I’ve been thinking a bit about rapid travel in MMOs. This was partly inspired by a thread on the Everquest2 forums bemoaning outdated transportation options in that MMO.
EQ2 certainly has more travel options than most MMOs including mounts, leaper mounts, flying mounts, horse or griffons taxis (or other equivalents), travel bells, wizard spire and druid ring teleport networks plus portals or paintings for your house or guild house.
Personally I have no problem with such a variety of options, it can be confusing for new players I suppose but it also adds a lot of flavour to the game and gives options of how you want to travel around. Beyond the recall ability, you generally do need to travel certain well-worn paths within zones to move between the travel bell and a griffon master for instance.
Final Fantasy XIV makes it even easier to travel around if you have the money (called gil). An always available teleport menu allows you to travel to any unlocked locations out of combat. You can also use rented chocobos to auto-travel between locations for a lower fee.
Admittedly you have to travel on your mount or on foot to each new settlement to attune the local aetheryte or unlock the chocobo master before the fast travel options are available. I tend to find myself cutting out travel more in FFXIV since it’s so convenient and relatively cheap even at level 30.
Comparing these two open world MMOs with Neverwinter the latter has very few travel options but then the distances in this highly segmented MMO are generally smaller. You have the teleport scrolls to take you back to Protector’s Enclave but they cost astral diamonds to buy so are a finite resource. Mounts are available at various speeds but there’s no auto-pilot rented alternative as is usual in most MMOs. Unusually there’s no recall or hearthstone style ability either – presumably part of the free-to-play monetization strategy for the game.
What are you prefered rapid travel options and how pervasive should it be?