My observations so far are that FFXI is one of the most engrossing MMORPG's I've ever played. It has elements of normal MMORPGs, but there's also a sense of permanance and richness to the world; you can have your own home that you can buy furnishings for and decorate, you have a 'home city' and citizenship, you can travel and explore lands, you can help conquer un-claimed lands or reclaim them from forces of darkness, and so on. They evidently plan to run major plotlines, as well.
But another thing that strikes me is... it feels natural and intuitive. It took me about 10 minutes to pick up the controls and combat system, and I'm using three peripherals (keyboard, mouse, normal PS2 controller). And the really incredible thing is that I haven't noticed netlag. People move around smoothly, rather than jumping or bouncing or sticking in place. There's a little sluggishness at times, but no more than I see when a PC game hits the hard drive.
I'm really, really impressed. Anyway, the screenshots are here, and hopefully people enjoy them. I'm going back to bed now. :)