Warning: I tend to ramble...
Personally, I'm having fun.
I left back before any of the major updates, so a lot of this is new to me. The game experience is much more streamlined (no split physical/class levels, dealing with assigning attributes, less ingredients needed for crafting, somewhat more clear on what armor you should be using). There are plenty of quests and things to keep me busy, as well as the much ballyhooed chocobos and airships to help with getting around.
I honestly don't get the criticism about the leves. Grinding is grinding, and while it's no WoW (which is what I think of when someone says grinding with story attached) with the addition of xp chains and more mobs to boost reg partying, I really don't see how this system is any worse than FFXI.
The communication could use some work. While I don't really miss the random arguments over random +2 or shout wars between Paultards, I think the game could really benefit from some kind of global channel system like in WoW. For now I'd suggest just walking up to someone if you can find them and ask to be invited to their linkshell. I imagine most people would be more than happy to help if it means one more person sticking around and contributing to FFXIV's potential success.
I'm not one of those people who consider no auctionhouse as a non-starter, and the wards, IMO, are at a place where they work. With the search function, the only thing that really distinguishes them from an (pre-FFXI completely linked) auction house is that you have to go and grab the item once you search for it, and that there's no price history- which hasn't really bothered me, but then I haven't had a long grocery list of things to buy. Also, at least on Trabia, if you want to buy anything you pretty much have to go to the Ul'Dah market wards, as no one really uses the other two. Again not that bad considering the cities are now just a near-instant airship ride (and an instant teleport) away from each other.
I've also noticed some problems with targeting. I don't know if it's just a lack of familiarity of the controls on my part or an actual problem, but I'm confident that with all the work they are putting into the battle system that it will get sorted out in due time.
Full disclosure: I have 2 rl people I play with, and when I left I was rank 20 with 1 mil gil and a couple of crafts to complement my archer, so I can't truly speak to what it would be like for a brand new player. But all and all, I'd say give it a shot if you've already purchased the game or can find it cheap. My biggest advice would be to approach this as a work-in-progress, an extended beta if you will (whether it should be or not is another argument entirely, the reality is the reality).
The game looks amazing and I it would be a shame if it were to go under. I think anyone who hasn't played in awhile will be pleasantly surprised. The game is different, not "complete" yet, but playable and definitely way better then when it started.
Edited, Oct 9th 2011 3:48pm by Redyoshi