Ascended Fanon: Duing the 2014 fanfest, one fan suggested to Yoshida that he should make the ADS (a giant metallic round ball that is a CPU) a ridable mount. Yoshida laughed and liked the idea, which then became a reality in patch 2.5 as a PVP reward.
A common joke among players was that they weren't sending their retainers out on ventures they instead steal them, with one of the most common ones being about them showing up with furniture or even entire housing parts. In Heavensward, if you get a female Au Ra retainer with the "rough" personality trait, she starts to mention stealing them before catching herself.
After the game was rebuilt into A Realm Reborn, there was massive amounts of hype for the game and sure enough, tons of players rushed to log into the game once it went live. For weeks, many players could not log in due to the mass amount of traffic the relaunch generated. It gotten so bad that Square-Enix temporarily removed the digital copies of the game from its online store and they also enforced an auto AFK-logout system that forced players offline if they idled for too long. After things settled down and the severs getting optimized, Square apologized and gave everyone one free week of play time. A similar phenomena happened again with a patch that introduced the Gold Saucer where it became impossible to get into the area due to everyone trying to get in all at once and filling out the capacity. Even the chocobo races were open to having a race becoming impossible due to everyone trying to sign up for a race. Thankfully, the high traffic died down in a few days and the Gold Saucer is a lot easier to access.
Square learned their lesson and prepared the servers for the launch of Heavensward by introducing several copies of the same instanced overworld maps so that players would still have space to get into whenever they move to another area. Square also took measures to make logging in with a minimal amount of trouble as possible. Both measure made the launch of the expansion pack a very smooth one, averting the trope.
Square took extraordinary large steps to make sure that Stormblood will have as little queue and overpopulation issues as possible by locking out the most populous servers (even disabling character transfers, which for the longest time was a reliable way to subvert locked realms) a full month before the expansion launched with plans to open up more (particularly EU, which is lacking in them). Like with Heavensward, several areas from the new zones had multiple instances so that no one is blocked from entering if one instance is full. Unfortunately, the huge amount of players trying to start the first story quest battle for Stormblood overloaded the instanced servers, causing people that started the fight to suddenly find themselves kicked back to the overworld. Players from many servers tried to ease the pain by having everyone form a line to the NPC that starts the battle so that the instanced servers wouldn't be taxed, though it did little good. Square posted a response a week later (among the usual announcements of fixes planned or being in effect) that most of the problems came from an unknown party DDOSing the servers.
Dueling Games: 1.0 was supposedly rushed out to beat a World of Warcraft expansion to market. This, combined with this game's extremely critical reviews resulted in this approach not turning out well for Square Enix and resulted in head developer Hiromichi Tanaka being shown the door.
The relaunch was coincidentally timed to go along with the release of the final patch of the then-recent WoW expansion, but thanks to the game as a whole being in a better state, it worked out far better.
In a rather strange coincidence, the first expansion for ARR, Heavensward, happens to be coming out in the middle of a content dry spell in WoW (No new raids, dungeons, or major quest chains have been added for months at this point in time), though as right before the expected release date of the last patch of the expansion (which is also facing criticism on the public test servers).
And again! Stormblood's release date will drop on the same day or very near the long-awaited Tomb of Sargeras raid in WoW, and during a time when a lot of the playerbase of the latter is disgruntled over unnecessary filler and unavoidable time gating.
Common consensus is that somewhere along the line, there's been some. The arguments are over just where, ranging from the theory that FFXIV 1.0 was rushed out to beat a certain popular MMO's next expansion, to claims the developer replacements were an unnecessary move to give executives a scapegoat (or a publicity stunt). The improvements made to the game after the staff replacement suggest more of the former, however.
The game was meant to have a version for the Xbox 360 as well, but the plan was cut short due to Microsoft refusing to allow cross play with the Playstation 3. This unfortunate trend has persisted into the succeeding console generation, and remains the reason the game is not available on the Xbox One, despite other recent Final Fantasy products being available for it.
