I find it interesting that there is one thread talking about how much a time sink grinding is, and another talking about how the new Power Leveling is taking away from the game...
From my perspective it would appear that no direction taken at this point would satisfy.
As for level content, there is the new dungeon (which from what I have talked about with people in the game) which appears to be rather fun. Personally haven't had the time to go there.
The new Beastman camps (much smaller then I expected), are pretty fun, but yeah, that's high level content.
There is the fact that now you can duo in Totorak. There are the NMs, there are quite a few quests for new players to delve into at a low level, that offer some insight into the game, and can be soloed, and provide experience (not only in the mobs but in the act of completing the quests). Their are company leves, and just the act of joining a company.
From a new player perspective, this game easily has enough content that can be mixed in with leveling from scratch, and getting to know new people, and not be bored. However, it seems that this is missed somewhere. The training leves introduce much of the game mechanics, the quests show many of the areas that are level appropriate (they seem to be pretty good about that).
There is even growing Linkshell interaction, and I have seen populations increase and people happily talking to each other.
Power Leveling is available for people who just want to jump in. But this only works with Melee/Mage classes that I am aware of, if you want to craft or gather, you still have to stick it out, and dig through those levels.
All and all, the game is starting to take shape.
I can't think of a single MMO where there isn't a grind fest involved in leveling. Where there isn't some sort of character development, getting your abilities, drugging through levels, and what not.
I would be curious to hear of one that isn't. Even FFXI and WoW have level grinding. Yes, the speed in which you grind has been highly exaggerated over the years, but the newer the game, typically the slower the grind, the older the game gets, the faster the grind.
And since 50 is not meant as the be-all end-all level in this game, I don't even see the complication or issue at this point as you can really level at your own pace.
Is the desire to have quests that give you several thousand Exp so that you never have to see a mob? Or should it be that you walk up to a mob and it drops dead so you can get the xp and keep going? Exp per kill is kind of a main-stay for RPGs, and there are points where you need to stop, and kill the roses. While, I do agree, this game is not complete by any stretch, we are now to the point where people are starting to talk about other things, like what are good materia to meld, who has a crafting job high enough, how did you get that double attack materia... Things like that, where now there are goals to get (like a Vintage Kite Shield with +80 HP, +20 Vit, Increased Block Rate, + Def, +Eva)... What I wouldn't give for that shield:). Or a sword that has double attack, Acc+, Att+, Str+, Dex+, and/or all of the above.