For what it's worth, those who are capable of venturing into Chains of Promathia's new areas will find at least some of them to be a noticeable depature from what they've seen so far in Final Fantasy XI. Subterranean areas like Pso'Xja and the Phomiuna Aqueducts add more dungeon-style environments to the game's predominantly sprawling overworld. In a nod to The NeverEnding Story, other areas are affected by a malevolent force called the Emptiness, which seems to be eating away at the land and is host to some bizarre alien creatures. As mentioned, questing is a heavy focus of Chains of Promathia, so those dedicated players who primarily enjoy Final Fantasy XI's combat may find that the expansion's content isn't really for them. These quests involve some new characters and expand upon the game's surprisingly rich backstory, but again, unless you're enthralled by the history and future of Vana'diel, this material isn't going to draw you in. As for Promathia's new enemies, some of them look pretty impressive, but others (namely, the goblinlike moblins) are clearly based on existing foes in the game. On the plus side, the expansion adds some new music tracks to the mix, and they are just as noteworthy as the rest of Final Fantasy XI's music.
Final Fantasy XI is rather unfriendly to new or more-casual players, and Chains of Promathia does nothing about this.
As if Chains of Promathia needed any more barriers to entry, installation of this expansion pack is a laborious and time-consuming process that rivals the egregiously lengthy setup time needed for Final Fantasy XI itself. After a prolonged installation to hard disk, there's an obligatory checking of all the data files, as well as a hefty patch that needs downloading. All told, it'll be a good couple of hours between the time you open the game's box and the time you're actually able to start playing Final Fantasy XI again. This begs the question of why this expansion pack's content couldn't have just been downloaded. Such a narrowly focused expansion, which really does nothing to address the fact that Final Fantasy XI is an "old boys club" that repels new players, has little reason to be on store shelves.
Final Fantasy XI has stood the test of time and become internationally successful. It's a very time-consuming game that's certainly not for everyone, but many of those who've played it can attest to its addictive quality. It's great that Square Enix has supported Final Fantasy XI with regular updates, including seasonal in-game events, as well as with expansion packs. However, one of the goals of retail expansion packs such as Chains of Promathia ought to be to help introduce new or more-casual players to what makes Final Fantasy XI a great game, but Chains of Promathia doesn't even attempt this.