I know it's just a pipe dream, but I really wish people would stop wanting FFXIV to be FFXI-2.
Statements like these are a straw man. Nobody wanted FFXI-2 -- even after seven years, there were still things about FFXI that were badly designed and made little sense, and that everyone was happy to be rid of. What people wanted was for SE to remember what they learned in FFXI and keep the good stuff, not tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Change is worthwhile only when it's improvement
Or did you really think that it was a step forward not to have inventory sorting?
Alternative methods of character advancement other than grinding are a good
thing, because otherwise you're left with only grinding. FFXI's problem in this regard wasn't that having to earn your spells or weaponskills or gear was un-fun, it's that it was unfair
. Some jobs had to do too much (especially the mage jobs early in the game's life), and others had to do almost nothing. But that's a problem with the execution, not with the idea.
Getting every spell for a Blue Mage was challenging (and a little too arbitrary), but still great fun. Questing teleports for White Mage, or Warp for Black Mage, was pretty cool. Even earning gil to get that "required" piece of gear or spell was often a nice break from leveling, with a satisfying feeling of lateral progression. when I started playing FFXI, going through the 50's was fun, and something people really looked forward to, because AF gear was waiting, with some (at the time) challenging quests to earn valuable gear. Even though some of them were worthless, plenty of people diligently collected quested weaponskills like they were Pokémon, because it was fun and a nice way to permanently add things to your character.
FFXIV has a little of this with Guild Mark abilities, but it could use a lot more. Right now, you grind to improve, and that's it. If having enough gil is apparently not going to be a challenge in FFIV, then the game needs to give us interesting quests or other challenges that have rewards in terms of character advancement.