I saw people asking about 2.0, I figured this much info in one shot deserved it's own thread. Enjoy the read, ask questions if you have any, I'll answer what I can based on the info we've got. (which is typically more than the main media has as Yoshi-P shares details on the Official Forums quite often ahead of time.)
Expanded Armoury System. Now includes Job (classic jobs) in addition to Classes. New classes and jobs are promised, but we have yet to get any hints as to what they might be. Yoshi-P has strongly suggested the game needs a support caster class or a pet-class. Free Companies - a "guild" system that allows joint collaboration to in Battle events and Non-Battle events Primal Summons - defeat a primal, your Company can summon him one time. For ifrit, when summoned the entire server will know you summoned him. The skies will turn red with flame. Only 1 company may hold a summon at a time, and they must be used within a time limit to allow other companies to chances to obtain them. New Storyline - Based on the results of the 7th Umbral Era storyline (currently being wrapped up in good fashion, more on that later), 2.0 Should be recapping the old story as a lead in to the new version through CGI to set the mood. The main story will be Voice-Acted, side-quests and sub-stories will be text based. Quest Progression - This irks me personally, as I prefer the gathering a group and going monster hunting in order to level, but at least I'll have the option. You will now be able to partake in sidequests in order to progress as you level. New Craft System - Not a lot is known at this time. We do know there will be CP (craft points) that work like TP/MP. Craft skills will have to be used correctly to make higher quality items, or to be successful in hard to make items. Crafting is getting a full overhaul and has been kept uder wraps, but the team has been dropping in high-end crafter gear as well as gatherer gear.
New UI - Redone UI form the ground up, PC UI uses modern mouse UI conventions found in most MMO games today built with direct feedback from the current players (as shown by incorporating the visual fight cues that were requested by the players). PS3/PC will have a separate UI designed for controller players as well. The UI will be completely modifiable, via in-game drag/drop as well as XML editing. Some changes include an on-screen display of available inventory slots, and visual cues to see what any party member is casting/using. (Think FFXII Battle UI, because there are similarities) A Team that Listens - Through the 1.xx rebuild process, it became clear this new team is doing something that has not ever been done by SE. They are taking input from the players and the results appear in-game. (in regards to features, and adjustments) Chocobo Companion - Need a friend? Short a party member? Well your personal chocobo can be trained to learn magic, defense and physical attacks. This allows you to roundout a party in a pinch, or a friend to fight with for those days you feel like going alone. Chocobos can be equipped, and are able to carry inventory for you, available at the call of a whistle. Jump - implemented for navigation purposes. SE is being very careful about how they use player jumping. It will not be used as a dodging mechanic for battle-related use, only world exploration/navigation. (think FFXIII-2)
Bringing in the Final Fantasy - This has already happening, the team is bringing in Final Fantasy Elements. There is currently a Materia system that allows crafters to slot in stat boots and elemental/status buffs into weapons and armour. Most gear can be slotted with up to 5 materia. Most gear can also be used for a period of time to be bonded, and then broken down into materia which can then be used to boost your own gear. A version of the Crystal Tower from FF III is making an appearance in 2.0 as well as a version of the Golden Saucer. Map Redesign - Nearly every zone is being redesigned. By player vote, the team is making slightly smaller zones, but filled with more content and variation. This should result in very busy, detailed environments, but at a small cost of more "loading" into zones. Cities will remain moslty the same, but there will be some changes, in addition to cross city teleport Aetherite stones that you can unlock at a certain point. Content Finder - Is your Free Company busy, or your Linkshell pals? Use the content finder to take on any content that is instanced across all servers. PVP - Not a lot is known how it will work, but the current game balance has been designed around it since they started the rebuild process. There have been hints of group PVP and 1 on 1 coliseum matches that players can watch and bet on.
The Limit is your PC - Were you angry about the 40 character draw limit in XIV? Well the new engine has been designed so it can import old assets (things in 1.xx that are going to still be carried into 2.0 such as equipment designs), and be much more scalable. There will be no character draw limits for those people with top end PC's (assuming they can handle it), and you can adjust the settings so that you can play the game with a PC that is lower than the current minimum specifications. (final specs still to be issued). It has been designed from the ground up using a combination of the Crystal Tools engine and help from llighting + effects from the amazing Luminous Engine 3 Fee Structure - Legacy: 9.99/month for 8 characters on every server. (can no longer be obtained as it is a perk for current older paying members). Standard: 12.99/month for 1 character. High User: 14.99 for 8 characters/server. NOTE: This game can be played with 1 character only, with access to all jobs. The new fees will start at the relaunch.
When does it all happen?
The true 2.0 relaunch will begin occurring this fall. The PC version beta will roll out first some time around October/November. The PS3/PC official relaunch and marketing campaign will hit in January 2013. They are 100% on schedule according to the roadmap that was given to the community last fall.
