Pretty sure theres a big thread on this already,
But ya why are we constantly comparing this game to someting from 8 years ago. Alot of things were crap in 2002 compared to the 2010 version, cell phones, cars, T.V.'s, mp3 players,...w/e The point is in 2010 you would think a big publisher would have figured a few things out. Just because FFXI was full of problems and void of content doesn't mean it's perfectly acceptable for FFXIV to be the same way.
The funny thing with your post is that you talked about hardware, yes cell phones, mp3 players, TVs etc are better now but software (which ffxiv is) hasnt changed, what I mean is no matter how good a programmer you are every program the size of a MMO will have problems maybe a slight typo in the code or missing lines which make bugs. Now heres the funny thing you try to fix a bug and your fix can cause conflicts else where in the code so you need to change more of the code to fix the conflicts which cause more errors which need fixing, and possibly more errors, I take it you get the point now.
If you keep your origanal theroy of things being crap in 2002 and better in 2010 lets go to somthing more relevent to software shall we, MS office 2003 (closest I could get to 2002) was nice, you could find what you wanted and it worked, MS office 2007/2010 if you grew up with 2003 format 2007/2010 is awful, you cant find anything and it seems like its alot less stable than 2003.
What about windows xp from 2003 and windows vista which was better, my point is what you listed is just getting electrons to move through metal better basicly, software is typing alot of the time millions of lines of code, I can safely say ffxiv will have over 1 million lines of code, which the smallest typo can prevent the whole program working, this year at university I have been doing PHP when I miss 1 semi colon the website doesnt work, that sort of thing will never change with software unless we take the human error out of the equasion (sp?).
This is what people cant comprihend, most ppl who flame the game, complain about bugs whatever, they have probably never touched programming code before.
Also you are bringing hardware in as well with MMOs in the form of servers, too much load on the servers can cause programming errors as well (i know with the amount of ppl rage quitting this prolly isnt the case) mainly because of how thw priorities are set on servers, so less resources go to the program so more ppl can log on.
What people were expecting from xiv is that it would be xi-2, no matter how many ppl said it wouldnt be th fact that ppl dont like it is bc they dont like change, ffxiv is loads differant from any MMO with manual attacking etc which is change which ppl dont like, everyone likes things to be familiar to what there used to.
long story short, You cant say "well hardware is alot better now than in 2002, so ffxiv should be" mainly because of the human error.