I know currently that the game is on life support, many people have left for one reason or another. Server populations are down, and there are quiet a few things wrong with the core mechanics. Party SP is pretty bad, lack of content for some people, and repetitive levequests that takes place of the normal xp grind. Yet there are many positives to this game, that I think make it great.
First of all the graphics are amazing, I don't feel like I'm playing a cartoon like game. The detail that the developers have put in place, along with the physics. Hair moves while running, when you run through a zone you can see your foot prints make an impact on the ground. You can actually see the rings, earrings, necklaces a persons character might have equipped. The emote animations are more detailed, and their are so many of them. The fact that the developers have taken the time to even make the sky rotate in the night sky.
Crafting has so much depth to it, when you craft an item, you have direct control of the outcome of the results. You have a main tool and an off hand tool that will yield different results. Different colored materials making the same type of armor, only with different color schemes. None of the animations are the same, you can see an Armorer pounding away on an anvil, or a carpenter using a giant chocobotail saw to tame a piece of wood, shaping it into something important. You aren't restricted to leveling all crafts to 60, and then only having 40 more levels to distribute to what ever craft you might chose to take up. Guildmarks allowing you to further customize your crafting skills, with armor that actually makes it easier to craft.
The market system in the world of Eorzea makes it much more dynamic and realistic. Finding an item in someones bazaar, and checking other retainers for possible better prices finally put the market back in control to the players, rather then the monster of economy. If I take the time to work within the confines of the market wards system I can succeed. Doing the leg work makes me feel more accomplished with what I purchase and what I sell. I've already made 11 million gil after 3 months of the game being launched. I feel like I am in direct control of the fortunes I can amass.
Fighting is at a much slower pace, but rather than having my character auto-attack, I tell it when to attack and what to do. I have control of how I attune my character to battle, no longer do I feel the need to be cookie-cutter just to progress anywhere on the battlefield. Instead of having sub jobs, I can equip most abilities on any of my fighting classes, further allowing me to be different, and making sure that there aren't 300 others playing my same class with my same abilities. Rapid kill tactics have been replaced by class specialization, and player skill and I love it. When I make a mistake, engaging a monster that I didn't realize was to strong for me, no longer do I lose experience, but am still allowed to learn from my experience.
Traveling to different regions now just takes one person, myself. I do not need to level a class that can teleport, because all characters can teleport. I can explore the world at my pace, and the way I want. The zones are just beautiful, gorgeous, and scary all at the same time. The attention to detail for the world of Eorzea lets me know someone really does care about how it all looks.
The community is top notch, the people I have met, and come to know are some of the best I have ever come across. Shout spam is almost none-existent. People helping out others, not because they have to, but because they want to. Often I see playful banter in the main cities, and out in the wild there are always adventurers I come across willing to help a fellow player in whatever I might need.
The game developers listen to what we the player base wants. Never have I seen a game go from what it was at launch to what it is currently. The user interface has seen vast improvements, we have received a second storage character, and the new content that is being added, helps alleviate some of the monotony of the daily grind. We have received what was promised to us by the developers, and the open communication policy from the development team makes my hopes soar on the likelihood of a game that has long term survival. Thick and thin I am in it for the long haul, and I do have to say kudos to the developers, as well as the players that have stuck it out the last 3 months.
Because this game is just awesome-sauce.
Edited, Dec 22nd 2010 7:19pm by Technolust