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Transportation Entertainment Games

Why Don't MMOs Allow Easier Transportation? 337

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-looking-at-you-eve dept.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun is running an opinion piece which asks why the majority of MMOs force users to spend a fair portion of their time traveling around a virtual world. At what point does moving from one location to another become a chore? From the article: "I love big, explorable worlds. They're by far one of my most favourite things about games. Running off in a direction without any idea what I might encounter is a rare pleasure, and one far more likely to result in an exciting discovery in a game's world than the real one. ... Not knowing what's coming up is huge and exciting, and I'd not want to take it away from gaming, not ever. But you know what? Once I've been there, that moment's gone. I've discovered it already. I did the exploring. I don't need to spend half an hour of my time that I've allocated for playing games trudging at whatever stupidly slow speed a game's decided to impose upon me. There is no good reason, whatsoever, to not just let me be there."
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Why Don't MMOs Allow Easier Transportation?

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  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:40AM (#28502363) Homepage Journal

    If you allow teleporting from anywhere to anywhere it doesn't matter how big you make your world, because to everyone it will feel small.

    In regards to why World of Warcraft uses the "flying on a griffin" form of "slow portals" [google.com.au], that's cause they've read Bartle.

    • by zwei2stein (782480) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:01AM (#28502449) Homepage

      No, they use it because it introduces massive downtime that is easy to justify as you can get some players even believe it is for their own good.

      MMO 101: Downtime and timesinks are good thing for business. It means you get away with having less actual content while players take longer to do something, making sure they will be around in next month.

      I have been playing instant teleport-anywhere game (Guild Wars) and frankly it is single most awesome thing. Worls still feels big in parts where cotnent is and small where player runs out of it. Just like in WoW: Areas which you outlevel just shrink in your head. By time you are done with walking on feet, you are indeed done and any travel-related downtime is pointless and punishing.

      Game would not be bigger if i had to spend 30 minutes getting to some location "for your own good". It would be oxonobiously anoying.

      Ive actually quit WoW over lack of instant movement. Waiting 30 minutes for group to ssemble is not fun, neither well spent time. When you spend more time afking game and reding book while you wait for someone than playing, something is very wrong ...

      • by Liquidrage (640463) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:40AM (#28502943)
        Your thoughts are jaded as an ex-player and your reasoning is par with a conspiracy theory about the moon landing. You act like the travel timesink is good for business, yet mention you quit because of it. As if they got paid by the mile you traveled? Guild wars is a different type of MMO. It's not a virtual world per say.

        Although MMO's are full of timesinks and carrots, they really are a labor of love designed by big-time geeks like things like MUD's and D&D.

        Worlds do appear small, and less of a consistent world, if transportation is instant. They're been lots of comparisons and feedback on this. Go back to EQ's day. You spent 45 minutes real time running from one major city to another. You spent 20 minutes standing on the docks waiting for a boat to take you to another island, and the boat ride itself was 10 minutes long. But it felt like a huge world. Now about 10 years after release they do have instant travel, it was added as a gimmick to try and keep older players around in lieu of other games like WoW.
        In WAR on the other hand, transportation is nearly instant. Yet, one of the biggest complaints about it was it didn't feel like a continuous world. It played like levels in an old school FPS. To go from one level to the next you take the epic "10 second cutscene of your journey".

        WoW takes the approach of speed increased flights that are controlled by the game.

        To be honest, I'm not really sure what RPS's complaint is. Most MMO's have travel options that go well beyond "I've run this one, I don't want to run it again". Several times in the article it mentions running over and over. In the 800 lb gorilla in the room, there are personal mounts, flight paths that allow you to revisit almost every area you've already been too at least once, instant transportation to all the main cities in both expansion hubs, a class that can transport people instantly, and transportation to bind locations. Etc... To do what Guild War does they wouldn't make a continuous world. And "gasp" GW didn't. It's clear the true MMO's try to make travel painless, but at the same time preserve the essence of a virtual world.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SilverJets (131916)

          WOW could keep that big feeling and make players happy if they did one simple thing. Make the griffin flights instantaneous. They are from major point to major point, but then you still have to walk (or ride a mount if you are high enough level) to the area of the quest and some of them are still quiet far from a griffin flight path.

