Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Director Naoki Yoshida previously stated that the beginning of the beta was to be announced during the upcoming Letter from the Producer Live (that will air on the 22nd) prompting many to believe that testing of the game would miss the February mark and begin in March.
Luckily it seems that plans have changed, as Yoshida-san himself published a new written Letter from the Producer today, skipping all the ceremonies and just letting the cat out of the bag already: the phase 1 of the beta will start on Monday, February the 25th.
While the start of the test is off schedule by about a week, Yoshida-san mentioned that the extra time allowed the team to introduce more system features and character options.
The accessible area for phase 1 will still be limited to Gridania and the Black Shroud forest, but selected testers (and Legacy Members that will have automatic access) will be able to experience new features like a level 30 instanced dungeon, Guildhests (a new and completely revamped version of the old Behests), the beginning of the main storyline and FATE (Full Active Time Events), that will pop up at random or triggered by NPCs and will just require proximity to participate, without even requiring the formation of parties, with rewards distributed between all participants at the end.
In addition to the info Yoshida-san also dropped quite a few screenshots, that you can see below. They’re small, but they show some quite interesting content. Personally I’m definitely happy with the look of Highlander females: strong and sexy, exactly like I imagined them.