So you’ve decided to join the trend and play Final Fantasy XIV for the first time. First, welcome to the community! Unfortunately, the process of actually signing up for the much-discussed FFXIV free trial or subscription is needlessly complex… That’s why we’re here to make the process a bit easier for you. Follow along and you’ll be in-game throwing out Cure and Fire spells in no time!
Signing Up For the Free Trial
Perhaps you’ve heard the meme. “Have you tried the critically acclaimed MMORPG FFXIV? You can play through the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 for free with no restrictions on playtime!”
It’s an ongoing joke within the community, but it’s absolutely true. The FFXIV free trial allows you to enjoy the entire game up to level 60 — 20 levels below the pre-Endwalker level cap — and play through the content in the base game, as well as the initial Heavensward expansion. If you’re looking to try the game, it’s a great place to start.
A few restrictions apply to trial accounts:
- One Free Trial account per Square Enix account
- You can create up to eight characters, with one character per server world
- The maximum level cap is level 60 (just to reiterate)
- You can have a maximum of 300,000 gil, the basic in-game currency
- You can’t trade with other players
- No ranked PvP and you cannot join a Free Company (FFXIV’s version of guilds)
There are less obvious caveats, though. First, you can only start the Free Trial on one platform. Whichever platform you begin your trial account on, you’re locked into that until you spend money. If you start the trial on PlayStation 4, you can’t switch over to PC or Mac and continue playing. You will be able to purchase a license for any platform you choose later, but you’re stuck while in the trial period. So where you begin is important.
You should also know that once you’ve switched a trial account over to paid subscription, you cannot go back to a trial account, even if you’re still within the stated content boundaries. So if you play until level 40 and then pay the subscription for a month, you cannot jump back to a trial account. So when you take the plunge, it’s all in.
Another strange issue is that some platforms require you to download the free trial as a separate client. That means when you switch from the free to a paid version (for example, after reaching level 60) you need to delete the trial and install the “real” game. You’ll keep all your progress if you sign in using the same account. The game has full cross-save across all versions! It’s just an extra odd hurtle. It also doesn’t apply to the PlayStation 5 or Mac versions. For whatever technical reasons, these games don’t require a reinstall when you upgrade.
The first step in the initial process is to go to the Free Trial starting page. Just click the big “Start Your Free Trial” button. Then you will need to sign in with an existing Square Enix account or create a new one. If you’re creating a new account, note that you will choose which platform you want to start your trial on here. Your options are Windows PC, Mac, or PlayStation 4 / 5.
Once your account is created, you’ll be given a link to download the game on your platform on choice. The PC client is downloaded directly from Square Enix, while the PlayStation client can be picked up from the PlayStation Store. There’s also Steam — which you simply get from the Steam storefront. This, too, counts as a totally separate version of the game from the Square Enix store version. Why? We don’t really know! But as long as you pick the version that’s most convenient for you it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
When you’ve downloaded and installed the game, it’s time to sign in. For the PC and Mac versions, you’ll sign in with your Square Enix account. For the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, you’ll load up the client and then link your Square Enix account with your PlayStation account. (PlayStation Plus is not required in order to play FFXIV!) Then you can enjoy the Free Trial in all its majesty!
How to Purchase Final Fantasy XIV
Ready to jump into everything FFXIV has to offer? Now it’s time to buy a copy of the game! You can purchase a boxed copy for PC and PS4 in a number of retail stores, or you can buy the game digitally. You can purchase a PC or Mac digital copy on the Square Enix Online Store, Mac App Store, Amazon, or Steam.
Once you’ve purchased the game from any of these stores, you will need to find the registration code. For the Square Enix Online store, you’ll get a confirmation email with a link to your registration code. For Amazon, you’ll find your code under your Amazon Account, “Digital content and devices,” and then “Digital Games and software.” In Steam, you’ll want to find Final Fantasy XIV in your games library, click the cog icon, select “Manage,” and then select “CD keys.”
Regardless of your method, you’ll want to sign into the Mog Station: a fancy term for the FFXIV webpage where you manage your account and purchases. This is where you’ll handle your FFXIV account going forward. Upon signing into your Square Enix account, you’ll be greeted with the Account Services page. Click the big “Add New Service Account” button. Then on the next page, enter the registration code you received from one of the previous methods. This will apply the code to your account, permanently registering that specific platform to your Square Enix account.
For PS4/PS5 users, you don’t have to worry about any of this. When you load up the game on console and link your PlayStation account to your Square Enix account, it’ll automatically register the game.
Once again, this only registers that specific version of the game. FFXIV has full crossplay and cross-save. So long as you’re subscribed and logged into the right account, of course. However, it doesn’t really have “cross-buy.” If you purchase the game on PlayStation, then want to play on PC, you have to buy a PC or Steam copy and register that to your account. The one minor exception is a PlayStation 5 upgrade. This is free if you already own the PlayStation 4 version.
The Mog Station includes a table of all versions and expansions you own on a particular account. Just like in the image above!
How To Subscribe to Final Fantasy XIV
Once you register your purchased game, you’ll get 30 days of playtime. Once that starting game time is up, you need to have a valid subscription or use a game time code in order to keep playing.
There are two types of subscription available:
With the Standard subscription ($14.99 per month), you can make up to eight characters per world, and up to 40 characters in total. You can pay monthly, or purchase months in bulk for a discount: 90 days for $41.97 or 180 days for $77.94.
With the Entry subscription ($12.99 per month), you can make one character per world, and up to eight characters in total. Monthly is the only option for an Entry subscription.
To add or modify your subscription, you need to sign into the Mog Station. Again. Under “Your Account,” which should be the page that’s open when you sign in. You want to select “Credit Card/Crysta Payment.” On the next screen, you can choose between the Standard and Entry subscription types, your subscription period, and add your payment method. Subscriptions renew automatically on the same time period you originally paid for: buy 90 days of game time and it’ll renew every 90 days. Easy.
You can also purchase game time cards from retail stores or online retail, including Amazon, GameStop, NewEgg, or the Square Enix Online Store. These cards offer 60 days of game time for $29.99. If you choose this method, select “Add Game Time Card” and enter the code on the back of your card. Some retailers can also include a copy of the code on a printed receipt. (If purchased digitally, the code should be sent to you.) Time for game cards will not automatically renew, so you need to keep it topped off with a new card to keep playing.
Here’s hoping that lets you settle into Eorzea with as little hassle as possible! It’s a straightforward process if you don’t try to get too fancy (and a real pain if you do). But keep these pain points in mind and you’ll be complaining about FATE grinds in no time.