          Sure flying on the griffin was fun for probably the first 10 times. After that it became a major pain in the @ss especially if you were flying a long distance, say Menethil

        • by Talgrath (1061686) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @03:51PM (#28506455)

          Mounts still take time to get you to where you're going; and he is right in a big way; they may not charge you by the "mile" but they certainly do charge you by the minute. You pay your $15 for a month's worth of play, minus server maintenance; you could break that down to time in minutes or further into paying for time in terms of the time you have to play it. Every minute spent traveling is time, and money wasted.

      • by thesandtiger (819476) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:27AM (#28503191)

        Ive actually quit WoW over lack of instant movement. Waiting 30 minutes for group to ssemble is not fun, neither well spent time. When you spend more time afking game and reding book while you wait for someone than playing, something is very wrong ...

        In WoW there are at least 2 options for getting other players to a dungeon virtually instantly - the meeting stones (requires 2 players be there already) and warlock teleporting (requires 3 players be at the desired location). If you're at a level where you're doing content that doesn't have a meeting stone (raids, pretty much) you are going to have the ability to travel to any location in the world in much less than 30 minutes, at most about 10 minutes, and that would be the most extreme possible case I can think of. The *only* time there is a longer trip involved is when you're first exploring an area with a given character. If you don't have the flight paths connecting one point to another, then prepare for World of Walking - but at the level where you're still getting flight paths it isn't like you're raiding or doing dungeons much, so waiting for people for a raid isn't happening.

        People take so long to get to instances and raids not because of travel times, but because they are doing other things before the raid, like selling stuff, repairing, getting potions etc. ready for the raid, chatting, whatever. If travel time were the real determinant of how long it takes to get a raid together, the wait times would be down to 10 minutes, 15 minutes tops.

        Further, WoW has done quite a bit to change the way you have to travel:

        Original WoW had mounts that you could get at level 40 that would boost your speed by 60% for 100 gold (a decent amount of money back then) and 1000 gold at level 60 (the maximum level) would get you 100% movement speed increase. You could boost that another 2-3% by getting a trinket that would speed you up.

        Then they added the Burning Crusade expansion with flying mounts. The level 40 mounts dropped to 60 (I think?) gold, the level 60 mounts dropped to 640 (I think?) gold, and the flying mounts were now 1000 gold for the riding skill (easy to get along the way to level 70) for a 60% speed flying mount and 5000 gold (about as hard to get as the old 1000g mount) for a 280% speed increase - as fast as the flighpaths, but quicker because you could do this point to point kind of travel rather than take the long way with flight paths that swooped around. You could boost those numbers by 10% or so by getting new trinkets.

        In addition, they added Shattrath which has portals in it to every major city in the game. You could set your hearthstone to Shattrath and teleport to either continent in the old world (and close to other travel options) instantly.

        Then they added Wrath of the Lich King. The level 40 mounts now unlock at level 30. There's a new city - Dalaran - that has a set of portals to all major cities. Cooldowns on hearth stones and other similar abilities were reduced to 30 minutes from an hour. 5000g for the VERY fast flying mounts is now pretty easy to get.

        It isn't instant travel, but it's not 30 minutes, either. And if you're really impatient to get around, roll a mage or deathknight. Mages can teleport to many places in the world inside of 10 seconds, and deathknights have special abilities that make their mounted speed quite a bit faster than usual - it feels pretty peppy.

        Guild Wars also uses a different model from WoW. They actually make more money if you buy the game and then stop playing because it's a pay once (and pay for expansions) kind of thing. WoW is a pay per month set up. Guild Wars doesn't really require timesinks for their business model in the same way WoW does. I think WoW does a pretty good job of varying the timesinks and even making them a little more entertaining (the people on boats can be fun to talk to; flying under your own control you can find interesting places) all things considered - and certainly the rest of the game is more than fun enough (for people who still play) to compensate for the travel stuff.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by VGPowerlord (621254)

          Not only that, but WoW is dropping the mount levels again in 3.2.

          According to the WoW Under Development [worldofwarcraft.com] page:

          • Apprentice Riding (Skill 75; normal land mount): Can now be learned at level 20 for 4 gold. Mail will be sent to players who reach level 20 directing them to the riding trainer.
          • Journeyman Riding (Skill 150; epic land mount): Can now be learned at level 40 for 50 gold. Mail will be sent to players who reach level 40 directing them back to the riding trainer.
          • Expert Riding (Skill 225; normal flying moun
          • Thanks for posting that - I had no idea it was being changed, and I have a bunch of alts who need it :)

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @01:58PM (#28505471)

          No, its not. Absolutely not fun at all. When you're doing a dungeon again, and again, and again because of the farming spirit of this game and you have to wait 30 minutes to get someone, it's awful.

