Final Fantasy XIV free trial returns on February 22 ahead of graphical update
Square Enix finally has server congestion under controlBy Shawn Knight
In brief: Final Fantasy XIV's free trial is one of the best bargains in gaming. It grants access to the entirety of A Real Reborn as well as the Heavensward expansion up to level 60 for free, with no restrictions on playtime. Best yet, it's returning this week.
Square Enix in December halted sales of Final Fantasy XIV due to the immense popularity of the latest expansion, Endwalker. Simply put, the game's fourth expansion pack was so well-received that Square Enix's servers became overloaded and the company elected to suspend sales until it could get a grip on the issue.
One would think that deploying more servers would solve the problem, but it wasn't that easy given the current semiconductor shortage. Square Enix did expedite server expansion plans a bit and opened a new data center two weeks earlier to help alleviate the issue.
This allowed the developer and publisher to resume sales of Final Fantasy XIV on January 25 but the free trial remained on the sidelines. Fortunately, that is changing soon.
Producer and director Naoki Yoshida said during a recent livestream broadcast that the coveted free trial will return on February 22.
Yoshida also touched on the game's first graphical update set to accompany the 7.0 patch. It won't be out for a while, but when it does eventually arrive, it'll improve the look of both the game's characters and environments. Yoshida said the patch will impact the system requirements on the PC, so don't be surprised to see frame rates dip a little, especially on older hardware.