Gotta Go Fast!

So, Heavensward has been out for almost a month. We have had the opportunity to play around with flight and about are a month or two away from demands for old world flight. I would like to take this as an opportunity to preemptively argue that this idea is poorly thought out.

You see, one thing I learned from WoW and Guild Wars (and a borderline religious dedication to Bayonetta, Zelda and Devil May Cry) is that movement is an integral element of level design.

See, most of us think of movement and think “How do I get from pretty view A to pretty view B?” or “I am here, thing I need to bash is there, how do I get there?” and from that viewpoint, anything but the 310% maximum in WoW seems ludicrous to even consider. Unfortunately, movement is nothing so pedestrian (excuse the pun, I can’t help myself). Movement is storytelling, movement is how you bring your universe to life. The most beautifully sculpted landscape becomes a barren waste if your movement is even a pixel too fast or too slow. I know many of you are too young to remember Ocarina of Time as anything other than a museum piece or a weekend with an emulator (I’m getting too old), but I would like to compare Ocarina Epona and the loftwing from Skyward Sword to the King of Red Lions.

Ocarina’s Epona and the Loftwing were… bad. Hyrule was way too big, Epona was way too slow and jumping was way too awkward. On the other hand, the Loftwing only came in two speeds, dead slug and “This one goes to 11”. On top of that there were some issues with the input device in both cases but we are not onto that particular can of worms today.

Compare it to the King of Red Lions. Now that was an excellent mover of men. It got you from point A to point B at a more than reasonable pace but, at the same time it was slow enough to emphasize how big and empty the sea was. The seconds of nothing but blue really went miles to telling the story of the subtle lonelyness in which the folks of the Great Sea lived their lives.

This gets me to my point. Do not change the movement options in FFXIV. Eorzea looks really good from almost every angle and screwing with that will ruin the aesthetic. Look at the movement in WoW. Yes, Azeroth is a big place and a lot of what you need to get by is spaced really far apart. This is an infrastructure issue and the best they could do to remedy that so late in the game was to crank max speed to 310% and shout “We’ve gone plaid!”. Yes, its kind of cheap. No, it doesnt solve any of the underlying issues for either crafting, gathering, or gold inflation; but the greatest crime perpetrated here was making it so that you no longer had to look at the millions of dollars of stellar level design and environmental storytelling.

I know I can be long winded and this is a forum post. I will try to wrap it up.

Eorzea is at a critical juncture. They have gone out of their way to make the world easy to access at the slow speeds currently extant; gathering nodes are really close so you don’t have to stare at your map for 5 hours, they made it so that all your nodes are your own so that you don’t have to share or clobber the other guys farming. There is no supply side crisis constantly threatening the livelihoods of the poor, there is no demand side advantage making anything particularly expensive. Inflation is a problem but one which gathering incentives constantly offset. There aren’t that many quests which goes a great deal towards cutting down the time spent walking (except in Churning Mists, screw those moogles) which, as WoW fans know, is a serious issue common to the entire game’s cycle thus far. So you know, everything is gravy. I know I’m jumping the gun with this discussion but better now than after the dev team starts coding.

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