So, while I'm sitting here at 94.8% complete on my new Beta file, with 43 leeches, I took a walkabout yesterday. I visited all 3 major cities, the Ishgard entry gate, and the swamplands (Min Ashmor?)
I avoid commentary on the 'rest' of the game. I got used to solo exploration as a BST and wanted to see the world... So I did. Picked up local levequests for my one craft in each city. Spent 2 hours wandering around Gridania trying to find Pukiki as well.
I've fished random rivers, found out that dragons are slow, antelope stags have the worst sneeze known to man, and Ishgard is a bit elitist. But, that's not what you care about.
First: The ferry is on the west side of the Ul'Dah territory (Thanalan?) and travels to Limsa Lominsa lower deck, west side (where LL opening scene first lands you). You don't actually get ON the ferry at the dock. You enter the doors and it'll load you on. Read the little blurb when you pass through the doors. After that, follow the roads.
The roads around Eorzea are primarily harmless, if you use a little sense for the obviously aggro stuff and wait for it to move aside. I only ran into regular road-aggro outside of the area for the main three cities.
Try as I might, though, I could NOT find Sharlayan. It might just not be on the map but found the more explorative way... "There's nothing on my map, what the **** are those towers?!"
The land... just doesn't change that much. Gridania's the obvious difference, with trees that reach to the sky, but otherwise, meh. Rocks are rocks no matter what you do with them. The swamp region with giant crystals pointing into the sky looks cool at first... until you realize as you run through the area... you really don't see it because you're staring at drakes that can one-shot you and you're trying to hide behind them... or blast past them before they catch on and run after you.
Not all critters make sense aggro-wise. Grass Raptors just scream at you, but do nothing. They look like something out of Jurassic Park. Antelope Stags however will short range sight aggro and chase your *** for half a map.
All mobs pretty much take a second to realize "Hey, he looks tasty!" when you aggro them. If you stay at motion (sometimes very hard to do) and un-readied gear wise, you CAN outrun them. Barely.
Don't bother with Ishgard itself, though the region's mobs are pretty cool. "The way is shut, the way is shut". At a guess, it's a storyline thing for rank 40+.
The land, however, is HUGE. We're talking I spent 8+ hours (not including my little layover in Gridania) just running the roads. I took a couple of detours to get to diff camps and get teleportation rights, and to see if the 'back-country' differed much.
There ARE high-density areas for certain mob types, but you've got to get out of newbie-ville. For example, in one little box canyon I found a 4 Antelope stag spawn (6 being the magic number from the 4-5 man parties I goofed off in in Beta 3), with two just south of it. There ARE camp areas... but not near aetherytes. Mages beware.
On the flipside, good luck finding good camps in Gridania. Because of the volume of narrow twists and turns, there's only a few pockets where you'll have a small-decent region to pull via. I expect a LOT of Gridania's going to head south into the northlands of Ul'Dah to level. And yes, there are Cactuar's and Sabateurs. :)
For LL, I see a lot of low-mid level stuff happening out west, near the cliffs and the lakes. There's some decent concentration of critters if you get past the aggro spiders and the non-functional airlift boarding pad.
You will also have to explore to find specific mobs. They are NOT littering an area. If you want Efts, you have to find a very specific little pit in NW LL. Gnats and ladybugs in small side hovels in a cave in NE LL. Hypocefs are only around the bridge entry that leads towards Ishgard. Grass Raptors in the depressions near Tenegan's Stand near Ishgard. Toxic Toads in the random lakes, and low pop. You'll have to know where to go if you're looking for a specific breed/type.
If there's anything others want to know about my walkabout, let me know. My primary goal in OB is both playing the game, and using up every inch of my anime exploring the world.