One of the things I have been quietly speculating about FFXIV ever since they said leveling wont be a part of the game is that you would instead be leveling your guild by doing all kinds of quests. And in the mean time as you did that you would gain skills that would permanently upgrade your character much like Ultima Online. So the best of both worlds, Open Sandbox MMO, with Hardcore level grinding to improve your guild.
I think this approach makes allot of sense since it allows you to solo to your hearts content but you would always be thinking about your guild when you did. The more you do the more you benefit your guild the stronger everyone gets and the more resources it will have. Its a fantastic way to make a group environment even though you can solo as much as you want. You would still be contributing.
I guess the only time a system like this would suck is if you were ever kicked from your guild. Well anyway I notice sometimes that before a new MMO comes out you can often learn what to watch for because Blizzard tends to be very reflexive. Warhammer online introduced the concept of large scale PVP in a modern MMO setting and I believe Blizzard Wasted little time in beating them to the punch with lake WinterGrasp.
Well if you take a look at this link and scroll down a bit. Cataclysm is expecting, guess what, a guild leveling system of sorts.
The bonuses for leveling your guild seem closer to the guild leveling in Warhammer. Perhaps this is a late feature or they didn't see it as necessary until now.
Now I realize this is just a bunch of speculation however I bet you that Cataclysm will be Blizzards answer to counter FFXIV. To bad Blizzard never bothered to add a Campaign system to WoW for I would enjoy that very much lol...
edit: Also, An open Sandbox MMO like Ultima Online with a really intricate, versatile, guild leveling system would be an extremely fresh experience. It would be quite an amazing thing to see in action.
Edited, Dec 23rd 2009 2:24pm by thorazinekizzez