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EQ2 Travel Revamp

I must say this in very bold letters to make sure people actually read it:

The travel revamp is NOT on the Live servers yet. It’s on the TEST server, being TESTED. The system may change. It may make it to live as is. It may never make it to live at all. Or it may be spindled, folded or mutilated before it makes it to live. You Have Been Warned. Do not whine about how it impacts your gaming on live, because it doesn’t. Yet.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s the skinny according to the original patch notes (see below for TL;DR or read the blue bits):

  • Traveling to different locations uses a new interface.
  • Now when selecting a travel location via teleportation, bell, or sokokar/horse/griffon etc. you will do so through a travel map.
  • Simply double click your choice, or select it and then press OK to be whisked away.
  • Mousing over a location when using world teleportation displays a level range and some background information on the area.
  • Bell/carpet zone travel has been consolidated. Bells on the different continents have all been linked together. This means the bells that were in Nektulos are no longer limited to 6 locations. These bells have been reduced to one bell that is linked to other bells across Norrath. Bells used to travel within Qeynos and Freeport have not been changed except that they now use the travel map allowing for more direct connections to where you wish to go.
  • Druid portals no longer require the player to have harvested a Blessed Shrubbery. Blessed Shrubberies have been imbued by Tunare with the power to transport players to any of the other druid rings! {However when you do harvest a shrubbery, you now have to yell Ni! really loudly, or it won’t work.}
  • Translocate no longer requires a planar symbol.
  • Translocate portals were transporting players to incorrect spots in the Bonemire and The Barren Sky. This has been corrected.
  • Planar symbols have been removed from vendor lists.
  • Sokokar posts no longer require the Sokokar item. They now check that you have completed either the tradeskill or adventuring version of the quest.
  • The following zones no longer require you to do a quest or go to a location before accessing the inner zone travel option. The quests that were there previously have been reworked so that players can still do them optionally. [Nektulos, Thundering Steppes, Sinking Sands, Pillars of Flame]
  • The following zones now have inner zone travel options or have had new locations added to them: Steamfont, Zek, Feerott, Enchanted Lands, Everfrost, Greater Faydark, Nektulos
  • All spires that can be reached through wizard teleportation should now have a static teleporter and they should all now link to the entire network. {Yes, the Greater Faydark spires now have a wizard portal in the middle. Bet you don’t even know where the spires are!} This affects the following zones: Greater Faydark, Moors of Ykesha, Kylong Plains, Tenebrous Tangle, Bonemire, Barren Sky
  • All call spells have had their cast times reduced to 10 seconds. {That includes all City call spells, Call of Ro, and Call to Guild Hall}
  • Guild hall bell amenities have been changed: Since all bells are the same now we have given each one a different look. The sinking sands carpet now acts like a bell but will retain the carpet look for those who like it.

One Bell to Rule Them All

The short version is as follows:

  • All Bells Are One Bell
  • All Druid Rings Lead To All Other Druid Rings
  • All Spires Are One
  • Oh, and you can putz about internally in some zones too.
  • You will no longer have time to take a shower, get coffee, and do your makeup while waiting for Call to Home to cast.

The good: the travel system was highly confusing for new players and did need to be rethought and reworked somewhat. This helps. Somewhat.

The less good: let’s call this what it is. It’s not a revamp, it’s a consolidation. More a spring-cleaning than a Flip My Travel System.

The really unwieldy: the travel map. It’s FREAKING HUGE!! and I’m playing at 1920×1200 on a 28″ monitor. On anything smaller and the map’ll probably bop you in the eye when it pops up. Here’s what the world-bell map looks like, with destinations:

In some cases, like the World Bells, travel has definitely been simplified. Now, if I want to get to the Enchanted Lands from Qeynos I no longer have to go to Antonica, then the Thundering Steppes, then Nektulos Forest, and finally to the Enchanted Lands. I understand the lore and RP reasons for that (travel by boat, boat routes), but puh-lease. I love RP, and I enjoy lore, but when they get in the damn way they should be reworked until they don’t. It’s that simple. If you want to make me travel for ages to get somewhere, do it on a tabletop campaign I’ll be sure to pass on.

