If XIV is a new and improved version of Xi with a few twists i would be incredibly excited, here's why.
I joined FFXI about 2 months after NA release, it was my first MMO, and from the time i first logged in i felt like i was in that world. The way SE immersed you into the game is nothing like any other game has done for me. I hope in some way they keep this trait in XIV.
After about a year, and getting to 61BLM, 49DRK, and a bunch of jobs in the 30's i moved onto *gasp*.... WoW. While i never reached end-game content i really wished i had stayed and saw what it was like. I tried to get my account back but, alas it was gone forever and return home to vana'diel did not work for me.
I started over from scratch 2 times, but it never felt the same, the people i had known from my first ls's, and friends i had made had moved on as well. The game felt very different after coming back after being gone a fer years, and is why i still am currently sitting in WoW, waiting for XIV, not to make the same mistake i did in XI.
In general i hope they make a game as good as a XI was, and be able to meet the kind of people i did while in XI. As long as there is a sense of community, and a world to get immersed in, i will enjoy it... and as long as its no "too" science fictiony.
Sounds just like me really. I started FFXI on its first day and I loved it! The world was so beautiful and I loved exploring it, the first time I saw the waterfall in Gustaberg I was like o______O I quit when my exams came around though, I never had the time to get parties n stuff so I saw it as a waste of money, I started up WoW instead.
I've never gone back to FFXI, well I tried to once when my account was still there but as you said it just wasn't the same, so with that I deleted the character. /sniff was hard to do. My linkshell friends had all found new ones or quit and the economy had gotten worse.
Playing WoW isn't anything like FFXI though, I don't get the same feel of accomplishment from it, its too easy for me. I hope that with them making FFXIV soloable they don't make it as easy as WoW is.