This game is pretty dead.
Which is your standard of a dead game? Are you even playing? This bold statement without argument is just useless and serves no prupose. Log in the game and you will see that even Melmond, a not so crowded server is far from empty. New people are coming and some are coming back.
Just because there are still people playing it doesn't mean it's thriving.
It also does not mean that the game is dead. It has greatly improved upon the few patches we've seen and many more are to come.
SE and the FF franchise will always have a following and those who do stick around will probably always try and make the case that FF is a 'niche' series and they're glad it's not popular. I'm not sure it's fair to call them all fanboys though since probably half of them would have quit(or better, not even started) or will as soon as it moves from F2P.
That is what I mean by FF is special. the game engine is very different than most of the other MMOs. I'm sticking around and I personally do not care if it's popular or not. I'm playing it because it is now enjoyable to me since they fixed so many annoying issues/bugs.
The fact remains that this game is still not enjoyable by the standards of the majority of today's gamers.
A game is enjoyable not by any standards of any kind but because of the joyce/pleasure/relaxation and whatever is the feeling that makes you feel you enjoy it. Enjoyment is by definition a feeling and cannot be standardized. I enjoy it, a lot of people I know enjoy it and a lot of people I do not know enjoy it too.
Early release or not, it comes down to how playable and enjoyable a game is now versus the other available options.
Which is exactly why a lot of us are playing it, because it is more enjoyable and more than playable enough than other available options. Again, it is a matter of personnal feelings and it is not because so many other MMOs have so much more to offer than we HAVE to go play something else. I stopped playing F2P MMOs because they are more free2play, pay2enjoy (specially when some pvp is considered), I do not want to play WoW type of MMOs because the type of graphics/playability is not what I like.
The longer it takes to get this game to that state, the more competition you have from older games that are improving like WoW and newer games that are being released soon that are more refined like Rift or GW.
It is going to be in that state for many people (if not already) sooner than you think obvisouly. I watched Rift videos and it is not what I'm looking for in a MMOs. Maybe I'm just getting old and those new released MMOs are just not what I like compared to a good old FF and it's storylines and quiet pace.
Not going to play the entitlement role, but the potential that anyone who has ever played this game(whether in alpha, open beta or currently) should have seen in this project doesn't really inspire anything else but disappointment.
Well currently, it is not a disappointment to most of us playing now, talking about alpha and beta now makes no more sense as it has evolve so much since then.
We all know it will take a lot of work, but we should all also be able to see just how amazing this could have been. This is the same reason you have people who are still coming back to check in on the status and state of the game. Some happen to be more perceptive of the reality of the situation than others...
Not only could have been but how amazing it will be ;-). And indeed some are more perceptive about the reality of the situation and human beings to be more accurate.