Now let me tell you what you had to do EVERY single fight in XI...
For early soloing, that's easy.
Step 1: Auto Attack
Step 2: Wait
Be fair, that's all you're generally doing anyway since most abilities in FFXI have 2-5 minute recasts. If you're a Ninja or Dancer, sure you're a little bit more busy but generally you auto-attack and wait for a bar to fill. I don't even bother mentioning casters because unless you like stabbing yourself in the stomach with rusty knives it's easier to just deal with a melee class you can stomach when it comes to random killing of things.
People try to herald FFXI as some mythical titan of combat when it was nothing more than "SWING AT THIS MOB UNTIL THIS BAR FILLS THEN PUSH THIS BUTTON! APPLY GEAR SWAPS FOR MAXIMUM EFFECTIVENESS AND SUM MOAR BUTTONS TO MAKE YOU THINK YOU'RE BUSY!".
Plus, anyone that mentions "spamming abilities like XXXX or YYYY" MMO generally aren't worth listening to because they're people that never played any class/job well at all anyway if that's all they did.
As far as what I've played of the beta so far, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. Combat is simple enough starting off that the newcomer isn't overwhelmed but it's fast enough that I can plow through things if I bother to dodge attacks and do the little combo with abilities. I absolutely *love* the Ice/Fire mechanics for a Thaum even though I'll be playing a PLD come live (I wanted to at least see what the casting felt like as in 1.0 it was awkward as hell).
There's virtually zero server latency issues and the graphical engine itself seems to be incredibly refined. Even during FATES where there's a ton of people and monsters the framerates barely budge at all and I'm hardly running a powerhouse (460 GTX here even if I am running a 3rd gen i5).
Tested out gathering to see if I could stomach it come live (I *abhored* it in 1.0) and I can seriously see myself propping up on the bed and spending a few hours just running around gathering mats and slowly getting experience. Crafting also seems fairly interesting and can at least realistically finally see myself getting a "craft" up to cap in a Final Fantasy MMO.
Music's been really pleasant so far and soothing. Battle music on trash monsters is interesting enough to hum along but not so in-your-face as to be distracting.
The game's art assets took a hit in the shift to 2.0, but considering how well it runs and how well the overall picture
looks I'm satisfied with it. The environments look interesting and the "journey" will be infinitely more entertaining to me compared to what I stomached from 1.0 and that's all that matters.
To be honest, after a few hours of testing out Gladiator, Thaumaturge, Miner, and Goldsmithing I had to force myself to step away because I was putting "live" work into a character that's not going to last --- and to me that's probably the greatest feeling to me.