An alpha test for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is close to kicking off, says producer, Naoki Yoshida, in a new “Letter from the Producer” column that went up this week on the game’s forums. Yoshida says Square plan to recruit players of the current version of the game to help out with things like stress-tests and fundamental game mechanics.
The initial alpha test will be limited to Japan, as the development team will be able to respond faster to feedback gleaned from people in the same timezone as them. Once that phase is done, the next phase of the alpha test, Phase 2, will be for participants from all over the world. There will be four phases in total.
However, Yoshida says, registration for alpha-testing will open up simultaneously worldwide sometime in the near future.
Yoshida also mentions the last date that the current version of Final Fantasy XIV will record your player character data—November 1st. Then, ten days later on November 11th, the game will be taken down, and all player character data up until that point will be saved and transferred to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn when it launches. On the 11th, Square Enix will also run a live “Letter from the Producer” feature. During these, Yoshida usually answers questions from the community.
One last thing. While the plan is to take the current version of Final Fantasy XIV down after November 11th, Yoshida says they may bring the servers back up and allow players to keep playing the game even after that point, provided there’s enough interest. This will be judged by a poll that will go up in the near future.
Keep in mind, though, that your final save data will remain unchanged after November 1st, even if you do keep playing the game. There will also be no more patches or fixes for the current version of Final Fantasy XIV after this point, as the development team will shift their efforts entirely to A Realm Reborn.