I think that it was a good start to extend the trial period; it was a great move in terms of PR and that they could have gotten a lot more bang out of it if this huge "it's going to make everything all better" update had already come out. The ideal scenario would have been for SE to say "Hey, we @#%^ed up. We're giving you a free month AND we're fixing all this sh*t. Please try XIV now that we've fixed all this sh*t and we are confident you will like it". -THAT- would have been the best route for them to go and would have kept a ton of customers.
I think you hit the nail right on the head. I wonder if SE would have been better off by granting a free month of play starting on the day of the late November update. People could have reactivated their accounts to try out the revised game free of charge, rather than have to pay to see if the updates are worthwhile.
I never even thought of that, but that would have probably been a good idea. It wouldn't surprise me at all, however, for them to offer a free week/month as a "Welcome back to Earzea" campaign shortly before PS3 launch just so people who left can come back and experience whatever changes SE has made between now and then.
Personally, I see things a little differently than a lot of folks around here and I'm going to be very careful about saying that my opinion is based on my experience and (in this case ;D) isn't intended to challenge the opinions of other people.
My experience with the community in XI was terrible.
I know what you're thinking. "You're such a dink, why would you be surprised?"
Fair enough, except it turns into a chicken vs. egg scenario. Did I have a hard time with the community in XI because I was a jerk, or did I develop my refined asshattery skills in response to that community? Philosophers will be debating that question for...
...okay, they won't debate it at all. And for once, neither will I. But that won't stop me from sharing my point of view.
Having left XI so many years ago and played several other MMOs since, I've observed that the community from one MMO to the next is largely the same (except LOTRO...they're an odd bunch...cliquish as all **** but generally pleasant in their own way). And hence my occasionally repeated sentiment that there are jerks and elitists and assclowns in every MMO, it's just that the XI community is the only one that seems so **** bent on trying to deny it. And what's worse is that there was a general seething resentment for SE behind virtually everything people did in the game. At no time in any other MMO have I encountered a community that has such a powerful dislike and distrust for the developers as the XI community does for SE. Even Warhammer's players forgave them for twice having fully drained bank accounts and maxed out low balance credit cards through insane billing errors.
But SE? **** no.
And that community has brought that cynicism and dislike and planted it right here. SE can do no right. At all. Ever. The slightest mistake is incompetence. When the devs have been sluggish with the communication, they get slammed for not communicating. When the devs communicate, they get accused of lying or ulterior motives or general moral turpitude. There's no reason behind the hate beyond hate for hate's sake. It's such a deeply ingrained sentiment that I don't think it will ever go away. And there's no reasoning with it.
So to bring it all back to the point, would I say the free trial hurt or helped SE? It didn't matter. The people who appreciated it appreciated it. The people who just wanted another excuse to hate found a way to twist it to make it seem wrong. We got what we got, we're getting what we're getting, and that's all there is to it. And the people who will guide their perception of SE and therefore XIV based on their experience in XI more than anything else are just ruining it for themselves. Sometimes you just have to move on. XIV already has a lot of potential. As much if not more than any other MMO on the market today. It was shipped unfinished, unpolished, and with several glaring issues that the devs are currently working to address. People will either accept that and look forward, or look back and sulk. SE has no control over that anymore. It's not an SE issue. It's a community issue.
If the patches come down and three months from now I decide I'm not enjoying the game, I'll cancel my sub and move on with my life. That's all I need to do. I've done the pre-release speculative kibitzing/debating/flaming. I've voiced on more than one occasion my powerful distaste for XI and the two-faced attitude prevalent in so many members of its community. Now it's game time, and if SE can't satisfy my interests more often than not within the next few months, I'm not going to waste any more time. Thanks but no thanks and best wishes, as it were.
Free time or not.