I thought this would be a good place to write a semi-editorial on the overall state of the Final Fantasy franchise, and how Final Fantasy XIV fits into that collection, so here goes....
The Final Fantasy series has been both a leader in innovation AND has stayed true to its roots throughout the series evolution. The stories have primarily been the same (small band of rebels saves the world from evil master), there have been chocobos, white magic, black magic, and Cid. Lately we've seen a growing trend from Square-Enix to take the venerable franchise and push the boundaries even further. The crystal chronicles series has eliminated the deep storylines for random dungeon crawling (and the Crystal Bearers takes the series into action adventure territory). Final Fantasy XI took the series into the MMO market, but retained a deep storyline and traditional jobs much like earlier titles. Final Fantasy XII brought in the addition of character AI routines and a free-flow battle system heavily modified from FFXI's. And now we have Final Fantasy XIII, which continues the evolutionary trend, eliminating the need to heal your party after battles, eliminating MP all together, and taking a whole new approach to summons as ridable vehicles.
So what does Final Fantasy XIV bring to the series? One word: Hope.
As a huge fan of the series, i see Final Fantasy XIV as a chance to restore the traditional Final Fantasy values into the series. Yes, Final Fantasy XIII has summons, a deep story, chocobos, and a guy named Cid, but beyond that the mechanics of the game do not feel like the Final Fantasy I and many of you grew up with. Final Fantasy XIV, however, brings in a class system, a classic evil empire, and many other Final Fantasy staples while bringing back the original feel to the earlier games. While we definitely need more details, I can say that I am looking more forward to Final Fantasy XIV than I am to XIII, not because it's an MMO, but because it FEELS more like a Final Fantasy title to me.
Does anyone else share this sentiment of Hope that this game could restore the series to the more traditional setting that the series is known for?