(We’ll deal with meaningful travel some other day. I’m sure it’s been at least a year since I last ranted about “meaningful” travel where “meaningful” means “I just meaningfully wasted the 45 precious minutes you have to play. Now you have to make dinner/put the kids to bed/do the laundry/prep for work tomorrow. Isn’t it lovely that your play session was so full of meaningful travel? Have a nice day!”)

I’ve also heard a bunch of people say “Oh please, the newbs who can’t figure out what bell to hit in the guild hall don’t deserve any help, they’re too dumb!” So here’s a newsflash. Not everyone (gasp, I know!) is in a guild. Not everyone is in a large guild that has access to all the travel amenities. Not everyone who is in a guild even has a freaking clue how to get to the guild hall or that such amenities are available, depending on how helpful the guildies are. (Not any guilds I’m in, I hasten to add. But I did have to point someone else in the right direction after they joined Very Large Guild 0019 on Server X. They weren’t given any directions whatsoever regarding how to reach the hall, how to obtain their recall spell, and what the travel options are.) Not everyone comes into a game osmotically knowing what to do, so simpler is generally, you know, better.

This is an MMO rule, or should be. Just because you can make it complex doesn’t mean you should. Corollary: Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s stupid or bad.

So anyway, this is a step in the right direction. I did wonder how they were going to tie together the three entirely different travel systems that exist, and the short answer is: they didn’t. Savvy travellers will still have a little advantage over less savvy ones, not counting the people with freaking huge guild halls who can just click on the amenity they need. The bells/spires/rings don’t all land in the same places, so sometimes it can be more useful to hit the Commonlands druid ring (in the western part of the zone) than its travel bell, which is way the hell over on the eastern side.

There have been complaints that this isn’t far-reaching enough, but for the time being it’s enough for me. I think it’s probably enough in general. I kind of like the different systems — they just need to be made more obvious to new players and more available for use, which I think is the case now.

So far the only real downside of this, aside from the huge-ass world map that pops up, is the fact that intra-zone travel has been made really awkward. Before, you’d click on the NPC and pick from a list of 2 or 3 options. Click-click-done. Now when you click the NPC the Huge-Ass (TM) zone map shows up and you have to hover the mouse frantically while trying to figure out where your destination is, then click (double click the destination or click-and-click-ok). It’s silly. NPC dialog options were WAY simpler and considering how many people have commented on this in the test forum, I suspect it may not stay as it is. If it does, I guess we’ll just have to suck it up and get used to it.

Remember — this is NOT ON LIVE yet. Just sayin’.

(It’s expected to be in the Game Update (err… 55?) coming out sometime around the end of the month. I have no seekrit sauce info on that.)

Categories: EQ2, MMO Tags: , , , ,
  1. pkudude99
    May 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I think it sounds good and is LONG overdue.

  2. May 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks for digging into this. Travel was a big hang up for me learn the game. This sounds really promising.

  3. victorstillwater
    May 4, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Wow. I hope the map scales to other resolutions! :D

  4. tekidude
    May 5, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I like it just for purely lazy reasons.

  5. May 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Well, consider me a fan. I’m looking forward to seeing this in action (in whatever form it may take on Live).

  6. Lomax
    May 8, 2010 at 4:19 am

    I’m a fan of this change, just changing the travel choice from the previous list of destinations to a map with the destinations highlighted has had a massive improvement in the feel of travelling for me.

    The downside though of not as much detail in the way we travel though does exist, the problem I have there is I both agree that we should have to pass through certain areas for a logical route. But the reality of those trips was click-travel, click-travel etc and extremely dull/non immersive.

    If they could next improve it I would like to see some cut scenes/travelling scenes to visually link up the voyages, it would be nicer then the loading screen, although a fair bit of work to do.

  1. May 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm

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