Does that sound familiar?
In yesterday’s Gamedelver, Ctmurphy explores the disadvantage of fast travel in MMOs: namely that it is massively immersion-breaking.
This is an area about which I feel quite conflicted.
Although I consider myself more of a casual MMO players these days, I still fondly remember the sense of awe on exploring a new virtual world. Quick travel and Dungeon Finder tools are essential when you can only play in 30 minute sessions, but there is something quite special about making your way from one town to another, travelling by slowly by foot and exploring the scenery that was lovingly crafted by developers. Perhaps it’s the lighting through the trees or the way that the tiger attacks a lone deer in your peripheral vision. It is hard to be overwhelmed if your daily experience is limited to the small number of areas where ‘level appropriate content’ is to be found.
For this reason, I have a strong dislike of flying mounts in MMOs. Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving my first Netherdrake in WoW. The feeling of power is initially fantastic and your view of some of the environments is unmatched.
However, in retrospect, I believe this was a strongly contributing factor towards my speedy completion of the 80-85 content and the subsequent boredom with Cataclysm. If quests ask you to collect 5 objects or kill an enemy, and you can skip all barriers from doing this, there is no feeling of achievement on completion. I also suspect that flying mounts in Azeroth were effective in properly killing off world PvP on my server. Certainly it spelled the end for city raids, as far as I can tell.
The problem was that players had requested this feature for a long time and many bought Cataclysm specifically because it was included. They were hoisted with their own petard and the world is worse off as a result of it.
Be careful what you wish for.
I think it is too late for WoW in this respect: Pandora’s Box has been opened. But in new MMOs, I am always relieved to see that they have not yet allowed flying mounts – or better yet have no intention to.