Having spent the last post singing the praises of Guild Wars 2’s mounts, this post addresses another aspect of movement in MMORPGs: climbing. I’m not sure why but I love MMOs where you can actually climb things. It’s another movement option that’s more personal to your character.
Since I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons Online, a game with no mounts or flying to negate vertical challenges, I’m really loving any opportunity to climb all as high as possible and rain death on my foes with my Artificer’s repeater crossbow.
The game has mechanics that impact a character’s movement in certain circumstances, such as swimming proficiency and ability to jump. So that when you’re facing terrain obstacles like high walls, crevices or underwater passages, your character choices and equipment can make a difference.
Other games feature climbing without it being mechanically complex. Everquest 2 for instance has climbable walls surfaces – you can only climb a wall if one of these surfaces is present. It’s easy to forget that it’s in-game at times as I fly around on my Pegasus, but I actually was stuck on the expansion prequel quest chain recently when I failed to spot a climbing wall. I like that the mechanic is still being used in current content.
In other MMORPGs climbing is more of an incidental occurrence. You can either run up the mountainside or not, sometimes it takes careful ‘glitching’ the steeper surfaces for your character to get to higher places. In Guild Wars 2, climbing is often needed to find vistas or the end point of a fiendish jumping puzzle. In the past reaching a higher height was a case of carefully picking a path up the mountain-side or ruined buildings with only single jumps to help.
The current expansion’s mounts have given it a more mechanical feel since the bunnyroo allows you to reach some very high places and the raptor can leap across chasms and the sides of ruined towers.
I’d prefer climbing to be a feature of gameplay, but other movement abilities can also add to a sense of active exploration. Are there any other MMORPGs that have featured climbing or similar as a mechanical feature?