After thirteen months of an extended free trial, Square-Enix’s MMO Final Fantasy XIV will begin charging a subscription fee. The subscription-based billing system will go into effect sometime between late November and early December, said Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada.

“In the ten months since the FINAL FANTASY XIV team’s restructuring, we have put forth the utmost effort into not only improving the game’s existing features, but also creating a concrete plan to outline the game’s new direction,” Wada said in a statement.

The game’s new direction includes the reworking of in-game maps, a new client and new servers, and the eventual release of the PlayStation 3 version in late 2012. A second, shorter free trial period will be offered during that process.

Upon launch, Final Fantasy XIV  was criticized for a whole host of problems: interface design, the in-game economy, busted quests, and general instability. This prompted Square Enix to rebuild the Final Fantasy XIV development team and keep the game in a perpetual free trial. Wada even said last month that “the Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged” by Final Fantasy XIV’s broken launch.  How running a subscription MMO in an increasingly free-to-play market will help rebuild the brand remains to be seen.

Current players will be given subscription billing details via email, and those interested can check out various PDFs of the team’s overall plan here.

Source: Lodestone

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  • anactoraaron - Monday, October 17, 2011 - link

    That exactly describes my experience. That game was a complete fail. The focus was not on UI or fun, rather the focus was on profits. They want you to be stuck grinding or finding items or taking 3 hours to find something in the UI because they wanted to charge you X amount of dollars per month to do so. It's why in free to play MMOs it doesn't take 2 hours of real time to travel to another town! Seriously!?! I have to watch a screen for 2 hours walking or wait 15-20 mins to take some other means to get to that town? It's all about profit. Which is why so many games these days SUCK. It's why a once well respected franchise has lost so many of it's fans. Hey Game DEV's and Big Name Publishers!! Get your priorities straight and make GOOD games again and you won't need to worry so much about maximizing profits!!!
  • pandemonium - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    My account has been active since launch and as beautiful as the game is, optimized as the menus and UI have become, and as customized as the class system was proving to be, I've had no reason to go back. Sure, I've logged in on occasion to check on the changes, but never really played much again after I ground out hours of crafting time and random skill point rewards in delimited parties. Unfortunately, rectifying a game after the launch is said and done is near impossible. Always has been; always will be.

    I suppose I'll give it another shot just to see what kind of storyline they added. Last I remember it certainly wasn't anything compared to FFXI - sadly.
  • pandemonium - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    It was fun with the easter egg hunts for artifacts, the class system was refreshingly customizable, and the launch was pretty smooth. But, at the end of the day, it is just a game modeled after WoW. While that's a good thing for focusing on what's successful, it's boring for someone who doesn't want to play any more WoW. :/

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