I suppose it wouldn't hurt to post, so here goes. I played FFXI from day one of the US release, pretty hard core for the first 5 years and then on and off until finally deciding not to play anymore a few months ago since my Linkshell finally disbanded in my absence, but I won't go into all the accolades of my former FFXI days, but suffice to say, one can imagine I'm excited to see FFXIV releasing.
While waiting for the release of FFXIV, I've found myself in Japan now studying abroad, and with any luck I'll be here for the next two years to finish things up. I've applied and tried contests in several places, and wasn't too surprised to find I didn't win. Still hopeful for an opportunity to play, I was surprised to find on twitter a few days ago that apparently certain manga / internet cafes here are offering the beta. Thinking I had a shot, I checked out the link, went to the region I'm in, and there are three establishments participating. The location of two of them I hadn't heard of, but the third was in Akihabara. "What luck," I thought, "its on the route I take to school." Although on my route to school, its somewhat expensive and time consuming to go (1540 yen ~ $18.02, 3 hrs round trip). But it'll be worth it, I can at least try it out on there computers for an hour or so and see what its like.
I was fortunate enough to borrow a commuter pass and was accompanied by a friend to Akihabara, but to our dismay they were apparently giving out codes, and there were no more by the time we arrived. They told us to come back at 10 a.m. the next day since that's when they start giving them out, so there was nothing we could do but go back home. But I was determined to see the game. I borrowed another commuter pass and a friend who also wanted to try the beta accompanied me the next day, and after a long commute, we arrived around 9:55 a.m. but before we even went upstairs, there was a note on the elevator going up stating all the codes had been given out again. We stood around on the first floor puzzled for a few minutes, then decided to go upstairs to try and get a little more information. And while yes, they were giving out the codes at 10:00 a.m. there was apparently a number of people already waiting so they were all gone by the time we got there. Well shoot, I was shot down again.
I pondered if I should try to go again. The next day would be Monday, today, and still having 1 more week of summer vacation people should be heading to work while I'm still free to go to the cafe. Surely there wouldn't be that many people there to take all the codes at 10:00 a.m. again. None of my friends felt in the mood to go again this time, but I was able to borrow a commuter pass one last time. I figured this time I shouldn't underestimate the people here as this game apparently seems more popular than I imagined it to be. So, I woke up extra early, left my house at 6:40 a.m. and managed to arrive in Akihabara around 8:10 a.m.. I'd forgotten to go to an ATM beforehand, so after panicking looking for an ATM, I finally withdrew a bit of money (to rent a booth as well as grocery shopping later~), and was off to the cafe confident that there shouldn't be many people there this time.
I arrived at the cafe around 8:35 and my heart almost stopped when I saw the doors were closed with a sign outside that said all the codes were gone. I was in disbelief. I refused to believe that the codes would be gone this early in the morning. I walked around the back to see if there was a specific entrance for the cafe, but as there was none, I came back around to the front feeling defeated, that is until I saw a man going up to the door, and he was taking down the signs! He took the sign off the main entrance, and I followed him inside as he took the sign off the elevator as well. Feeling more confident, I went up the elevator and entered the cafe were I was welcomed by the staff, and two of the clerks remembered me from the two previous days and were confused seeing me in the store so early. "10:00 a.m. right?" I asked them, and right I was. After struggling for a while with my limited Japanese, I registered at the cafe, but then they began trying to explain something to me I didn't quite understand. "Chuusen..."
Hmm, what's this "chuusen" they're talking about. I could sense their frustration and I felt pretty bad at this point, but luckily I had my electronic dictionary in my pocket, so I whip it out and take a look to see what this is they're talking about. When I found the meaning of the word, I knew I was in trouble. It turns out while yes you can play the beta at the designated cafes in Japan, its only if you manage to win their lottery (chuusen). Realizing now that it wasn't just the first 20 or so people who enter or a special cafe account that we can mess around with, all I could do was wait. It's about 8:50 a.m. now, and the wait began.
To my surprise I wasn't the first one to arrive, as there was a woman already upstairs who rented a room to pass the time by as she came downstairs around 9:15. We started a tiny line of two and the wait continued. As time went on, one by one, people slowly came in, and I was actually surprised to see how old everyone was. Most of the people who came in looked old enough to be my parents. I even overheard the gentleman behind me on the phone discussing taking off work, so I knew just how much these people wanted to play. Time crept by slowly and once 10:00 a.m. hit I started to get a bit antsy, but we kept waiting for something. Slowly but surely more people came in, but still we had to wait. After much waiting it was about 11:05 and I saw a man take out a box of what I presumed to be raffle tickets. And as he approached the line and began counting, I deduced that they must have been waiting for there to be enough people to draw the days worth of raffle tickets.
At about 11:15 the time was upon us and he called the first customer forward, and I started to get excited but terrified at the same time. The lady in front of me steps up and choose her ticket. The gentleman at the counter tears off one of the ends and slowly opens it, winner! She proceeds to another counter and begins signing up for a net game room to play in, and then it was my turn. I step up, sweating bullets in my head, as he tells me I'm only allowed to choose one ticket. I look about the box, choose my ticket and he picks it up. "Is it ok for me to open it?" he asks me, and I nod my head in agreement as he begins to open it. He tears off the tip and slowly begins to open it.... and to my dismay, my ticket was blank.
All I could do was smile, bow, and say thank you as I turned around and headed toward the elevator. I press the button and wait as the gentleman behind me who I believe took off from work approaches the counter, and unfortunately he didn't win either, and he stood next to me as we waited for the elevator. The elevator arrived as another lady approaches the counter to pull her ticket, and we decided to hold the elevator just in case, and sure enough she was not successful either. So the three of us enter the elevator and begin our descent back to the first floor. We all stand there in silence, and suddenly the lady standing in front of us says "kanashii rate me down ne!" ("that's pretty sad isn't it?") and we all have a small laugh as we agree with her. Although we smiled we were defeated, and as the elevator doors opened all I could do was head back home, where I arrived in defeat about 1:00 p.m.
Like everyone here, I'm pretty much up a creek without a paddle in regards to playing this game. And without a commuter pass, I do not have another 3 hrs and $18 per day to spend long arduous trips on a raffle, so I think I'm pretty stuck at this point. We all have our reasons and stories for wanting to play, so I just thought I'd share my attempts at trying to play Beta.