Firstly, I'd like to say hi, I'm thedropbear. I often read the alla forums when I used to play FFXI. I never got particularly far, I mostly played mages and once I unlocked subjob the idea of going through everything again just to be accepted to a party (and even then have to wait up to hours) got too daunting. I just couldn't find the time to play that much.
Yet something has made me return to FFXI another couple of times, even knowing this would happen.
In my opinion, this is because of a few things.
1. The immersion I've felt into the world is more than any other MMO Ive played since (FFXI was my first)'. I still remember starting as a WHM taru in Windy and not knowing what the **** I was doing, but working with other newbie players to sort things out (The number of new players has declined each time I've gone back, sadly)
2. The community is probably the best I've ver seen, people working together, not just racing to endgame so you can 'pwn'each other'.
3. Despite the dated graphics, the design still holds up, compared to the generic nature of some MMOs these days. Also, the music is excellent.
So now to FFXIV
If Square can update the game so that it is more casually accessible and have improved graphics etc. They have a winner. I'm 100% certain that the immersion will be there again this time through, and really, with increased graphical and processing capabilities, it might be even better. I imagine walking through a marketplace or into a tavern that feels like a living breathing world, kinda like the concept art on the official site. *Sigh* I can only imagine.
I'm also excited for everyone to start off on the same footing again. Maybe even play on the same server as people I meet on these forums. Imagine 1000s of people hanging out in a starting area, trying to piece together how to do everything, even the smallest challenges become large again when you're doing it through for the first time.