I disagree it's made it different from FFXI which I think is a good thing. If anything doesn't have a soul it's PSO2... in fact it's a prime symbol of how much Sega has dragged the Phantasy Star name through the mud ever since PSU existed... Oh and did I mention that PSO2 is just PSO in name only? If anything. It's really PSU2 with the PSO name covering it with the combat mechanics lifted straight from Portable 2/Infinity but modified.
See, if we were talking about ARR, or HW, I'd agree with you.
But from STormblood on? No, absolutely not, I have to disagree with you at a fundamental level in pretty much every respect. The fact that Elidibus' story was wrapped up in a single patch, with his "true form" being a literal model rip from Dissidia is pretty much what killed it for me in XIV, and expecting them to ever actually put effort into the game again.
And lo and behold at my "Surprise" when they rip yet another model from Dissidia and slap it into the new Eden Raid. Because hey, why bother trying when we can just do quick copy past jobs.
XIV just has no soul, especially compared to XI.
I'm also not really getting where you're coming from with PSO2 being "Souless" compared to PSO. Phantasy Star Online 2 was never intended to be a direct sequel to PSO, so no, it wasn't going to cover the same locations or grounds as the original game. And obviously the game play is going to be markedly different, considering PSO is almost two decades old now, and had major design constraints placed on it because of that.
I agree...But still feel they could've done more.
PSO2 walks at the beat of it's own drum, telling a story that's uniquely it's own, while still giving little nods to older games in the Phantasy Star series (in particular the original quadrilogy).
And does a poor job of it just like it's trash spin-off game IDOLA. I mean hell.. Episode 4 is basically a Rip off Phantasy Star 2 Except it treats it like a joke because well... You know what Ep 4 looks like and it's straight up pathetic....
And don't get me started on Episode 5 Alisa.
You see using those elements and respecting them are 2 different things. Just ask Sonic.
XIV? It's long since past trying to tell it's own story in Eorzea, and is now 90% fan service, taking content straight from other Final Fantasy games with no explanation other than "We know you liked this character from Final Fantasy XII, so here he is again!".
Sighs that? well okay ..