i have a question about the combat in FFXIV... ive had friends tell me that combat in FFXI in its early days was far more entertaining than FFXIV's. and when i say early days im talking about the times when people actually did skillchains and mb's.
Kind of hard to answer. Inital FFXIV combat in 1.0 did not have an auto attack so you actually had more things to do in battle, it just wasnt very fast paced. After the first battle revision, they sped up the stamina bar and it was much better. The second revision removed stamina and added auto attack, but changed the skill timers and combat became suuuper slow. The final combat revision in 1.0 added the combo system and sped up overall combat, which was great because combos made subsequent WS's use no TP and had added bonuses (think self skill chain without an actual skill chain effect). Combos required directional WS hits too.
Alpha combat right now has only one combo active and is traditional auto attack with global cooldown WS and spells, which is very similar to WoW, Rift etc. There are limit breaks and battle Regemins (skill chains) planned but not implemented. It's really very very early to gauge combat right now, but its much faster than XI or XIV 1.0 ever was.