I encourage everyone to ride the Phanumet canal and Purogono isle barges every blue moon.
This. This is what FFXIV needs. Making people want
to spend time traveling. It doesn't have to take all day, but I think spending a fairly considerable amount of game time traveling is important. I've made countless acquaintances on said barges and on airships, just enjoying the scenery together, playing with glitches, shooting off fireworks, etc. If the game forces you to stop worrying about maxing your stats for 15 minutes, you just might find yourself being immersed in the environment. I play for the latter over the former, and I hope FFXIV helps others along that mentality.
The whole "leave it up to choice" idea doesn't sit super well with me. Okay, impatient people can zip from A to B to Zed in no time flat. Okay, boring geezers can take a Sunday stroll through the scenic route. The problem is, zipping around would inevitably become the forced standard for everyone, just to keep up. That's a choice between sacrificing a truly enjoyable aspect of the game and making advancement much more of a struggle. True, it's sort of selfish for those of us who enjoy it to want the long/difficult traveling, but just give a road trip a chance without pulling out your GameBoy.
I'm not convinced SE will ever make an MMO based around instant gratification - they know WoW's out there (and not to knock WoW, but it is
largely "gimme gimme gimme! *get*..... bored bored bored, more more more, gimme gimme gimme!") and they know that just about everyone expects to see something closer to the slower-paced side of the spectrum, though not as far into it as FFXI.