NOTE: Like it says in the next paragraph, I'm ex FFXI and have been since mid 2006. Some of this may be out of date.
As an ex FFXI player, now on WoW, who's seen FFXIV, it seems promising. I've always liked FFXI's job system, and insofar as WoW has any problems being stuck on the one job per character was a problem.
And being able to switch jobs just by switching weapons/implements seems brilliant - you now don't even have to go to the mog house/equivalent.
But FFXI, now I've seen the alternative, seems sadistic in places. XP penalties should have gone the way of the dodo a long time ago - you shouldn't lose progress simply because you dared face a tougher monster than usual and lost (or worse, accidentally aggroed something).
And group play is great if you can get a group. Got bad memories of waiting around in Jeuno for hours, and I wasn't even a Dragoon (they got well and truly sh*t by Square Enix on when I was playing).
So, what I'd like to see in FFXIV:
- The job system - this is good and should transfer over.
- No XP penalty - don't penalise people for curiousity/exploring/accidents. By all means make some small charge (armor damage a la WoW?).
- If not no XP Penalty, /No/ Delevelling - That's just pitilessly saidistic, especially if you end up nude cos your armor/weapons no longer fit.
- Solo Play - Cos believe it or not people would rather be enjoying the game than sitting idle in (insert name of central city).
- Customisable Interface and Alt-Tab - The inability to switch to other programs without coming out of FFXI, and the lack of a customisable interface aren't something a late noughties/early 2010s mmorpg can get away with.
- More PVP, But Consensual - Not really my cup of tea is PVP, but some people like it and that quite a big chunk of people. However, being killed while trying to do other stuff is not good.
- Anti-Grind - Reward should be for hard and intelligent effort, not just for killing crabs for hours on end [li]Accessible Economy - Everyone should be able to progress with only a small amount of effort made to get money. Being forced to earn and then spend millions on Ochiudo's Kote is not the way forward.[/i]
If all this sounds like I want FFXIV to be a clone of WoW, yes and no.
No, I'd prefer it to be better, and dropping FFXI's flaws (face facts people, 11 million people versus 500,000 well and truly says what the market favours) while keeping good things like the job system will make it better.
Yes, I would like it to have the accessibility of WoW, because it'd be a shame if Square Enix knocked out another online FF that had issues (or - cos fair enough I played it on and off from 2003 to 2006 - more issues than other mmorpgs).
I don't get off on waiting in safe areas just cos I can't find five other people who want to kill crabs. Neither do all the other people in those 11 million who used to be on FFXI.
But Square Enix know this. They'd be pretty daft and ill prepared if they didn't. They see which way the market is going, otherwise Blue Mage wouldn't have been as soloable as it is.
I just hope they keep all the market forces in mind when designing the next MMORPG. If only they'd done it right the first time, WoW might never have risen to the heights it did, and I'd now be running Dynamis every Saturday.