I'm going to pick apart your article if you don't mind. Nothing personal, I just have a few gripes (mainly a difference of opinion).
The market wards will be fixed and fitted with search functions, but in a way that preserves this unique approach to facilitating a player-based economy.
Unique =/= good. Honestly, there really isn't anything unique about this bazaar style market, other than the complete and total failure in regards to usability. For a game that focuses so heavily on a user controlled economy, the lack of the most basic of features, a search function, is puzzling.
The cluttered user interface will be simplified.
Maybe I'm just reading this wrong but the UI isn't cluttered, it's clunky. The UI is actually very minimalistic in its design. The problem is the hierarchy of menus and submenus required for the most basic of functions.
These are fixes to short-term problems that players desperately needed to hear.
Notorious monsters will be added in guildleves and open areas.
Seasonal events are on the way.
These aren't fixes to problem, they're content additions. While appreciated, SE needs to focus on the issues first.
Which is why the extension of the 30-day free trial was so clutch. Although nobody typed the words “I’m sorry” into the update notes, this extension of free play is nothing short of an apology. And not only is Square Enix apologizing for the state of its game, but the company is acknowledging just how incomplete the game really was. This isn’t just lip service, folks; Square Enix is putting its money where its mouth is.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
This isn't an apology, not even close. It's a company keeping themselves afloat while they try patching the massive leaks.
Once the trial expires, customers have to make a decision as to whether or not to cancel. Being you work for a major MMO fansite, you know as well as I do that games rarely recover once all their customers bail. As long as customers don't have to pay a sub fee yet, they have no reason to cancel, giving SE more time to fix things before the player base leaves in droves.
It’s an unprecedented move by a gaming company that has long been accused of intentionally ignoring the needs of its most dedicated fans.
Losing a months worth of subs or losing the majority of its players. Not exactly a self-sacrificing decision. The fact that they thought it was necessary speaks a lot about the state of the game. Especially from a company that has no qualms about cutting customers from its folds for apparently no reason and without so much as a good-bye.
The game has incredibly unique questing and leveling systems,
Again, unique =/= good. It's a nice change of pace, but nothing that's going to revolutionize the industry.
and the crafting and gathering systems appear ready-made to thwart RMT.
It's not going to stop RMT, merely slow it down temporarily. The problem is that once RMT does get around it, the players are still going to be forced to endure it. While some may find it enjoyable, I doubt anyone other than the most extreme of masochists will enjoy it after 200+ hours.
A fine line exists between security and usability. These minigames have completely trampled that line, then continued marching for a few miles. Other games use similar systems, but at least those company's made an attempt to make them enjoyable. I love crafting, but after a few minutes of the hot/cold gathering game, I was ready to shoot myself.
Some players want to see these upcoming improvements be implemented before granting their trust to Square Enix. I’m going to give SE the benefit of the doubt and predict they will make the majority of these changes on schedule, and that anything not fixed as planned will be patched soon after.
Actions speak louder than words, and many of those skeptical players have heard promise after promise from MMO companys in the past. Will they fix it, I'm sure they will. On schedule, unlikely. It goes against the very nature of this type of programming. The current state of the game is a perfect example.
As long as the developers keep talking -- and listening -- I have a feeling this game will be just fine.
Talk will only settle a few, it's action that's needed. As long as they keep their promises, they should be good. If they miss a major deadline before the extra month is up, they won't get a third chance.