          You don't need more than 10 minutes ? If you got guys in a capital which isn't dalaran without their heartstone ready (reloading time 1 hour, so greaaat...), and you want to do a Lich King's dungeon, people will take so much time to come that you'll wonder why you're still playing this. Yes of course, you could ditch everyone and get another team and, if you're on a low pop server, wait forever.

          Timesinks are stupid. Period. I don't play a game for awfully boring timesinks. And frankly people talking about "big worlds"... Who cares ! I've already explored this "big world", it doesn't seem "that" big, even if retarded automatic transportation methods takes a lot of time to go from one point to another. It's not because your character is slow as hell and takes 30-45 to run from one side of the continent to the other that a world is "big" and "nice".

          People who wants ease of transportation in those games are people who don't care anymore about the landscape. They saw it so much times, they're sick of it. Flying mounts are slow, unless you want to farm as hell to get a "faster" transportation method, which you'll be unable to use if you're on Azeroth anyway, so it doesn't solve the problem indicated above.
          Frankly, the number of timesinks of this game make me quit. Getting money by killing the fun with timesinks is completely stupid.

          And, to finish this rant, "big" worlds comes with big citys. Almost all the "villages" look as big as highway gas-stations. The capitals aren't bigger than a small town. "Big" world ? Meh...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mcvos (645701)

            Timesinks are stupid. Period. I don't play a game for awfully boring timesinks.

            Then WoW is clearly not for you.

      • oxonobiously is my new favourite word :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by WuphonsReach (684551)
        No, they use it because it introduces massive downtime that is easy to justify as you can get some players even believe it is for their own good.

        I'll state right up front that you're off base, close minded, and completely lacking in aesthetics.

        I played EQ back in the days of Velious. Traveling from Faydwer (eastern continent on Norrath) to Erudin (western continent) by foot, was about a 2-3 hour journey. So, if you wanted to travel that way (for free), you expended playing time. The land felt huge,
    • by mh1997 (1065630)

      At what point does moving from one location to another become a chore?

      About 8 seconds after starting the game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Parent post is the obvious and correct answer. Next question please. I know that insulting people isn't a good way to conduct an argument but if you ask this question and can't even come up with this answer yourself (yes I rtfa) you're an idiot.

      And for the "it's a game, not work", this is such a ridiculous argument which translates to:
      "It should be exactly like I want it to be even though it's a MM(ultiplayer)O game. It doesn't matter at all what other people like, in fact I won't even consider thinking abo

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Anyway, I used to play Everquest (a lot) and one of the biggest disappointments was when they introduced the city portals. When I first started playing (as an ogre) traveling from the Oggok (ogre city) to Neriak (dark elves) was quite a trip, which I had to prepare for and I had to be constantly alert so I wouldn't die (those damn madmen and sand giants). Not to mention traveling to for example Ak'Anon or Erudin, for which trip you actually needed to sneak through human controlled cities to take a ship. Th
        • by hedwards (940851)
          I think it's a matter of taste. I tend to think that the sort of people that play these games are willing to put up with a fair amount of that sort of thing. Personally, I don't play them and they strike me as being tedious in that aspect.

          But, on top of that, I'm not really sure how it's good for the game to either be able to attack somebody that can't fight back or to have people essentially missing from the world for periods of time as their avatar goes somewhere. Plus the people that oppose such thin
      • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:33AM (#28504129)

        Why would you pay to wait???

        As the Lead Designer of the PC game Majesty explained to me the technical term is called "Dead Time." If the player is _bored_, you hav _failed_ as a game designer.

        Anyone who thinks waiting 20 mins in a MMO getting one from one destination, has never played D&D. D&D has almost _zero_ dead time. Want to travel north? Ok, GM rolls a die, and usually 1 or 2 things happen.

