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Final Fantasy XIV is free to play — and it’s definitely worth your time

Welcome! This column is part of a regular series in which we share what members of the Tom’s Guide staff are playing and enjoying right now, with an eye towards helping you find great games that you may have missed. Be sure to check out our recent entry, where we talk about Demon’s Souls.

Final Fantasy XIV makes for a pretty entertaining meme. You’ve probably heard some variation of it by now: the critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Final Fantasy XIV, with its expanded free trial, and Heavensward expansion, and no restrictions on playtime. But like most memes, the FFXIV copypasta went viral for a reason. And that reason is because FFXIV is very, very good.

Tom’s Guide has already provided information on how to play Final Fantasy XIV’s free trial, but we never explained exactly why this expansive game is worth your time. (It goes without saying that it’s worth your money, since you don’t have to pay anything for the first few dozen hours.) My on-again, off-again affair with FFXIV is currently on again, and this time, it might stay that way for a while.

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(Image credit: Square Enix)

First off, a little background on the game: Final Fantasy XIV is a Japanese MMORPG that takes place in the fantasy world of Eorzea. You create an adventurer and take part in a grand series of story arcs, both by yourself and with other players. There’s real-time combat, questing, crafting and all the other genre trappings you’d expect. As you advance from level 1 to level 60 (and beyond, if you pay up), you’ll learn new skills, refine your play style, complete cooperative dungeons and get to know a cast of affable non-player characters (NPCs) who aid you in your journey. It’s a little more story-driven than most MMOs, but if you’ve ever played World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic, you should find yourself right at home.

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