Great game. It has a monthly subscription of around $12.99-$14.99 per month, depending on whether you pay for 30, 60, or 180 days. You get the first 30 days 'free' when you purchase the game. 30 days is more than enough for you to level one class up to 50 (max) and experience some of the endgame dungeons. Enough to experience quite a large amount of the game. By the end of which it should be easy to decide if you want to continue playing or not.
You can pay for your subscription through a credit card, a game card, or Steam wallet.
The last pay-to-play MMORPG I played was Guild Wars 2, I would have to say that the beginning quests/gameplay in FFXIV:ARR was more enjoyable for me. And overall, I'm having more fun with FFXIV than I did with GW2
Random things that aren't that great:
The thing that annoyed me the most about the game was the map, and the way it worked. It's was confusing at first but once you're able to branch out of your starting area it becomes easier to understand.
The waiting time for dungeons/instances (many of which, ~5, are necessary for progressing through the main story, which in turn is necessary to unlock the endgame dungeons and gear) can take anywhere from a 15-60+ minute wait until you get a party if you play a DPS class, as there are so many. A way to get around this is to create a party yourself and complete the dungeon with friends. The wait it considerably shorter for Tank and Healer classes (Avg. <5 mins).
'insert things about fetch quests'
When you join a FATE or instance where your level is too high you get level synced, along with lower stats you no longer have access to your skills above the level you were synced to. This makes it boring going through a dungeon with newbies and only being able to spam 3 or 4 skills just for some bonus exp or tombstones. It would be nice if they allowed you to use your skills but lowered the damage/effects done. Otherwise it's just a bit of a grind.
The little voice acting there is is at times cringeworthy, although this does makes it somewhat entertaining.
Random things that I liked:
Regardless of which class you start out as, you are able to level all classes on one character. In order to train another class all you have to do is start the quest for it. To swap between classes all you have to do is change your equipped gear.
The game nearly perfectly playable without having to work/communicate with others. The beginning dungeons needed for the main story quest are not complex and do not require any communication. As long as the healer heals and the tank takes aggro it's all good.
There is a daily roulette in which you do a lower level dungeon for bonus exp/tombstones. This gives incentive for people to continues doing low level dungeons needed to progress through the story. It's nice when you have a party full of people who know the fastest way to complete the dungeon and what mobs you can ignore/sneak around.
There is quite a bit of useless text which provides back story and lore and such things. Good for people who can be bothered reading multiple paragraphs before being asked to deliver a letter to someone and get some exp.
Free Companies (FC) are guilds. It is advisable to join one, as it makes it easier to do dungeons, is fun, and is a way to get info/help if you are new to the game.
The enmity (aggro) mechanic requires some understanding if you are playing a tank, The early dungeons take very little skill but if you go into an endgame instance without the right equips and knowledge you might end up causing your whole party (7 other players) to wipe. >:D
Minions are pets that follow you around and do absolutely nothing else. There are a variety of minions that you can get from completing quests and dungeons, or buying them from npc's. They are cute. Gotta catch 'em all!
Mounts are mounts. They allow you to travel faster. There are also a variety of mounts you can get. There is this cool black unicorn thing with fire and ♥♥♥♥ that is a rare drop from one of the endgame boss fights. Me want. You can also use your chocobo to fight alongside you if you complete a quest.
The game looks beautiful. Check out some of my screenshots or something.
Along with fighting classes there are crafting classes, which are completely optional to level. Do it if you enjoy it.
There are easter eggs and things spread around the game. There's random ♥♥♥♥ you can do when you're bored, like mastering how to jump onto the fence wall in Wineport.
There are houses in this game. Currently FC's can have a house in the residential areas where you can decorate it with crap you bought or made from crafting. One day there will probably be individual housing.
I am just trying to write as much as I can about anything because who doesn't love walls of text.
There is an upcoming 2.2 update coming sometime this week, on the 27th of March. So new content, yay.
If it goes on 50% sale or something there is no reason not to get it. Plenty of fun to be had in 30 days. Good MMO.