The battle system wont change as drastically as people may think, there is just no way - its not as if they built two completely different battle systems for a game this big just so they could try them during alpha/beta phase...no way. Personally, if they speed it up, maybe a nudge, I'd be ok with it but the speed its at atm isn't so bad..It just wont become a button masher as many MMOs are nowadays.
You have no way of knowing that. FOr all you know, they *did* completely abolish their established combat system from *alpha* builds and decided to go a different route. It wouldn't be the first MMO to do so and it won't be the last. Things happen, things, change, and perhaps it simply isn't shaping out to be exactly like they want and they'll scrap it. Perhaps they'll simply shorten the duration of the ATB "global" timer so that commands can be inputted more quickly.
But frankly that's unknown, and until the round of A2/B1 starts, no one will. For all we know, they're getting massive pressure from "The Big Boys" once it's been seen how the majority of players in alpha and those seeing it second hand from alpha via leaks don't like how slow it is. The *best* comparison I've seen is from someone that managed to kill mobs an area over with as minimal lag as possible, and it still was, at best, as "fast" as FFXI.
This whole "strategy" vs. "speed" debate is overdone and completely false. Having lead raids/alliances in FFXI, EQ, EQII, and in WoW, the ONLY thing that a slower combat pace does is give people time to let their minds wander. In theory, the idea that the pauses between your auto-swings (95% of your combat in FFXI, be brutally honest) gives you a chance to plan out an attack. In reality, there's nothing to "plan" and that time is spent with people thinking about other things outside of the game and does nothing but spell distraction.
When it was announced they were going to do away with auto-attack and every command would have to be inputted manually, I immediately thought of Age of Conan and how utterly *horrible* it is there. So far, the combat in FFXIV is the same as Age of Conan; it's clunky, it's slow, and it's not really fun. Combined with a non-working mouse + keyboard control scheme it's frankly not enjoyable at all.
Personally? FFXI is too slow, WoW is too frantic. I want something in between, and as it stands right now, the pace of FFXIV isn't that. That and it seems to borrow from FFXI's absolutely sh*tty hate system so far (yes, I know it's an alpha). Edited, May 28th 2010 7:25am by StrijderVechter