I've been playing this game since 2004.
EXP parties do not teach you a damn thing. Oh hey, you got to hit crabs a lot and it took a really long time because everyone sucked and didn't know how mechanics worked. So much teaching!
What did you learn? Hate management? Completely
different animal once you got endgame numbers and long fights (rather than a 60 second mob.) Skillchains? If you can't figure out 'wait 3 seconds, then hit macro', you might be a parakeet who is hopping randomly across a keyboard. In that case, why are you on this forum at all?
In fact, 'leeching' in abyssea (the absolute laziest and fastest way to level) will teach you more about modern content than grinding forever on crabs ever will. At least you'll learn something relevant, like procs and lights and how to deal with chests, yknow, things which actually matter these days.
Was the old leveling system more satisfying? YES!
That's because it was an adventure. Everyone else was along for the ride, you were seeing the world, there was content at every level range, and you always felt like you were getting a little stronger.
Now, the game is top-heavy, everyone is 99. Being a newbie means being alone and without relevant content to do. All you can do is grind and hope to catch up to your friends.
Would you really want to grind all by yourself for a few years (It'd take that long to solo up, in old FFXI, if not longer. It took me a year to hit 75 in parties ffs.) before you caught up?
Or do you just expect the game to be exactly as it was in 2005? It's not possible. The low-level community no longer exists. That's why these changes occurred, because there was no one to level with and it was miserable, so they made it fast.
tl;dr: You're just one in a long line of whiners. First it was "Manaburns are killing FFXI, what happened to SKILL!" then it was "TPburns are killing FFXI, remember when you had to skillchain?" then it was "ToAU is killing FFXI, what happened to hard mobs?" then it was "Level Sync is killing FFXI!" then it was "Fields of Valor is killing FFXI!" then it was "Abyssea is killing FFXI!" and "GoV is killing FFXI!" and y'know what? FFXI still isn't dead.
Every time we've hit a new paradigm people have harped about how the old days were so much harder, when it's almost never been the case, and when every change is remembered FONDLY after the next new paradigm comes. Take off your nostalgia glasses. If FFXI survives a few more years people will be lamenting about how, back in the abyssea/GoV days, it used to take SKILL and EFFORT and now everyone has it easy!
Oh I agree something had to be done, and I agree that it can't work the way it did back in FFXI's hayday because you'd never get a typical party these days, but gaining a level every 15-20 minutes at mid game, that's just broken.
Explain why it's broken. Because you progress through the boring midlevel doldrums faster?
What beneficial change would come from spending a month leveling 30-75 as opposed to a week or a couple days? You'd feel more 'elite' or something for spending more of your life doing a mind-numbing grind? Edited, Mar 21st 2012 4:03pm by ItsAMyri