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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    In the end, I think this would work best for a wilderness-based MMO, rather than one focusing on cosmic battles, the intrigue of cities or nobles or companies or wars between countries.

    Or tomb-raiding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sipex View Post
    Also, for the sake of clarity, Skyrim has a fast travel system which allows you to move between any two visited locations (locations encompass everything, from towns to dungeons), so you're only really walking to any one place once.
    Well, that, and you can pay a guy to hop on his cart so he can take you to one of the big cities, if you haven't been there yet. Incredibly handy.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    Everquest had many of those features:

    Low level characters had to walk everywhere. Higher level wizards could port, but they were the only class that could do so. Wizards actually had a nice side business as taxis

    Zones were fairly large and major towns were far away. I don't know if there were 30 minutes away, but they weren't necessarily close.

    You had food and water and you were penalized if you didn't have any.

    Other aspects:

    Soloing was practically impossible except for pet classes and druids (who were able to "kite")

    Death penalties were harsh

    You had to do corpse runs

    Leveling took a long time

    Recharging spell mana took a long time. They even forced people to look at their spell books while recharging mana.

    Healing hit points took forever

    If you wanted to cross the ocean, you needed to take a boat. A boat ride took about a 1/2 hour and nothing happened.


    The end result: players were notoriously conservative because recklessness could set you back days of gameplay. People liked it, solely because it and Ultima Online were the only games in town back then. Once the next generation games came along (ok, when World of Warcraft came along) it was popular anymore. WoW is popular for a reason. Generally speaking, people want to kill stuff, not travel.
    I played a good deal of Everquest back in the day.

    Small correction, druids could teleport as well, but only to the druid circle things.

    I remember my first trip from Qeynos to Freeport as probably a level 8 or 10 monk. I think I died twice as there were much higher level zones in between, and by the time I got all the way across it was approaching 2 hours.

    Travel was scary, and getting somewhere cool was a sense of adventure. Instant teleport anywhere for everyone ruined that part of the feel... At least for me...

    It's a completely different game, but there are times where travel is a huge deal both in time and danger in Eve Online.

    -Keldridge

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Sounds awesome, really.

    One more thing: I like games where players have ways to make a lasting impact on the world. (The main reason I play MUDs over MMOs). How about a game where players formed nations that would then, first, have to build streets or train lines between locations? And warring nations could attack those train lines to cut off supplies and player reinforcements?

    "Our train line was cut!" "What do we do now?" "Walk to the border." "But that takes six hours!" "Well, set your chars to automatic, we'll be playing our alts."
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Keldridge View Post
    Travel was scary, and getting somewhere cool was a sense of adventure. Instant teleport anywhere for everyone ruined that part of the feel... At least for me...
    Oblivion had a lot of problems, but for me the most annoying one was how cheap distance felt. You could never get your head around how big the world is because it only took ten seconds to get anywhere. I wouldn't say that distances should be made more realistic in games like that, but they should be given more weight.
    ... I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    While, if implemented sensitively, it could help with the workload of generating such an environment, it would need to be deployed with extreme caution. Entire map areas that were procedurally generated would really be a step backwards in terms of immersive game design.
    How do you figure? From what I've read procedurally generated content is going to be how game worlds get built in the not too distant future. There's a fair share of indie games doing it right now. For all intents and purposes, the earth is procedurally generated and nobody complains about it not being immersive enough.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Keldridge View Post

    I remember my first trip from Qeynos to Freeport as probably a level 8 or 10 monk. I think I died twice as there were much higher level zones in between, and by the time I got all the way across it was approaching 2 hours.

    Travel was scary, and getting somewhere cool was a sense of adventure. Instant teleport anywhere for everyone ruined that part of the feel... At least for me...
    I traveled from Freeport to Qeynos as a low-level bard (single digits, I think) and it was fun (the speed song was key). But exploring and traveling is fun the first time, not the 23rd time. I think that was also the character which carried a scimitar. I did it because I thought it looked cool. Everyone else assumed I was a druid and kept asking for SoWs. I never got to the high levels; I pretty much was playing my brother's account on his downtime.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Kindablue View Post
    Oblivion had a lot of problems, but for me the most annoying one was how cheap distance felt. You could never get your head around how big the world is because it only took ten seconds to get anywhere.
    Morrowind did that much better--there were a few methods of fast travel (siltstriders, ALMSIVI and Divine Intervention spells, and the propylon indexes in the old Dunmer forts) but these would often land you some distance from where you actually needed to be, so you'd have to hike out there. (This wouldn't have been so bad if every Cliff Racer for miles around didn't decide to attack the moment you set foot outside town, mind you...).

