A game emerging indeed!
One of the aspects that contribute greatly to the "incomplete" feel the game had for me for awhile, was the fact that there really was nothing to do after a few days/weeks of being 50 the first time, beyond ranking a new job. You could quite literally kill every NM (pre-patch) in a day, and duh-dum-pish- you've experienced all the content you can with that particular job providing you've done your job/story quests when they opened up.
With the new sidequests, NM's, and gear I personally am back to that old XI feeling of knowing there are things I can go do to break up the monotony of grinding, be it DoW,DoH or DoL. I really feel good knowing there's stuff I sitting around for me to do that isn't directly related to ranking up, or getting abilities for that ranking up process.
There was something about everything in-game revolving around ranking up whatever job you were currently doing that made me feel chained down. Now I have sidequests I haven't done yet, a few NM'sI haven't gotten to, NM's I can go back to for gear I don't have yet, etc.
While you would think a backlog of things you haven't gotten to yet would make you feel behind the eight-ball ala FFXI, it's actually quite liberating in XIV.
I would say the revitalization of Ezorea has really taken a big step forward with this last patch. I can't wait to see what's in store for us as the year continues to unfold.
The sidequests are a necessary step in the right direction, I hope they keep expanding on them. I'm still having trouble getting over the lag of the interface, although it is better. The game is still frustrating without it, but the latency just magnifies those problems. The fact that they haven't been able to completely fix that problem (only work to make it less noticeable) is a bit troublesome. I'd hope that they'd be able to fix it completely rather than continue to slap band-aids on it to tighten it up.
I've just recently reinstalled the game so I lost what few macros I had. I basically don't want to change classes from LNC anymore because of how annoying and slow it is to switch gear manually. I'm sure I'd have more to do if I was willing to jump on DoH once I had downtime, but I just can't motivate myself to do that work yet. I guess part of the problem is that I still see DoH as work rather than fun (or at least entertaining enough to warrant spending time on it). I wasn't even that big of a fan of FFXI's crafting system and I still miss the lack
of involvement. It gave me time to chat with people. For what it's worth, that's the same issue I have with a fair number of aspects of the game (the lack of auto-attack being another big problem for me). The game demands a bit TOO much involvement and user interaction on a constant basis - it leads to quicker mental fatigue and leaves less room for the primary selling point of any MMO, communication with other people.
DoH compromise: A toggle between automatic and manual crafting modes? Automatic would be for straight production of NQ materials, give you the same or slightly lower success rates, but require no user input. Basically an autopilot. If you wanted to work at HQ material you'd have to change to the manual mode and be more careful about the crafting method. Edited, May 9th 2011 3:46pm by bsphil