Before you read any further I ask that you do (3) things.
(1) Don't be a fanboy. Fanboys who will play anything Square-Enix releases are what has allowed them to produce the slew of mediocre entries to the series for quite some time now.
(2) Recognize that I am not a troll, a hater, a Squarist, or any other odd term you might conjure up to otherwise state that I dislike the company. Every game I have played across any genre has been benchmarked against the likes of FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX, FFX, FFXI and FFXII. In short, I love the Final Fantasy games.
(3) Remember that any reference to FFXI is used for comparison purposes only. FFXI was Square's Flagship MMO. Anything they make beyond that will be heavily compared and contrasted to that title in every possible manner by ANY former player who is deciding to give FFXIV 2.0 a try..
That being said, here is why I believe FFXIV 2.0 will fail, or at least not be nearly as successful as we would like it to be.
FFXI, despite it's many flaws had a great charm about it. It was unique, albeit in some ways that make most hardcore MMO players cringe. I , along with many other people, greatly enjoyed shouting for a <teleport - Altep> in lower Jeuno follwed by watching a senior white mage whisk me off to my destination. We enjoyed the airship rides, fishing off the ferry boats with friends, and having to actually search through the environment to find quest items and destinations. Did this take alot of time? Yes. Was it inconvenient sometimes? Definitely. But it certainly added a level of community, depth, and realism that you simply don't find in other games. That is, of course, only one of many things that made this game, with currently close to 500,000 players STILL SUBSCRIBED on a monthly basis, unique to say the least. I would be willing to bet however, that the majority of those players are not necessarily MMO players, but Final Fantasy players who, like me, enjoyed the particular way in which they served the generally bland MMO formula up to us.
FFXIV 2.0 is bent on modifying the system to be much closer to what that of the hardcore MMO player fanbase out there has come to expect. Everything is time sensitive now: Quests have clear markers telling you exactly (or nearly so) where to go to complete every step, Ferry and Airship rides will be instant, we will be able to zip around the world using our Anima being limited only by our overuse of it, and the tutorial will take you through the first 10 levels of play in what I have to assume is a very short amount of time. We won't have Chocobos, we'll have mounts. We won't have raise, people will ask "can you give me a rez." We won't inventory, we'll have bags. God only knows how long it will take before Gil gets traded for Gold, Silver, and Copper. While all of this is great for MMO gamers out there these changes are likely to turn off the longtime Fans of the series who will instead opt for offline titles, or stick with the ol' trusty FFXI. Okay, so what? With all the hardcore MMO players joining who cares if the longtime fans jump ship? Well there lies the 2nd half of this argument.
Because not only will it potentially alienate many of the longtime fans by getting rid of all those things that made the FFXI and offline titles of yesteryear so charming, but there will be nothing innovative or fresh enough or unique enough compared to the myriad of MMOs out there to hold a strong hardcore MMO player base. Hell, SWTOR gave it a full-voiced over quest effort complete with the ability to play out scenes with your party. Nobody cared, they just skipped over it because it wastes valuable raiding time.
In short, many of the longtime fans won't find enough that is familiar to them to keep them engaged, while many of the new players Square hopes to attract (something they are banking on) will give it a shot, maybe play a trial given by their friend, and say "meh, " before heading back to WoW or Swtor or the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online.
...and before you push me down. I sincerely hope I'm wrong here.
Edited, Oct 23rd 2012 6:01pm by electromagnet83