I just meant to humorously point out sometimes capricious playerbase -- many people wished that their job could solo, but if anyone can solo well, they usually don't party. Personally, I think that FFXI post-Field of Valour found a proper median: I could get decent exp soloing at my own pace, but a huge amount in a good party.
I agree with what you said about FFXIV, I think that they really made things too easy with regard to soloing; or maybe not too easy, but at least too rewarding. Additionally, I've actually said before what you're saying about the jobs' similarities; I tried a few levels of every class in beta and finished thinking, "It feels like I played only one class."
As you said at the end of your post, so do I echo. FFXIV does need drastic changes, and it certainly does need them quickly.
(SE needs to realise that they have an eight-year-old blueprint called FFXI that they can use to help them straighten things out, things like class uniqueness, menu construction, and economy, to name a few.)
If there was content that couldn't be done solo, well duh, the player base would get together and group up.
Those were the best parts of FFXI.
Guildleves are killing that.
IF Guildleves provided awesome armor/weapons and showed that in the description, for each star ranking then people would group like nobody's business...5 star leve that gives some Poison Cesti, sign me up!
Plus if the story or "Rank" missions required a group you'd see more of that too.
I'm sure endgame will be grouping, but even now I really don't even know.
In FFXI I started with no real responsibilities (well, college) in life and had time to LFG and party all day. When I started working and had a fiancé as well as other hobbies I solo'ed mostly with a DRG and grouped when I could. Then the grind was too much even with FoVs. Yet it was still light years ahead from release.
Like you I was assuming that SE would use all of what they learned from FFXI and apply that toward FFXIV. SE had an AWESOME basis for a party system and search, and yet they throw all that out the window for what it a very very broken party search system.
All SE had to do was use FFXI party system and make soloing an actual viable choice. OR just make parting easier by being lax on the level and class restrictions.
When you take that into consideration it looks as though that's what SE is thinking
about doing but just haven't got around to it yet.
Lastly, if FFXIV doesn't fix the party system, then I guess SE was
looking for a WoW clone after all. Solo, maybe Duo all the way to cap, then grind dungeons and gear at endgame.
Either way, SE really is the rubik's cube of developers, and I suck at trying to figure out rubik's cubes.