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Details On Final Fantasy XIV's Annoying Billing System

by Phil Kollar on Sep 21, 2010 at 01:30 PM

With Collector's Edition copies of Final Fantasy XIV now out in the wild and the game's servers going live today, Square Enix has finally revealed the system behind subscriptions in the game. Like most everything else about FF XIV, it's not exactly the most elegant MMO cash service we've seen implemented. Here's how it works.

Along with future services and downloadable content, monthly subscription fees will be handled by a special currency called "Crysta" rather than regular money. One dollar of U.S. currency works out to 100 Crysta. Like Microsoft Points, you can only purchase Crysta in bundles of $5, $10, $20, $30, $50, or $100, and there's a cap on how much you can have in your account at any one time.

A subscription to Final Fantasy XIV technically only costs $9.99 a month. "Easy," might be thinking. "$10 in Crysta points each month, and I'm set." Not so fast, though. You also need to pay a $3 per month fee per character. So assuming you only want one character, your monthly subscription now costs $12.99 a month, which is at least $15 of Crysta (purchased in three separate $5 installments).

In other words, you're going to have some left over and just sitting around unless you decide to spend it on whatever other FF XIV bonuses you'll be able to purchase with Crysta. Does your head hurt yet? Mine too.

Apparently Square will offer a more traditional credit card billing option, but it's done through a third party, a service called Click and Buy. According to early user reports from NeoGAF, the Click and Buy service charges a $2.50 fee of some sort, though it may simply be an authorization fee that will be paid back. It's also based out of London, so you may need to call your bank or credit card company to authorize a foreign transaction.

I don't have my copy of Final Fantasy XIV yet, so I can't comment on setting up payment personally, but this whole process sounds like way more of a pain than it needs to be. Here's hoping that the final game's content is worth it. You can check out my impressions from the open beta in my live blog.