I'm sure most members here are aware that new subscriptions will not be allowed to be started after 11:59 PM PDT, Sep. 29 2012 (or 2:59 AM EST, 30 Sep in the states). You're probably thinking it's too late to register a new account for yourself or a friend for those that don't have buddy passes before the launch of A Realm Reborn. I found a way to get registration codes sent instantly upon purchase of the game! You can then download the game and patches online and install the game and activate your registration before the deadline. I did and it worked for me! Here's how:
Go onto eBay site and search "Final Fantasy XIV Online" and select the standard edition if you get auto results popping up. Click on "See all listings".
Click on the result "Final Fantasy XIV Online (PC, 2010) NEW OTHER". It should be the lowest priced result if you have sort by price & shipping filter on ($29.99)
Complete checkout and message the seller for your registration code. He will send you the code very soon through messaging. He then sends your game disc in the mail same business day. (Mine was shipped today)
To install your game since you don't have the game disc, you will have to download a digital copy of the game online or borrow a disc from a friend. Since Square has no official download client for this game (I have no idea why not), you have to download from other sources. If you Google "Final Fantasy XIV Online US download" it should be the second or first result (hint: it's from a site that's a dwelling place for pirates ;) This download is a straight rip of the disc with no cracks or modifications. It is safe as I downloaded it myself and scanned with my antivirus and antimalware software. I also used to install my copy of the game. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO OBTAIN DIGITAL BACK-UPS OF GAMES YOU OWN. If you bought it, then you should be square, right?
Mount the ISO with a disc mounting software or burn to a disc and then install the game. Let the game finish installing. Close the Install Wizard when finished. There is a good tutorial on this on the site Tehkrizz.net. Google it. I can't link it directly.
Open the shortcut on your desktop and the game will start checking version and downloading and updating patches. Again you can refer to the installation guide. I recommend you download the large size patches from his site using a download manager (you will not need all the incremental patches). Paste the downloads into the appropriate folder. Or you can use Square's in-game download client for the download and installation of patches. This will take a while. Once you finish patching the game, a log-in screen will come up.
You will need to set-up and register your Square Enix account. There is a tutorial link on how to do this from the ZAM website on the listing for the eBay item you will have purchased for the game: http://ffxiv.zam.com/wiki/FFXIV_New_Player_Guide#Regional_Registration
Ensure you complete the whole registration process to include setting up your payment method and character options (You will not have to actually pay for the first 30-day period though as it's a free-trial then). Once you finish registration, either log-in with your Square ID and password or click Update Page if you set up within the in-game link.
That's it and you should be good to go! So how do you get to play for free until A Realm Reborn is launched you ask? Well, you get a 30-day free trial where you aren't charged for that time to play, but all billing is suspended after 2:59 EST, 30 Sep 12 until the shutdown of the service sometime around November 11, 2012 when the close servers for the launch of a Realm Reborn in December. Since your trial period would end on 28 Oct or so, you fall into a "magic window" where you can still register the game before the dead-line but you won't get billed at all while the current version of the game is running. Once A Realm Reborn is launched you would then have the option to subscribe under the new service where regular billing would resume. So you basically get about 40+ days of free play!
Now I'm up and running in Eorzea. Hurry though! There's only about 13 hours left to register and last time I checked for my buddy who was thinking about buying one, there was only 3 games left for sale. Otherwise, you will try to have to find somewhere else to purchase a code online, but they most likely will not send you the game disc as well for back-up install purposes. Hope this helps someone, it sure helped me. It's not to late to join the Realm before it's Reborn!
Update: My friend just let me know that the eBay item I had purchased my game and code through has been sold out! If you can find a registration code online (EU version maybe) you can still use this method to play, you just have to register with a EU Square Enix account. Good luck!
Edited, Sep 29th 2012 6:26pm by fnnoobee