I do like Gridania much more now. The Aetheryte network does a good job of making the city accessible, and at the same time making you explore it to find all those districts. Anyone that played older WoW alliance-side and had to find TDK in Ironforge pre-questhelper knows what I'm talking about. I'm curious to if there is a design reason they split Gridania and old gridania. I'd almost like to have the city be in one zone rather than split into two.
Edited, Apr 27th 2013 8:39am by desmar
I think that was done because the entire city as one zone could not be loaded into the memory of PS3 at once. The old tunnels in 1.0 were to allow the zone to load invisibly in the background while you ran through the tunnel, but the result was long, vast, empty stretches of nothing in between the zoned areas. They decided to cut the pointless tunnels and put in hard zones again.
It ought to be safe to say, since Wint's already said it, that the loading time is minimal in between zones. On my SSD it's no more than five seconds. I barely even thought about it after the first few times. The decision to have the name of the zone appear and to keep the chat functions and such going are vast improvements to the similar zoning in FFXI (also much faster than XI, where zones and cutscenes sometimes take 30 seconds to fully load.)