The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best fast travel options?

    
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Wheelie!

There will never be a time in my life without my heart going out to Guild Wars for its map traveling. Yes, the original. After years of playing Final Fantasy XI, the idea of fast travel that was reliably under my control alone was heady; finally, no relying on White Mages for teleports plus running across dangerous zones for 15 minutes just to level. (The fact that my character was a White Mage wasn’t relevant here.) But then it was so marvelously transparent as a system. You clicked an area, said that you wanted to go there, and then… you were there. Finis.

Fast travel has been a part of MMOs since forever, as it’s a central component of Ultima Online (a fact Bree loves to point out whenever someone complains that fast travel diminishes the world, so I’ve pinched it from her). But not all fast travel systems are the same. As much as I love Final Fantasy XIV, its fast travel isn’t great; it’s at least better than World of Warcraft, which keeps travel remarkably limited (flight masters are barely faster than just flying somewhere once you have it unlocked). What do you think? Which MMO has the best fast travel options?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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IronSalamander8 .

It was CoX (CoH/CoV) as you could just click a train and instantly go to the zone you liked once the train was in station or use the one boat in a similar way.

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Robert Basler

Guild Wars 2 had the best fast travel, but the new maps don’t have nearly enough Waypoints so you waste a lot of time getting murdered by random NPC’s with long aggro ranges trying to get where you want. Although the Roller Beetle is almost fast enough to compensate (but not really.)

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Thomas Koren

just bunny up to a near high point, grab gryphon and float where you want to go.

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Castagere Shaikura

Never really cared for this because it killed exploration. It never was an issue for me about traveling in an mmo. The most fun traveling in an mmo was in Anarchy Online’s Whompa or Grid systems. And if you had a Yalm (flying car) it was even better. I loved exploring that game world that way.

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Mr.McSleaz

ESO.

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thirtymil

Agreed, especially once you’ve bought a few cheap houses/inn rooms and get to teleport to any zone for free. I really enjoy riding across the zones once I’m there though.

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Bruno Brito

GW2. Never realized how much i miss it until ESO shrines.

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rafael12104

I think it depends on the game. Two of the prime examples at opposite ends of the spectrum, BDO and BnS, illustrate the point.

BDO is a beautiful game. So beautiful that not having instant travel, for the most part, is a pleasure. Riding my horse through areas I have passed by 100 times is still an adventure. Now, throw in ever-changing weather and day and night cycles and you are missing the game if you quick travel.

BnS has a great aesthetic, but traveling through areas old areas is hardly inspiring. The game is on a faster pace, and its strengths are the story and the combat. Riding through old haunts might be fun on occasion, but being forced to do it is a grind. The result is that instant travel is essential. Windstriding or using a Dragon Pulse drops you instantly at your destination minimizing the tediousness and improving the overall experience.

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Ironwu

I am going back to LOTRO when it first had its cash shop going, way back when it was still Turbine, and only Turbine. You could by tokens for really cheap that would port you directly to a quest turn in NPC. I mean it was like 10c each or something like that at full price. Less if you got your TP on sale or for free.

I think that was the item I first really purchased regularly from any Cash Shop. It was just so danged convenient not to have to traverse some of those huge distances just to get back to where I had started an hour previous.

They are still available (or were last time I looked), but are so expensive now as to be for whales only. Oh well.

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Tanek

I do not use them for buying fast travel, but the mithril coins that are used in the game now cost anywhere from 14¢ each (buying smallest points and mithril packs) down to 7¢ (buying largest). And that is without any sales or bonus point events going on.

Granted, the packages are in pre-set amounts that will probably never line up exactly with what you want to buy since companies always have to be annoying like that, but the prices still don’t seem far off from what you remember.

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John Mynard

Warframe lets you use Archwings PoE and Fortuna, that’s a pretty nice way to get around and cheese a few mechanics.

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Schmidt.Capela

In multiplayer content, including group content in MMOs, my preference is very much for instant and free teleports; that is because in a multiplayer setting I’m not willing, at all, to wait for other players to get to me or to force other players to wait for me to get to them.

To put it bluntly, if it takes more than about a minute for me to reach the player I want to play together with, I’ll either give up on playing with that other player or else invite that player to log off from the MMO and join me in some other multiplayer game where travel time isn’t a concern.

In single-player content, including solo content in MMOs, I’m more open to travel taking some time, but with a caveat: it must be interesting and/or engaging during the whole trip. If it’s not interactive, just forcing me to wait for what is in essence just an overly long glorified loading screen, then I will hate the game’s travel system; if it’s engaging all the way, like for example if it has some kind of mini-game like the ones in the Zelda games Spirit Tracks or Phantom Hourglass, then I’m fine with it (at least until I get bored with the mini-game).

Exploration can supply that engagement for me, but with a strong caveat: the first time I pass through any place in-game I will typically explore every nook and cranny of it, meaning from the second time I go through it again there is nothing anymore for me to discover or explore.

Due to all of that my favorite travel system in MMOs is very much GW1’s; instant and free.

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A Dad Supreme

To be fair, FFXI did let Black Mages break up the teleport monopoly by giving them a few out of the way places to port to as well.

They just learned that bad behavior from Everquest II with their teleport system restricted to certain classes.

I didn’t think SWTOR’s teleport system was horrible. It was clunky but you got to use point to point teleports (with the perk leveled up) every… 10 minutes or something?… either to a planet, home base or ship.