Oddly enough, thanks to this disaster that has kept us all from playing for over a week, I can safely say that I actually miss it despite it's myriad flaws. I agree it's a very beautiful game, and even with the rampant mapy-pasta that was done it still has quite a few hidden gems that I've discovered trying to get all the various camps and nodes unlocked. Some of them require getting past terrifying aggro though, or are seriously out of the way, but if you look to the maps and go to places with writing in eorzean on it, you usually aren't disappointed. (though some, like the shrine in thanalan, are anything but apparent unless you search for caves or tunnels that lead to special areas.) Things like the big white oak tree on an island surrounded by shallow water (and deadly monsters!), glowing softly with a green light, make it a treat for the eyes, and small details like a surprise dragonfly flying around in mor dhona make it even better. They even paid attention to how you perceive light when going from a dark building to bright outdoors, being momentarily blinded by bright light that fades to a more comfortable level, like your eyes are adjusting.
And the UI has been improving with each update as well. When I first started months ago I remember being frustrated at trying to sell all the useless brass earrings I had made to an NPC, and having it constantly glitch out and take forever. When the update came that made it streamlined I was so happy! And each update has brought further improvements to where the user interface feels intuitive for the most part, with promises of fixing the rest coming up and top priority.
I'll admit it's in need of a lot of work, but I think that with time it will make even FFXI look drab in comparison. Of course, no one likes waiting, but Yoshi-P and team seem dedicated to bringing updates on a timeframe that makes me wonder where they all were when I was playing FFXI. :D Maybe he killed them all and turned the dev team into untiring zombies?
My main beef really is lack of quests with real stories, like those FFXI has, and a boring battle system that has a few gems in it. Both of these, however, are right up there with the UI in being top fixes, and some quests have appeared! ...Sorta. They don't really have any real story to them, just kill X amount of monster for an item, but it's a start. And having done almost every single quest in windurst, bastok, jeuno, and a large portion of them in the rest of the areas, I can safely say that FFXI was just as bad for its first quests, and the older the game was, the better the quests got, starting from the boring old "get me 2 bat wings" "get a flint stone" quests that FFXI began with, to the hilarious "three men in a closet" of ToAU, to WotG and its plethora of epic quests. I'm sure very soon we'll be seeing some real drastic changes for the better as the first of the major content updates are polished and released.
In the meantime, I'm making all the gil I can make and hoarding it so I'll be a rich highlander for life! \o.o/