Many people figured that Yugiri's race, and thus the new playable race to be introduced, would be reptilian or draconian peoples.
Except it turned out they aren't, according to Word of God, despite their more draconic appearance than anything else, they're more demonic.
Given the nature of how Achievements are named, you just knew that there were at least more than a few people who expected a "Let it go" reference in patch 2.4 (Dreams of Ice).
Ilberd being a traitor was guessed by players since the first part of "Before the Fall." Even after calling out Eline Roaille for being one.
When Lucia was introduced, people who manipulated the camera in a certain angle were able to see through her circlet and discovered that she had a third eye underneath, which would make her a Garlean. People quickly assumed that she was and when Heavensward released, Lucia reveals that she is one.
When Square started to release previews of Heavensward in March 2015, they showed off a dragon mount that could be obtained in the game. Lots of people believed that the dragon in question was Midgardsormr, who had stated in 2.5 that he would be using the Warrior of Light's blessing to strengthen himself. At the end of 3.0, Midgardsormr transforms and gains an adult dragon's body, allowing the Warrior of Light to ride him.
Nidhogg's defeat in 3.3 has the Warrior of Light and Alphinaud throw the wyrm's eyes into the abyss below the Steps of Faith so that no one can get them and would be out of harm's way. After the Warriors of Darkness watched the eyes take the plunge, people speculated that the eyes would be retrieved and used for something awful. Fast forward to patch 3.4 and the ending shows an ascian giving an Ala Mhigo rebel leader both of Nidhogg's eyes frozen in a shard of ice.
During The Rising in 2015, players were taken to the 18th Floor (a Mythology Gag to Final Fantasy IV) and got the chance to converse with Nakoi Yoshida, who noted that the next expansion was already in the planning stages and could potentially include a swimming mechanic and the long-awaited Red Mage job, leading fans to speculate that Yoshida was speaking the truth. Tokyo Fan Fest 2016 occurs, confirming both to be true.
The identity of the masked rebel leader "The Griffon" was long thought to be Ilberd, Flame General Raubahn's Evil Former Friend. Come 3.5, and Griffon was revealed to be... Ilberd. To the surprise of no one besides Alphinaud.
The female monk in the Stormblood trailer was long thought to be either Yda, or her unseen-but-alluded-to sister. Come Patch 3.56 and both camps turned out to be correct, with the woman indeed turning out to be "Yda", but combined with the revelation that the Yda players had come to know was in fact her sister Lyse pulling a Dead Person Impersonation.
Disgruntled fans that weren't happy with how the English script was handled believed that there was a "master script" or an original version of the script written by the Japanese team and that the entire English script should be written from that without any localization changes. Word of God eventually spoke up and said that a master script never existed to begin with since both the English and Japanese teams work on the script together so that they don't have too many differences between each language client.
For a long time, a lot of fans believed that the Playstation 3's limitations was the reason why the game never gotten expanded inventory space. During the April 2017 live letter, Yoshida squashed the theory by saying that the limited inventory was due to the old servers the game was running on and there was already a strain from transferring data constantly between worlds and instanced duties. The goal of the upgraded servers was to allow for more item storage and faster data transfer between servers, something that the Playstation 3 had no part in at all.
When Gosetsu was introduced, he had the build of a Roegadyn, but his face didn't have any features that his race would have, which lead to a lot of people speculating that he was half Roegadyn and half Hyur. Word of God eventually spoke up and clarified that Gosetsu is a pure Roegadyn with facial features exclusive to him due to him being an important NPC.
