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Dangerous Travel May 24, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Ancient Gaming, entertainment, EverQuest, TorilMUD, World of Warcraft.
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Travel is always a hot button issue.  Long have been the debates between convenience and seeing, or making people see, the world.  What is a waste of time and what builds character and all that.

And opinion has changed on it over time.

For example, in WoW, you used to have to go and find flight points on foot (or on a mount) before you could use them.

Later, Blizzard decided to open up any flight point at your level or below without having to visit them.

Then, more recently, Blizz changed their mind and now you have to go find them again.

Clearly not a settled issue.

But what about the more dangerous methods of travel?  What about stuff that can get you killed?

A friend of mine who is back playing WoW sent me a pic of  his new favorite toy in the game, the Last Relic of Argus.

LRoApic
It will send you to one of a list of locations.  His first try sent him to the bottom of the Golakka Hot Springs in Un’Goro Crater.  He set it off and walked away from the computer, only to find himself drowning upon his return.  Always good for a laugh.

That reminded me of the engineering device from the Wrath of the Lich King era, the Northrend Wormhole Generator that would put you in some pretty odd places when it was working right.  And when it wasn’t, you would end up high in the sky and hoping you remembered to attached the flexweave underlay to your cloak so you could deploy it as a parachute.

And then we moved on to the old days of TorilMUD and the spell planeshift.

Planeshift allowed you to move between the various planes that were part of the makeup of the Forgotten Realms universe.  At least the ones that were implemented in the game.

Some of them were clearly dangerous locations.  The astral plane was always good for a wipe.  Somebody might wander into the wrong room and elicit this zone wide shout indicating things have gone horribly wrong.

Juiblex shouts ‘You will pay for attacking me mortal worms!  Denizens of Darkness, Come and Feast upon Thanti!

And the plane of Fire could also be bad news.  Just for openers it was, as the name implies, on fire.  You needed a powerful fire protection object just to survive long enough to worry about who lived there.  And even if you did have such an item, the dread Moritheil might get you killed before you got back to the City of Brass or other destinations.

Other planes were more benign.  There was a plane of smoke where nothing was aggro.  You needed protection from gas to stay there for long, and you had to be flying to move around.  But it wasn’t a big deal.

The ironic twist in the whole planeshift spell was that the most dangerous place to shift to was the prime material plane, which was basically the world where we all were most of the time anyway.

The thing was that, while shifting to the other planes was sort of random, there were limited locations that allowed it, and none were at the big mobs that I recall, shifting to prime could stick you in any room that allowed teleport.  And there were a lot of dangerous rooms which fit that bill.

At one point, when I was last “done” with the game, I used to take my level 50 druid and play what I called “the corpse game.”

I would pile on a bunch of coins and maybe some good gear and then planeshift between smoke and prime until I landed in a room with something I couldn’t solo and died.  Then people would have to find my corpse in order to claim the loot.

I think the most times it took me to die was 10 shifts to prime, which given the number of possible rooms, says something.  And I did it enough times to fall back to level 47, losing a quarter of a level of exp with each death.

So what other dangerous travel methods or devices have there been in MMOs?

Comments»

1. Asmiroth - May 24, 2013

Barbarians in original EQ were put so far away from the rest of the world that it was an achievement finding civilization at all. Sometimes (always) you’d zone in to meet a train in Butcherblock. UO, for a while, allowed you to keep portals open to dungeons. I would train dragons from one dungeon to a room with Liches. Then watch people walk into a room of boom.

I miss the days of “oh my god, what the he’ll was that”.

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2. Anonymous - May 25, 2013

Yes, Everquest. Blind barbarians wandering through the pitch black tunnel to Blackburrow to be met with a diseased bear and probably a couple gnoll trains at the zone. Good times, good times.

I loved Everfrost Peaks so much though that when I made a high elf enchanter I ran her from Gfay to Halas at level 4 (just enough to get invisibility). That was a fun run.

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3. scotth - May 25, 2013

I think Blizzard said that learning flight points automatically was a bug, and they could only recently fix it. It was nice while it lasted.

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4. thekoleslaw - May 25, 2013

Back in the day, I played Asheron’s Call. The only fast travel the game had were these portals that were spread around the world. All of they were one-way but occasionally you’d find portals that would come out near other portals that went back. There was an area in the game called The Subway which had several portals to several different places. The catch was you had to 1) know how to get to this place, 2) run there from a particular major town and 3) once you got there, you had to run through a maze of hostiles (oftentimes, at a much lower level than they were) just to get there.

I do think one of the most dangerous fast travel methods is in EVE, that big “A” button on your UI.

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5. Dà Chéng - May 27, 2013

I love travel to be perilous in our virtual worlds, and I would like to reduce the ability to travel safely fast or instantaneously over large distances (I say this as a mage who regularly teleports from Halfhill Market to Ironforge, just to buy a cooking ingredient in the Auction House, and then hearths back). It should at least be expensive; or dangerous, like the examples you cited!

I wrote in more detail on the subject last October.

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6. kiantremayne - May 27, 2013

LotRO has the dreaded kegs of doom – housing decoration objects that can be used to drink maybe a wee bit too much. You get a “drunk” effect, everything goes blurry and then you wake up in a random location without your pants. I had a level 20 character wake up at the top of the Giant’s Needle in the Misty Mountains, meaning that he faced a long drop to the ground in an area full of level 40+ elites.

Or, of course, I could use my fast travel home skill. That’s the thing with modern games, the convenience factor makes even the dangerous travel methods less than, well, dangerous.

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