A while back, we did a Daily Grind on “vestigial organ” design in MMOs, and I mentioned Guild Wars 2’s leveling system as being something that the game could effectively delete and nobody would really notice. That’s because the game isn’t about leveling, and indeed almost all of the content of the game is still waiting for you once you hit level 80, including anything you passed up while leveling. And while some of that content is raids and living world and farming, a huge portion of it is actually just mapping.
Mapping is something I got addicted to in Guild Wars 1, when it was purely about discovering every corner of a zone for titles and bragging rights. In Guild Wars 2, mapping is far more than that and is wound into the content design and gameloop of every zone. It’s not just discovering every corner and removing the fog of war from every spot; it’s also collecting every point, visiting every vista, completing every heart. It’s time-consuming as heck, far more challenging than leveling, and terribly satisfying. Personally, I consider completely mapping everything to be the real mark of an accomplished player. And no, I’ve never finished!
So let’s talk about the idea of mapping in today’s Daily Grind. Do you approach mapping and exploration in your MMOs this way – do you try to explore every zone in your MMOs to the fullest? Which MMOs are the best at rewarding this type of explorer activity?