Recently, I have seen a major conern rear its head in Icarus Studios' Fallen Earth. Between people wanting to group with their friends from different sectors and other players trying to get to one of the community run in-game events from sectors that do not host these events, more and more people have been asking for some kind of fast travel system.
Now I am against the idea of fast travel myself, but in these situations it does make sense. I have found myself in both situations at some point, I even created another character and leveled it up just to avoid bringing my main character back to sector one just to travel with my friends.
What are the popular ideas for fast travel? There seem to be two. First, there's a "putting your body on ice" system, which I will call the "Icing Technique." Second, there's the "Train Technique," which would involve rebuilding the train line that is seen ruined in most of the sectors. Both of these ideas keep with the story of Fallen Earth, depending on your viewpoint.
It's never just so simple as adding a major possibly game-changing system like this to an MMO. As a result, there are some things that people are worried about with the possible addition fast travel.
- Immersion - How will it fit in with the Fallen Earth world?
- Exploitation - Are people going to be hopping from city to city at the drop of a hat without having to do something to gain the ability to use the system?
- Creating Central Hubs - If fast travel is limited to certain cities, would that cause these places to lag all of the time?
We'll talk about each of them in a little bit of depth:
Absolutely perfect idea for speeding fast travel into the game, and it's fairly simple. It takes the in game mechanic of cloning and modifies it for instant travel to different points in each sector. The idea behind this would be to have the option to visit a capitol city to have your body stored and activate a clone in another city. Let's explore the concerns behind this technique:
- Immersion - From an immersion standpoint, the Icing Technique wouldn't be too far out of the realm of what already exists in the game's lore.
- Exploitation - The control for this technique would be that you have to pay an NPC character to activate the sequence for you. This means that money would be involved, but that cannot be the only control behind it and it would be necessary to add a short quest before each use or a cool down timer.
- Creating Central Hubs - This would cause the main capitals to become to become even bigger central hubs than they already are. All of those that play the game know that Embry can definitely be a lag fest. Obviously this problem would only be made worse with the addition of a new reason for players to be there. The only fix is if they put the respawn post away from any major gathering point.
While this form of travel would require a lot of additions and would probably have to be part of some expansion in the future, I personally believe this to be the better option.
- Immersion - There could be a whole in game event to rebuild the train. This could lead to a whole line of quests, an in game event to repair the train system and other game changing possibilities.
- Exploitation - The cost would be upkeep and maintenance of the train system through donating chips or supplies to specific vendors to unlock the use of the train system originally. You would then have to purchase train tickets to use the train. The more quests you do, the lower the train tickets price becomes. This ties in with the game's current faction system.
- Centrals Hubs - Just like the Icing Technique, it would have to be placed away from any major quest areas. This in itself could be an issue if the factions are used to control the train system. Maybe enforcers could be used to guide people out of the area.
There are other ideas floating around about this issue and I know that not everything is covered here.
Whether or not we get fast travel in the game does not matter that greatly. It is something that has garnered much attention in game and on the forums as of late, but what we have to ask ourselves is, "Does it really matter?" I think the real test to see if people want fast travel would be to put up some kind of in game event, run it for a predetermined amount of time and a set goal.
Will fast travel be implemented in the end? Maybe. With this game pretty much just out of the gates, we will have to wait and see. It has been mentioned that it is "on the books" by some of the developers.
Personally, I know that if it is overdone or done incorrectly, it could ruin the game. I hope that if they add the fast travel that it is only for those that want to change sectors quickly and only goes to one central location inside those sectors. Limited use and some other way of controlling the hubs if they have to be near a central town are both important issues that must be addressed. If this cannot be done then there is really no point to adding it.