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Movement speed is one of the few variables in FFXI that is entirely controlled clientside. It is also one of the few things that will unarguably improve your in game "quality of life." Running from place to place is the vast majority of what you do in FFXI, so moving 12% faster makes you almost 12% more efficient.
Base player maximum speed used to be 4.0, but was increased by 25% (in 2014?) to 5.0. Every +0.1 is +2% movement speed and the resolution of movement speed increases is thus limited to 2%. Although gear was adjusted to compensate for the base speed change, job abilities and other enhancements were not and the cap was not increased. So Flee, which increased movement speed by 100% (4.0) is still capped to 8.0, thus resulting in a 60% (8.0/5.0) increase in movement speed instead of the previous 100% (8.0/4.0) or potential 80% (9.0/5.0) increases. Similarly, buffs that used to increase movement speed by 25% (+1.0) now increase it by 20% (+1.0).
There are various clunky ways to quantify movement speed (Ex. example), but the easiest way is to look at the speed number sent in packets. Windower's SpeedChecker addon does this.
Movement speed is directly affected by certain spells, abilities, and other enhancements:
- Flee: +60% Movement Speed
- Raptor Mazurka: +10% Movement Speed
- Chocobo Mazurka: +20% Movement Speed
- Chocobo Jig: +20% Movement Speed
- Bolter's Roll: Up to +40% Movement Speed
- Fleet Wind: +20% Movement Speed
- Atma of Ambition: +12% Movement Speed
- Atma of the Master Crafter: +12% Movement Speed
- Sprinter's Drink: +60% Movement Speed
- Hermes Quencher: +60% Movement Speed
- Sprinter's Shoes: +10% Movement Speed
- Cheer: Jumbotender: +2% Movement Speed
The effects of spells, abilities, and equipment stack up to a certain limit, +60% (the only exception is that Mazurka and Chocobo Jig do not stack with one another). Mazurka, Bolter's Roll, or any Quickening effect (including Jig) will wear off when the player performs any offensive ability or is attacked.
Movement speed is directly reduced by the Weight status inflicted by the spell Gravity or monster abilities with a Gravity effect. This penalty can range from mild (-12%) to very significant (nearly immobile) depending on what caused the weight effect.
Note that while positive movement speed bonuses on equipment DO NOT stack (only the highest bonus equipped takes effect), negative movement speed equipment does stack. The enchantments of Sprinter's Shoes and Talaria do stack with other movement speed equipment, but they cannot be removed while their enchantments are in effect. While each job has at least one always active +12% or higher movement speed equipment piece available, some are considerably more difficult to acquire than others.