I'm sure my opinion isn't popular, but in reality it's time...actually past it. FFXI has pretty much had its run, and it's time to call it a day. No doubt there will remain a handful of dedicated players who stay on those merged servers, but it will never be the same.
In fact, FFXI hasn't been the same for over a year now. I'm not entirely sure how or where things changed, but it's notably a different vibe in the game than it used to be. No longer is there a sense of community, generosity and camraderie as there once was. Yes, we all still have friends and linkshells that we commiserate and share adventures with. Yet, for most of us, even those environments are not the same.
Even those players who swear they'll stand by FFXI until the servers shutdown realize that a change is necessary. The perfect time frame to release FFXIV would be at the end of 2009, but as we all know, that won't happen. WoTG will be finished, likely the last mini-xpac will be released and then one question will be in the forefront of every player's mind: What's left?
Although SE stated that content will continue, they never claimed to be releasing another expansion beyond WoTG. In general, FFXI will likely only continue to receive job adjustments, items and the odd fix here and there after Christmas. Pending any mind-blowing, unexpected news about FFXI during TGS in September, the game is essentially stagnant after this year. Many 'sources' believe FFXIII and FFXIV will be the primary focus, as well as beta information soon after TGS.
While the primary reason to play any game should always be for fun, it's not terribly exciting to know that the 'big' stuff is soon over with, in a game we've come to cherish despite its myriad of flaws. That's why we need FFXIV sooner, rather than later.