Short answer is that it is nothing like XI. Among many other things, I think a small part of why the launch of XIV didn't go very well is because people came in expecting it to be XI-2. You know how you HAD to form parties to level up in XI? In 14, you pretty much solo until atleast level 20. After that, you level other classes or solo further until you hear a shout in the city to join a grind party. As of now, grind parties are by far the fastest way to level up now, but depending on your server, the shouts for parties are fairly few and far between. Up until this last patch, any level could equip any piece of armor. The last patch released equipment with a required level instead of an optimal level. This brings it slightly closer to giving you that feeling of accomplishment when you equip a new piece of armor. Basically, think of the two games as black and white. They aren't very similar in anything other than the name. Check out other threads for other comparisons or just ask more questions about the more specific things you are wanting to know. If you do choose to play this game, join a link shell as soon as possible. The game gets awfully lonely without one.