There's something oddly therapeutic to the grind in NGS for me, and I think a lot of it stems from reminding me what XP camps were like back in Final Fantasy XI. Going to a specific zone, grouping up with a small group of players, and just murdering things around you for several hours for one or two levels just clicks with me.
I think that's why NGS is clicking so well for me, it's essentially a modernized version of Final Fantasy XI. The emphasis on open world, un-instanced, progression, that slow progression through the story by means of growing stronger to tackle the higher ranked missions, joining a group and farming enemies outside, rather than running through a dungeon, heavy emphasis on exploring an open world to find hidden nooks and crannies, these are all the things I wanted from XIV 1.0 had the game, you know, actually worked as a functioning video game.
I know it's not for everyone, but for me personally I'm glad they took the approach they did with the game. I do wish it stayed in the oven longer so we had more than a single region to explore at launch, but I'm not so naive to understand why that wasn't really a feasible option for Sega given how PSO2 had come to and end. So for what we have now, I'm content with having a solid taste of what the game is likely going to develop into.
It's funny, Sega gave me a modernized version of PSO with PSO2, and now they've given me a modernized version of XI with NGS. It's a nice change of pace to see a developer try something different, rather than just cut another piece of WoW's cheese by creating another, slightly different or flashier, clone.