So to start things off I want to say the main difference in speed between XIII and XIV is purely in the walk speed. Even from older KoF like 98 and 2002 to XIII the walk speed was decreased and now in XIV you have a cast walking like Makoto from 3rd Strike(exaggeration, for those unable to grasp that).
Between XIII and XIV jump and hop speeds are near unchanged and the changes are very similar to changes between other games in the series – so to say they have been varied slightly(some slower or faster for characters). You do not need “better reactions” to deal with them because of their speed in older KoF games. They are near unchanged in that regard. In XIII and XIV you need better reactions against certain match ups because of nerfs to ground normal hitboxes for the purpose of AA that has forced use of special moves as anti air or prediction – which funnily for good hops has always been the case. People have been buffering DP against Iori at his hyper hop range since the dawn of time and good luck anti airing Chris hop CD with your cr.C!
So despite this I’ve seen people say “XIII required better reactions!” etc… in response to Gunsmith’s recent tweet about the game speed and while I will say that is true, it has nothing to do with the actual speed of hops, or running for that matter. In XIII special anti airs were really good. EX moves made it so that a lot of the cast could do it and it was worth spending that 1 bar of meter. You could also drive cancel some anti air specials for more damage. This meant that buffering specials and being ready for hops forward at the right ranges vs characters was more of a requirement to be good. It also meant that you needed to be able to identify and react to those situations.
However, I want to stress 100 times over that it has nothing to do with the speed. If we go into it this is less viable in XIV because there are less good special moves for it due to the removal of EX moves in neutral. However, if anything XIV is more laggy, normals have been made slightly slower overall(cl.C mostly 4f and lack of 3f/fast normals that AA) but they’re also just as bad as XIII for anti air purpose across the board. There are outliers, there were outliers in XIII too such as King and Yuri who are still pretty good at it in XIV. But, XIV also removed the in built delay on normal moves. Overall it is about the same level of difficulty to react with normals. But in XIV reacting with specials is more difficult because of the additional input lag overall and there are less good specials to anti air with – making it less useful and less of a requirement.
So to go back, what has changed? Primarily the walk speed. Walk speed changes mean that you can’t as easily move in and out of range, primarily out of. To move back you often have to backdash because back walk is so slow. Even in XIII this was an issue for some characters but in XIV it’s worse. Alioune also mentioned the walk speed increase on twitter as something he would like to see – and so would I. I think being able to walk instead of always running or backdashing would be better because you can move in and out of space without committing to moving a set distance on a backdash or having stopping time on your run.
I also want to stress, because I know someone will say it because it happens every time. If you cr.C or st.A Chris j.CD in old KoF games, before it comes out, you did not react to his hop. That is impossible. 10000000% impossible. That j.CD will hit and be + at the height of that boys hop. To do that you press it almost as soon as you leave the ground and it is not slow enough for a “reaction” anti air that is not invincible unless you are some next level human.