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Reader Comments (22)

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 8:34AM CCon99 said

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I love being lost! In the early days of UO and EQ I remember drawing my own maps of zones I was in and had them scattered all over my desk and walls. I would even name certain areas that me, my friends, and guildies would all use for the area. It was funny because then when grouping with a stranger or a new guild member they would have no idea what we were talking about.

Now days it's not as fun, not only do we get in game maps instantly on our screen, but they are so darn pin point precise on your exact position with the quest markers and all. Sure it is more then handy when you're rushing to get something done, but I miss the exploration.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 8:45AM (Unverified) said

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I don't like getting lost when I'm trying to get somewhere like a city or town or warcamp in Warhammer, but I like trying to find my own way to a quest point or something. I dont' like how Warhammer basically circles where you need to go and it can get annoying, luckily you can ignore this. I like reading the quest text and through it finding out where to go by myself.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 8:51AM (Unverified) said

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When i used to play Vanguard I used to love getting lost. In fact there was one time when i was trying to find somewhere and it was actually on the cliff of a plateau way above me. It took me like 40 minutes to figure that out.

There needs to be systems in place aside from googling something, to help u find your way, but its not much of an adventure to hope a flight path or to zone out.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 8:54AM (Unverified) said

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It's the reason I still play AC.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 8:56AM Loki1 said

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Naturally there's bad sides to both getting lost and finding your way with the marker on the compass.

the main objective is to give players challenges but interesting ones, not time-sink, so a player can be lost if finding the way is challenging his wits. Otherwise he should just push M and see where the thing to reach is... no marker on the compass, tho, that takes away TOO much.

In the end it depends on the cases, the unifying "creed" is, i repeat, active challenges. Instead we know that designers choke challenges for babysitting and accessibility.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 9:10AM Miffy said

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If the graphics are good.

I remember getting lost in EQ2 and it was amazing in 2004 beta when you were roaming Qeynos for the first time. The graphics blew you away back then and I just went looking in every corner of that city and found something amazing.

However if I'm trying to do a quest or something, then getting lost isn't fun because the game hasn't given you enough information.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 9:23AM Jeromai said

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It really depends on the game. If the object of the game is exploration and has game mechanics that support this - player-made waypoints, fog of war that fills in as you go along, perhaps map notes and so on, and a game design that is built to have a home base to return to and venturing further outward is an adventure in its own right, then sure, being lost is fun. Especially if you get to stumble across unknown but cool stuff in the process, including secrets no one else knows.

But if the game is made in standard MMO quest format, "go out, kill me 10 foozles, and come back," then I well and truly detest the frustration inherent in running about aimlessly trying to find the foozle location which the questgiver jolly well knows, but picked the one place which is perched atop a cliff or in a tunnel that can only be reached by bunnyhopping platforms, turning about and moving 10 miles in the other direction away from the one you were given to get on a long and winding corridor that finally gets to the quest location, etc.

That's not exploration, that's stringing the player along with gimmicky jogging timesinks.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 9:34AM Saintjude said

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Getting lost does have good sides and bad sides. If I am out questing by myself and just basically screwing around on my own and I get lost its okay. Typically I find new and interesting things or force myself to learn my surroundings so it won't happen again.

The worst part about being lost, though, is when there are about 10 mobs chasing me around and I desperately need to find a zone or some safety and there is not time to check my map.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 9:48AM elocke said

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I agree with Jeromai. Don't make it gimmicky, make it at the least have some sense for why it is like that. A good example of an area easy to get lost in in LOTRO is the Goblin Town in the Misty Mountains. That place still scares me even though I've out-leveled the mobs there, but there are some interesting Deed accomplishments to complete there, like finding all of Bilbo's buttons.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 10:11AM DrewIW said

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In a game like Aion, I don't particularly like it. I need to go kill 10 rats, just point me at them and let me go.

In a more open ended game like EVE, I love it.

