Note: I just got the Blue Narciss, so I'm at the beginning of Disc 3 - please avoid spoilers after that point (I don't think this will be a problem)

So, I know that Alexandria and Lindblum had existing (as in, before the game begins) technology to make air-ships that ran on Mist. It was implied that this was the de-facto method of transportation across the Mist continent.

When Zidane and co. are talking with Regent Cid about going to the Outer Continent, he makes it sound like some people know there's "more land out there", but its not common knowledge. When Cid suggested that the party travel to the Outer Continent, I remember Zidane saying something like "well how are we going to cross the ocean?" rather incredulously. Cid also mentions that these continents are largely unexplored.

However, in Disc 3, when the party decides to go hunt Kuja, they pop into a sea-sailing vessel that's implied to be nothing special, and even old technology.

Furthemore, Alexandria is shown to have a full navy when Brahne assaults Kuja at the lifa tree.

So, my question is: If ocean-sailing vessels existed before Mist-airships (as would be intuitive), then what prevented the outer continents from being explored and/or settled, and why are they mysterious to Mist Continent natives?

  • 2
    Based on no facts here, but look at the real world; ocean traversing ships existed long before the discovery of North America. – Ed S. Nov 18 '15 at 6:01
  • Maybe the Genomes settled in the Black Mage Village post-quest can reverse-engineer Garland's damage by reconverting Mist into souls so that these can be sent to their final home in the Lifestream. – user63298 Mar 15 '16 at 10:03

This answer is speculative and answers the question in bold but not the one in the title. Fair warning.

Nothing prevented exploration directly. As for settlement, it's clear that some people did settle beyond the Mist Continent - at the very least, the Summoners and the Dwarves.

However, it is strongly implied that airships aren't the only Mist-fuelled technology on Gaia. Additionally, a lack of apparent population pressure, combined with the fact that airships are probably a good deal safer than ocean-ships (if only because in a storm, an airship can land, while ocean-ships must find harbour or weather it), would leave little incentive to explore other continents that lack Mist.

  • Counterpoint: monsters are dangerous, and monsters come from Mist. Isn't the inability to use airships a small price to pay for freedom from monsters? – Darael Nov 15 '15 at 5:20
  • Countercounterpoint: the native fauna is if anything more dangerous than the Mist-born monsters. – Darael Nov 15 '15 at 5:21
  • 2
    Countercountercounterpoint: It gives more XP though ;) – razethestray Jan 9 '16 at 20:25
  • You talk about the safety of an airship landing- landing where? On a transoceanic flight, an airship is even more dangerous than a sailing ship, as there's nowhere to land and falling will kill you faster than sinking will. – Timpanus Mar 15 '16 at 13:07
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    @Timpanus airships were historically limited to the Mist Continent by their fuel requirements anyway, remember? Thus they're confined largely to overland trips. The whole point of that remark was that airships incentivised sticking to the Mist Continent; in my view the fact that they can't land on water in a storm reinforces that rather than being a problem with the reasoning. – Darael Mar 15 '16 at 16:17

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