Understandably, some confusion may be drawn from the process you must go through to use the FFXI Test Server. This thread is meant to alleviate that confusion.
I. Applying for Tester Status
Before you can use the test server, you must first apply. The application may be found at the following page: Test Server Application Form
*Note: You may experience problems with the application process if you do not log out then log back in to your Square Enix account via the forums. I also recommend that you clear your cookies/cache.
The application process is fairly straight forward. Just choose which character you wish to apply with, (to select a character, click the "star" in the upper left corner of that character's bar), and away you go. You will not be able to change this character later, so be sure to use one that you really want. Please note, there are requirements for application:
-You must have at least one level 90 job.
-You must have every expansion and add-on scenario registered to your account.
-You must be using the new billing system.
II. Downloading and Installing the Test Server Client
Pending your successful application into the test server, you will be required to manually download and install a special, separate client to access it. The download links for the files you will need are here (I recommend using one of the Download Managers that Flionheart has linked to in the first post below this one to download these files):
1) Download the 4 zip files for your region
2) Extract the four files to a temporary folder of your choice, separately.
3) Run the setup.exe from the A11203W_001 or U11204W_001 zip
4) When the installation is complete, navigate to the installation folder for the Final Fantasy XI Test Client (C:\Program Files(x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\Final Fantasy XI Test Client) and move the files contained inside of the ffxi folder generated by the other 3 zip files into the Test Client folder. Be sure that you're moving ALL of the files from EVERY folder labelled as "ffxi". Overwrite any files that you are prompted to overwrite.
III. Accessing the Test Server
Now that you've got your client installed, it's time to get down to the crux of it all. Open PlayOnline normally, (note that Windower will NOT work at this time), and log in. When you reach the FFXI splash screen, you'll notice a button labelled "Play on Test Server," click this button. When the game launches you'll find the character that you applied with on the character select screen.
IV. Once You're In
Now that you're in, you get to play around a bit before you start your testing. When you enter your mog house you'll notice two visitors to your abode that aren't normally around.
This moogle functions just like a normal porter moogle.
=Test= Moogle GM
This is the fun one. Using this moogle you can augment your character in most of the ways that you've always wanted to.
-Change Parameters: This option will allow you to access several others, including editing your main job level (enter a number between 1 and 95 and it will set your job level accordingly), resetting your JA timers, obtaining merit points (this will automatically max out your merit points, allowing you to spend them in any way you wish), the ability to learn all spells and rolls as well as gain access to every puppetmaster attatchment, and the ability to unlock every job and support job.
-Teleport to key locations: This does exactly what it says it does. It will allow you to teleport to every major city/town as well as every outpost.
-Warp to home point: Warps you to your home point.
-Receive items: This one is slightly buggy in the English versions of the client. Each category offers you what they say they do, however, in order to access the list that you want, you'll have to click on the option above it. This is due to a known bug in the client. For instance, to access the "Weapons" list, you'll have to click on "Select an item category."
-Obtain 100,000,000 gil: Gives you 100,000,000gil.
There doesn't appear to be any limit to this moogle's functions per character, so go to town!
V. Changing Your Graphics Settings
Rather than playing FFXI for the Magnavox Odyssey, let's go ahead and fix your resolution and switch to windowed mode, along with other tweaks. More advanced users have already found the registry for the test client, but odds are they aren't using this guide to begin with, so I'll assume you aren't one of those people.
For you guys, we'll use the FFXI Config Tool. You can not use the same config tool that you normally use for FFXI to tamper with your Test Client settings. The Test Client adds a brand new Config tool for your perusal, located in your Test Client directory. (C:\Program Files(x86)\PlayOnline\SquareEnix\Final Fantasy XI Test Client\ToolsUS(or EU if you're from EU!)\FFXI Config)
The settings are the same as they are for the normal game, so go nuts. The only important ones are the background and overlay resolutions, as well as turning windowed mode on or off. The rest is personal preference, and there's already a fine guide for graphics on FFXIclopedia.
Questions that are asked will be put here.
Hopefully that helps people out, and gets rid of any confusion there may have been pertaining to the usage of the test server. Feel free to ask any questions.