Click to move in MMORPGs, good or bad?

Click to move is a bit of strange feature in MMORPGs. It’s common enough in some genres, action RPGs like Diablo for instance. In my experience it’s a bit rarer in this genre, at least as a default-on or obvious option. Of the many MMOs I’ve sampled over the years several have had click to move in some form but it’s only since I’ve come back to playing LoTRO that I’ve paid it much attention.

One click away

One click away

I should clarify here that in LoTRO click to move is about interactions, not clicking on the landscape. I can right-click a mining node for instance and my character will run over and mine it. Likewise I can right-click an NPC and he’ll start a conversation. It’s a surprisingly relaxing addition to gameplay, although I do wonder if it’s training me to be lazy.

Click to move can also mean literally clicking on the landscape to move to that point. Other older games that I’ve played had that, Eden Eternal for instance.

snapshot_20120707_213511

This feature can even extend as far as clicking to auto-run to specific objectives, NPCs or locations. Both Eden Eternal and Allods Online have versions of this “auto-pilot” feature.

Chase that ball of wool to the quest!

Chase that ball of wool to the quest!

Of course LoTRO hasn’t evolved quite this far in allowing questing on auto-pilot, but then there is the Mithril coin option to teleport to certain NPCs or quest objectives instantly, an addition since the Free to Play conversion that I ignore completely.

Do you make use of click to move in MMOs or steer clear of it?

 

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4 Responses to Click to move in MMORPGs, good or bad?

  1. tsuhelm says:

    I do like the click to move to destination and would actually love to be able to click to move to location from map…especially when OPP for an area getting around the vast LOTRO world can be a chore at times…I have been known when especially bored by a quest chain than requires long and REPEATED travelling to use a mithril coin to teleport.

    But would it ultimately lead to less interaction in game? Probably, the more life easing functions available, the more separation from the game is induced, leading to less immersion…

    Also why I think ultimately the difficulty aspect of a game is important: no challenge makes progression easy but quickly boring, lots of challenge and it becomes slow but stimulating, and of course too much challenge is a huge turn off (for most)!

    SO coming full circle (no mithril shortcuts to the end of this comment!) I think the click to move can be good if used wisely…

  2. Jeromai says:

    To me, it’s just a different control scheme… as long as the game is built to support it. Guild Wars 1 had click to move and it functioned fairly well, given that there was no jumping and basically paths on a map to run around.

    A Tale in the Desert used click-to-move and indeed, most of the menu UIs are all operated with the mouse, so that created a less hectic, less action-y experience where people were able to text chat more, since most tasks could be executed with mouse clicking.

  3. I do not like click to move. If an MMO has that and WASD, I will turn off click and stick with what I am used to. But in other games like Diablo III it seems to be okay. I seem to be good with it if the camera stays at a fixed angle.

  4. Talarian says:

    I’m with Wilhelm on this. I find Click-To-Move extremely frustrating in full 3D environments (which I’ll define for the purposes of this discussion as an environment where you control the camera in 2+ degrees of motion).

    Misclicking when you were trying to target something else, or having to rotate the camera in odd angles to get your click correct. Not to mention Click-To-Move precludes techniques such as strafing–particularly useful for tanks in many MMOs as putting your back to an enemy is a bad idea, and back-pedaling is often slower than strafing.

    WASD is the superior option of the two if you want fine control. If you don’t care to have that level of control, I bet Click-To-Move is a lot easier for a newbie to games to grok than WASD. Interesting point to note that Click-To-Move clearly fails in the cases of swimming or flying: it requires a ground surface upon which you can click.

    Having a fixed camera angle like D3, as Wilhelm mentioned, allows for Click-To-Move to work well because your frame of reference is always the same: a click on the ground somewhere will generally have the same expected behaviour, as opposed to a full 3D environment where you might miss and click super far into the distance, or accidentally click too close. Now that I think about it, Fitts’ Law would indicate that Click-To-Move in a full 3D environment in a combat situation would probably be really difficult.

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