A Realm Reborn on it’s own is a decent canvas. What I appreciate about it, is that it does much to set up the following stories of the following expansions. In terms of MMOs it’s the first where I closely paid attention to the story I was engaging in, where with others I more or less ignored the story because it wasn’t compelling. Not so with A Real Reborn. For the most part it DOES make narrative sense, though in comparison to the subsequent storylines of the expansions, it’s left pretty weak. It’s a decent base game, though it definitely feels rushed in moments.
Still, it is far richer than others, and it deserves respect for the complete overhaul that took place to make it a more palatable experience. For that, I would recommend FFXIV to long time MMO players who are struggling to find something worth their time. A Realm Reborn may not be the most enjoyable experience, but it creates a strong foundation.