        1. Ok, you're there. Now what?
        2. Half way there you get attacked. Now what?

        In CRPGs, there needs to be a balance. Ultima Online showed that if any one can recall, then yes, the world does seem small. WoW has shown us that suckers, er gamers, will put up with paying to wait. In Diablo 2, there are check-points (waypoints) that once you reach them, you can instantly travel back to any of the ones you have reached. Guid Wars does this exact same thing. Want to travel back to any city you have previously reached. Bam, there. I would limit the distance warped, or allow mages to _sell_ tiered portal scrolls that allow for greater distances.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fractoid (1076465)
          You've never played D&D, at least with the sort of crowd I've played with. You usually spend half an hour per round of combat because no-one can focus, and it just turns into a chore.
    • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:52AM (#28502695) Journal
      Small is not a bad thing.

      With Guild Wars, you have to run/walk/fight to new cities/towns first (or get someone to "run" you there - e.g. do all the hardwork while you just tag along). After that, you can teleport to that town or any other town you have been before.

      It's a _chore_ having to keep running to places you've been before.

      Like "same old" cutscenes you can't skip, but must keep pressing "Next" (to kill anything that gets in your way) till you finally reach the real destination (the actual battle).

      Being able to teleport straight to places you've been before is a good thing. I don't care if the world feels small in that way - as long as it's diverse enough.

      It's like being in a small shop with a huge variety of products, and a different product on every inch of the shelves that you can choose if you like. Compared to being in a huge hypermarket with shelves and shelves of the _same_ items, so you need to walk about a lot more to get to the stuff you want.

      Guild Wars is a bit like WoW Lite in some ways. So a lot of ppl won't like it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by geminidomino (614729) *

        I wouldn't call Guild Wars "Wow-Lite" although that's admittedly what they are planning for the vaporware Guild Wars 2. I left WoW for guild wars because, despite the smaller size, I found it a better game, definitely a more enjoyable one.

        The key differences from WoW are big ones.

        • Instanced world - Outside the outposts, the area is yours. You want to caravan from Temple of the Ages to Ascalon City, feel free. You don't have to worry about twats trying to gank you, training monsters onto you for giggles, and
    • by Miros (734652) *
      This is exactly right. One of the reasons that the world feels so small as a result is large pieces of it are totally useless if you remove the utility value of the road or flypoint. With teleportation there are large parts of the world that people would simply never go to; which in wow is honestly bad enough at this point when they screw up and don't give a city enough useful things (silvermoon for example is a ghost town). Transit hubs force players together in a way that teleporting everywhere would s
    • Oh, please. give it up on Bartle already. Bartle thinks that for some "magically" reason you "need" 4 players types. Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades. Ultima Online, showed that you don't need the Clubs (PvP) _at all_ when Trammel got introduced and the population in mass moved from Felucca. I lost many friends who quit UO for good because of some immature player griefing others.

      • by genner (694963)

        Oh, please. give it up on Bartle already. Bartle thinks that for some "magically" reason you "need" 4 players types. Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades. Ultima Online, showed that you don't need the Clubs (PvP) _at all_ when Trammel got introduced and the population in mass moved from Felucca. I lost many friends who quit UO for good because of some immature player griefing others.

        Everyone went to Trammel to level but plenty of them came back to Felucca as 7X GM's.

    • I'm going to chime in with everyone else and point out that while instantaneous teleportation to anywhere probably wouldn't work -- it would make the world feel smaller, and make it much more difficult to build any sort of a decent dungeon -- having some sort of teleportation is just useful.

      Teleportation in Nexus TK [nexustk.com] works like so: At any given point, you're either in Vortex (high-level hunting area), or you're in one of three kingdoms. In each of these places, there are four gates -- north, south, east, and

  • Just.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dov_0 (1438253) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:41AM (#28502367)
    Keeping it real... as real as a game like that could really be anyway...
  • Free Realms (Score:3, Interesting)

    by binkzz (779594) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:43AM (#28502377) Journal
    The Sony game "Free Realms" allows you to transport from anywhere to a certain number of pre-defined portals. I'm sure the world would feel bigger if you had to walk everywhere, but it still feels big because you have to walk to a portal before you can use it, and explore all areas yourself to get quests and solve things. I did get bored with the game, as I do with any mmorpg, but that aspect I liked.
  • by VPeric (1215606) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:48AM (#28502397)
    Of course, you could go the other way and make location actually matter - like, for example, EVE Online.
    • by NightRain (144349)
      Absolutely. Kirith Kodachi even wrote a blog entry on why they're important [ninveah.com] recently. As someone who makes their (ingame) living off of the market in EVE, instant travel would make it impossible to turn a profit in this manner
  • Pretty simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omgarthas (1372603) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:50AM (#28502407)
    More time travelling = more time playing

    More time playing = more money earned
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      More time travelling = more time playing

      More time playing = more money earned

      That only works provided people keep playing. If they go as silly as say that Penn and Teller Sega CD game where you drive a bus to Vegas, subscriptions dry up.