Lost in Translation: A certain naming issue cropped up when Labyrinth of the Ancients was being added and latter, Syrcus Tower. The Dev Team in Japan, wanting to keep the Crystal Tower dungeons true to Final Fantasy III, wanted to name the final boss of that dungeon after the character it was modeled after, namely, FFIII Titan. Problem is, there's already Titan, the Primal in game. Japan can get around this issue, with a slight change in pronunciation, using タイタン (EN pronunciation: Tie-tun) for Primal Titan, and ティターン (Greek pronunciation, and FFIII spelling: Tea-tahn) for the Labyrinth's final boss. The English, French, and Germany language localization teams aren't so lucky. Solution? Get special permission to rename the final boss to Acheron, one of the FFIII Titan's Palette Swaps. Everything was fine, until the 2.3 localization came about, and a certain issue seemed to have slipped the Japanese team minds', the full details of which, are found here, but summed up best with the following.
Fernehalwes (Michael Christopher Koji Fox), English localization lead/game world lore master: "Fast-forward to a month before patch 2.3. We get a list of the enemies slated to appear in the second leg of the Crystal Tower...and what do we see? アケローン. For those of you who donít read katakana, let me give you a hint: itís Acheron." (And he made a point to bring this up at his panel at Fan Fest, too.)
The naming issue is also referenced by an NPC within the game, stating that the name of (then) Acheron was mistranslated and has been rectified by the research team.
Astrologians aren't from Coerthas, rather, they're a specific type of scholar from the Sharlayan providence, the "Astrologians" in Coerthas suffered the same Kanji-English mistranslation as Acheron/Phlegethon. When Heavensward released, they clarified this by mentioning that Ishgardian Astrologians originally started with the art from Sharlayan, however because of their single-minded, Knight Templar obsession with the Dragonsong war, it was bastardized from an art dealing with healing and manipulating fate to purely tracking the dragon's movements via the Dragon Star.
Primal Brainwashing is another translation error. In Japanese, the word they use is sweeping and can be used to describe any form of brainwashing, but in English the term Tempering only works for being taken by Ifrit, as the act refers to fire. While they have distinguished them in English (having Ramuh's thrall be "touched", and Leviathan's "drowned"), tempered is still used as the shorthand for when the branding process isn't specifically named, and coming up with unique names and rewriting quest text around them is a bit too much work that could be spent elsewhere, meaning it's likely to remain that way.
Hiromichi Tanaka, reigning champion from his time as producer of Final Fantasy XI, returned to (among other things) cause a large part of the controversy surrounding the Anti-Poop Socking system by lying about it being in the game after it was already discovered and hours before it was announced. There was also the case of Guildleves being the main system of gaining Experience Points back in 1.0, but as that comment was made much earlier in development it may have just been an honest change in development priorities. The constant public relations disasters he caused as a result of this sort of behavior (which was much easier to document in 2010, what with a more proactive Internet fanbase and games media) significantly contributed to Tanaka's eventual ouster from the game and even the company.
To a lesser extent, when information for Heavensward was buzzing about, Michael "Fernehalwes" Koji-Fox said that the expansion wouldn't have a new dps class, but a healer one. Later in that same fan fest, he heavily alluded to a gun using class. Come the December fan fest, he showed that there was indeed a new DPS class: Machinists, and the healers he was talking about are Astrologians, an entirely new, completely unforshadowed classed. In a later Live Letter Koji admitted that when he made that statement, there really were plans for a gun-toting healer class based on the Chemist from Final Fantasy Tactics. However, there were enough problems regarding mechanics during the preliminary phase of development that they scrapped the idea and made the Machinist and Astrologian instead.
Stormblood gives us another sly, intentional version. During the first reveal of the Collector's Edition for Stormblood, it was said to include a cloth map "of Eorzea". That was true, so far as it went... but they lied by omission and didn't mention at the time that the map would also include the other two great continents, including Othard, where the other half of the expansion will take place.
Great googly moogly. While casts in other languages remained consistent, Heavensward featured a huge amount of swapping-out of the voice cast in the English version, as voice recording seems to have moved from Los Angeles to a studio in London, with the attendant local actors. This change affected major characters, too - Alphinaud, Cid, Urianger, Tataru, Raubahn, Ilberd, Hydaelyn Herself, all of them have new voice actors. The only ones who didn't get changed out were existing Ishgardian characters from 2.4 and 2.5 like Aymeric.
