The thing is, when people look at ARR, they can't see the forest from the trees.
They define ARR as an MMORPG, first and foremost. Second, they (might) define ARR as a Final Fantasy game.
The implications from this are: 1) ARR is in direct competition with other MMO's and 2) ARR players are MMO players.
This might very well be the case. However, I have to ask you a question.
What does ARR not have that single player FF games have?
There is a strong setting with a main story supporting it, with cutscenes that already in 1.0 could compare to that of other FF's. There are side scenarios with their own cutscenes and flow. Unique characters accompany you during said stories.
There is a solid soundtrack creating an ambience for every situation be it battling or witnessing a sad scene.
The graphics are top-of-line and the art style is in line with Final Fantasy traditions.
The game is full of the series staples, moogles chocobos and summons, which all serve a major role in the game.
The world is basically a complete opposite of XIII tunnels. It is the world FF fans have been hoping for ever since PSX FF's.
The gameplay represents FF staples gameplay as well as an MMO could. GCD is basically an ATB gauge.
The game will be released on consoles, where there are millions of FF fans.
Now, with all this said - there really is little reason to put the MMO aspect of ARR ahead of the FF of ARR.
In fact, it would be far more beneficial for the game and it's players to identify the game as a Final Fantasy in an MMO setting, rather than an MMO in a Final Fantasy setting. This is not at all inaccurate, unless the game for some reason can't stand on it's own legs. However, with what was said above, I hardly see this being the case.
In the end, even if other aspects of the game end up being similar to other MMO's, no one can copy the FFness of the game. And this game has a lot of it.
Lastly, MMO's such as XI and WoW all created their playerbases out of people not having played MMO's before. FF in particular probably had a lot of people coming from the single player series to try it out. Thus to me, it is a bit silly to think that this game has to scrap its playerbase out of other MMO and XI players. As if everyone else is excluded.
SE has a huge task ahead of them, but at this point it could be said that it is mostly marketing related. There is no reason for the game to not appeal to all FF fans, once they realize that the stigma of MMO is largely unwarranted. This is a Final Fantasy game.
Edited, Feb 27th 2013 12:19pm by Hyanmen