Final Fantasy XIV Guide: How to Create a Free Trial Account & Buy the Game
So, you’ve heard of critically-acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. Yes, the one with the expanded free trial that lets you play up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime. Maybe you’ve heard of the game’s huge surge in popularity recently, and are looking to try it out. Or, perhaps, you’ve seen your social media feed flooded by hype for the upcoming expansion, Endwalker, due to the most recent live letter – the regular program Naoki “Yoshi P” Yoshida, the game’s director and producer – hosts to tell players about upcoming changes or features to the game. This weekend featured the much-awaited job and battle system changes, alongside the more detailed look into the two new jobs, the melee DPS Reaper and the healer Sage.
But you’ve hit a snag. You’ve hit the worst part of FFXIV – figuring out how to make an account and buy it. It’s such a universal sentiment, even Asmongold had to point it out. So, until Square Enix finally overhauls its website and backend systems, we’re here to help you out.
Creating a Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial Account
First off, head to FFXIV’s official Free Trial website. Click the big shiny “Sign Up Now” button. Just fill in all the required information, and take special care to make sure that the password you enter is correct because there’s no confirmation input afterward. After submitting, you’ll be shown a “Free Trial Account Created” screen. Then, there will be a link to the Free Trial client. Download that, install the game by following the self-explanatory prompts, then start the game. Log in with the same credentials you used to create your Free Trial Account.
From there, you can click on “Start Game” and begin choosing your Data Center (which are separated based on geographic location) and World (also known as servers in other MMOs). If you’re planning on joining friends that are already playing the game, it would be best to choose the same World as them so you can join their Free Company eventually when you upgrade to a full account. If they’re on a congested World and you’re unable to do that, you can choose a World that’s at least on the same Data Center, so that you can at least join them in instanced content such as dungeons, trials, and raids – and also visit them in-game via the World Visit system.
Once you’ve sorted that out, you can then create your character for your Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial account. There are several different races to choose from – the human-analogous Hyur, the tall and elegant Elezen, the adorable Lalafell, the imposing Roegadyn, the scaled and mysterious Au Ra, the recently added Hrothgar, and the Final Fantasy series favorite, Viera (which are getting their male counterparts added in the next expansion, Endwalker). Each race also has two sub-races, but these are mostly a change in lore or color palette – except for Hyur, whose Midlander and Highlander sub-races have a distinct difference in body type. Just pick whichever race you like the look and animations of, as the racial stat perks make very little impact in gameplay.
After customizing the look of your character, you may choose one of several different classes, and this will also determine your starting City-State (don’t fret, as this won’t limit you at all – you can play every single job in the game on the same character, and you can choose which of the three City-States (maritime-focused Limsa Lominsa, idyllic and forested New Gridania, and commerce-centric Uldah) you’d like to join later on. The starting classes are:
- Gladiator – Tank. Becomes Paladin at Level 30, starts in Uldah, wields a sword and shield
- Marauder – Tank. Becomes Warrior at Level 30, starts in Limsa Lominsa, wields greataxes
- Archer – Physical Ranged DPS. Becomes Bard at Level 30, starts in New Gridania, wields a bow
- Pugilist – Melee DPS. Becomes Monk at Level 30, starts in Uldah, wields fist-type weapons
- Lancer – Melee DPS. Becomes Dragoon at Level 30, starts in New Gridania, wields spears
- Conjurer – Healer. Becomes White Mage at Level 30, starts in New Gridania, wields a staves
- Arcanist – Magical Ranged DPS. Becomes either a Summoner (Magical Ranged DPS) or Scholar (Healer) at Level 30, shares EXP between the two jobs, starts in Limsa Lominsa, wields books
- Thaumaturge – Magical Ranged DPS. Becomes Black Mage at Level 30, starts in Uldah, wields a staff
If you’d like a more in-depth job guide to help you choose which job to play first, check out the links below:
Thus begins your journey into Eorzea. The games MSQ (Main Scenario Quest) is marked with a gold exclamation mark “!” icon surrounded by a comet. Just focus on these quests and you’ll get the hang of the game eventually. Watch out for blue exclamation mark “!” quests as well, as these represent quests that unlock new features or content, such as additional dungeons, new systems, or other jobs. Good luck, have fun!
Upgrading to the Full Version
If you’ve hit the end of your Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial, or are ready to upgrade to the full experience, you should first decide whether you’d like to play the game on Steam or using the separate FFXIV PC client. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: STEAM IS TREATED AS A SEPARATE PLATFORM – YOU CANNOT TRANSFER ACCOUNTS BETWEEN THE SEPARATE PC CLIENT AND STEAM. If you decide to use Steam, everything will work the same way other games do in the Steam client. Account management, pre-orders, and such will be handled from there.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve decided to opt-out of the Steam ecosystem. Once you’ve decided to take the leap and upgrade to the full version of Final Fantasy XIV, you’ll need to head over to the Mog Station. This is the separate account management page for FFXIV. You can also access it via the FFXIV launcher, using the account button on the upper right panel.
Once you’ve logged into the Mog Station, you can click on the “Transfer to Regular Service” button. Then you can choose which method you would like to use to upgrade. The first option is registering directly via the Mog Station. The second one is by registering a code from a physical copy. Lastly, you can enter a registration code from the Square Enix Store.
Navigating the Square Enix Store
Make your way to the Square Enix Store. Remember to use the “Log-in using an existing Final Fantasy XI / Final Fantasy XIV account” option. (Unless you have a pre-existing Square Enix account before all this.) Next, you’ll have to watch out for the different editions of FFXIV.
Decide whether you’d like to get a physical copy of the game. If you only want a digital copy, remember to choose the version with the [PC Download] tag.
If you’re coming in fresh from the Free Trial, disregard all of the other versions and go with the Complete Edition. This will get you the base game of A Realm Reborn up until the current expansion, Shadowbringers.
However, if you already have the Starter Edition, which only contains ARR, you should get the Shadowbringers expansion instead. Purchasing it will include the previous expansions, for free. Alternatively, if you’re patient enough to wait it out, or don’t see yourself getting past Heavensward anytime soon, you can also go straight for the Endwalker pre-order, which will give you all the past expansions for free – but only after it launches in November.
Once you’ve finished your digital purchase, you will see the game in your purchase history. Simply click on the red “See Unlocked Key” button, and you will see your product key.
Registering your Game
Alright, you’ve bought the game and gotten your code. Now it’s time to return to the Mog Station and enter the code using the “Transfer to Regular Service” button we discussed earlier. If everything went correctly, you should see your new service account options and updated account type on your home screen.
If you bought the Complete Edition, you should see a yellow circle under the Windows column for A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers.
There you go, you’re all set to continue your adventures in Eorzea. All you have to do now is log in, have fun, and eventually become unable to stop talking about this game to anyone who will listen!
(Also, Square Enix, please, please make creating a Final Fantasy XIV Free Trial account, and upgrading it to the full version an easier process for everyone. It’s about time.)