What you fail to realize, is that this game was made for fans of Final Fantasy, not Everquest, UO, and many other groundbreaking MMOs (guess where WoW stole most of their ideas...)
The irony is thick. First of all, Final Fantasy XI is as much or more of a descendant of EQ as WoW is. WoW is actually just a much more progressive version of EQ while FFXI was a sideways evolution. Different class structure, but same delicious camping and grinding. Second, EQ was really little more than a graphical revamp of DIKU MUD. There's nothing revolutionary about it apart from having 3D graphics.
Second, what you have to realize is that there are tens of millions of fans of Final Fantasy (the series, not the single MMO) who are going to feel the exact same way that the OP does, assuming they even try the game. Most of the WoW players you look down on probably play or have played Final Fantasy in at least one iteration. If they're confused or frustrated by FFXIV, it's got nothing to do with not liking or not understanding Final Fantasy and every thing to do with the design of FFXIV itself.
****, I remember the joy of Cecil and Ceres and Umaro and Kefka and all those other wonderful SNES final fantasy characters, and that doesn't in any way negate the issues with FFXIV. There are a lot of things I would tolerate back then that I won't tolerate now, because while the SNES might have been awesome at the time, it's pathetic by today's standards. I mean, I can run a SNES emulator and a PS-1 emulator on my smart phone while I talk on the phone and the thing doesn't miss a beat. When my PHONE can run circles around those games, you know they don't form a basis for reasonable comparison to a modern MMO.
Even in the console versions of Final Fantasy, when you die, there's at least some sort of feedback about what to do. It may seem laughable that some one can't figure out how to go into the menu and select "Return" but that's actually not that intuitive. Even in FFXI you're prompted to return to your home point. People WILL die, and then WILL sit there staring at the screen trying to figure out what they're supposed to do, and it will **** them off to not know. It's a complain that seems silly but will actually matter at release. The OP brings up many examples that may seem trivial to you, but they're the basic sorts of things that people take for granted and simply expect to find in a real, professionally made game.
Now if you like FFXIV just fine the way it is, then that's your opinion and that's fine. Will you still feel fine though if a year from now they scale back or halt development on the game because only 50,000 or 100,000 people play it? Because it's one thing to say "I don't care if FFXIV competes with WoW for numbers" and quite another to say "Square Enix isn't going to support FFXIV any more because it can't even pay the cost of its own development." It's baffling to me just how much time and money has gone into making the game look and sound great, and how little has gone into the details that make a game fun to play. Some body has to pay for that stuff before S-E invests even more, and if barely any one is playing then it's going to take a long time to reach that point, if ever.
Is S-E going to fix a lot of these issues eventually? Yes, probably they will. Is any one going to give the game a second chance, six months from now if they hate it at release? Probably not. By then, stuff like The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2 will be on the horizon and the appeal of playing an "old" game simply never matches up to the appeal of a new one. Edited, Sep 5th 2010 12:13am by KarlHungis