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I think this would work really well for an MMO set in the modern world. Zombie apocalypse (or some other apocalypse) makes it perfect. Think cities sized from games like Prototype or Grand Theft Auto (possibly with the interior of buildings fleshed out if you wanted to be ambitious) and then scatter them across miles of highways with small towns branching off to stalk up on supplies.

    Let's go with the zombie game because inspiration has struck. You start out in a small town to get the basic ropes for the game, exiting the easy zone when you grab your first car and get the hell out. Cities go through periods of high zombie activity and low zombie activity. To put a twist on it, the more players in an area the more zombies are attracted to it, but spending all of your time alone is a sure recipe for disaster. This forces players to find allies while avoiding high density cities until higher levels. If a city get's too dangerous it's time to hit the highway, stopping only for gas and twinkies. Make the roads an adventure in themselves (bandits trying to steal from the desperate, quarantine blockades that have to be evaded) and you release some of the monotony while maintaining the vast distances between civ centers. There would also be safe cities unaffected by the plague, where the game plays more like GTA if pissing off the law enforcement meant getting kicked out of the city and stranded without support from civilization.
    Last edited by Xondoure; 2012-10-15 at 04:45 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    How do you figure? From what I've read procedurally generated content is going to be how game worlds get built in the not too distant future. There's a fair share of indie games doing it right now. For all intents and purposes, the earth is procedurally generated and nobody complains about it not being immersive enough.
    The trouble is that pure procedural content can feel samey after awhile, because everything is based around a set of rules, creating limited unique experiences. Now, one suggestion that has been made for procedural generation is to use it in the development stage, taking care of the artistic scut work, freeing up artists to work on the more intimate details. If done right, this could potentially be a win/win as you have a broad expansive world that is full of special things to discover and do.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Sounds awesome, really.

    One more thing: I like games where players have ways to make a lasting impact on the world. (The main reason I play MUDs over MMOs). How about a game where players formed nations that would then, first, have to build streets or train lines between locations? And warring nations could attack those train lines to cut off supplies and player reinforcements?

    "Our train line was cut!" "What do we do now?" "Walk to the border." "But that takes six hours!" "Well, set your chars to automatic, we'll be playing our alts."
    This actually kinda reminds me of (what I've heard of, at least) Planetside. (Not sure a FPSMMO counts here though) You'd capture fortresses and move on, with the other two nations having to claim it back to spawn there (and otherwise, it's kinda blocking them from flying over with its giant guns) and you'd need to capture a fortress to get any vehicles (walking, it was slow. A squad tank, it was faster. A APC, it was a speedemon that explodes really fast). I heard there was a Planetside 2 in ebta, actually... I should look into that... *intrigued face of curiosity*
    Last edited by Mutant Sheep; 2012-10-15 at 05:07 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Would be fine, I think. Generate the basic geography. Put in parameters for forests, grasslands, deserts, cliffs, caves, waterways and so on. Then put in buildings, dungeons and interesting locations by hand.
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    I want more mwa-ha-haaa and much less boo-hoo-hoo.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Y'know, an MMO where the servers regularly go down for a short while every week or so to generate new, different wilderness areas would be pretty awesome. The big cities could be the only stable areas in a land that is constantly shifting.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Build it into the game's structure and background. Plenty of fantasy games feature lands that are divided, broken into shards or something. Every week, portals to new worlds, bridges to new lands, jump gates to new planets, or whatever else your game is going for. Then give some kind of advantage for holding territory.

    Maybe players can build their own kingdoms, or tribes, castles, controlled areas, whatever and hold them against competing players.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I want more mwa-ha-haaa and much less boo-hoo-hoo.

