I know I’m a little late on this one since the EverQuest Next team already posted their video, but I have to get my opinion out there about fast travel.
The very fact that it’s ‘fast’ travel feels like a bit of an oxymoron. Â To me, traveling implies a journey. Â I think if something requires travel it’s supposed to feel like there’s distance between the two points — a distance meaningful enough that one can’t simply ‘go’ there, they have to ‘travel’.
Surprise, I like my MMO worlds to be large. Â I’ve told the story a dozen times about EverQuest 1’s world and how I would start on Faydwer and someone I wanted to play with started on Antonica. Â The only reason that means ANYTHING is because the trip to meet up could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours with fear of death lurking anywhere along the way.
I believe in boat rides. Â That sounds ridiculous, but for years the boats in EverQuest were one of the only ways to traverse the majority of the world’s oceans. Â The only other way to travel was by having a Druid or Wizard teleport you to oft out-of-the-way locations called Druid Rings and Wizard Spires. Â Teleporting was a special feature granted only to those classes. Â Spell casters received “gate” which allowed them to return to their bind point, but again that only mattered because the world was so huge that teleporting back to a bind point actually meant — wait for it — traveling.
I’m apprehensive after watching the Round Table video about fast travel. Â SOE currently plans to allow players to travel using what I think are called ley lines. Â There’s still some mystery as to how exactly they work. Â In the video they say it’s not instantaneous, and there will be a price. Â Omeed Dariani’s comments about EQ Next being a multiplayer game took a scary turn for me when he started to make logical leaps that I don’t agree with. Â He said that since EQ Next is a multiplayer game, that means people want to play together. Â While true, there was the implication here that somehow that means players should be able to quickly connect despite where they start in the world. Â I do not like that thought at all.
If I start in Halas, and Graev starts in Kaladim, then we have started across the world from each other. Â If Graev can fast travel to Halas, suddenly we’re not across the world from each other because that idea of distance no longer has any meaning to the players.
Just because the world is big doesn’t mean people can’t play together! Â We just have to go on adventures to meet up. Â One of the greatest adventures I have ever experienced in 19 years of MMORPGs (#MyEQStory) was making the run from Halas to Freeport. Â I’ve met thousands of other players, gained hundreds of levels, and seen amazing sights in the original EverQuest all because there wasn’t an accesible form of quickly traversing great distances.
I hope the EQ Next devs consider these things when integrating their fast travel system into the world of Norrath.