There are a lot of live service games out today. Like ... a lot. Players who want to get deep into a game that’s consistently getting updates don’t have to look very far. From World of Warcraft to Destiny 2, there’s no shortage of worlds to get completely lost in.
With so many options, it can be a little intimidating to find the correct live service game for you. Considering that these games require such a large time commitment, it can be hard to juggle multiple at once. If you want to settle down with one great game that’ll provide plenty of things to do, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn might just be the best option available.
And that’s not just because it’s free to start.
Final Fantasy XIV is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the world of Eorzea. Players create a character, fight monsters, level up, and do everything you’d expect from the fantasy series at this point. Unlike most Final Fantasy games that feature a story with a set endpoint, the MMO is a more open-ended experience on par with something like World of Warcraft, though there’s still plenty of story to experience.
If Final Fantasy XIV sounds somewhat old, it’s because it is practically ancient at this point. The game launched in 2010, but it came with enough troubles that Square Enix rebooted it entirely. In 2012, the studio relaunched the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and completely overhauled the experience. That successfully turned the trajectory of the game around, making it one of the bigger Cinderella stories of the genre.
So, after over 10 years, why is now the time to jump into Final Fantasy XIV? We’ll start with the most appealing incentive: it’s free to try. New players can jump in and complete a lengthy trial of the game that features the entirety of the A Realm Reborn and Heavensward expansion. Players can reach up to level 60 in the trial and have no playtime restrictions.
For those who used to play, but have fallen off the bandwagon, Square Enix is even offering a new promo where lapsed players can sign in for free for four days. Whether you’re new or haven’t played in a decade, the trials offer a good excuse to dip back in at no cost.
Beyond that obvious reason, the best reason to pop back in is the game’s upcoming Endwalker expansion. Set to release this fall, Endwalker will be the game’s most significant content drop since 2019’s Shadowbringers. The new update continues the game’s sprawling story with an even bigger tale that’ll take players to the Moon. In addition to the lunar location, the new update brings more jobs, dungeons, and activities to complete.
There’s even a new Island Sanctuary mode where players can just chill and farm, like a high-budget Stardew Valley.
The impending release of Endwalker highlights why Final Fantasy XIV is such an enduring MMO. Square Enix has actually delivered on its lofty ambitions with meaningful content over a long span of time. While other live service games like Anthem have struggled to retain players, FFXIV’s developers have consistently listened to its community and overhauled the game when it needed it most.
There’s always some level of trust between player and developer when getting into a game as big as this. Anyone signing up wants to feel like sticking around will be worth their time. Square Enix has earned that trust with Final Fantasy XIV and the game’s future is only looking brighter as it looks to the sky for its next chapter.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is available to play on PS, OS X, and PS4 with a PS5 beta happening in April 2021.