I think the key isn't so much that FFXIV nails the MMO features, they're all more or less the same. What they need to nail is the blending of MMO with Final Fantasy. If they get that right, they'll get the audience they want, naysayers be damned.
No. They need to show that they took their fans seriously this time. By the end of Beta for 1.0, virtually no one was happy with the game. It crashed and burned. A lot of people are going to go out of their way not to get burned again by SE.
If you think simply fixing what was wrong with 1.0 is going to fix the franchise, you're kidding yourself. Way too many people were not only upset at 1.0, but VERY upset at SE for releasing such a game AND for telling everyone that it would be great. This only got worse after everyone in beta said, "Hey, if you release this game, its going to bomb. And bomb badly."
There is very little trust in SE at the moment. And frankly, I don't blame anyone that doesn't trust them. They need to get that back AND release a better than average MMO that keeps true to what Final Fantasy is. I wish them luck on this. It'll take something of a miracle to get all three of those things in the bag.
@OP: Really depends how you want to define failure. It'll never be as well liked as WoW. It'll never have 10 million players. So, if that's what you're looking for, then no, it'll fail. If you're looking for a niche game with a small but very loyal fan base, then yeah, it'll do well. I'm guessing it won't do well enough with just subscriptions, though. Like most other MMOs, I strongly suspect it'll go the F2P route. Hopefully SE is smart enough not to make it P2W. Time will tell.
I think Yoshi P is a better project manager than Tanaka was. Tanaka was an excellent game developer for his time, but he was hidebound and too old fashioned to pull off an MMO. (FFXI succeeded despite Tanaka, not because of him.) Yoshi P may not have the experience under his belt that Tanaka did, but look where all that experience got us with 1.0.
To be fair, FFXI was made during the height of "camp mobs for the bext exp hour" game play that was so prevalent back then. Tanaka did a fine job of taking that method and applying it to the FF franchise. It wasn't until WoW showed how it could be done differently and still get a player base that this style of MMO was tossed out the door. Edited, Feb 27th 2013 2:02am by Caia