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The Explorer: A case for more difficult travel

Discussion in 'WildStar Classes & Paths' started by Ryth, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Ryth

    Ryth Cupcake

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    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.
  2. Chipster

    Chipster New Cupcake

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    I think the difficulty of travel is going to depend a lot on the availability of and restrictions placed on flying mounts. Since the game was supposedly designed with flying in mind, one would hope that they take into consideration that content avoidance is bad for immersion and that being able to fly over everything takes a lot of fun out of the game. So, I don't think we'll see that happening. Or, at least I hope we won't.

    As I'm planning on playing an Explorer too, what I'm hoping for is either: flying mounts not available until max level or close to it, flying mounts requiring some kind of "fuel" source, so that you can't stay in the air indefinitely (I've seen this idea tossed around within the community), or some type of achievement for, say, exploring every section of an area without using your flying mount. I know I plan on exploring as much of the game world as possible on foot, but hopefully the flying mounts in Wildstar don't just let you bypass huge amounts of content.
  3. Domi Dayglow

    Domi Dayglow Super Cupcake

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    I haven't really thought much about flying mounts in the past. Though I do like and want them. However, think the main reason people prefer them is when they want to get somewhere quickly and safely they thing about flying. Especially if you are going to meet with friends.

    What if flying isn't so safe afterall? What if the opposite faction as anti-aircraft batteries in the area? What if there are big, nasty creatures that are faster than your mount and come in to attack you? Suddenly it might be safer to walk on the ground through those areas.

    They could be something like Champions online vehicles which can be equipped with weapons and other devices, making the idea of flying just another level of the game and not always just a quicker way from point A to point B.
    Ryth likes this.
  4. Sapien

    Sapien Cupcake-About-Town

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    If flying mounts shall be in i think it should be some sort of glider that one use if need to jump of a cliff or something, just to glide down on the ground a few 100meters away - Anything more then that and i wil cry and probably not take the explorer path.
  5. Ryth

    Ryth Cupcake

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    Agreed. And if they do have flying mounts, which I believe have been announced, then it's going to be really important that they be judicious about where they allow flight and where they don't, especially where things like jumping puzzles are involved. Nobody wants to spend half an hour scaling a treacherous slope, to be met at the top by a Scientist in a helicopter.

    Also, I agree with Domi: WoW had flying mounts tacked on part-way through, and IMO they never really figured out how to make flight compelling as anything other than a shortcut. With W*, they know going in that they're going to have flying mounts, so hopefully they'll use the opportunity to craft it so that flight confers a certain advantage, but doesn't completely negate the challenges inherent to a given area.
  6. Domi Dayglow

    Domi Dayglow Super Cupcake

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    Flying mounts could also be our way to get to the moons of Nexus. Only! We have to fly through space 'zones' to get to the moon which can be filled with asteroids that ring the planet, patrolling warships of the opposite factions, or pirates! Space pirates. So in that way it's not that flying mounts are adding away to avoid ground content, but of adding air content. You can avoid challenges on the ground, but there are new challenges in the sky!

    Hm.....

    Explorers might be able to even find certain asteroids that have secret hollowed out caves or portals that lead to unique locations among the asteroid belts.
    FlamingRuby and MrDreadful like this.
  7. MrDreadful

    MrDreadful Creepy Cupcake

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    I remember Ye Olde EQ and the pure pain of getting around when you don't know the way. Someone lured me out into the desert when I first started and left me (old fat troll) to the elements. In comparison, if you stripped down to your skivvies you could run across the world in WoW with luck and few issues.
  8. Tilaro

    Tilaro New Cupcake

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    Maybe the "flying mounts" would just be like hover crafts or something, can travel over water and other low obstacles instead of having to go around them. I plan on playing an Explorer but I don't think it would be as fun to climb the tallest mountains or go through the jump puzzles if later on in the game I could just fly up to the spots.
  9. Razma

    Razma New Cupcake

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    I really hope flying mounts are limited in this game. That's the thing that really killed WoW for me all the content skipping, ganking and super sonic travel. Don't get me wrong I loved world PvP and travelling fast is cool but flying mounts turned those 2 things into huge jokes.

