I was on FFXI last in May 2012. It is good for someone who has a character made and established gear, levels, combat skill, and basic knowledge of the game, the old game, and combining all that ability and knowledge to understand and adapt to the way the game is played now. A new player from ZERO will either 1) be left in the dust and ignored, being left to figure crap out alone and never getting old stuff done that, imo, was fun. Nation Missions, ZM, CoP!. or 2) you will get a good linkshell and super level to 90 with no combat skill and become a level ***** until you realize there is more to the new game than before and you will either 2a)get help with atmas and gear or 2b) realize that no one cares about anyone other than their select friends and you will get shafted with a crap combat skill no gear having noob character.
FFXI is not as much fun as it was, anymore. You will be able to level really fast but your Combat Skill will suck and you will have no gear. Not that you can't get by but when you realize that you need WHM, BLM, WAR, NIN, MNK with skills leveled you will quickly turn into a Combat Skill grinder which is HORRIBLE or you will get stuck playing with other noobs that don't care about you and suck anyway. I was doing a mission with a PLD/NIN that had no shadow spells, they 100% evade attacks, and had no skills. I was a BLM and beat the mission for him when he should have been able to protect me while I pick off monsters. Instead I was soloing, one mob at a time, resting after each one, while he died and lay dead for 30min when it should have taken 8.
FFXI is not as much fun as I think FFXIV would be for a new player.
FFXIV is newer than FFXIV 1.0. You will soon have FFXIV 2.0 and you will also have a bunch of new players joining you or who have recently started too. There is a VET player base but there is an equally noobish level base to match it. Not to mention ALL the people who just got here, like you, or the ones that will get here come early next year. I would say come join us in FFXIV. If you get the urge to play FFXI next summer, when you can buy everything for $10, Id say give it a try then.
WELCOME to FFXIV:ARR!