And then on top of this, Yugiri's second English voice actress, Sian Blake, was found murdered in her home. While she was eventually replaced again (making Yugiri the first character in XIV to suffer the trope twice, and twice in the space of one expansion), the character was conspicuously absent for much of 3.x, likely out of respect to Ms. Blake's family.
Shrug of God: The user of parsers on the PC version. Thanks to the Broken Base, no one can decide if parsers are either a helpful tool to help a DPS player get better at their rotations or if the tool is abused to exclude people for not performing optimally. The developers are a bit vague on the use of parsers, abiding by the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In other words, Square will still ban you for illegally using 3rd party add ons if it's brought to their attention, but as long as you are not using parsers to harass people, it's fair game.
With the announcement of an official add-on API for the 3.1 patch of Heavensward, it appears that Square has decided to retract their "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding parsers. The community is, naturally, split on the idea.
Throw It In: During the May 2017 Live Letter demoing some of the new features 4.0 Stormblood, Yoshida described the tale of how Paladin's Passage of Arms ability design came to be. The head of the Battle Design team walked by one of the team members desks, and saw they were playing as a paladin had added magical wings of light to the character for no apparent reason other than to look cool. When the rest of the team caught wind of it, it turned out that they liked the idea of the wings enough to turn it into an ability.
Trolling Creator: During the Live Letter in April 2017, when asked about the benchmark for Stormblood, Yoshida showed pictures of an actual bench before showing off the long requested in game benchmark.
In general, the storyline pre-Yoshida. While we never really got to see much of it due to how badly the game was rushed out the door, what ARR and Heavensward became wasn't quite the same thing as the original plan for 1.0. The big one is Bahamut - it does appear that he was always meant to be in Dalamud, but that reveal was originally planned for much later in the game's lifecycle. Dalamud getting dropped and Bahamut getting exposed has colored a fair bit of the narrative of both ARR and Heavensward.
The Rogue and Ninja classes were supposed to have been in the game, but due to the tight deadline for A Realm Reborn, the classes were scrapped. By patch 2.4, the Rogue and Ninja were implemented into the game a year later.
The Crystal Tower was originally supposed to have been very difficult for players to tackle, possibly being as hard as the Binding Coil of Bahamut. During development of the tower, the dev team decided to scale the difficulty down after realizing that 24 random players that don't know each other or how they play would most likely make the tower too difficult to have everyone be in sync with one another.
Supposedly, the Echo was supposed to be a sweeping name for a multitude of powers, of which certain main characters had different manifestations of (resistance to tempering was baseline, the PC was able to see in the past, Minfillia could see the future, some would grow stronger the more they fought, ect. ec.) but the failure of 1.0 and rush to the End of an Era content prevented them from fully fleshing it up. Upon ARR launch, the PC seemed to have every manifestation of the echo at once, and the pretense of each echo-powered individual having their own unique ability was dropped with the exception of Minfillia's ability to see the future. However, with the revelation that The Ascians' body swapping may be the echo, and Iceheart's ability to both manifest and control Shiva was definitely the echo they may slowly be re-introducing this idea.
Officially reintroduced in Patch 3.1's story. Krile mentions that the echo manifests in everyone differently, while explaining her own powers granted by the echo.
Originally, Titan was supposed to be the first primal you fight in the story and Leviathan would have been in the release story; the rushed release means they didn't make it in regardless, but scenes from this could be seen in the early trailers and the dev team was evidently scrambling to get them into the game as part of the endgame. The 2011 Earthquake-Tsunami incident made them decide that having genocidal primals wanting to wipe out humanity with, well, earthquakes and tsunamis was Too Soon, so both of them sat out Legacy entirely, Titan prominence was lessened on ARR's release, and Leviathan didn't even show up until 2.2, a full eight months after ARR came out.
