Pretty good job? It was hard enough just pulling down patches and logging in during the limited alpha/beta windows, usually only 5-6 hours at night a few days a week, with the game blacked out the rest of the time. I tried to file bug reports and the form gave me an error, with no secondary way to contact them. Then they only wanted to solicit certain types of feedback per testing period, and if you didn't post within a few days you were SOL -- they locked the discussion thread. It was like going down a checklist: we've asked about item x for two weeks, now we'll move on to item y, we don't want to hear about item x again.
I played FFXI for several years after the North America launch. The game wasn't perfect, but eventually I got the hang of the controls and could navigate the UI without looking. Even with the lack of English-language sites documenting the quests, missions, jobs, weapons, etc. at the NA launch, most of the game mechanics made sense. With FFXIV, it's like they tried to come up with a more in-depth, customizable version of FFXI and ended up with a horribly complex and convoluted system. The XP system was unclear, they were offering job classes which were unplayable during the early stages of beta (and not warning people or removing the class option), and then there were the laggy menus with laggy submenus containing laggy submenus leading to laggy submenus ending in more laggy submenus, etc. In FFXI, attacking a monster with the keys was simple: tab to it (target name in bottom-left corner, monster highlighted with an arrow above it) and then Enter x2 (confirm target & issue attack command) to attack. I could keep my left hand over WASD and my right over the arrows and still comfortably play thief -- a class which required a lot of positioning and timed macros to play effectively. The controls in FFXIV just never made sense -- this coming from a PC gamer who has never felt the need for a gamepad.
I was appalled by the beta. It looked and played like some piece of concept code. At least in its day, FFXI was a notable contender in the MMO space, with its international reach (auto-translate was vital for playing outside of your region's peak hours) and broad player base (console & PC). FFXIV just looks like something S-E threw together to meet a deadline.