FFXI has a leaves type system with far less restrictions in place and you get buffs from signet to aid in killing lower mobs. You can solo and make daily progress in FFXI without sitting around just lfg, FFXIV is no better than FFXI in that regard.
It's fairly clear you have a certain opinion which precludes any other opinions from existing. Now, having played FFXI from NA release until recently, I have no idea at all where you're coming up with this notion that FFXI was solo friendly. Field of Valor was not released until well into the downward spiral that game took; and it was a very poor attempt to add solo/small group content. I can't recall a single day of game play where anyone praised FoV as a fabulous replacement, or even a complement, to the nauseating task of sitting in a poorly textured forest zone outside of Whitegate for hours, upon hours, of hitting mosquito's until you saw 100%.
FFXIV is far from perfect, very far. It has performance issues, it has lag issues, it has lockout timers that make no sense at all; but in all that - I don't really care. I prefer sitting down for a play session and being able to immerse myself in the game world - go anywhere, do anything. I enjoy the fact that I get to run around this world on my schedule; do a few quests, level to get to the next mission CS, talk with friends in LS, yet never having the feeling that I should be focusing on my min/max to hopefully one day be lucky enough to accumulate enough points on someones spreadsheet so that I may roll on a pixelated item.
For me, the last sentence summed up FFXI; for you, maybe it was different. For me, FFXIV is a quick breath of somewhat less semi-stale air; maybe it's intolerable for you. They're two games made by the exact same people, this can be both good and bad. SE has never been known as a company to learn from its mistakes, in fact it's known as a company that continually makes the same mistakes over and over and over again. It's really a miracle they're still in business when you think about it. FFXIV is barely one month old, SE knows there's problems with it - that's why we were all given an additional free month. If, after two free months of game play, you find yourself not liking it - unsubscribe, uninstall, get some hdd space back and carry on with your life.
Far too many people waste far too much time sitting on forums defending their right to spam their opinion as fact and argue for the sake of arguing. Get over yourself, you're not as entertaining as you think you are. Play the game and enjoy it, or save yourself the hassle and play something else you enjoy.