I must say, as a vetran FFXI player from a few years ago, I wasn't very impressed with FFXIV to begin with. Eyecandy aside, I saw rehashed character and mob models with slight tweaks here and there with new names...
Now, that I've said that, I'm starting to get more excited about the release.
I remember a great number of years in FFXI. But one of the issues I had with S.E. was they seemed indifferent to their population base. Rather it was from soloability, to relics, to <insert mass compaint here>. I took a number of years before they even tackled the gillsellers (I started close to its release). Only after the economy was in shambles did they bring on the task force. Another issue was S.E. didn't want FFXI to become to mainstream (which they had said). The shear amount of effort to accomplish anything in FFXI was very rewarding and very frustrating sometimes. Getting access to Sky could be a several month ordeal if you didn't have an LS or friend base to static with.
I kinda see the same S.E. stances here in the early part. I know a lot will change. No doubt. But, I think S.E. is still interested in keeping their core player base small in the sameway as FFXI.
System Specifications: From a P.C. point of view, designing a MMO that is based on heafty system requirements is going to limit their player base on the outset. I understand their reasoning - to design a game that will age well. But, I feel they have went from one end of the spectrum to the other. I have a new laptop (yes, i know therein lies my problem - my video card is my bottle neck) that meets all the requirements except the vcard, and I barely hit 1300 on the benchmark.
Why design a game that only a few of the upper end pc's can run? Could S.E. design a game that could be ran by at least mid-range pc's that could still stand the weathering effects of time?
I have a PS3 also. And since I can't upgrade a laptop V-card, I'm stuck to the PS3 @ 720p. when it comes out. Which isn't very appealing.
This leaves me hoping for a more optimized FFXIV that will run on an Intel Core2 Quad Q9000, with 6gigs of ram and a... (insert vomit here) ATI Mobility 1ghz 4650 V-card - because wrastling the T.V. from a wife and two sons will not be possible.