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Traveling on world map

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The game design of my current multiplayer online RPG is divided up into two parts. The part I want to talk about is played on a world-map, where your characters are just displayed as little icons. On this world map your are only able to travel, trade, prepare for adventure and chat/trade with other players. I'm looking for some ideas how to limit traveling while making it not boring. Instant traveling One option is instant traveling, you just click somewhere on the map and the next moment your whole party has been arrived. Realtime traveling Featured by many web based online strategy games, you click somewhere and it needs X (realtime) hours until your party has been arrived. Money based traveling Depending on distance, danger, terrain you need supplies,guides which costs money. It's like instant traveling, but it costs lot of money. So far I like the money based traveling approach best. Any ideas or comments ? -- Ashaman

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If you have "safe" zones, it would be reasonable to "magically" transport people through those -- it would represent travel between towns on well known routes.

Whether it's "instant" or just "quicker" kind of depends on the structure of your world. If there are (say) multiple small empires, each of which consists of a core of safe zones surrounded by wilderness, then being able to jag quickly across the empire up to the wildernesses where the adventuring is would work nicely. Possibly the journey would terminate at the nearest safe city -- leaving players to cross out into the wilderness themselves.

There ought to be a money charge for this (instead of a time charge), but it ought not to be huge -- in the middle ages, merchants would assemble "caravans" of people journeying between towns along the known routes (the "silk road" being the most well known). It wasn't overly expensive to join them because merchants knew that more people == less chance of being attacked by bandits. So it ought to be fairly cheap for an adventurer to join one, and get off at a certain city.

You *could* go the whole hog and have a network of these, where main routes are quicker and it takes longer to go down tributary routes. Much of the time involved in caravan travel would be waiting while it assembles, and the pause in each city; more travelled routes would therefore be cheaper (in time) to traverse because there's less days overhead.

{This nicely gives you a way to funnel adventurers into new areas, or to lesser used areas by rejigging the transport network :-) }

It's not unreasonable for this sort of travel, which was (even in the middle ages) largely just the tedious passing of time, to be turned into "click and go" travel.

If, however, your game world is a *single* empire of safe cities, surrounded by wilderness, you've got the problem of wealthy adventurers being able to essentially galivant across trans-continental distances. While it's not unreasonable for someone suitably rich (and owning several horses and so on) to charge across a small country in a few days, doing so across a continent will make them very powerful.

You could limit the length of the move available via this mechanism; supposing that people can only travel 3 city-links per real-time day. Then they have to hang around in an intermediate city for a day. If they can split the move, they can still "dash over" to a nearby city and link up for an adventure and come home at the end of it. It would only restrict those who want to travel long distances.


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Basically I agree with three statements found throughout this thread:

a) Having to wait realtime hours is boring and a big nogo.
b) Faster travelling costs (not only money but resources).
c) Premuim (read: paying) Users should have options to travel faster (incl. higher costs)

How you approach the faster travelling (instant beaming, high-speed moves, wormholes, fast horses, ...) depends on the setting your game plays in. You can offer special animals or vehicles to let your party travel.

Also, you should let the user decide whether they want to have slow but cheap travel (if they log off until the next day anyway) or if they want to have faster or fastest travel involving higher costs. Again, the (kind of) price depends on the setting your game plays in and the kinds of recourses available. Physical exhaustion could be a price as well, preventing a party that travelled fast to commence fighting operations right after arrival.

In the end it all boils down to what kind of setting you are in. But you should offer some kind of paid fast travel options.

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Here's a little background to understand why it is attractive to players to travel far, and therefor why it should be limited.

Players are able to "build" dungeons all over the world. Dungeons will generate a certain income and the income rate will increase over time. But other players are able to raid your dungeon to get some of your wealth and to find better items ( wealthy dungeons will most likely drop more valueable items). Each time a dungeon has been successfully raided (there are certain criteria to be met) it will degenerate a bit, producing less income etc.

So, players will tend to place their dungeons in difficult or expensive to reach locations. On the other hand there's certain trade off between "costs" to reach a dungeon and a bet on a valueable reward, eventually you have to beat the dungeon first (one try per day).

Once a dungeon reaches its highest wealth "level", you can be certain that a flood of heroes will beat a path to your dungeon's door :)

Quote:

If you have "safe" zones, it would be reasonable to "magically" transport people through those -- it would represent travel between towns on well known routes.

Whether it's "instant" or just "quicker" kind of depends on the structure of your world. If there are (say) multiple small empires, each of which consists of a core of safe zones surrounded by wilderness, then being able to jag quickly across the empire up to the wildernesses where the adventuring is would work nicely. Possibly the journey would terminate at the nearest safe city -- leaving players to cross out into the wilderness themselves.

There ought to be a money charge for this (instead of a time charge), but it ought not to be huge -- in the middle ages, merchants would assemble "caravans" of people journeying between towns along the known routes (the "silk road" being the most well known). It wasn't overly expensive to join them because merchants knew that more people == less chance of being attacked by bandits. So it ought to be fairly cheap for an adventurer to join one, and get off at a certain city.

I think this one is a good idea. Charge money, but keep traveling costs inside "safe" zones low. Whenever the player wants to travel to more dangerous terrain they need expensive guides etc.


Quote:

You could limit the length of the move available via this mechanism; supposing that people can only travel 3 city-links per real-time day. Then they have to hang around in an intermediate city for a day. If they can split the move, they can still "dash over" to a nearby city and link up for an adventure and come home at the end of it. It would only restrict those who want to travel long distances.

