You can give an item that's unique/un-tradeable to another party member if it's in your loot pool. I know this for sure because I was helping LS members get the Loyalist's Bliaud (which is unique/un-tradeable) from Downy and the item landed in my loot pool. I was able to select the item from my loot pool and give directly to the party member that needed it.
Unfortunately I agree this system can be confusing and unintuitive to someone who doesn't know about it so I guess just be sure your party members realize this ahead of time when going after rare loot, especially newer players. It would obviously suck if someone decided to go AFK right after the loot drop without realizing that the item is sitting in their loot pool...
Edited, Jul 23rd 2011 2:23pm by zpanda
Yea I noticed that this seems to be the way it is now even in solo play. There is a loot pool, and you have x amount of time to give it to someone else. Strange in solo play that things don't just drop, but I guess they thought this would be a good idea.
I don't think that the FFXI system was abused nearly as much as people claim. There was the occasional jerk and loud threads were made over them, but the ratio of jerks to parties that went on over the years with no problems is so trivial that I don't even know why people bring it up as if it was a major exploit.
Some things are still too cumbersome - this is one of them - but as they keep testing and playing it themselves I'm sure they will get just as annoyed as we are and it will go away.