Global Chat: Is fast travel a boon or a bust for MMORPGs?

    
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While I let you chew on that slightly clickbaity title there, I urge you to check out an essay on Bits & Pieces about the history of fast travel in video games (which, of course, includes MMOs).

“Certainly the languid pace of travel in a game like World of Warcraft before its expansions, as well as other classic MMOs, was one of the main elements that battered you over the head with the size of its gameworld,” Gavin wrote. “Now, with its myriad, cheap flight-paths, ability to use easily-available flying mounts anywhere and common teleports, player convenience has been prioritised over a completely integral sense of world-space.”

Thinking over.

MMO Gypsy: Musings on gaming history and MMOnogomy

“It’s nice to have a steady MMORPG to return to and see the world and your character grow with it. Even if I’m always up for trying new promising titles, and they are now far and few between, I am an MMO monogamist at heart. I like to know where to turn to in the evening after a long day at work. I like walking familiar streets, watching familiar sites. There’s a sense of belonging to an MMO world once you become a more seasoned player that is just very nice and comforting to me, like a warm blanket to the soul.”

Kaylriene: The downsides of Patch 9.1

“Blizzard kind of tried to wiggle out of a problem here. If you say ‘new zone’ people think of large landmasses with sprawling new gameplay areas to check out. Korthia is…small. Maybe slightly smaller than Mechagon, in that there is still travel time from edge to edge, but it’s not huge by any measure.”

MMO Casual: Initial thoughts on FFXVI Patch 5.5

“As the main story quests roll out, particularly in endgame patches, there is content that is gated behind an ilvl requirement. In this case, you would have either needed enough tomestones saved up from older content to exchange for upgraded gear.  Or you would have need to be relatively current on going through the most recent raid instances.”

Gamer Reverie: Learning LOTRO — Merrevail

“You are most likely going to see what many players call ‘bat babes’ — bat-like women found in some of the vilest parts of Middle-earth. Where there’s one, there’s often many more. A female is called a morroval (Sindarin for ‘black-wing’), and a male is called a morvul (‘black-slave’). The males are more monstrous in appearance, and are hunched over, and not as prevalent as the females.”

Inventory Full: Stick with what you know

“Shawn definitely isn’t acting like a rock star. Really the opposite. The whole vibe around Project_N (hate that underscore…) seems to be to damp down expectations. After years and years of overblown pitches for god-games that end up imploding before they even reach market it’s nice to see someone setting their sights low for once.”

The Nerdd: Will we have conventions this year?

“Businesses have lost money, and conventions cost a lot. How will they get revenue back up? Online events over the past year made a fraction of a fraction of their standard revenue. It still cost money to put on those online events however, and so in their attempt to make money, they lost even more. Because of this, taking a gamble on having an event without a 100% guarantee that it’ll be okay, is losing any appeal.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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Holden Nagata

heavy boon. for WoW specifically you can still do the manual/slower routes, but having more portals now and Dalaran hearth is too good

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Schmidt.Capela

In my case:

– If I’m playing a game as multiplayer then I absolutely need to be able to get to where the rest of the group is close to instantly. Otherwise merely getting everyone together is likely to already take all the time I have to play.

– If I’m playing the game alone then I don’t really care about travel taking time; instead, I care about whether there is enough happening to prevent me from getting bored. Instant travel works, of course, but having the travel take its time but at the same time be eventful enough with gameplay that I find enjoyable is a perfectly fine alternative.

Of note, I find WoW’s taxis and zeps/boats to be among the worst in the industry. A boring wait where I can’t do anything else, and in the case of the boats and zeps I also have to pay attention while waiting in order to not miss them. Having to use those blasted time-wasters again, thanks to the removal of many portals, was a big part of why I left WoW in Cataclysm.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Boon. Because if you’ve already made your players leave by making them slow travel around, how do you plan to continue the game’s existence?

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Elizabeth Stone

I think it’s both a boon and a bust. The core of the discussion isn’t about how convenient something is but how immersive a game is, especially when one of the greatest strengths of an MMO should be immersion.

Admittedly, you can’t replace the feeling of exploring a place for the first time and discovering everything there. Likewise, you can’t ignore the drag of having to auto-run through a zone for the 14th time.

I think fast travel is nessissary, especially as games grow older and have continent after continent put into it. Could you imagine trying to navigate Azeroth without portals, hearth stones, or flying mounts? It’d be miserable.

I think the answer here is limited teleportation networks and live and vibrant open world content that makes the world feel alive and immersive.

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NeoWolf

I do not see it as either a Boon or a Bust, it is simply a utility, there for people with no patience to save time.

Myself, I only use it sparingly, preferring to travel across the map on a mount or foot to get from point A to point B as it adds to my immersion more that way and helps you learn all the little hidden nooks and crannies developers put into and across maps.

People are always in too much of a rush, have to get here to there fast as possible, have to make everything a race, have to reach level cap asap etc..etc.. people rush so much they forget to enjoy the process and focus too much on the result.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Definitely a boon. I will not touch any game without fast travel as it’s a subpar product that does not deserve my time or money. And I am an explorer at heart.

You see, my time is the most precious commodity I have, and I don’t like wasting it, especially when my free time to play games is extremely limited. Sometimes I just want to get from point A to point B so I can do C, and having limited time, wasting it to get from A to B and then not having time to do C is a serious problem that fast travel solves.

The best thing about it is that it is an optional system, so if you don’t like it, then you don’t have to use it. So those who complain about it are full of hypocritical poodoo.

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ashiru_1978

For me it’s a convenience that is not needed in the game. It’s been introduced to sell more shit to people, but it ruins the immersion of the world – you don’t care about avoiding mobs or learning the layout of the map, you don’t care about the enemy faction and so forth.

For me it’s one convenience that makes every MMO that has it less of an MMO and more of a incremental number simulator (seeing your numbers – stats, damage, level, etc. go bigger).

It was a mistake to ever be invented and every game that has it implemented is a complete failure due to it.

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Robert Mann

Sadly, the lack of care about and immersion about the world came first due to other bad design.

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Bruno Brito

Imagine traveling in WoW without FPs.

Jesus Christ.

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rk70534

Fast travel options should always be a reward for exploring the game world. Yes, learning the world from the ground level, slowly at first, has its own spell, but eventually a vast gamescape, where you can only travel slowly, becomes a hindrance. Fast travel is a necessary balm against boredom – and half-an-hour travels just to take part in instance runs,

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Ryan Allgood

Boon. If MMOs made world traversal in any way interesting, I might like it more. But if I’ve already traveled somewhere once, and you don’t have fun interesting unique ways of traveling, I don’t want to have to do it again a bunch of times.

Most MMO developers are incapable of designing ways to make travel fun, so it just ends up being a monotonous “turn on auto run and maybe steer occasionally” thing to waste your time. So I’d rather they play to their strengths, instead of forcing us to spend time with their weaknesses.

GW2s mounts are kind of a step in the right direction, but not a step far enough.

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Richard de Leon III

If i were a teenager again, bust. But at my age, im running out of time, I’d rather spend it doing the actual quest/content than travel. If someone would care to invent immortal cybernetic bodies then ill put it back in the bust column :P