XIV Terminology you'll want to know for this post.
Seventh Umbral Era - The era that is to take place after the events of the Meteor crash, and the small in-game events that took place before that.
Louisoix - An old sage who in the 1.0 version was a major NPC involved with fighting the primals (summons) of Final Fantasy XIV. Dies in the final meteor impact while using the twelve to attempt to seal Bahamut. Uses a spell from one of the twelve in order to send surviving adventurers to the future where they would be safe.
Dalamud - Eorzea's lesser artificial moon. It is summoned closer by the enemy Garlean Empire. Every patch leading to the meteor impact, it would grow larger in the sky. Bahamut cracks out of this in the meteor impact (below)
The Twelve - The Twelve gods of Eorzea. Summoned by the players with /pray in the final 1.0 mission in order to try to rid Dalamud from impact. Used by Louisoix to attempt to seal Bahamut away with the players' help. Fails when it's shattered free. Louisoix uses the power of "Althyk the Keeper" the Eorzean god of space and time to transport everyone to the future before being killed by Megaflare. The Twelve are gods, do not confuse with primals (the in-game XIV summons.) They are not the same, summoning the twelve can cause doom/chaos and is only left to important NPCs.
On midnight on Sunday, November 11th, the original version of Final Fantasy XIV went down in anticipation for the re-launch of the game, titled "A Realm Reborn".
Here is the in-game justification of the impact, as said by Final Fantasy XIV developers themselves.
"A Realm Reborn" is going to include new class/job See: Arcanist // See: Summoner a redesigned user-interface with tutorials, a new storyline explaining the post-apocolypse. Redesigned towns (meteor was the in-game justification for the change of zones). And a battle system overhaul that includes Limit Breaks, new spells and attributes, and a free company-summoning system (different than Summoner job to where the company summons can summon the primal at its full unleashed power.)
Here is a video of the re-designed Gridania, which in my opinion, was the worst off area out of them all. (And I say that with love. Sort of. That is my home.)
Here are some final pictures we took on the few days before impact. The last one being 5 minutes before meteor hit. :)
Did you know?
The final boss of 1.0 (Nael Van Darnus) gets the power of meteor in his second form. His ultimate move is Megaflare. Should have been a good hint about Bahamut coming.
Dalamud and Bahamut sound similar, and have the vowels in the same parts of the word.
Some comments/questions I've been getting regarding relaunch:
Character data is not wiped. If you had a character in 1.0 and quit, you will be able to come back in ARR with your character. In fact, you will get a one-time chance to freely change your character look/race/gender/name with the new customization options they have given.
For people that stuck around in the hard times, they get a permanent discount of $9.99/month as opposed to people who will come back or join at PS3 release who will pay the standard rate of $12.99/month.
The alpha version will be coming out worldwide on November 26, 2012. They're about two months behind roadmap schedule, so the full version of the game should hit around March 2013.