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Reader Comments (32)

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:10AM Lenn said

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Good top 10 and agreed on many of them. Although I'm not so sure about the practicality of some of them. I always found AoC's maps totally impractical. Guild Wars' maps aren't exactly very useful either, what with only two zoom options.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:18AM Borick said

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Not an MMO, but I like Minecraft's map implementation.

And I understand we can't go back, but there was something to be said for not having easy access to an in-game map. In EverQuest I felt more immersed in my character for having to figure things out from the first-person perspective. You learn to pattern-match on landmarks and terrain. With a map always available my eyes no longer stop to register the landscape for reference, but only to avoid obstacles.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:19AM immoralaria said

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Well, Generally speaking, the two levels of zoom in guild wars were all you really needed, considering you could just press U while in a zone and open up a really nice minimap of that specific area that had much more zoom levels.

The World map was mostly just to see "Oh, i have to go through this zone, and this zone and this zone...." - I used to run people around the world, the world map does help you have a general idea of where you need to go, so it was pretty good in that sense. I always liked it.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:23AM Dezyne said

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@JohnLane

What?

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:37AM (Unverified) said

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I'd like to bring up an honorable mention of sorts. EverQuest originally had players draw their -own- maps, which I thought was incredibly cool. I didn't play MMO's too hard back then, but I vaguely remember being able to share maps with other players. However, I think most people eventually found out you could just load up a text file with coordinates and have instamaps in game.

Alternatively, I've always found the lack of maps incredibly fun. EverQuest Online Adventures for the PS2 was the first MMO I played pretty hard. The only map I had was the artistic one in the back of the manual and I absolutely loved wondering what was over the next mountain. I literally memorized the world before someone decided to try to map it out and put it online.

It kind of broke my heart when I found out the world was a rectangular series of cells each with it's own name. I had always thought it was more dynamically shaped than that.

Modern games don't really have the same exploration feel some retro games did. Perhaps they are bigger, but they do tend to spoon feed where to go and what to do.

I still think we need to find a balance between exploration and preventing frustration. There really was nothing like getting your friends together and saying "Hey, let's go see what's over there!". Today we have "Oh, I have a quest to kill some monsters over there. I already know what to expect because the quest giver gave me detailed directions on how to find it".

Bittersweet.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:38AM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified) On a side note, in case a writer reads this, would someone kindly fix this Unverified name stuff? My name shows up fine on WoWInsider and I don't see anywhere where I can verify it in my site profile.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 11:10AM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified) Fix my Unverified status too please. It has been months and Massively does nothing, doesn't reply to my messages sent through contact form. It is rather annoying.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:40AM C Rose said

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I'll respectfully disagree with you on LotRO's maps. To me they're uninformative, bland and poorly designed. Too little info and too much area fit's onto one zone's map.

Not to mention how badly the quest tracker incorporates into the map itself. A lot of time it's hard to see where the little "gold" rings are on this huge "gold" map.

But otherwise you have some good choices there.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:48AM Lenn said

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@C Rose Hover your cursor over the title of the quest (on the map) and the corresponding area or ring will blink.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 11:10AM C Rose said

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@Lenn

Hehe. Yeah I know I play LotRO. I'm just saying IMHO they're maps aren't the greatest. But it's only my opinion.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 12:52PM Ryukan said

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@C Rose

I 110% agree with you here. LotRO's map should not be on that list. The fact that it is a fullscreen map without any kind of scaling function or resize optionsis terrible.

What's worse, now that there is fairly extensive UI modding in LotRO, you still can't change the size of the stupid map.

I actually consider it one of the worst maps in any MMO I have played because of it's functionability or lack thereof.

Love LotRO, hate the damn map.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 10:55AM Lenn said

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@Dezyne Don't creep around with your stwtor's hands down or they'll get dirty. Was that not clear?

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 11:02AM Bladerunner83 said

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@Dezyne

teh stwtors hands DOWN! they so filthy and nothing is close two them accept may be if you were to go back and d and d a bit where you could MAKE your charters with stats and what not but teh swtors is may be more then this if you creep around with it.

" What? "

Interpretation:

Star War The Old Republic is the best hands down. They are so dirty (they smell bad) that nothing else will come close to them, except maybe if you were to go back and, (unintelligent garbage). Where you could make your characters with stats and such. The SWTOR may be more than this, if you creep around with it.

Every time I see JohnLane's posts I get excited. It's like trying to interpret a third world language into English. The sad thing is that his opinions get overlooked because his grammar and spelling need some work. If he is trying to be funny, that's one thing, but if he is doing it because that's all he knows then it's just sad.

If anyone has a better interpretation of this, I'd love to hear your version.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 11:20AM (Unverified) said

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Awww...no mention of Pirates of the Burning Sea? Their map was so nice I actually bought a real version an actual cartographer made to hang on my wall. :p

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 11:24AM Myria said

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AoC's map I always found less than useful because you mostly just need to know where the transport nodes from one zone to another are, and that's often not clear from looking at the map.

GW's map I always found depressingly deceptive because, like so much of that game, you can't go to most of what you see and it hints at much cooler things than anything you can go to.

In all honestly Aion's map made so little impression on my I can't even remember what it looked like.

Eve's map is, like pretty much every thing else about the UI, rendered nigh unto unusable but a font size that was apparently hardcoded back when displays were typically 640X480. I mouse over a system and I can kinda tell that the little box has text in it... Or maybe that's a dust speck... Hard to be sure.

FE's map is both good and bad. Firstly it has always annoyed me to no end that you need two maps open all the time. The mini-map to see mobs, allies, and your mount indicator (among other things), and a small version of the overland map in the corner so you can see nodes -- which are often well outside the mini-map range. Beyond that, the overworld map is nice looking, but also more than a bit annoying to use if you don't already know where you're going. If you do know where you're going, well you don't really need it. I'd happily trade all the funkiness for a more functional implementation.

Rift's maps might be okay if they weren't so buggy. Can't count the number of times I've looked on the map to see no tears in Shimmer when there's half a dozen in sight. Or gone to where there's an invasion to see that said invasion was way off from the map and long dead. Okay in theory, but in practice not so much.

WAR's maps were fine, the zone arrangement... Not so much.

The beauty of WoW's map isn't in the default, but in how with mods you can make it into anything you like. If there's one thing I miss about that game, it's the ability to make the UI I like, rather than the dreadful garbage most MMO designers try and pass off as a UI.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 12:27PM Dezyne said

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@Bladerunner83
@Lenn

Oh...

I've yet to decipher this new language. It seems like a pidgin version of "LoL Cat" and Google Translated Portuguese.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 12:28PM Sente said

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@Bladerunner83

The think the missing part may be something about D&D and making your own maps.

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 12:32PM Naphilia said

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Somewhere in the shelve behind me I got an folder full with printed out EQ maps. Sorted by continent and enriched with tons of handwritten notes.

Unpractical, inaccurate, not-shareable but the coolest map system ever. :)

Posted: Jul 14th 2011 3:56PM Space Cobra said

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I have these cloth maps from the Ultima series of games and they are pretty cool!

I can even fan myself with them or dab some sweat of my brow as I fight wave after wave of monsters!

;D
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Posted: Jul 14th 2011 12:39PM Sente said

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The Guild Wars maps are quite nice, both the overall world map with the zoom mechanic as well as the local map where you can see the path where you have gone and also draw on the map for the others in the team to see. And it is resizeable. Very good I would say.

I also like the SWG maps, where you have the minimap, the local overlay map and the planetary maps, with all the points of interest, filters, your own waypoints etc. Also quite nice.

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