See I have no problems with an EXP chain system, that was always fun. I wouldn't say its elitist at all, it makes grinding more fun and challenges you to do better in a party environment. Yes I've had good pugs, bad pugs, friend exp pt's, and ls exp pt's in XI. Its a portion of the content but it was fun when things went well, and every chain reset we tried harder to beat our last chain.
Its not the system it was some of the players who we exp chains ****'s, no chain 100 ***** you! i'm out, type of mentality. That's a party to party problem not a weakness of the way the exp system was designed. I wouldn't mind seeing something like that back, i would welcome it.
What you might be overlooking is that in FFXI, for the longest time the grind was the game. It wasn't until ToAU that SE finally started to get their head out and look around and realize that gating everything and doling it out in little bits and pieces between massive grinds was ridiculous. Sure, by all means, throw in bonuses to make people forget that they're doing the exact same thing over and over again for hours upon hours before moving on to somewhere else to do the exact same thing over and over again for hours upon hours (only different mobs and different zones!). That was the game.
Now we're into second (third?) generation MMOs with well over a decade of watching the genre evolve. If SE were to implement SP chains, that would suggest very strongly to me that they never feel they're going to have enough real content to keep people interested. When I first read about levequests I was picturing things in line with what other MMOs do where certain levequests unlock certain related levequests and it becomes more a journey than a grind. We see just the tiniest bit of that concept in faction leves now where you do the ones available to you for a particular rank and then you show up at the next reset and there are three more new ones. And the connection between the ones you already did and the new ones in tenuous at best.
In other games, when I'm involved in group content while leveling up I'm not looking at my xp bar. I'm involved in the content. I'm having fun (unless the group is full of drooling yokels, but that's beside the point). And then when it's over and I look at my xp bar, there's all this xp I didn't have at the start. I didn't need bonus this or increased that or any of that crap because I was enjoying the process of playing the game. When the best the devs have to offer is bonuses to SP because there's **** all else to do, they've missed the boat.
SE says the recognize that a significant shortcoming in the game right now is a lack of content and I'm counting on them to follow through on providing that content in abundance and in relatively short order because MMOs built around monotonous grinds went out of style years ago.