According to Yoshi-P's social media accounts, the gun using class started its life as Chemist, a healer, at some point during development they scrapped the idea, turning them into DPS Machinists and creating a new healing class in the Astrologian.
And as an aside to gun-using classes, the unused Musketeer's Guild signage and location in Limsa Lominsa (housed alongisde the Marauder's Guild). Merlwyb herself even sports a pair of dueling pistols, and you frequently encounter enemy musketeers during quests in the thassalocracy's domain. Rumor has it Musketeers were intended to be a base class, advancing into a higher-tier gun-based job at 30 like the other starting options.
The Au Ra race were originally envisioned as humans with dragon features during their development and the concept art showed the race having a lot of scales and facial features that were also dragon-like. Later on, the dev team decided to change the Au Ra to be more like demons in their appearance. The change was most likely to avoid story conflict since Ishgard is at war with dragons and it would have caused issues to have player characters interacting with the story as a dragon person. That being said, the Au Ra looking like dragons is referenced in the game when an Au Ra tells the player how they were attacked by Ishgardians because the people thought the Au Ra were dragons.
The first new race in the initial planning stages were initially going to be Viera. Concept art showed that they were much more Little Bit Beastly than the ones in XII, being middle size between Lalafell and Miqo'te and having more anthropomorphic traits than just the ears and claws (and also males). While Square's mentioned they liked the concept and may have Viera later, Au Ra ultimately won out for being Heavensward's new race.
Idyllshire was originally going to be a part of the Dravaian Hinterlands, but the developers realized that the congestion from players doing quests and visiting NPCs to get end game gear would be a problem, so they made Idyllshire its own map.
The lyrics heard during the fight against Ravana was going to be quite different compared to the final version. Originally, the lyrics were going to be in the Gnath language, but then Square requested the lyrical style to be changed since the singer they found could only speak in Japanese. The songwriter change the language to Dravanian, only to be told by the higher ups that the original singer canceled at the last minute and the next singer in line could speak English. The lyrics were changed to English and became the final version heard in the game.
The progression towards obtaining an Anima weapon was possibly going to be simpler and/or easier compared to how it is now. Yoshida explained that they had to make obtaining the Anima relic a lengthier process than it was originally because the dev team wasn't happy with the low clear rates for Alexander Savage and admitted that they overtuned the fights too much with extremely tight DPS checks. Ergo, in order to make raid weapons not be completely outclassed, Anima relic weapons had to be put behind a bigger time gate in order to not totally invalidate Alexander weapons.
The Alexander raids were originally going to have three tiers of difficulty so that everyone could tackle the raid at whatever difficulty they were comfortable with. Due to the massive amount of work the devs had to put in for Heavensward and the crunch towards the deadline, they opted to scrap the third difficulty and keep the raid at normal and savage difficulties (normal for catch up gear and letting lesser skilled players see the story and savage for the more hardcore player).
In the early days of 2.0, the devs toyed with the idea of allowing free companies to capture a wandering primal and use it to summon it to battle whenever they wanted. The idea was shelved due to several technical factors that would make summoning primals an issue plus it would also cause major conflicts with the story since the player character is tasked with defeating primals before they suck up the world's aether. This concept may have been given a subtle nod at in the main story, with Unukhalai telling of how the Warriors of Light of his world using Auricite to tame Primals eventually lead to its destruction and transformation into the Void.
Yugiri was supposed to be omnipresent throughout Heavensward's plot after being reintroduced, however Real Life Writes the Plot and after the murder of her VA, the character was Put On The Bus for the vast majority of the content cycle. The Other Darrin was eventually applied to her (again) in 3.5, once the real-life criminal case had been fully settled.
