I'm probably crazy, but I'd kind of like a Diablo II approach to cash this time around. Overall, gold was relatively unimportant in that game, but it did have its purpose in repairing your gear at NPCs, buying potions, or choosing to gamble for the chance at rare items.
On the other hand, in place of gold being the meaningful currency, it became certain items. The Stone of Jordan was a popular one, and things could wind up having a value of like 4 SoJs or whatever the playerbase had a tendency to deem appropriate for the item's usefulness. This often led to a bartering unseen in FFXI where, to a person desperate for something, an item worth 5 SoJs might actually get you something, or multiple somethings worth more than that. People enterprising and patient enough could often turn very little into a treasure trove of loot.
Of course, some will say a simple currency like gil makes life easier, but everyone feels everything is worth different amounts and too often the first to list something on the AH sets the standard (and it's usually pretty high out of greed). Sometimes the market will crash as people realize something's not that rare, but other times it only gets worse as people realize it is. Gil, on its own, does relatively little regardless of importance. Someone going a more trade-centric route could at least focus on items they can use directly while moving up the chain.
Regardless of whatever route is taken by SE, exploits will need to be stomped hard and fast. Crafting will most definitely need to be better in XIV, too. The moment some people start getting too rich is the moment those not as lucky, for whatever reason, start to suffer. If the census is suggesting your average player is making 150k a week, something that costs over a 100 million gil is a no-no. That's almost 667 weeks of play for that person if they focuses solely on that task. More literal game-controlled currency like Tabs/IN/CP/Ampoules/AP/etc. also cuts down on the strain as there is no market fluctuation to worry about. Toss in fair, random chances to shorten that journey and you'll probably wind up with happier people. I'm sure Dynamis would be a far more interesting event if you'd see a Stage 4 weapon drop for your LS every few months. Just little things in that vein.
What I meant with my example is that I prefer a system like say Salvage (difficult event, need multiple drops, need money) to show "skill and dedication" compared to Assault Points (where one can spam same easy Assault to gain points). To me, point system deals with mainly dedication than skill (though skill is involved too obviously). So I'd prefer to keep the best gear out of points system while giving points system for say "2nd best" gear instead.
Sounds more like your problem was the easier assaults gave too many points. If the skilled players could get enough points for whatever in 10 runs while the lesser skilled had to do like 25-30, would that be more to your liking? You could get 2-3 good items to their 1 in that span, but exclusivity or entitlement isn't exactly something I want to see again if it can be avoided. It's a definite poison that made XI less enjoyable for many as some went out of their way to deliberately **** over others just to prolong that snowflake status as long as possible while belittling those who aren't like them.
Then again, my take on Salvage has always been that people should walk away with one complete item after 3 weeks of running 2-3 times a week. Completing a set would translate to over 3 months of work, more than enough time for SE to create that next carrot to dangle if the player wasn't then interested in working on another set. As is, you've had some people go over a year without getting the Salvage drop they need. Though, this is more a variation of the Timesink != Challenge debate. Edited, Oct 10th 2009 4:57am by Seriha