This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Forgotten features of a golden era: long travels" by Metentso. In the thread, Metentso laments the trend towards fast travel in contemporary MMOs as he explains what the long travel times in games of old added to the MMO experience:
Back then, human cities had humans. Elf cities had elfs. Dwarf cities had dwarfs, and so on.
Because traveling was hard.
It took time and it was risky, and it had consequences, like not being able to train (depending on faction alignment).
So if you were an Elf, an travelled to the human cities, you draw the attention of everybody, since it was strange for an Elf to travel from such a long distance. You were special and you had a tale to tell and people interested in it.
Add this to the long list of things we have lost, thanks to modern developers.
I know some of you hated long travels.
Do you agree with Metentso? Read on to find out what the community had to say!
Loktofeit asserts this has less to do with the choices made by "modern developers" and more to do with developers responding to what players want:
Do you really believe this is a 'modern developers' thing and not a convenience added because of a desire by the players to be able to group up with their friends? Travel definitely has its place, specifically in some warfare-based MMOs, but in a game where the focus is getting together and PVEing with others, there's no reason to place undesirable obstacles in the way.
I think the EQ/WOW crowd forgets there are other styles of games out there, as UO, Asheron's Call, Tibia, Lineage 2, SWG, Puzzle Pirates, and Horizons offered fast travel to jump between key locations. All of those titles are from the nostalgic days of yore.
Clerigo is on board with Metentso:
Well, you can look to it the way you want, but im with the OP on this one.
World exploration is no more in current mmo designs. And long travels are part of this factor, so i suppose i agree on calling it a feature. Everything is spoon fed to players. The game design itself is made in order to lead the player across the world map. Theres no exploration, no hard tasking in discovering by yourself the world map, and even grouping with other people to quest level around the map is useless because you can solo the content.
So, and this is ofc my opinion, having to level from lvl A to lvl B and taking a long time to do so is bad for some players, but what i hate most is to reach cap level in a blitz, because game design allows it, and be at max level really quick so i can do end game content. Whats the fun in it? I like to explore the game, and most of the mmos i have fun are the ones that allow me to slowly quest level, allowing me to know the games lore, my avatar, places, etc etc.
So yeah i miss the long travelling around the world..."thanks to devs by removing it" "time sink"...?? Well i guess those players that already are at max lvl in SWTOR had plenty of fun..even if almost instant, but the ones still leveling are still enjoying it.
Robsolf feels there is a distinction between long travel times and a game's potential for exploration and journey:
I'm an explorer, too. But I don't at all enjoy long travel times. I enjoy big worlds with paths that go off in different directions; off the beaten path from the main questline. Perhaps I'm taking your travel time comment too literally, but travel time is something ENTIRELY different from exploring. Making somebody spend 20 minutes at a time going from town to town, IMO, actually DISCOURAGES exploring. "I spend ENOUGH time just trying to get from point A to point B. I don't have time for taking the road less traveled."
I've seen few MMO's where you didn't have to travel on foot to a place before you were able to quick travel back. That's because exploring is about discovering new places, not running along the same road for the 40th time. So, most games DO have both. I could be wrong, but the OP seems to think this is unacceptable.
I think if you asked me around 7 years ago I would probably agree, but as I have less time now than I used to it's definitely a good thing that I can get around the world a lot quicker in newer games. Many have mentioned this allows friends to play with each other easier, and that is also completely true. It would really be hard to keep up with my friends if it was an ordeal just to get to them.
At the same time, I look back fondly at memories of traveling in Star Wars Galaxies pre-speeders (and even pre-mounts). Groups of players running through the desert together towards Ft. Tusken on Tatooine, it was good times. Everyone would talk along the way, and areas of the world that promised adventure were often out of the way, so this would help build anticipation as you went there. This is a far cry from the way things are today. People standing around in cities waiting for their dungeon queues to pop and complaining (I've been guilty of this myself) that the queue hasn't popped in less than five minutes. It really does take away from the sense of adventure when you've got all this cool stuff on demand and can run it over and over to your heart's content.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!