Final Fantasy XIV relaunching as Version 2.0, begins charging subs this December

MMO players always get a do-over: Roll another character, reset stats, rerun the dungeon.

But for MMO developers, it’s not such a good idea. Unless you’re Final Fantasy XIV.

FFXIV Version 2.0

Square Enix announced that in late 2012, it will relaunch Final Fantasy XIV as Version 2.0 on both the PC and the PlayStation 3 console.

“Between October and December of 2012, we plan to integrate the current service and the coming PlayStation®3 version into the all-new Final Fantasy XIV. At this time, a second free trial period will also be offered,” said producer and director Naoki Yoshida.

FFXIV had a botched release that forced Square Enix to replace its former producer Hiromichi Tanaka with Yoshida, revamp the game’s core mechanics in almost monthly patches, and offer free subscriptions to prevent a complete fan exodus.

These measures, implemented under the stewardship of Yoshida, have staunched the defections somewhat and have made the game deserving of a monthly fee — at least for some players who didn’t bristle at the announced resumption of subscription billing.

Billing Resumes

Together with the Version 2.0 announcement, Yoshida confirmed that billing will resume when Patch 1.20 is released in early December 2011.

“I feel that the game starts to feel like a Final Fantasy in 1.19 and in the future this will continue to become even more apparent. On this basis, we would like billing to start after patch 1.20 has been released, around the beginning of December,” said Yoshida, who has previously explained that the free subscriptions were being given as Square Enix works to make the MMO worthy of the Final Fantasy name.

Patch 1.20 will implement two of the most requested conveniences currently missing in FFXIV Player Character and Market search, which are the approximate equivalents of a party finder and auction house found in most every modern MMO.

In his latest forum post, he discusses the basic essentials of these features. Players will be able to directly purchase using the item search feature, for example, and they will also be able to search for specific party members based on class, job and even PT request.

What’s Coming?

Yoshida reassured that the resumption of subscriptions will be more than worth it for FFXIV players. More features are slated to be implemented in the lead-up to Version 2.0, including achievement and job systems, and new raids, recipes and battle content.

FFXIV Gil sinks will also be rolled out in the coming patches that range from player housing to salons and other appearance- and gear-changing systems. Yoshida also runs down a wishlist being considered that should please a large cross-section of the fanbase:

  • Content Finder
  • Language Servers (language servers and global servers)
  • PvP/Large Scale PvP
  • Free Company
  • Primal Summoning
  • Crystal Tower

While we personally admire Square Enix for channeling the Comeback Kid with its FFXIV Version 2.0 plans, not everyone will give this tenacious MMO a chance. Will you give it a second go or will you be too busy trying out the new kids on the block like Star Wars the Old Republic and Guild Wars 2?