Although the suggestion sounds interesting, wouldn't there be the problem of annoying players who want to visit lot of places ? I think about a poor daddy who has just one afternoon to play something and then he encounters such a hard limit.
I could imagine - to refer my "guide" idea - that you could rent one guide per day who will guide you through a certain region. So you are able to travel through all safe zones and one dangerous region per day.


Quote:

Also, you should let the user decide whether they want to have slow but cheap travel (if they log off until the next day anyway) or if they want to have faster or fastest travel involving higher costs. Again, the (kind of) price depends on the setting your game plays in and the kinds of recourses available. Physical exhaustion could be a price as well, preventing a party that travelled fast to commence fighting operations right after arrival.

Yeah, you're right here, fast traveling is the only valid option. Watching your character creeping over the worldmap to travel from A to B is just bad game design, isn't it ?
Resources like physical exhaustion doesn't match the second game part, money , which will be really limited, is the only resource which seems to fit so far.

--
Ashaman

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Quote:
Original post by Ashaman73
Here's a little background to understand why it is attractive to players to travel far, and therefor why it should be limited.

Based on that information I would opt for an instant travel involving monetary costs such as a magician to explain the instant beaming.

Quote:
Original post by Ashaman73I think this one is a good idea. Charge money, but keep traveling costs inside "safe" zones low. Whenever the player wants to travel to more dangerous terrain they need expensive guides etc.

Seconded. Expensive guides or magician to instantly beam you to most rewarding places but cheap or free transfer to less attractive places.


Quote:
Original post by Ashaman73
Quote:

supposing that people can only travel 3 city-links per real-time day. Then they have to hang around in an intermediate city for a day

Although the suggestion sounds interesting, wouldn't there be the problem of annoying players who want to visit lot of places ? I think about a poor daddy who has just one afternoon to play something and then he encounters such a hard limit.

Actually, I am such a poor daddy and yes, it would annoy me to a point where I would refuse to play on. The pricing for the travel should be balanced to allow reasonable numbers of travel. But there must not be an artificial limit.

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I'm sure you've played games with all 3 options and each has it's own pros and cons. The decision about realtime vs. instant has huge implications on the rest of your game design, esp. on the mechanics of how players will defend their dungeons and troops from incoming attacks.

Some ideas for you to consider on the "money" based traveling is to consider NOT using money, but some other limited resource.

A simple option is a single valuable resource (gems, dragon wings, potions, etc) and by using this special resource (could be a different number required based on size of army and distance they are traveling) allows the army to magically insta-travel. Obviously in this model you have the option to sell packs of these special items for $$$ and also potnetially give a taste to the non-paying members by giving out very small free doses based on quest completion, leveling up, etc.

A more interesting option might be ... create a in-game resource that is producing in dungeons. Maybe within a dungeon you can build a structure that produces one of many elixirs. The structure can only generate one type of elixir at a time ... so blue elixir, green elixir, brown elixir. When dungeons are placed they are placed on swamps (blue tiles), mountains (brown tiles), forests (green tiles). In order to insta-attack you will need drops of the proper elixir ... number of drops based on the size of army x distance to dungeon. When attacking dungeons, players could elect to kill, steal money, or steal elixirs. Again, in the cash shop, for a donation a player could receive ### drops of elixirs and also paying members could gen the elixirs faster.

I have a game (http://oilempires.com) that does something sorta similar to this. Players build a single base that has military structures, oil producing/refining structres, and pure income generating structures. Each unit requires a certain type of fuel to use when attacking and a rate of consumption. So, some units require crude which is very abundant and others require more refined fuels like kerosene or jet fuel. It works fairly well and adds another vector of depth beyond just "money".

Finally, also consider that you could integrate both real-time and resource-based movement. for example, maybe anyone can move in real-time mode but the level of your warlord dictates how many armies can be in motion at once. Using the resource allows for immediate movement which not only allows the player to work around the Armies in Motion Limit, it also gives the immediate feedback/glory and of course can't be defended.


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Quote:

I'm sure you've played games with all 3 options and each has it's own pros and cons. The decision about realtime vs. instant has huge implications on the rest of your game design, esp. on the mechanics of how players will defend their dungeons and troops from incoming attacks.

Some ideas for you to consider on the "money" based traveling is to consider NOT using money, but some other limited resource.
...

My game is just a RPG not a RTS, so instant traveling will not prevent an other player to conquer your dungeon.

A meta-economy ( producing resources in the dungeons) is a nice idea, but will be just too much, but I will keep the idea of a secondary limited resource in mind.

I think I will take the money based traveling approach with a pseudo instant traveling. Traveling will need time, but this will happen quite fast, think about dots appearing on the maps which follow the traveled path (like in indiana jones movies), but traveling through whole countries will only take seconds up to few minutes to give the player the feeling of acutal traveling and not just beaming around the world.

--
Ashaman

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My game is just a RPG not a RTS, so instant traveling will not prevent an other player to conquer your dungeon.

What I mean is that in a game like travian with significant travel times, the strategy and gameplay is very different because players can call in reinforcements, send out troops they want to protect, and must balance how much risk they want to take by sending out all their troops vs. keeping some at home to defend).

When you take out travel time, then you lose these strategies and the tactics are very different. Not better or worse ... just different.

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Instant traveling
One option is instant traveling, you just click somewhere on the map and the next moment your whole party has been arrived.


I enjoy exploration and RPGs go hand-in-hand with that. Instant traveling should not be available at first but once you have traveled the path and discovered the destination then instant traveling in some form can be made available.


Quote:
Realtime traveling
Featured by many web based online strategy games, you click somewhere and it needs X (realtime) hours until your party has been arrived.


If this is a realtime strategy game vs other players where the amount of time taken can be a strategic element then okay. However, if this is an RPG then this has no place imo.

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