I enjoy this game. I really do. And it's beautiful. The character models are stunning and realistic, the weather effects are spot-on, cities and magnificent, then I step out into the greatness of nature, and am blown away by the sheer size and scope of the world they've created.
And yet, I really have no urge to explore. Why?
In FFXI it was always exciting to see what the next zone I'd visit would be like. It filled me with a childlike sense of wonder that this game simply doesn't instill. and I think I know why.
Exploring is pointless in this game, because there's nothing to discover, aesthetically and environmentally speaking. I've been to every aetheryte camp in the game, and I've seen it all. I've seen it all over and over again, because everywhere I go looks exactly the same.
Walking from Ul'dah to Camp Black Brush gives you a taste of almost everything the zone has to offer. This wouldn't be so bad, except the zones in FFXIV are the size of regions from FFXI. When I go through Thanlan, it feels like I've walked through Gustaberg, and when I was about to zone into Konschtat Highlands, it ported me back to the beginning and made me do it again.
the Black Shroud is Zi'Tah, multiplied to infinity and continued into the depths of forever. La Noscea feels like Konschtat or La'Theine, except it feels like it never ends. Coerthas is the same way. Mor Dhona's not as bad, because it's an interesting zone, and it's not quite as big as the others, but it's still pretty irritating.
There's no real danger involved in getting from place to place either. As long as you stay on the road, nothing will attack you. All you see are star marmots and rats. In FFXI, getting from Bastok to San D'Oria was risky, Bastok to Jueno was dangerous, and Bastok to Windurst was downright difficult. But it was fun, because there were so many sights to see along the way. I remember the Crag of Dem appearing on my horizon for the first time. I remember the sun glaring off the sand in Valkurm Dunes on the way to Selbina. I remember dodging Quadavs in Rolanberry, and tigers in Jugner. I remember one of the lines from the Crag of Mea arching over the Meriphataud Mountains, and I remember entering the hub of the world, Jueno, for the first time, and feeling like "Wow, so this is the big city?"
The only real "Wow" moment I've had so far in FFXIV was, "Wow. For place called 'The Black Shroud' this place sure is green." But that wow wore off by the time I made it to Camp Tranquil, and realized that the mighty Twelveswood was just a series of repeating tunnels covered in moss.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is, FFXIV's zones, as they are, are simply too much of the same. I understand some copying and pasting is necessary to cut down on development time and costs, but it should not be noticeable, let alone glaringly obvious. I tell how boring aand repetitive the zones are just by looking at the maps. They need some variation. I'm willing to give SE time to fix it, but I doubt they will. I just hope that future zones are either smaller, or more varied.
TLDR: Waaaaaah, copypasta'd terrain.