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Makes me miss boat rides in EQ

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    Everquest had many of those features:

    Low level characters had to walk everywhere. Higher level wizards could port, but they were the only class that could do so. Wizards actually had a nice side business as taxis

    Zones were fairly large and major towns were far away. I don't know if there were 30 minutes away, but they weren't necessarily close.

    You had food and water and you were penalized if you didn't have any.

    Other aspects:

    Soloing was practically impossible except for pet classes and druids (who were able to "kite")

    Death penalties were harsh

    You had to do corpse runs

    Leveling took a long time

    Recharging spell mana took a long time. They even forced people to look at their spell books while recharging mana.

    Healing hit points took forever

    If you wanted to cross the ocean, you needed to take a boat. A boat ride took about a 1/2 hour and nothing happened.


    The end result: players were notoriously conservative because recklessness could set you back days of gameplay. People liked it, solely because it and Ultima Online were the only games in town back then. Once the next generation games came along (ok, when World of Warcraft came along) it was popular anymore. WoW is popular for a reason. Generally speaking, people want to kill stuff, not travel.
    Yeah i was going to mention all this myself. Classic everquest had "realistic" travels. The only thing that made it bearable was, that once you got into a good leveling area, it was pretty much zone to zone only, then stay put for a few days of game time as you grinded your way to the next set of levels. Seriously the stupidest name for a game ever, as it had what seemed like hardly any quests at all in it. 99% of leveling was done by finding a good camp of mobs and sitting there killing them for 6-12 hours at a stretch.

    The fact that time actually went by while playing, night would fall and it could get DARK, and caves required you to bring light sources, made it a surprisingly immersive game for its time. Traveling on my druid from misty thicket to freeport, (I think it was, might have been qeynos) through the karanas was an adventure and a half. Dying and having to run 6 zones because you did the equivalent of setting your hearthstone in ironforge while leveling in searing gorge was considerably less fun since you now had no gear.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I think its sounds good, but if it was REALlistic, then It may be bad, but skyrim-like where it takes 10min to get to a town? Sign me up.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I believe this system would only work if meant as a means to an end, the end being providing a solid reason (as well as a framework) for players to build small outposts or towns, perhaps, as well as the maintenance of known routes of travel.

    Small outposts would emerge anyway, if such a system was in place: Players would converge to any landmark possible, items would be sold for prices progressively more outrageous the more one went farther from NPC vendors, "tank" caravans would hire themselves out, real life would mimic itself in game. If already implementing a map in this style, it would be only logical to add more ways to make such expected behaviour into something fun.

    If common routes become unavailable depending on PC interaction (as in, not maintaining them monster clean via MvP, removing bandits and marauders from oposing factions outside the routes, etc), this would also provide an interesting layer for gameplay.

    Overall, I think it could work, but would require a number of features, in order to provide meanfulness to the untamed wilds... Otherwise, you just have a big empty gameworld.
    Last edited by Tonal Architect; 2012-10-15 at 08:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Keldridge View Post
    Small correction, druids could teleport as well, but only to the druid circle things.
    Interesting...

    Imagine an MMO where each class/faction has different fast travel networks; druids can transport their party between druid circles, wizards between wizard colleges, captains between ports, and so on. (plus some trains that anyone can use) Maybe some factions don't grant direct travel, but let you access a monster-infested underworld/other dimension/etc. where the exit portals are fairly close together.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Day 5. I'm still walking to Reytan. I think this quest is about to expire. Dammit.
    Day 12. So many random encounters in the forest. I might as well find a job here as a smith, or something!
    Day 20. I found a bodyguard that could keep me safe while traveling. I don't know how long it'll take me to reach the boats, but I'll need to chart the western continent.
    Month 4, Day 13. I've finally made it to the west continent. SO. MANY. DAYS.

    Final Verdict: Do not want.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
    Interesting...

