check the FFXIV Lodestone for the full patch notes for other details, such as info on chat fixes and other assorted issues.

Trying to See the Good in RMT Middlemen

I am not a fan of illicit RMT. I dislike the feeling of knowing that I could be furthering the ambitions of some nefarious organization bent on World (of Warcraft) Domination. At the same time, I realize that behind every potentially “evil” organization, there are people simply trying to make their lives better; if not for themselves, then for other people.

The reason I’m writing this today is because I feel conflicted with the actions of one group of RMT Middlemen (a company that acts as a platform for people who want to sell their RMT wares on the market).

The group is known as OffGamers, and I’ve been following them on Twitter, mostly to look at the possibility of needing their services when I get my copy of Final Fantasy XIV. This is because one aspect of their business is to sell Ultimate Game Time cards (along with credits for other games services), which would allow me to subscribe to Final Fantasy XIV without much issue.

Their Twitter account recently updated with a status message, saying that half the OffGamers team visited a welfare home in Malaysia to be with the kids there. Their Facebook account has pictures of the team hanging out with cute little kids and children smiling, probably because someone came to visit them.

If I was a completely analytical, cold-hearted man, I would say, “PR Stunt,” and move on. The human side of me -which is to say all of me- goes “Awwww….” at the site, and finds them to be better men and women than myself, as it’s been years since I’ve been to a welfare home equivalent in my country.

I think that’s one thing I have to think about these days when it comes to doing work. You take work where you can get it, even if someone finds your work disagreeable, but you don’t make the work your life. If you use your life to bring a smile to the lives of others, then I would have to say that the people who work for OffGamers, despite my on-again-off-again disapproval of the means by which they earn their living, must be good people to be with.

Am I a Spoiled Gamer? Ruminations on Old and New Games

I’m pretty sure there’s a psychological term for this, but since I’m no psychologist (and far less of an academic than I’d like to be), I suppose I’ll have to explain myself a bit better.

I remember the days of Arcanum and Fallout fondly. I played them both as a high school student. I finished the first Fallout 10 times with the same character type (sniper), but I gimped myself so severely in Arcanum (a magitech hybrid) that I stopped playing back in the day.

Earlier today, I started playing Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura again, and the same things that used to grab my attention back in the day aren’t the same things that grab my attention now.

I hate how I have to scroll using the mouse to see more of the landscape. I hate the difficulty level and the open world structure of the game that allows me to fail miserably. I think what grinds my gears most (a bit of a steampunk tech user joke there, folks) is that I hate missing the enemy with a sword, when I’m fighting a ailing wolf.

While these are issues that may be fixed by playing the game a certain way, I think another aspect that makes me less than enthused at playing older games is that I feel I’ve been spoiled by the games of the present, what with their active minimaps, heads-up displays, descriptive quest text and that floating arrow that points me to quest objectives in World of Warcraft.

If games are a microcosm of the way a person lives his life, it scares me a little to know that I once loved something so much, but now find that I have outgrown it because of the experiences I’ve had since then. In a way, it’s a sad thing because I remember the past through a lens of nostalgia, and find that the wonder I felt before is gone. On the other hand, it might also be a good thing because there’s a chance that I’ve grown since playing that game before, and might have grown to become more discerning.

That said, it also makes me wonder how I’ll take Final Fantasy XIV. I have much love for the series as a whole, but the extensive research I’ve done on the game, there is a certain lack of modern-day accoutrements we would come to expect from the WoW-enabled gaming scene of MMORPGs today.

I certainly hope I love it. It’d be a shame if I didn’t, as the screenshots and adventures could be so freaking awesome if I can grow to love it.

FFXIV Updates: Market Wards to get Changes

Market Wards Revealed

Some new news from the Lodestone, folks!

Square Enix’s development and management teams for FFXIV gave folks an update regarding what  to expect for the Market system that’s currently in place for the game. To put it simply though, they’ll be implementing a system that allows folks to get more money for selling specific goods in particular market wards that specialize in given item types.

Sell a lance in the Battlecraft ward, for example, and you’ll pay fewer taxes, resulting in more income. Sounds good, no?

From the Lodestone news article:

We have continued to receive copious amounts of feedback regarding changes that players would like to see made to the market system. As a result, we are planning a number of revisions and additions to the system, the first of which are scheduled to be implemented in the next one to two weeks.

Specifically, market wards will be organized according to specific item types, making it easier to consolidate similar items in the same area. Further, if an item sold within a ward corresponds to that wards’ item type, the tax incurred will be reduced. Items not of that ward’s category may still be sold, but the tax imposed will remain the same as it has up until now.

I currently have no idea how the market system works in FFXIV, so you’ll have to forgive me for my lack of practical knowledge. What I am guessing though is that they’ll keep the market system intact and find ways to give incentives for players to make the system work rather than overhauling the system altogether. While it probably isn’t what folks might want, addressing current ineffeciency in the Market system is a step in the right direction.

The Emotion of Sound: An Alternative Reason for Wanting to Play Final Fantasy XIV


It all started with Final Fantasy VII. Aerith died, the music played, and the realization that video games could evoke emotions like sadness dawned on me. It was a single moment, punctuated with music that struck the heart, and it steered me towards an appreciation for gaming.

With that appreciation for gaming comes a longing, however. There are times when, like a personal orchestra, a song will play in your head and won’t disappear: the soundtrack of your life, some folks call it. It comes and goes and the song changes, but when that song plays, you can’t help but remember things, pieces of memories or adventures you’ve had in the real world or in your mind, and you feel things you ever thought you would feel (or would have to feel again).

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