This is a really great example of why "realism" isn't necessarily a
good criterion. Because what seems true-to-life to one person can be
an offense to reality to another. I personally find the fact that you
can go 3 times as fast traveling diagonally by popping into a land
province (beaching the ship) and going back to sea somewhere else to
be a definite offense against realism.
The barriers to open-sea sailing during the late middle ages were more
psychological than real. For example, Eric the Red and Leif Erikson
crossed the Atlantic c. AD 1000. (Insert suitable hymn of praise to
Viking courage here.)
And besides, who's to say that Olympia is like Earth in this regard?
I presume we have compasses or something similar. (We have magic after all.)
Anyway, I always take arguments about things seeming more "realistic"
with a grain of salt. If we wanted "realism" we'd all be peasants,
working in the fields 10 hours/day, and die by the time we're 35.
I certainly am not trying to single Dan's posting out, but this has
been on my mind for a while.
The adjectives that are more important to me when discussing game
design are: "interesting", "effective", "worthwhile (for the effort)",
"clean", and "solid".
Now if one wants to encourage "coastal" travel, (It's not that important
to me) there are other ways to do it besides making it go faster.
1. Make there be a chance of getting lost the further you get from the
2. Put those "sea lanes" in along the coast.
It seems to me that the current "coastal crawl" happened by accident,
not by design. In that sense, it subverts the designer's intent,
hence it needs to be fixed. Changing things in mid-game presents some
unique difficulties, of course.
Actually, I hadn't thought of the "criss-cross" problem of diagonal
movement that David pointed out. It's a problem too.