    Imagine an MMO where each class/faction has different fast travel networks; druids can transport their party between druid circles, wizards between wizard colleges, captains between ports, and so on. (plus some trains that anyone can use) Maybe some factions don't grant direct travel, but let you access a monster-infested underworld/other dimension/etc. where the exit portals are fairly close together.
    That would be pretty cool. In fact, if fast travel would simply go through monster-infested dimensions or such, then the "real world" could focus on things other than having a lot of monsters itself and being more like our world (except for time period, made-up cultures and races and the inclusion of magic of course).
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by PallElendro View Post
    Day 5. I'm still walking to Reytan. I think this quest is about to expire. Dammit.
    Day 12. So many random encounters in the forest. I might as well find a job here as a smith, or something!
    Day 20. I found a bodyguard that could keep me safe while traveling. I don't know how long it'll take me to reach the boats, but I'll need to chart the western continent.
    Month 4, Day 13. I've finally made it to the west continent. SO. MANY. DAYS.

    Final Verdict: Do not want.
    See, if the way there was actually interesting, say, with a varied landscape, maybe a village or two or some unique geographical features, I think I would love this more than any other game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by PallElendro View Post
    Day 5. I'm still walking to Reytan. I think this quest is about to expire. Dammit.
    Day 12. So many random encounters in the forest. I might as well find a job here as a smith, or something!
    Day 20. I found a bodyguard that could keep me safe while traveling. I don't know how long it'll take me to reach the boats, but I'll need to chart the western continent.
    Month 4, Day 13. I've finally made it to the west continent. SO. MANY. DAYS.

    Final Verdict: Do not want.
    And your opinion of a game were travel time across the world would be maybe a few hours, provided the person knew what they were doing?

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I suspect the vast majority of people don't actually want this though. In WoW I'd imagine walking the full continent would take a fairly good chunk of time. But there are faster ways so people use those. Similarly in Guild Wars 2 there is tons of stuff to explore but people like having the fast travel option available. I think Guild Wars 2 tends to do it pretty well since there are events that occur all over the map and searching for them can be fun.

    But guess what? The vast majority of people just congregate at the dense spawn areas and farm those. Because people like to progress their characters by the most efficient way possible. And I suspect the same thing would happen in this "realistic travel" game. People would find the ideal spot where the distance to vendor and distance to monster farm were minimized. And just stay there. If everything was completely random at anywhere in the world, people would complain because they kept "missing" content since they would not be able to get there in time. Or you'd hit a boss in the wilderness but have NO ONE nearby and thus be unable to do anything with it.

    The other issue is having a HUGE world (due to realistic travel) will result in very little player interaction when adventuring. Odds are you're not going to run into a bunch of people unless you're in a farmed area (as mentioned above). I think this is a big killer as to why this wouldn't work in an MMO. People want there to be other people around for an MMO. They want to trade and adventure together and the like. I think an exploratory concept like this would work better in a single player game like Skyrim. Hell Skyrim pretty much does do this. You don't HAVE to use fast travel, its simply an option.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    The thing about Skyrim, though, is that the existence of the fast travel system was taken into account during the design. Thus, there are quests that send you hither and yon that would be absolutely maddening without fast travel.
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    It'd work in a management style, turn based MMO. It'd suck balls in one focused on a single character for many reasons. The biggest one being that a whole lot of nothing is a waste of every possible resource (player time, developer time, computing resources), while a whole lot of interesting places means that somewhere interesting will be nearby. By definition.

    The ultimate point being that players want to do cool things, and that busywork is only acceptable to the extent that it enables further cool things. You can balkanize populations by area by having each area be more conducive to finding certain resources, be it finding the required ingredients or that the skills themselves are boosted while in the area. But making my character off-limits for half an hour just to get together with my real-life friend is bad form. Making me sit there watching them for that half hour is even worse.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    I suspect the vast majority of people don't actually want this though. In WoW I'd imagine walking the full continent would take a fairly good chunk of time. But there are faster ways so people use those. Similarly in Guild Wars 2 there is tons of stuff to explore but people like having the fast travel option available. I think Guild Wars 2 tends to do it pretty well since there are events that occur all over the map and searching for them can be fun.

