I make this post with the hope that someone could give objective answers...
When I play XIV, I want:
1) a good storyline: is this comparable to XI? I really liked the dialogues and the general feeling when doing missions/Q's
2) good questing: although the story behind the Q was usually nice in XI, most of the times the Q's themselves were just plain horrible. Deliver this or that or walk there and talk to this or that NPC. No thx...
3) Good rewards when doing the Q and missions: do we get EXP for missions/q's, EXP that is worthwhile? And nice money? Do you also get worthwhile items from the longer Q's?
4) A fluent combat system: I read that you have to chain attacks now and that there is no longer auto attack, which is good imo, AA is so boring. So is the action fastpaced? I really don't feel like doing something and then waiting another 2-3s before doing something else, which was basically the function of melee in XI and I would want to play a marauder.
5) A better economy than in XI: speak for itself, XI was just ABSURD with al the RMT'n stuff and greedy ppl... I don't blame ppl for being greedy in XI, the game mechanics are just like that: it's either a good item or something that really doesn't even compare to it... (like how long did it take before peacock charm FINALLY had something equal, chivalrous chain? and still 5acc less...)
6) Question related to 5...: Are gears still THIS important in XIV? If so, how are they acquired? Through absurd methods like in XI?
Ty for your time
1. I've never played FFXI, so I can't say that I can compare to it. However, with the reduced SP gain required to get a class to Rank 30, it'll be easier and quicker to get to do the R10/R15/R20/R26/R30 Storyline quests than before. Class quests are available at R20, and depending on your job, will currently progress to R30/R36 or R30/40. Storyline wise the main quest is ok, but times required to travel to areas to talk to NPCs or fight are still long and arduous due to the absence of Chocobos. Anima may be used to teleport to certain areas, however.
2. Questing is limited to the above class quests and the Guildleve system implemented. Standard Combat/Gathering (Regional) Guildleves are of the "Talk to NPC to Collect - > Go to Area to Initiate - > Complete objective - > Obtain Reward" type.
Upon completion of a Regional Guildleve, a Faction will award you Credits towards obtaining certain Faction Guildleves. These Leves involve NPCs to talk to, who, depending on the faction leve chosen, will either follow you or stay in a certain spot to outline your objectives. With the latest patch implementing Notrious Monsters, new Faction Leves are now offered as a 'mini-storyline' of three leves to be completed in order to fight a certain NM.
Crafting (Local) Guildleves are similar to the above, except that you have to craft an item and then go to an NPC to deliver your goods. A maximum of 8 Local and 8 Regional Leves may be undertaken every 36 hours.
3. Rewards for your Leves depends on the Rank of the offered Leve and (in some cases) your rank. Upon reaching Rank 20 in any Disciple of War/Disciple of Magic (Combat) or Disciple of Land (Gathering) class, Guildleves offering Guild Marks for your class will become available. Other than Guild Marks, Leves will generally reward Gil, while some Leves may offer Gil and Equips. The reward system is random, with some Leves offering substantially less monetary reward than others.
4. Combat can be fast or slow, depending on the way you look at things. Since there is no auto-attack, SE have instead implemented a Stamina bar, which will continually refill, but most actions you use in battle (Normal Attacks, Magic, Most Weapon Skills) will take a portion of your Stamina Bar. So you may waste all your Stamina with a flurry of normal attacks to build up TP, then activate your Weapon Skills as your Stamina bar will allow you. Or fight the way you want to :-) In general however, combat is fast paced, and when you have a 15 person party fighting and casting all around you, it's a joy to look at.
An extra part of the combat system, Battle Regimens, was recently fixed in a patch and some people have utilized this as an extra source of Debuffing/Damage.
5. While I can't vouch for whether there are any RMTs in FFXIV, the economy is relatively stable. Before the Item Search feature, however, people were constantly complaining about the time needed to find items and the pain of finding it in someone's Bazaar only to find they were selling it for a ridiculous price. The Item Search has probably allowed prices to stabilize and allowed people not only far easier access to goods, but players the opportunity to price match and be competitive, even if only by cutting prices slightly.
6. With the Armory system in place in FFXIV, you may equip any piece of gear even if you're Rank 1. However, SE have implemented an Optimal Rank for items, meaning that statistics are reduced for wearing gear above your rank, and, particularly with over-ranked weapons and tools, durability of said items will decrease far greater than if you equipped yourself with appropriately ranked gear. That said, the market is ripe with gear aplenty, and it shouldn't be particularly hard to get gear that's right for you, and at a good price.
It would also be in your best interests to sign up to at least one active linkshell once you join a server - not only will this fill your chat log and let you socialize, but getting certain things done is far easier :-) I hope I've helped in assisting your decision :p