'course, a consideration in another direction entirely would be whether you think, from a design perspective, SE would revert back more to pre-Abyssea way of doing things.
this is what my gut is telling me too, and why i'm not investing a ton of time into fighting over this content with every greedy rdm and blm on the block. basicly, most of this stuff (current content, "the new standard gear") is doable with a small group, and if you happen to be thf + mage you can manage quite a lot of the popsets, gear upgrades, and NM clears with just that and some good atma setups.
what said it all to me was that after the more or less wild (by the old standard of LFG as a given job) success of abyssea, they made the director of abyssea content the director of the game, period. and the changes since have indicated this trend is likely to continue.
whether or not we lose something aesthetically in this spate of changes is really a subjective notion, but i could definitely see several angles to such a discussion. long ago i suggested that perhaps a "game" of ffxi, that is to say a server population of regular players, might be quite a bit more interesting with a total population of around 250 or so, and after reexamining that idea in light of the current trend i still believe it.
to me the best parts of ffxi are not found in attempting to find that false sense of being the top rdm, or whatever. that kind of goal is not only foolhardy but also creates social incentives to abandon years of solidarity in favor of social standing, or out of fear of losing access to content (upgrades, access, accumulated player-driven points) to stand idle while abuses of power persist.
that said, i have enjoyed the magian trial content especially, for this reason alone: i can take up the quest and nearly anyone i meet with similar goals can join without any such anxiety. content goals that encourage solidarity and long term relationships have all been much more satisfying than trying to out click someone for the old long-pop NMs, etc. i do understand the heart-thumping appeal of an open claim window, but i feel the 'punishment' of losing claim for the other 75-90% of people present at the camp is just too destructive in terms of the behaviours it rewards.
bit of a derail but hopefully forgivable. to bring this back to the OP and topicality, i'd just reiterate that merits are easy these days and you can feel fairly free to experiment with your build in this climate. also worth restating, content will be changing yet more over the next year, so try to have fun with it, for goodness' sake.
tl;dr: nothing to see here, move along.