    I'm holding out hope that explorer has special abilities or earlier unlocks for specific travelling mechanics that make someone who seriously enjoys just going out there and wandering around really be intrigued.
  10. Brandon Turner

    Brandon Turner New Cupcake

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    Flying mounts will kill the Explorer path without a doubt. So will quick traveling (to dungeons like with the LFG tool). Traveling and exploring promotes immersion, and without immersion no game will survive. I just hope Carbine takes this to heart. People have to want to play the game solely for the fact of existing in the world, all the other stuff is a bonus.
  11. MrDreadful

    MrDreadful Creepy Cupcake

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    I think flying mounts, if taken into consideration from the beginning and used only in areas designed for said mounts, aren't inherently a bad thing. Maybe have a mechanic where your hover craft/bike/winged monkey has to have a map of the area before you can fly there.

    This would make it so that you'd have to do the old fashioned, honest foot exploration of a region and that the only purpose of flight would be to go over content you'd already done. There could even be a few things that open up after you'd done the "ground content" that you could only access via flying mount. An inaccesible mountain peak or an island surrounded by nasty mutant shark-things.
  12. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby Cupcake-About-Town

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    I really like the explorer path and this is definitely the path i am going to choose when the game launches or when i enter the beta.
    But i also take in mind that people like to do things fast and don't want to explore the world.This is why we have other paths also.
    But flying mounts if are not restricted will cause many problems and take a lot of the fun from the game.Like Double jump to reach locations or world pvp.
    Making flying mounts to restrictive would cause also a lot of problems.Lets say that you are dropped of mount every now and then when reaching zones you shouldn't. Also for me having mounts with fuels is not the solution.You can use the fuel of the flying mount just to do the objective faster and easier.
    Yes.Flying mounts are not mandatory.But what if you join a party and you can skip a lot of staff to reach the actual goal of the quest and people demand to do it fast?


    Your post is great and its actually a good idea.
    Also with that in mind they can also introduce raid/party multi-path quests that can make people interact.

    Also about the challenged in the sky.This needs to have a unique air combat system that i think Carbine will not have at launch considering that they want to introduce only masterpieces in the game.This will take a lot of work and many time from the team.Maybe air battles are a future update.
    If we have the chance to choose between it will be awesome.And bad in the same way.Cause people will try and get enough of flying combat cause it will be something unique and ground zones will starve.
  13. Solarthermal

    Solarthermal Cupcake

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    Flying mount trivializes explorer path. What dev do?
  14. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby Cupcake-About-Town

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    We dont know yet.We just speculate!
    Maybe they will add flying mounts and make them not to interact with explorer path!
  15. _decayed

    _decayed New Cupcake

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    I just don't think Wildstar is going to be able to recapture that feeling you are looking for. Modern MMO players won't settle for EQ conventions. With the way things are now, people will be completing the game within the first couple weeks. You'll be able to look up most of the content that's available in-game on fan sites similar to places like WoWhead and MMO Champion. I like the idea, but it doesn't sound feasible in today's MMO market if you are going for mass appeal like Wildstar is.
  16. jackashflash

    jackashflash Cupcake-About-Town

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    There was a great idea in the general forums about limiting the altitude of flying mounts. It is the only solution that I have seen that doesn't suck.
  17. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    I do love the adventure of exploring a new areas, and hope that the systems in WS will be designed to capture that, but I really hate traveling through old areas, when I have a set destination in mind, so I hope that they make it as convenient as possible to backtrack. I'm fairly on board with flying mounts early and often in the game, but even from my perspective I would prefer that they have systems in which you need to unlock airspace on foot before you can cover it by air, so that your first impressions of an area will come from ground level, and take time and effort to advance, but then once you'd experienced all that you can easily get back to town, and then get back to that dungeon you passed, and so on without having to slog through the same mess again. Fueling would solve absolutely nothing, however, it would just be a pointless inconvenience.

    Also, I feel like I have to mention this every time flying mounts come up, but do not freak out. There is absolutely no way, whatsoever, that they would implement flight in a manner that would allow players to fly to the tops of jump puzzles. There are fairly easy to implement methods to prevent this from happening, such that it is unfathomable that they would not make use of them.
  18. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins New Cupcake

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    I interviewed one of the devs at Rezzed, he said they will not be using instant teleporting like in GW2, they want people to explore the world. He couldn't comment on flying mounts though. They are definitely aware of the affect instant teleports have in spoiling immersion.

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