I just wanted to extend my thanks for this thread, as it's given me a bit of insight as to the growing populations.
I have decided for myself to begin the magic of FFXIV - I have held off since the moment I heard things weren't going so hot... I didn't want to get a sour taste in my mouth from the start. However, I'm pretty sure I am bringing my boyfriend and close friend into this.
Personally, I like to find a decent population, so that I can find a party or group of people who want to go do something. However, I can deal with a somewhat lower population, because I have a lot of patience and remember what it was like in FFXI to find parties in certain level ranges (if a static wasn't available). I plan to do a lot of crafting, and if I could help it I'd be maxed out in all crafts before I really get into ranking up disciplines of magic and war! My boyfriend, however, does not share this same zeal and lust for the game, and my friend is quite the work horse but would be entirely new to the FF Online experience. I will likely be able to shape my play schedule around their playing interests, however I want them to have little to no trouble in accomplishing what it is they want when they're online (being crowded isn't an issue - I don't want to bring them into a ghost town).
But....... as any good boy should, I would like to assist with bringing one of the lower population servers up to an enjoyable crowd density.
With all of this in mind... can anybody recommend a server that isn't a complete ghost town that could use a little love with server population? I logged onto Figaro last night, deleted that character and logged onto Saronia... and the differences were pretty extreme. I chose Uldah as my starting town in both situations. It just feels like there was a really big disparity, and I'm afraid to ride only one chocobo, but don't want to spoil the three chocobo worlds. :P