Well, we're finally here...
VanaFest 2012 is this weekend in Japan, Friday and Saturday nights here in the States...
1) Sounds like the expansion is almost a sure thing. BluCheater is up in arms as some of their testers noted a new ROM folder (ROM9, I believe it is) which appears to have several new zones and the like.
Let's be honest: The one thing which MIGHT get XI as far as XIV 2.0 is a new expansion -- and between the purported new ROM folder in the test server downloads and the PS2 partition change, the odds look pretty good.
I can't see, however, a normal 6-12 month wait. If anything, the release almost has to be at some point over the summer to get people back into the game.
1a) Most of the stuff on the roadmap will be somewhere in the new expansion. The new 2-hours, the new BST pets, at least one of the new battle mechanics (Dungeon Crawl/Play As Monster), etc.
2) Server merges, Round III, and, this time, I think Leviathan bites the biggie.
Only question, especially with a probable new expansion: Will the 16 servers go to 8, 10, or 12?
I'll say 12, but with an immediate caveat that we could get another round if VanaFest doesn't get people to re-subscribe.
3) At least one (additional) (intentional or otherwise) Fuck You to the US player-base (or the non-Japanese one in general).
4) Nobuo Uematsu will rock, as usual.
5) At least one announcement from the Dev Team will completely piss off all relevant players.
6) The streams will be OK, but there will be definite gaps in the English one, even more so than stated-planned.