What about Current Players?
Current players will cease payment during the Beta Phase as the game will be shut down in order to begin migrating characters over to 2.0 This is said to take about a month-ish. During this process players will be invited into the 2.0 beta. There is no guarantee that everyone playing now will get in, but Yoshi-P has said that he is trying to get as many current players in as possible so that they can keep playing.
Here's some preview screens of what the new team has done with version 1.xx. These are huge spoiler screens from the finale mission which just went live. Do not look at them if you intend to play 2.0 over the next 2-3 months in order to experience the story that results in v 2.0. After getting to play this event myself, I am 100% sure v2.0 of FFX|V (note the slight numeracy adjustment) is good hands. To the point people are calling producer Naoki Yoshida the future of Final Fantasy.
The first two are some I snapped in the middle of the fights. (yes those are meteors falling from the sky on us [literally], the glowing ball is NOT meteor.
This is one during the Nael Van Darnus cut scene. (btw he carries a Gun-Halberd)
The arena you fight in. (yes it IS multi-platform, and both must be used simultaneously if you intend to win this fight, forcing you to split up your party mid-fight) Sorry for language, wasn't me lol.
And lastly some 2.0 screens of the engine before full-optimization. Leaving out CG scenes on purpose, as everyone knows SE makes amazing CG video.
I'm sure I missed a thing or two, but the scope of this relaunch is pretty big. If you have questions, feel free to ask!
This actually looks interesting. If the players and critics alike respond positively to these updates, I may have to jump into the FFXIV craze via PS3 or PC if I can get a hardware upgrade soon.
Currently working on as hard as I can:
Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra - PS2
Bioshock: Infinite - PS3
The Longest Journey - PC
Mass Effect - PS3
Proud of completing (FF games):
Final Fantasy I - March 13, 2008 (GBA)
Crisis Core: FFVII - December 5, 2010 (PSP)
Final Fantasy VII - November 22, 2007 (PC)
Final Fantasy VIII - January 15, 2010 (PSX)
Final Fantasy X - July 1, 2011 (PS2)
Final Fantasy XII - June 2, 2012 (PS2)
Final Fantasy XIII - April 2, 2010 (PS3)
I'm not big into MMO's, so I still will likely not play this game....but I am glad to see SE made improvements and listened to the criticisms of fans and critics alike. Here's hoping it gets better reviews this time around.
If you are starting just now, it will be really hard to get the entire story completed before the 2.0 story rolls in and wipes out the ability to play the prelude. I'm sure there will be lots of archived cutscene videos though if you want to look into the entire reasoning for the state of the world in 2.0. The game has a cutscene viewer (already implemented in 1.x) for all main story and sidequests. The current scenes have been promised to be imported into 2.0 (minus some tweaks for the new engine), so that players who have completed all the original content can go back and re-watch it at anytime. I personally plan to watch them all just to see what changes they made.
The #1 hardest thing about this relaunch will be convincing people that it is not the same game that launched, which it isn't. It is but a shadow of what it once was. I'll doing what I can to spread things word of mouth. I'm rooting for SE on this one, as they have put in a real effort to essentially re-make this game. It will have been a 2 year process by the time 2.0 is finally launched. Don't judge based only on a CG trailer, you'd be doing yourself a great injustice.
Oh not sure if I mentioned it, 2.0 will be freely distributed to anyone who has a FFX|V account from the original launch. It will also be sold via new packaging for the PC (and PS3) for people who missed out the first time.
I played FFXI , and can't stand all the MMO clones on the market today, this game is different. Give it a shot in 2.0 if you are unsure, but give it a fresh shot.
I could get so excited for this game if it weren't for that $12.99 monthly fee. Paying monthly for a game is just a total turnoff for me; it's like you never actually own it, and in the end you could very well have spent several times as much as a regular game costs. I'd honestly be much more likely to do an MMO if they just charged $150 or something up front and then the game was yours to play.
For those who don't mind the monthly fee system though, all this looks very exciting! I'm glad to see how SE has responded to fans of the game and how they're really embracing the PC platform on this one.
To answer the question about trying the changes.
The 2.0 roll-out on PC will begin around November. When it does, there will be no service fees. Essentially allowing people try 2.0 if you own a copy of Final Fantasy XIV. The service fees do not kick in until the official game relaunch, which is slated for January. Based on the current paths, the most I'm seeing is a possible 3 week shift in their release schedule. (I'm basing that on the 1.xx patch release schedule. During the huge patch/rebuild process, they were only off by about 3 weeks in the end over the last 1.5 years of their Roadmap.) Which is actually pretty impressive for SE. Although so far, the 2.0 campaign is 100% on schedule based on what they have told the community.