    • The truth is they don't want players whipping through all the content in the first month. So they nerfed travel so people can't "finish" the game and move on, it's really damn cheap if you ask me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Xelios (822510)
      I don't see why. You pay monthly regardless of how long you spend in the game and what you do in it. If anything long, unnecessary travel times will tend to put people off of subscribing for another month.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by omgarthas (1372603)
        You'll play the game untill you run out of things to do, so basically they have to extend the time needed to achieve your goal as much as they possible can.

        Large travelling times, farming, releasing content slowly, etc etc are some of the mechanisms
      • Re:Pretty simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by damburger (981828) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:33AM (#28502891)

        Thankyou for stating what I was thinking. WoW is not an expensive past time. The amount of money I spend on my WoW subscription in one month, I can burn through in the pub in about 2 hours. Furthermore, it is unmetered, so Blizzard have no financial incentive to keep you traveling. It could be to reduce load on their servers I suppose, But I doubt it. When you fly you go through a number of areas in quick succession, rather than simply switching from one to another as you do using one of the various instant teleportation methods.

        I have never been as pissed off with WoW travel as other people seem to be. Maybe its because I am older than a lot of players, but it seems to me that it helps pace the game properly. It is a big world, and flight paths help maintain that impression.

        Oh, and it also gives me a chance to get myself a cup of coffee and go to the toilet :)

        • by fredklein (532096)

          It is a big world

          I've seen an analysis that shows they two main 'continents' of WOW are, in actuality, smaller than Manhattan.

          http://www.ytrilynth.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=282 [ytrilynth.org]

        • Re:Pretty simple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:21AM (#28503149) Homepage Journal

          I have never been as pissed off with WoW travel as other people seem to be. Maybe its because I am older than a lot of players, but it seems to me that it helps pace the game properly. It is a big world, and flight paths help maintain that impression.

          I agree. In TBC they introduced portal rooms which allow teleportation to any capitol city. With WotLK they removed barriers between alliance capitols in the old world. Very recently they changed the cooldown on the hearthstone (and the associated Kirin Tor trinket) to 30 minutes.

          While there is some convenience involved, it used to be more fun planning your strategy around how to minimize your travel times.

          It's very much a mixed bag.

          I thought I was a slow, methodical player until I went after the Explorer achivement and was amazed at how truly big the World of Warcraft truly was, or appeared to be.

  • Codswallop (Score:2, Interesting)

    Everquest one was mostly ruined when they included instant portal stones in the Plane of Knowledge.

    WoW lost most of its charm when flying mounts were introduced. Imagine how epic Northrend could have been if there was actually some danger involved traversing the Lich King's lair, rather than flying over it all unmolested.

    • Re:Codswallop (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bieeanda (961632) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:08AM (#28503079)
      Have you actually played the latest expansion? You get to Northrend at level 70. You can't fly there without "Cold Weather Flight Training" or somesuch, which you can't even get until level 77-- which is most of the way through the Northrend content, and costs a serious chunk of change to boot.

      The Howling Fjords starting zone is built heavily around sheer drops, switchbacks, irregular terrain and slow lifts. Its very existence is a poke in the eye for people who thought that the nether drake mounts they spent weeks grinding faction for made them the kings of shit mountain.

    • I don't think "most" of WoW's charm was due to mounts, but if you feel "most" of the charm comes from touring around the world, I guess that's your right :)

      And there is some danger - if you're not careful you can get assaulted by various large flying things in many areas, and they'll either dismount you (dropping you to your death unless you're a mage or priest or paladin) or beat you to death since they're rather powerful.

      Fortunately, you have to wait to at least level 78 when you're in Northrend to get fl

    • by Teckla (630646)

      Everquest one was mostly ruined when they included instant portal stones in the Plane of Knowledge.

      Agreed!

      But it seems you and I are in the minority. Everyone wants instant gratification. If it takes them more than one minute to travel to the latest, greatest, hottest XP farming zone, they're annoyed.

