It's funny this subject came up. This same topic is being discussed on the FFXI forums but with the exact opposite feelings. XI players (myself included) feel that SE is actually listening to their players and modifying the game to those concerns for the first time since the game was released. After a downtime during those pitiful excuses for mini-expansions, FFXI was really starting to look like a dying dog. And then things started to change...
The team previously calling the shots in XI moved to this new project called FFXIV more fulltime. FFXI got a new director and appears to have a new business model. Gone are the days (at least for now) where they developers claim to know better than their paying customers and instead replaced with things the playbase actually wants. Morale in FFXI is literally at an all-time high with the Abyssea.
If you have been gone from XI for a while, its still the same game as you remember, but much, much better. Most activities in Abyssea are actually quite similar to a lot of things in XIV. Time sinks are less painfully obvious. Unlocking and upgrading new gear is actually a lot of fun to do. Things that use to be incredibly frustrating such as camping NMs are now much more fun. In Abyssea, you are given a 90 minute time limit, so competition is lower. All the NMs for the AF3 upgrades are on 30 minute timers and can be done in small groups (3 to 8). You can warp directly all over the place and just go from NM camp to NM camp. No more staring desperately at a screen hoping to out claim 300 other people, who knows how many of them are botting.
This is just one example. Other concerns minor and major the playerbase has had for a long time, or in the case of Abyssea specific stuff, short time is being addressed. FFXI has a new team in charge and the game is better than it has ever been.
Another major concern is the amount of time looking for a party or certain jobs being excluded from parties. This has been addressed as well. Literally any job rarely has trouble finding a spot in the Abyssea alliance. Level-sync has made the lower level grouping easier and with all sorts of other updates like Fields of Valor, Signet bonuses, etc soloing is a practical option. Not to mention everything goes faster, less grinding - Abyssea parties can build up to over 600 xp a kill, with very fast battles and occasional xp bonuses of 1250 xp every few minutes with a bit of luck.
So there's my shameless plug for XI, but someone has to inform those who left long ago the true state of that game. I still plan on trying XIV, and I hope it can do well. Right now I have been less than impressedd and find myself having a lot more fun in XI. XIV just seems to have a lot of the stubborness from the developers that held XI back from being the giant it could have been and the frustration it caused its players. Can't teach an old dog new tricks I guess, and there are some old stubborn dogs that have their claws into FFXIV.
Here is a link to the thread discussing the current feel of both FFXI and FFXIV:
[link= http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=128422475337963346&page=1] http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=10&mid=128422475337963346&page=1