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Player Consequences: The Need for Speed

Massively: "Traveling has always been one of the least popular parts of playing a MMO. It doesn't matter if you are marching through the lengthy Connall's Valley in Age of Conan or travelling across the galaxy in EVE Online. It can be tedious no matter what the setting. Nice visuals and guild chat can occupy you part of the time, but you still check the map every other minute. We're lucky that MMO design has come a long way since the early days, where the only option was to hit the road on foot. Most games now give us vehicles, mounts, and in some cases mechanical ostriches to speed up the pace a bit. After all, if it's the journey and not the destination that matters then you definitely want to travel in style.

There is one underlying reason why travel times continue to be prevalent in MMOs today and it's directly related to player expectations of virtual worlds. Developers are very sensitive to the issue of making their games seem like a real world and not a collection of three dimensional video game levels. Any MMO that has too many instances and separate zones often gets complaints for breaking the feel of a seamless world. This can actually turn players away from the game. As a result, the most successful games are often those with an over-world where players don't find themselves constantly having to load data as they zone. Just look at how World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and EVE Online handle their world design."

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massively.com
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