What people seem to forget is that FFXI was an anomaly in and of itself.
So is XIV ARR+ when you think about it.
There's nothing unique about it and some of the concepts are so poorly done any other MMO released in its initial state or even this current state would have failed within its first year, something even Yoshida has said usually happens in this day and age of MMORPGs. Can't even say "but it has cutscenes!" since XI kind spearheaded that concept into modern MMOs and most newer MMOs, even the throw away mass produced chinese/korean ones have them now in some form.
but there is always the vocal opposition somewhere that a Final Fantasy game does not live up to the previous generation's hype
Largely because even when they try something new, they seem to take weird missteps. For example trying to follow WoW for XIV, logical in 2013, especially when WoW was in a slump and it was easy pickings for a playerbase, but not taking any of the good ideas or concepts or revisions to old system for example. A lot of MMOs still use a GCD in some format, but they also have so much more depth than XIV's done and you can BARELY even call it depth at that point.
If you were to take its base concepts and difficulty, remove the branding from it, add modern day graphics and a scheme to match the tone, and find the brand most appropriate, you'd get a Dark/Demon Souls MMO. And that's fine.
Sounds more like TERA to me. That's the reason why I prefer that MMO. You actually have to aim abilities, mouse-over mobs or allies to target them and time your evasive actions so that the window of invulnerability lines up with the mobs active attack frames. It's the closest I get to fighting game in my MMO and about the best measure of reads and reactions in any MMO I've played.
I do think it's interesting that you mention stripping away what makes an FF title an FF title to most people. I feel like if people did that more and considered what games are at their core, they'd realize that their opinions are rather biased solely based on what things are called and not how closely they model other things like them.
Exactly. Strip away the FF title and FF themes in XIV ARR+ it wouldn't have the same success as it does now. That's the whole reason people were upset about 1.0's concept because there were no "FF elements" beyond the title and iconic music/enemies but the concepts were amazing, just no time to actually finish them. "Archer? Conjurer? Gladiator?" and so on. TERA is still one of the few modern MMOs that deserves the hype it got but sadly take away the unique battle system and gameplay you're still left with a pretty shallow generic MMO feel which is what ended up turning off a lot of people while it was P2P, but once it became F2P it actually made MORE money and is one of the most popular MMOs atm since for F2P, it's actually pretty quality.