      Some of my fondest memories of original EverQuest were traveling. The world felt wonderfully big and scary. I met traveling companions (safety in numbers!), I discovered interesting places, and once at my destination, I would explore more carefully and in more detail, because after all, it took a while to ge

  • Timesinks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nxcho (754392) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:03AM (#28502469)
    All MMOs have some kind of timesinks. It may be grinding, traveling and so on. If there was no timesinks, the game would run out of content pretty fast.
  • Yeah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:07AM (#28502495) Homepage Journal

    After playing a little bit of WoW again after Lich King came out, yeah, it was amazingly tedious after having played AoC and WAR. EVE is the only game with more tedious travel, but the concept of trading off cargo space over time is one of the primary mechanics that drives the economy. Different regions produce different things (like Electrical Engineering datacores) which someone needs to ship to the final destination, unless buyers want to fly over to the place themselves. But they're usually willing to pay a markup on them to avoid having to spend half an hour of real life time flying out and back.

    WoW didn't have linked flight paths when it came out, which meant that if you were flying a long distance, not only was it incredibly tedious, but you also couldn't get up to go grab a sandwich or something. It was actually the main reason I played a mage in the game - they could teleport to different cities, which did a lot to eliminate the hated tedium of travel in the game.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Don't forget that EVE also has the whole "PVP is consensual, you consent to it when you launch your ship" thing. You actually can teleport your character to some degree (jump clones) but moving anything material from place to place requires flying it... potentially through all sorts of people who'd be just as happy to take it by blowing big enough holes in your hull that it just pops out. In highsec I suppose this doesn't matter much (so it really is about the economic aspects, which EVE has lots of) but ve

      • Even in highsec, if your cargo is valuable enough and your hull thin enough, you'll get popped. One player slam you, sacrifices his ship and standing to concord, his buddy loots you.

  • by johndmartiniii (1213700) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:12AM (#28502509) Homepage
    a WoW Undeground?
  • by The_Myth (84113) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:24AM (#28502563)

    It really depends a lot on the game. In Ultima Online you had a system where you could take a bunch of runes and mark them at a location and then teleport to that location later on. To do this you needed to have some magic skill which meant less points you could spend on other things. For the non mages other ingame crafters could make Rune Books and sell them and also scrolls of teleportation and Portal. Its not a technical problem and more developer laziness. SWG even has a reward that is an instant transport ship that people could obtain.

    In WOW the mages can do the same things but just to specified town locations. Still in WoW Engineers can make transporters to a couple of other locations. Yes not everything in WoW is as good as it could be but its the unfortunate yard stick that others try to measure up to.

  • Guilds Wars method (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think Guild Wars method was one the best method. Once you discovered a given post (Like "towns", "villages", ...), you could just open the map, click on the post and warp to it instantly. You still had some walking to do if you wanted to go to some dangerous place far away, but this was a good idea, IMHO. Death penalty was high enough to make traveling to those dangerous places a real adventure, even with simple bots with you.

    I quite frankly hated the transportation method of World of Warcraft. Unless you

    • by Draek (916851) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:16PM (#28504487)

      Guild Wars' method also has one *very* important advantage going for it: 'lowbie' areas still have people in them.

      I can be playing with my Warrior main, doing a mission on Cantha's mainland when a guild mate asks for help on a new Nightfall character. I just hit 'M', select the little ship, select the continent of Elona and 30 secs later I'm standing in the middle of Kamadan, port city of the Elonian continent and 30 secs away from any outpost in the Nightfall campaign ready to help him out.

      That ease, in turn, also means many 'lowbie' areas are full of lv20s selling their wares and giving free stuff to newbies, since there's only a 30-sec difference between idling on the Realm of Torment or idling on Old Ascalon and helping/pestering newbies more than compensates for that.

      But who's gonna spend from 30 mins to an hour in WoW going to a lowbie area and back just to help somebody else? let alone sell or give out stuff to random newbies. From what I've heard playing the lv1-60 content in WoW these days is pretty much like playing a single-player RPG, except with a monthly fee, and that's very much a result of long travel times, IMHO.

  • I think the answer is that some games don't provide instant transportation because some people like it that way and others don't. As long as the trip provides some reward, such as experience points or items, I don't mind it. Obviously from the earlier comments, some people do.

