I never played FFXI. I didn't want to get a credit card just for a mmorpg (why don't they take Discover?), I balked at the price tag to get in and the notion of a monthly fee, and the depth of the game when I looked at wikis was intimidating. And now it really seems too late to jump in and I read it's dreadful for soloing. I recently got my feet wet with Mabinogi, which is a nice little game with some good people, but I'm paying more than I would for FFXI and I'd really rather be playing a Final Fantasy game. FFXIV seems like a good place to get in, but I'm not sure what to expect.
Mabinogi is more of an action game with rpg elements, like a Legend of Zelda or Brave Fencer Musashi. The combat is largely about learning the pattern of actions to defeat monsters or reading theirs and countering appropriately. Unfortunately a lot of the game involves being perfect or the monsters kill you in one hit. Lag lately has caused me a great deal of frustration, and I'm not looking for more of that.
I read FF12 was supposed to be more like an online game in terms of how you play it. I really liked setting my characters' gambits and watching the results. I've read in FFXI you basically run up to enemies and automatically attack them, but manually throw in abilities as appropriate. That sounds similar, but I wanted to ask any of you who have played both how they compare.
I also liked the grind in games like Disgaea and was wondering if that made me a kook or in the right place.