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Published on September 11, 2008 By erathoniel In Gaming

When making a RPG, one common flaw is that the developers never seem to play the game. This is attested to by the awful methods of transportation in some RPG's on the market today. I'll give examples of good/bad games, then examples of good/bad systems.

Good Games-

  1. Oblivion: Quick travel and mounts, though the mounts are more just annoying, as well as potential level-up speed increases.
  2. Morrowind: Level-up speed increases, freeform traveling (Flight from Seyda Neen to Balmora, now departing...)

    Why Oblivion is good: Oblivion combines a mix of speedy travel through a menu, wonderful scenery, and the ability to ride a horse or run really, really fast at high levels. Not to mention speed buffs.

    Why Morrowind is good: Morrowind has the ability to buff speed or run fast, like Oblivion, and features a wonderful custom item/spell creation system that lets you FLY! Ok, so not in the technical sense most of the time, but you can get really far really fast with custom rings/equipment and a spell.

Bad Games-

  1. Oblivion: Annoying mounts, insane level design
  2. Morrowind: No free quick travel, insane level design
  3. Too Human: Baldur's Gait (thank you, Yahtzee), insane level design
  4. Fallout: Insane level design, elevators
  5. Baldur's Gate: Insane level design
  6. Lionheart: Insane level design, quick travel

   Why Oblivion is bad: Oblivion combines a mix of quick travel with insanely large and complex levels, in which you are usually incapable of using it. Also, mounts tend to follow you whether or not you want them, often causing damage to the horse or your stealth potential.

   Why Morrowind is bad: Morrowind requires you to pay to quick travel. More, most people don't necessarily know the travel routes. Also, like in Oblivion, the level design is terribly confusing.

   Why Too Human is bad: Slow movement combined with huge levels is cool for the first half of a second. Then it gets annoying. Epic scenery is available, but it mainly disorients the player, and the level floorplans don't help. Having a quick-travel system that doesn't really take you anywhere is more or less pointless.

   Why Fallout is bad: The levels in Fallout are terribly complex and confusing, much like those in any good RPG, but the elevators also add pain. Repeatedly stepping in elevators or not getting in elevators or elevators not taking you to where you want to go is a frequent source of confusion.

   Why Baldur's Gate is bad: Baldur's Gate isn't bad, so to speak, so much as realistic. Cities are huge, and it doesn't seem like such a chore. The quick-travel works. But it's still incredibly confusing to navigate.

   Why Lionheart is bad: Expansive open levels are okay, but be sure you don't get too expansive so that the player gets lost the second he leaves. Teleportation is also disorienting. Also, using the blue crystals for quick travel has two drawbacks: Some people may never learn they're there, and also, they may not be in enough places, or in too many.

Good Methods-

  1. Quick travel: Path of least resistance, but it allows players good amounts of freedom.
  2. Mounts/vehicles: If you pull them off right, they can be both quick transportation and a useful piece of equipment.
  3. Player-Orgin Flight: I admit a bias, but flying is quick and fun.
  4. Level-up: Moving quickly is easy if you can choose to level it up. It's also useful for combat or whatnot. Works best in true 3d games.

Bad Methods-

  1. Quick travel: May spoil the player, may also cause massive confusion.
  2. Mounts/vehicles: They should not be dreaded.
  3. Elevators: Especially if they consume a lot of time, elevators are not only boring, but often can cause confusion.

on Sep 12, 2008
  1. Oblivion: Annoying mounts, insane level design
  2. Morrowind: No free quick travel, insane level design
  3. Too Human: Baldur's Gait (thank you, Yahtzee), insane level design
  4. Fallout: Insane level design, elevators
  5. Baldur's Gate: Insane level design
  6. Lionheart: Insane level design, quick travel

1) The only annoying thing about mounts was the fact that you couldn't fight while mounted. Also, wildlife only reacted to you while on foot. What I found more aggravating was the fact that monsters would literally chase you all around the world once they started hunting you. The level design was actually a lot better than Morrowind and nowhere near complex enough to be called 'insane'.


2) The level design of the dungeons was boring and repetitious, not insane. The fact that different methods of travel had different junction points was rather realistic. Except for a few occasions I didn't miss the quicktravel, and those were mostly to regions where it would have been unrealistic. Mind you, I played all of Oblivion without ever quicktraveling.


3) Didn't play.


4) Which Fallout? 1, 2, tactics? The level design seems pretty standard for RPGs. It also needed to provide enough tactical variants for the combat system. When comparing travel methods, you shouldn't focus on elevators, which are purely within the same location, but instead compare the overland travel by foot or vehicle to the other methods.


5) Standard level design for RPGs. Also 'You must gather your party before venturing forth' has become a classic, don't you think?


6) Didn't play.

on Sep 12, 2008

1. No, they followed me around. The problem was that once the mount followed you, stealth went in the slammer if you wanted to save the darn horse. Three words on the insane level design: Planes of Oblivion.

2. Eh, I got lost in the dungeons. They were so bad that it took a few times through to get used to the one nearest to Seyda Neen. It's realistic, yes, but still confusion.

3. Be glad. It's a rent, not a purchase.

4. Fallout 1. I'm assuming Fallout 2+3 have/will have the same problems, but Tactics may be different. The elevators were just plain wierd. And it took a literal hour for me to get used to the movement, though in hindsight it was just my unhappiness with change.

5. Yes, standard level design. I played more MP than SP, so the gathering party meant that I could get a bathroom break while others caught up.

6. You should. It's on Good Ol' Games, for $6. Cheap as dirt, good game. The transportation had my eyes bleeding after wandering for eight hours. Sure, there don't need to be signs, but at least they would announce Inquisition HQ's better than the average warehouse.

on Sep 12, 2008

The Horses in Oblivion sucked. First time I tried one (and last) ended up in a fight with it, since when you dismount and fight the damn thing gets in the way. Besides whats the use when you can reach almost the entire map in 15 minutes on foot anyways. What a step backwards from Morrowind. Personally fast travel is for when I want to be lazy. The point of the game is to go adventuring and fighting creatures/leveling up along the way. I loved the "Azura's Star" quest from Morrowind, where you had to travel form one of the most southern points to an island in the north without using any fast travel or even speaking to anyone. Took two hours to walk there with fighting the monsters along the way. That was a lot of fun

Can't comment much on the other games in your list since I never play them(or very little in the case of Fallout 1 & 2)