Final Fantasy XIV is ramping up its preparations for beta testing A Realm Reborn and has laid out a roadmap for its progression toward relaunch. The Final Fantasy XIV website will begin taking beta applications in January, and the beta will commence in mid-February. The beta will take part in four phases with short debugging periods between them.
The main goals of the beta test are to rebalance level progression, the battle system, and crafting; to refine the user interface; to test the importing of characters from version 1.0; to stress test the servers; and to report and fix bugs.
Legacy status holders and Final Fantasy XIV account holders are automatically included in the beta, while other interested parties need to apply.
[Thanks to Segun for the tip!]