The thing bugging me most in FFXIV is probably “the world” itself.
I see the very same scheme as in Blade & Soul: yes, you’re kinda free to go everywhere you want – as long as your level allows it not to get killed by high level mobs. And no, you actually can not.
Let’s see one of the zone maps:
So, technically it’s not a circle (or a square) of landmass to roam free as we do in WoW. I would compare this to rooms connected by corridors among the impassable mountains, trees, ravines, and that ruins immersment a lot – you just don’t see the world in whole. Paired with the loading screens between all zones, so you can enter another zone only through a couple of corridors, it’s a no-no.
Of course, many WoW zones also have their chokepoints – for example, Tanaris has only 3 exits by foot (Thousand Needles, Uldum and Un’goro), and most zones do too. But at the same time you can traverse in any direction by flying mount – fuck the gyro bridge to Netherstorm, I can fly in from Hellfire Peninsula if I want to. And many zones are also seemless – for example, you can walk between Westfall, Elwynn and Duskwood at will – you could cross the rivers at literally every point at where you’ve arrived to the bank. Also, once you entered a WoW zone, you’re free to see the sights and walk around, not just traverse from quest hub 1 to quest hub 2. Imagine you could only ride the roads between settlements in Ardenweald, as they would put the impassable big trees in every terrain spot that does not contain quest mobs? I don’t think so.
In FFXIV I feel like I’m always indoors and walking through corridors, designed to bind points of interest, period. Exploration is absent, and that feeling of a hamster in a wheel – and wheel in a cage – is not comforting.
Other than that, it plays fine. I’ve joined the “navy” – one of the three friendly “nations”, the seafaring Limsa Lominsa, my Lancer class upgraded to Dragoon, I’ve learned to transmog, a ground mount, got level 33, and moving along with the story which throws its fun and great dungeons to me at short intervals. Can’t tell I’m not having fun, and yet the crude environment visuals and absense of exploration just don’t let me call the world of Eorzea “home”.