That is a fair point. It's certainly an unfortunate part of PSO2 Meseta a localized version so late: you start fresh and you do not get the veterans that have been playing for a long time since they don't want to lose years of progress, or you also let them maintain that progress and risk alienating the new audience. I personally would be ok with starting over, but as I mentioned I have some things that isn't really available anymore other than other players (most notably my Neptunia collab outfit). The clear remedy to this is to permitting players to carry over items that are cosmetic and not levels/equipment, but that is dev time they may not be willing to install.
The fan patch misses some bits and pieces, most notably mid to late tutorials. I had no clue when I started because not one of its tutorials were translated, how to use mechs. It's mostly stuff that older players won't notice (because they do not desire tutorials), but players who finally do not get to finish game won't see (tutorials that seem after players who weren't thinking about Phantasy Star Online 2 stopped playing). It is only an ongoing enthusiast translation project's weakness: sometimes things slip through, and they need to prioritize what to work on next. No one is currently gon na say the Emergency Code voice overs are more worthy of translation compared to real story content, after all.
PSO takes place millenia after the original series. The story's definitely there through assignments that are online as well as single player missions. It told through weapon flavour text. The final boss is Dark Force(Dulk Falz). There's plenty of references to the older names there and here. And that's only episode 1. The story follows the participant character moving through dungeons finding notes left by the Ship's leader's Daughter who left to learn more about Earth. As you unlock new dungeons and follow along with clues and go through you find out she's been murdered and assimilated to bring on the new incarnation of Force.
You have to fight with his giant mutated form and discover he was taken and experimented on using Force DNA. If you use of this"Red" Weapons, that were his gift to his student, to kill him with, his apparition appears in the event that you return to the boss room after defeating him. It's been over a decade since I've played with it I'm sure I'm missing many details and I didn't play the original 4 RPGs but buy Phantasy Star Online 2 Meseta there's undoubtedly story and and there are, again lots of references in it, especially in weapons and their flavour texts, into the previous games.