Hey all! This one's a doozy, full of nostalgia - sorry in advance. I've been excited to play the explorer path, and it has got me thinking about the evolution of the relationship between MMO players and the worlds they inhabit.I don't have any particular thesis about the right balance to strike, but I'd be interested in hearing the community's opinions. Fairly early on in the development process, every MMO design team has to decide how easy they want it to be for their players to navigate around the game world. There are advantages to each end of the spectrum, though in recent years the balance has shifted strongly towards easy, quick travel. It's worth keeping in mind, however, that when travel is very difficult, people take a lot more time to appreciate their immediate environment. For example: I played classic Everquest before they introduced maps to the game. In order to travel from one place to another, I had to go to a website where someone (God bless Muse from EQAtlas) had hand drawn maps of the zones, train up my "Sense Heading" skill so that I could tell which direction I was walking in, and then painstakingly make my way across plains, forests, or mountains, avoiding enemies while trying to recognize landmarks from the map. This, combined with the fairly draconian dying penalties of classic EQ, made travel a terrifying experience. There were teleport spells and travel hubs that made some journeys easier, but by and large travel was on foot, dangerous, and labor-intensive. Obviously, this meant that when I got to a new area, I tended to stay there. That's not so great, from the perspective of encouraging grouping or exploring different types of content. On the other hand, I still remember those landscapes and those journeys. I remember struggling over the razor sharp peaks of Dagnor's Cauldron en route to the Estate of Unrest, confident only that I had to keep going south with the boiling lake to my left. I remember the rising panic of traveling through Kithicor Forest, en route to Highpass Hold, as night sets in and the undead begin to emerge. I remember passing through the Plains of Karana and suddenly coming across a waterfall that I never new existed, and legitimately wondering how many people before me had seen this remote landmark (also, wondering how lost I had gotten myself). These days, in the age of in-game maps that show you where you are, flying mounts, and automatic teleports to the doors of dungeons, it's easy to jump quickly between theme parks and join a group that needs a tank on the other side of the globe. And that is great! I love being able to find groups, explore new content as it opens up, and change my scenery on a whim if I start getting bored. But I hope, as W* creates an entire path based around exploring, that they can find ways to recapture some of the magic of being faced with a wild, treacherous unknown, and setting out to find those waterfalls.