    It's called competition and is how a free market works. If a product is truly the best, everyone will flock to it. But if product A and B provide the same basic product but work a little different, they will attract different con
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:06AM (#28502763)

    A lot of people don't necessarily like traveling. World of Warcraft, to me, is a perfect balance of required travel versus ease to get to locations. You can teleport to any major city, and from there... head to your destination. Typically your travel time won't exceed 15 minutes. Look at any movie, or story... and most of the content comes from the journey there... not just once you get there. "I've been there a lot!" ... grats. They have summoning stones in World of Warcraft by the instances so your lazy butt doesn't have to run/fly/swim/whatever.

    Fact is... your post seems more out of lazy ADD'ness than anything. You want to complain? Go play Everquest 1.

  • If I have visited New York, I should be able to teleport there or get their quicker than a 8 hour flight with out a stop in Atlanta first.

  • by hal9000(jr) (316943) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:13AM (#28503103)
    I played EQ for a while and I never acheived an uber level--traveling was still risky for me. I could buff up and avoid the worst of it, but yeah, getting from here to there was often a difficult choice. For the areas where I felt no risk traveling through, those were short.

    I think what would make sense is to base a teleport on the players level, the area level, and distance. If you are at a high enough level that the area doesn't pose much risk, then let them transport over it, especially if you have to go from one place to another through easy levels. It makes the game play better for high level players and gives an extra benefit for long term play.
  • Another implication of instantaneous travel would be much less complex markets. This would be a major change for a game like Eve (MMO internet spaceships) where the difficulty of getting somewhere with something is a key part of the game.
  • by Krakadoom (1407635) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:24AM (#28503175)
    The issue isn't that transportation is slow, it's that it's boring.

    This is where static content fails. There is hardly ever anything new going on in an area you've already visited. Maybe game developers should focus less on expanding worlds when they do expansion packs and such, and more on coming up with systems for dynamic content delivery that mimics a living world better.

    I wouldn't mind a 10 min trek through a known area, if the monsters changed, little random quests popped up, or whatever else happened on the way.

    The issue is plainly the static nature of the world, not a lack of teleportation (or whatever other system is suggested)
  • you could train your run skill up to silly numbers and just fly across its landscape. Throw in a dearth of portals from location to location and you could get anywhere you needed. When one aspect of unattended play shone in a game, AC had player run portal bots. With the ability of a character with the right skills to link and open to two portals it made for even better fun. Best yet, most portal bots operated as buff bots and would fully load your player with an hour or more of incredible (okay - near

  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:42AM (#28503293) Homepage Journal

    If you could teleport anywhere within a game at any time instantly, the best places, best quests, and so forth would all be overcrowded. It's like if you could teleport anywhere instantly in real life. The California coast would be heaving every weekend and evening and numerous "hotspots" would be crowded with tens of thousands of people 24/7. Popular areas in existing games have demonstrated this, since they're usually the easiest places to get to. A key example is outside the bank in Ultima Online's Britain.

  • 1) Economy - some games, like EVE, go out of their way to make travel difficult - there's even a cost to moving stuff around. This allows for very interesting realistic economies where some people can make their living by shuttling stuff from where it's cheap to where it's expensive. 2) Military - If everyone could instantly teleport anywhere, the weaker faction would never have a chance against a stronger one - everyone could instantly teleport in. With slow transport, hit-and-run tactics, ambushes, secur
  • Bad jobs motivate employees to do just enough work to not get fired. Bad subscription games will entertain you just enough to keep you from quitting.
    As a recovered Everquest player, I've begun to follow what I call 'The 10 minute rule'. If I walk/run/do nothing for 10 minutes in a row in any game, I uninstall the game and throw it away. No second chances. I wait for reviews before I will invest in a game to avoid wasting my money.

    Good game design keeps players playing with engaging content that is enjoyable

  • Jumping 20 systems to get somewhere in EVE really can be a bitch, especially if you rely on the autopilot. There's many things that effect the overall rate of travel like how fast your ship can align, how fast it accelerates, how man AU/s it gets, how many AU it is between gates, if you fall short of jump range making you travel 10-1000 meters...

    I know EVE is a largely PVP based game, so it's designed largely around it. This travel time plays an incredible role, and putting your resources where you need th

  • by Lazy Jones (8403) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:15AM (#28503981) Homepage Journal
    ... the way it's done in WoW is as close to perfection as it can get. There has to be a trade-off between reducing the boring travel times and making the world feel big enough and the guys at Blizzard have really got it right.
  • Playing the SWG beta, one aspect of the experience stood out. When attempting to travel from planet to planet, you had to sit at the shuttle station for up to 5 minutes.

