Well, now it's the same (or close to it), but about 2 weeks ago it wasn't. Anyhow, no, XIV doesn't use playonline, it uses the Square Enix account system. All done through an actual web browser now, it's straightforward enough I suppose, but still not hassle free like every other MMO out on the market. If they ever start charging for the game, you'll have to jump through a few more hoops to get payment going. Overall, better than playonline, but only slightly.