You know... I was sitting there thinking about this last night. If I'm over at SE Japan working on this game, and I see that there is no functional party search function, the FIRST thing I'm going to do is work on this.
I'm not a programmer or anything, but COME ON. Can this issue really be that hard to tackle? There is no tweaking you have to do to classes and mobs etc... it's just a party search function. I feel like 50% on these forums are talented enough if they had 2 weeks could go over there and get something working.
I'm going to disagree here. The main thing is resources alotted - if everyone is working on a massive objective (nobody can argue that the amount of content changes in 1.19 is staggering) then this can easily have to be put off to the side.
If you were to ask the development team if:
All the stuff done in 1.19
A party search UI/feature update
Was more important - the massive overhauls to XP, battle and chocobos/airships/Caravans/Ifrit/etc. would be the responce you get.
What people forget is that - before this patch everyone knew the party search thing was useless and it needed work... but it didn't even hold a CANDLE to the amount of commentary surrounding: Chocobos, New content, Airships, all sorts of other stuff... So they fixed that stuff first.
Now, with an overhauled system, the glaring need for something better is more apparent. There's still a lot of stuff to do: Jobs, more content, more battles, massive class changes and ability changes, party search feature, mail system, etc..
Don't pretend to know what it's like being a developer coming into a crumbling game and trying to put the pieces back together. Don't doubt that party search/UI isn't on the table either - they're doing a stand up job repairing everything that's broken and this will be something that will be fixed also.