    I did a lot of resource gathering, so I spent most of my game time out in the wilderness. The shuttle stop ended up being the place where I was most likely to interact with other players. I later learned that this was by design.

    http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/socialization.shtml [raphkoster.com]
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2005/12/09/forcing-interaction/ [raphkoster.com]

  • by Spinlock_1977 (777598) <Spinlock_1977@nOspam.yahoo.com> on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:06PM (#28504401) Journal

    Our minds seem to handle this for us in daily life. While enduring repetitive travel (commuting, for instance), we tune out a little, our minds wander, and the more often we travel the route, the less 'immersive' the experience becomes.

    Computer games could mimick this to some degree, perhaps by increasing your maximum allowable speed each time you travel a given route. This should probably be a gradual increase of some kind, perhaps asymptotic towards an eventual uber-max, would be a good place to start.

  • A mage could create a recall rune to a location and it took no magical skill to use a scroll of recall to teleport to that rune's location. This introduced a great money-making tactic for mages -- I made a lot of gold in the game selling bags of runes. In the early days a pickpocket could nab your runes so you only kept a few on you and kept the rest in the bank, but every so often you'd need a few replaced as well. This also made work for scribes -- creating scrolls of recall also paid a lot of bills back
  • In my day all we had were Scrolls of Town Portal, and we liked it, damnit.
  • Transportation in City of Heroes is so much faster than other MMO's I've played. Train stations or boats allow you to quickly move from one to zone to almost others in the same level range. There's a multitude of shortcuts (Pocket D teleporter, day job teleporters). There are Supergorup base teleporters that take you to almost every zone. Once you get to level 25, you can get the Ouroboros portal, which you can summon wherever you want and allows you to instantly teleport to the key high-level zones tha

  • Seriously, why they didn't just put the One Ring into a wicker basket, give it to the King of the Eagles, and have him fly directly to Mount Doom and drop the basket into the pit of lava, thereby saving me some 1500 pages of dreary reading about overland travel, I don't understand. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should have to spend time traveling through Middle Earth in order to get anywhere. In conclusion, Lord of the Rings sucked, and was a massive waste of time.

  • Server Load (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zadaz (950521) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @01:04PM (#28504957)

    Server load is the primary reason you can't travel instantaneously everywhere. It prevents flashmobs from forming and driving performance through the ground. Walking/riding/flying is the in-world application of this concept. If it takes 10 minutes to get there, not everyone will come (because of course it's 10 minutes back.) Also as players approach a crowded area they ease into the lag and can decide to get away before they get into the middle of it. If humans could freely teleport around the planet, they would have crushed the UCLA Medical Center last Thursday.

    From a design point of view it encourages social behavior to get people to travel in packs. The more social people are the more they play the game. In addition it becomes another improvement point for the player--faster travel, along with better armor/attack rating/spells, etc, etc. This gives players more options about what to pursue for their character which is good.

    Besides time spent on a mount isn't wasted. There are tons of stuff you can do while on a mount, just not killing.

    A less practical reason is to cut down twinking and PLing.

  • Guild Wars allows instantaneous travel to any location in the gameworld that you've already visited. EVE Online does not. This is fine because in Guild Wars, the game revolves around the adventure. It's okay for players to be hopping around quickly because the designers want the players collaborating on missions and quests, not walking. EVE Online, on the other hand, features an economy. With instantaneous travel, you lose arbitrage, piracy, shiping companies, etc. and key aspects of the economy cease

  • I think the one thing I really missed in WoW was the Town Portal from Diablo. I understand having to explore to learn new paths (*) however, when you're out in the middle of nowhere (or a dungeon) it would be nice to be able to jump back to town for repairs/selling - which you can do with the Hearthstone - and then be able to go right back to where you were, the lacking feature.

    (*) IIRC, when you get to Sentinal Hill in Westfall and are sent back to Stormwind, they Gryphon Master says he has plenty of Gry

  • 1. Overcrowding due to easy of access 2. Shrinking of the game world due to perceived lack of any distance 3. Content runs out quickly due to immediacy of transport 4. Travel is a general time sink slowing the progress of characters 5. Travel can also be a money sink to allow a bit of money back into the economy 6. Encourages grouping if used with things FORCING more than one person to summon (e.g. Warlock summon in WoW, Meeting Stones in WoW ) 7. Instant travel removes the sense of achievement at

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