Just started on the trial a few days ago. Already have 3 30s and having a blast. The game will always hold a certain charm for me.
My only word of warning is I (along with many others) probably look at XI with rose coloured glasses. Objectively, it hasn't aged very well... the UI sucks, the graphics are dated (though the art style is great), and combat can be slow at times... I guess my biggest problem overall with the game is/has always been the amount of gear one is "required" to have in order to be a "good" player. In a lot of cases we're talking about stuff that's 5% better of what's commonly available... but if you don't have it people (in my experience) people will look down on you/exclude you from events.
So my approach this time around is different, just playing the game to have fun and progress through the upcoming expansion. Bottom line is that there will always be better gear so there's no sense in stressing over getting that extra 1%... as long as I can get the story stuff done I'm fine.
And that's really where the strength of XI is: the story. Fantastic, engaging, and complex a lot of the plot lines give the best FFs a run for their money. If I had to rank the stories of what I completed prior to quitting the first time I'd say: CoP, ToAU, WoTG, Zilart, and the default. SoA (the new one) looks promising, hence why I returned.
For a new player there's 10 years of content to get through. You're not going to find better value for your $40 entry/$15 a month, especially if this is all new. If you decide to dive in I suggest you grab the Seekers of Aldouin Complete Edition-- all expansions and the new one for $40 (plus 30 days of free playtime).
The community is by far the best of any MMO I've ever played to date. People are friendly and helpful for the most part, and very welcoming of newbies. I think the entrenched player base understands that without new players the game/community gets stagnant.
Oh, and I just started on Ragnarok... the name is Onionpunch so look me up (you can't send /tells when on trial though). Same goes for anyone on here!! I can't believe how many new people I've seen running around in the past few days.
So my advice is take it slow and enjoy the game for the things that have aged well, like the music, the atmosphere, the story, and the people. Also... make sure you run the game through the Windower program-- it allows you to tweak the graphics through the registry quite easily, and has some great add-ons. Also... google is your friend when it comes to the finer details of improving the gfx.
Hope to see you in Vanadiel. :)
I might be an onion thief, but I'm still a thief.™