You know, I never played the beta.
I played FFXI for a few months, it was nice, but real-life caught up and I quit, never made it that far.
I realized XIV was going to be released about a week before it actually came out, I had been reading the occasional thing here and there about it, and when I realized it was going to be released, went on a journey through the net to find out all I could. I watched youtube videos out the yin yang and read forum posts of all types.
The consensus seemed to be that SE was doing a unique beta, one in which they kept all the story line except for a small few teaser quests from their players, so as not to spoil anything, and on release everyone would be amazed at the story, because look at the few story quests we've got to try so far. This genuinely excited the **** out of me. I watched more youtube videos to see what the story quests were like, and the flames of hype were further doused with gas.
On launch day I ventured to TWELVE different stores to find a collectors edition for me AND my wife. We logged in, and played for a bit. The UI was really slow (probably just launch day I figured), it was as clunky as I remembered XI being, so that was expected and I didn't care. The collectors edition teased us with beautiful box art hinting at some awesome story between a villain dressed in black and the a god-like white figure, an epic struggle perhaps, typical single-player final fantasy fare, every preview kept exclaiming how they were trying to make things easier and less grindy for players, the damned thing even came with a journal to record our adventures in (something my wife actually got excited about and did, for the 3 days she played).
Then as I set upon the forums to find out what laid in store for us, we realized, there was nothing to look forward to. There was just as little content now at level 10 as there would be at level 50. There was no epic over-arching story I was a part of, with a well set and defined villain slowly taking over the world, or warring kingdoms, or **** even air ship battles or chocobos like the trailer teased. There were 3 or 4 area maps, a lot of farm animals, and horrible "go here, kill this" quests, with a smattering of fluff story every 5-10 levels.
I wanted desperately to like this game, and I feel almost a personal vendetta against the hammer defenders I see here still defending this bug-ridden, empty piece of **** game. It was you fan boys who lead me to buy this game. If you had said during beta "It will be a year before we get decent story content", I wouldn't have glanced at it for two seconds. And yet here you are, all the talk of content at release long-forgotten, already preaching about the next "milestone" you collectively make up, hoping that this time your predictions will come true. If the game had a story like any other final fantasy game I've played (6-13), I could forgive every single bug and lag issue, without hesitation.
The bottom line is, this game is a horrible empty shell. It's a sand box with no sand. What could there possibly be to like in this game, that you couldn't find in any other MMO on the market today? Any other MMO has crafting, grinding mobs, and repetitive quests that say "go here and kill this", only most MMOs today offer a little more than that. You defend because you have trouble coping with your own buyer's remorse, it's painful to admit to yourselves you've been tricked, I understand that feeling, for we are one in the same.