In an interview with Dualshockers, Yoshida stated that he was considering making the game in native 4K resolution for the PS4 Pro but decided to make it upscaled instead. He explained that having textures appear crisp and sharp no matter how far away they are would appear fake or too perfect and that players could get motion sick since the game's frame rates wasn't quite stable at native 4K. Therefore, Yoshida prefers to keep the game as in to make the game look good in motion.
Win trading, the act of giving people guaranteed wins in quests in exchange for gil or items, was very common in the PVP section of the game, which resulted in many people getting high ranks and gear with high stats (including Morale, which is a PVP only stat) without earning them fairly. Frontlines was a second PVP mode added later on to the game and it doesn't use the Morale stat. The act of making Morale useless in Frontlines was very likely done to make sure that people who bribed their way to the top can't have the big advantage over everyone when Frontlines was released. Unfortunately, the motion also punished legit players that earned their gear and ranks for PVP.
Win carries, the act of someone carrying another player to victory while said player doesn't contribute much, were also plaguing non PVP content and allowed players to earn gear and other rewards by simply paying another player to carry them through raids and dungeons. While it wasn't the main deciding factor, Square decided to kill two birds with one stone; add an item level requirement so that players are properly prepared and prevents people from being carried through most runs with bad gear.
For the longest time, the duty finder (especially for the Labyrinth of the Ancients and Sycrus Tower raids) was plagued with withdraw spam. When everyone is queued up, a player can choose to withdraw from the duty for whatever reason they have, but it causes everyone else to be re-queued as they have to wait for a new replacement. Since there was no penalty for withdrawing after the ready window popped up, people would either troll everyone by joining and withdrawing or fish for duties that are already in progress and withdrew if they didn't get it. Patch 2.4 added a penalty system by giving anyone who withdraws 3 times when the ready window pops with a 30 minute penalty and they will get another 30 minute penalty for each withdraw after that until the next day. While the system greatly reduced trolling and in progress fishing, people who may have had a legitimate excuse for withdrawing are also punished.
The official forums worked like any other forum and Square-Enix needed people to test it in its beta stages. Naturally, people started to clog the forums with spam, flame wars, and other annoying things, prompting Square-Enix to slap down a heavy posting restriction where every user has a limited amount of posts they can make in a day based on their character's level and a 1000 character limit was also thrown in to prevent people from filling posts with text walls (though editing the initial post bypasses the limit somehow). Despite the community demanding the restrictions to be removed, it has yet to happen.
The abuse of parsers (3rd party add-ons that measures a player's DPS output) is the reason why the developers are very reluctant to make an official one. Because of people that use parers to verbally harass people with low DPS (even in content where DPS checks aren't used), just openly mentioning in the game that you use parsers puts you at risk of someone reporting you to a game master. In patch 3.2, the developers created a training ground where players can whack a dummy whose HP is based off of various raid bosses (with some adjustments due to the content being for solo play) so that people can test their skill rotations for optimal DPS performance, but it doesn't give much information other than you know you are doing good if you can break the dummy before the time limit expires.
PVP isn't quite newbie friendly due to a lot of Serious Business players flying off the handle whenever someone in the party screws up. The developers decided that in patch 3.5, all forms of chat would be disabled and the only way to communicate would be through preformed macros that take up space on the hotbars. While the developers never stated why they made such a drastic change, it is likely due to the overabundance of players being openly hostile towards others, which can drive people away from PVP completely.
Word of God: Like FFXI, the 1.0 launch game was very low on the details, such as what your Name Day and Guardian Deity were for. To get concrete info to the public, the community site had Q&A topics called "Ask The Devs". Once Yoshida took the helm, however, lines of communication became much more open, and in particular Yoshida pioneered the trend of developers at Square Enix, and in Japan more generally, running live-stream events to announce game changes, general news, and field questions. XIV's are called "Producer Letter LIVE"s and are run at regular intervals. The localization team, which is fairly plugged-in to the worldbuilding, is also active on the English forums and comes in with clarifications on the lore from time to time.