Getting lost in a series of wormholes with a Force Recon ship was a blast. Limited ammo, unknown hostile forces, and always looking for a way out. Even after getting cornered and destroyed it was a great gaming experience.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 10:10AM Serious Table said

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I think it would be fun if they added in some exploration, and a purpose for exploration for players. Give players a very BASIC map. You know, something a trader would have. "This is where the major cities are, these are the major roads, these are some stops on the roard." Then, make it so that players who venture off the beaten path can actually fill in the maps themselves. Let them make their own notes, and have the map draw in little features such as rivers and the like. Then, they can sell those more detailed maps to other players. That way, those who don't want to go off the beaten path don't have to, and players can make some money off of exploration.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 11:02AM Vladimyr said

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In WoW, that couldn't happen (except in really annoying dungeons) because of the persistent map, but I look forward to it in Mortal Online. I was talking about it with a few friends earlier, how, as a diplomat, I wanna go somewhere from a big city to negotiate a deal, get hit over the head on the way or something so that I wake up in the middle of a forest, and like, for 3 irl days straight, I'd have to move through the forest and defend myself from its denizens, until I reach some kind of civilisation, then return to the city with my robes all ripped and muddied, and have the guild ask me "Where've you been, what happened to you?" and I'd be like "Not now... -.-" as I walk past them.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 11:36AM Pingles said

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I absolutely love getting lost. In fact I'd say exploration is THE major reason I play MMOs.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 11:43AM Stormwaltz said

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You know, I would have said that I like being lost a few months ago. Then I did the LotRO Moria instance "Tumin Ghar," which is a perfect storm of poor level design. Let me summarize:

* It's very poorly lit. There are path options you can't see until you're on top of them.
* It's 3D, so the 2D map and the compass are nearly useless.
* You're sent in on a timed quest.

I don't mind being lost per se. I do mind being lost because I can't see where I'm going, and there's a time pressure.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 12:17PM Cinnamoon said

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Interesting idea for a post/thread. I would say that I love exploring and traveling, but "getting lost" usually entails some sort of imposition -- being lost is usually against my will. When a game is designed to get you lost (and it's not Generic Mazes Online) then really what it's doing is withholding information in order to trick you. Players generally don't like being tricked, and they don't like knowing that the game is intentionally wasting their time. (They do like choosing to waste their time themselves!)

The game that sprang immediately to mind is Guild Wars. The vast majority of Guild Wars' overland areas are blanketed with a fog of war until you explore them, and they pass out titles for exploration. Cool eh? But underland areas are (more for technical reasons than design reasons) mapless, and it's extremely frustrating. Generally players resort to offline resources anyway. This was also true of WoW until the fairly recent patch that added dungeon maps to the game -- players just used mods to do the same.

I suppose that for explorer types, we want to be lost -- but only when we want to be lost. Giving players the choice of their level of lostness seems to be the ideal solution.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 1:08PM Dumac said

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Technically those underland areas still have the 'mission map' which is more or less the same except not fullscreen. Nevertheless, the areas themselves to have an aura of mystery, that i particularly like. It isn't forced on you, it is just implied by the lack of a traditional map.

But that may have been a complete coincidence of a technical problem.
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Posted: Dec 7th 2009 1:33PM (Unverified) said

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I love getting lost! Unfortunately it's impossible now with maps and radar which show you explicitly where you are at all times. I would like it if some MMO in the future would at least do away with the player locator on the map, if not the concept of a persistent map altogether. This would force you to navigate by sight and landmarks instead of keeping your hand clawed over the "m" button all the time.

Getting lost in EQ1 was one of the highlights of the game, and one of the qualities that still makes it stand out to me compared to the unquestionably better MMOs of today. Some of my favorite (and most dreaded) zones to get lost in were kithicor, faydark, eastern wastes, and emerald jungle. I still haven't had a gaming experience comparable to getting lost in a jungle full of raptors and zombie gorillas.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 2:32PM (Unverified) said

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The reason quest location map features are in MMOs now is because it has been determined that the majority of players want them.This has been determined because most MMO's have whole websites dedicated to showing quest locations on maps and descriptions of what to do.These sites always generate massive traffic.In MMORPGs that have allowed mods starting with WoW map/quest mods are amongst the most downloaded.

Of course no one is forcing anyone to use those sites,download those mods or use the in game quest locators of modern MMOs.If you want to be lost and nto given direction then turn off those locators,turn off the minimap etc.Most modern games allow this,so you cna play the way you want with a little sel control.

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 3:20PM (Unverified) said

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Getting lost is fun, if you do not have to worry about being mobbed

Posted: Dec 7th 2009 4:36PM oxlar said

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Exploration is good. Being stuck in an endless maze with adds comming at you from every direction is not good. I love exploring out in the country sides of LOTRO. I hate venturing into Moria. Its a part of the game that is so NOT fun. Its like being thrown into a meat grinder or house of horror and having stuff come running at you in packs from all angles without being able to have any range to see them. I felt they could have pulled Moria off without making it the way they did. It should have been more of a transitory area instead of such a Huge part of the game.

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