    But guess what? The vast majority of people just congregate at the dense spawn areas and farm those. Because people like to progress their characters by the most efficient way possible. And I suspect the same thing would happen in this "realistic travel" game. People would find the ideal spot where the distance to vendor and distance to monster farm were minimized. And just stay there. If everything was completely random at anywhere in the world, people would complain because they kept "missing" content since they would not be able to get there in time. Or you'd hit a boss in the wilderness but have NO ONE nearby and thus be unable to do anything with it.
    It'd probably work a lot better if you could recruit NPC companions to come along or something.
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  27. - Top - End - #57
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I think it's a bit presumptuous to say "Players want to be awesome, not spend all their time wandering around". MMORPG players aren't some big, uniform blob that you can make sweeping generalizations about.

    I dislike WoW for that reason (among others)—it encourages players to be so over-the-top awesome that it becomes completely laughable and insane. And despite all that, you can never be a unique snowflake because of the inherent limitations of class abilities and such.

    A game with long distances would be amazing if implemented properly. It wouldn't work in a game like WoW, of course, but if it were factored into the game's design from the get-go …

    It would have to be focused on long-distance travel being a really uncommon thing, like the OP said, with all such expeditions requiring a lot of planning and supplies. The cities would have to be tiny blips with massive tracts of explorable land in between. And most importantly, it would have to be a very dynamic game (not just adding expansions) to make up for the lack of an easy way to travel. Maybe a system to set up a fiefdom or trading outpost in the wild? Rainy seasons that change the landscape? Bands of robbers that require payment to cross their bridges? The ability to rebel and kill the leaders of a city, taking it over entirely? A newly discovered continent that sees a sudden and massive influx of explorers, but while they're away an evil emperor conquers the lands they left behind? I don't know if any of this is even feasible to implement, but it would be pretty cool.

    Such a game probably wouldn't have even a fraction of WoW's players, but I do think it's a marketable idea, on the indie game market if nothing else.

    Edited for spelling.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-10-16 at 03:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I don't know if you realize it, but the second image isn't even from WoW. Aside from that, I don't see your problem. Can't one be awesome and cool and still travel? Is there nothing awesome and cool to do on the road?
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    I'm not sure that 'distance' is really what is being conveyed by the OP. It may be better to say "significant time' which implies distance, rather than just 'meaningful distance' which is usually meaningless.

    In English: most games have ways to circumvent distance traveled i.e. mounts, teleports, public transit, speed spells, etc. All of which reduce the time it takes to get from point A to B. I think the OP is talking about a game that requires time investment to get places and not merely large distances. For example, it's easy to imagine that two cities could be very close to each other, but separated by terrain that is difficult to navigate which would require significant time investment over a normally short distance.

    I know that probably made no sense to anyone, but that's what I think the general concept is: time, not distance (though normally distance is implied by time). Personally, I would like an MMO like this if it had environments that were worth exploring, cities that were worth visiting, a way for coordinating faction/city state wars, and (most importantly) a way of traveling automatically without just having to sit in front of a screen the whole time. In short, I don't mind if it takes two days or two weeks to get from point A to B, but you need to have interesting stuff in between and I need to not be forced to watch every single solitary step towards progress.

  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: Meaningful distance in MMOs: A discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by GolemsVoice View Post
    I don't know if you realize it, but the second image isn't even from WoW. Aside from that, I don't see your problem. Can't one be awesome and cool and still travel? Is there nothing awesome and cool to do on the road?
    Whoops! I just went looking for some examples of ludicrous WoW armor and that showed up in the search results. Looking at it more closely now … yeah, definitely not WoW.

    Nothing at all wrong with being awesome. It's just that when game designers give precedence to players' desire to be awesome above all else, things start to suck. You don't have to dislike WoW to acknowledge that Blizzard is a team of soulless, pandering leeches. But that's a different topic altogether.

    I played WoW for less than a month, but I generally found the environments pretty dull. Which is totally fine, because it's not really a game you play for the environment/exploration factor. That was my mistake.

    I'm just saying that people who claim, "No one would play a game with realistic distances!" aren't entirely correct; it certainly wouldn't be as popular as a WoW-like combat/leveling game, but I think there are people who play an exploration/world-interaction based game.

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