At this point, server populations are a terrible judge of FFXIV's longevity. First off we have a new producer who is apparently considering "drastic changes" that the population cannot predict. Secondly many people who played during beta or release canceled their accounts but are willing to come back given some much needed content...
If you want indicators of FFXIV's potential longevity you have to dig deeper than population numbers. Keep up with SE press releases, game updates, and player opinions as these are currently far more valuable than the number of active accounts. Population numbers are just too volatile right now to be a legitimate "game health" gauge.
Good points. If we accept all your assumptions, any prospective player would be foolish to join this game at this stage. Again, accepting your assumptions, a player who currently invests time and effort leveling their character would be foolish because of the impending "drastic changes".
Granted, I'm having fun and I enjoy watching my gil grow into the upper millions
, but I feel bad for the OCD crafting drones and other people who, again, if we accept your assumptions, may watch all of that hard work disappear into nothing.
But this seriously derails the topic of this thread, which is, does anybody have any solid empirical data regarding server populations? I'm not one to stick my head in the sand and demand that I not be given information and demand that I remain ignorant.