I hate doing FFXI comparisons, but in terms of gathering and crafting it's one MMORPG I feel did it very right and subsequently, very wrong, compared to modern MMO game crafting/gathering.
And it wasn't necessarily the mechanics, but the entire economy. Low level materials still had significant demand, just as much as mid and high level. As such profitability in a gathering trade was completely dependent upon knowledge of the items being gathered and current market demand, not just the level scale of the area being gathered in or mob killed for farming.
Zinc ore had a very complex demand structure, as did iron and darksteel. There were strategies to mining higher level areas with more return such as Gusgen, or you could stick to relatively safer zones for quicker as seen in Palborough. In addition, each area had a strategy to gathering profitability, and the unique trade and craft economy of the game didn't cause the lower level mines such as Palborough to become completely irrelevant for gathering once you could mine a higher level zone.
Same for mob farming drops such as beehive chips and silk. A level 1-5 mob that drops items worth saving and gathering for trade profit is extremely exciting, and it helps foster a gathering and farming metagame that is quite varied and unique.
Crafting could be tedious and I completely understand people's frustrations with it, but the overall structure of it in terms of keeping low and mid level items constant in demand was pretty fantastic. Instead of just blowing through the first 10 or 20 crafting levels by pushing a button, these steps took a bit of planning and time to execute, and thus the items necessary for synthesis were just as in demand as the higher level ones.
In terms of FFXIV, we'll see how it shapes up. If low-level botanist gathering items have no market value because of the low demand of the material's gathered, the crafting and gathering game I'm afraid will be tiresome and boring. If the only items of market value from gathers are those from level 45+ zones, I don't have any hopes of those disciplines and methods being enjoyable.
FFXIV isn't FFXI, and it will never be. But there's no reason FFXIV has to copy the uninspiring and boring crafting/gathering game from other modern MMORPGs and adhere to that structure. Take the good from the FFXI economy while improving the bad from the overall process.
Sorry for double posting, I don't use forums very often and I couldn't figure out how to edit my previous post to include this post.
You sir should immediately be placed on a jet, sent to wherever SEs headquarters are and be given a nice plushy office chair with a moogle next to it. This is exactly what is needed. And not just this type of thinking in the crafting market, but throughout the game.
Another small example, do you have ANY IDEA how brilliant the Lu Shangs fishing rod quest was??? It literally meant a lv 1 fisherman could go out and make a buck. This was absolutely genius, and it immersed the low level player into the game immediately. So many parts of the game did this. With XIV in it's previous version, there was NOTHING to immerse the player. I even maxed out my fishing level, and still couldn't make a penny because the economy was so bad.