I’m not sure why, but I do love mountainous zones in MMORPGs. My main in Elder Scrolls Online is now in Eastmarch, and I’m loving the zone. I grew up in a particularly flat part of the country, then moved to a coastal city for years and now live in an urban metropolis – so this love of mountainous gaming isn’t directly influenced by any stage of my life.
The mountains surrounding me, the slopes and foothills that I’m riding up and down as I roam around to quest, all adds up to a happy player. Perhaps its the greater contrast of geography – the last zone for this character was a mostly flat marsh (Shadowfen) and rather unvaried in landscape.
I suspect it helps that I like the Nords and their Viking-esque architecture and culture. I’ve visisted Norway a couple of times, and everyone in the UK learns about Vikings at school, so these cultural motifs are familiar enough.
The zone is the star though, for me, whether it’s sunny and bright or stormy and rain-soaked. The mountains frame the zone whichever way you look, framing and orienting the zone.
I’m not quite half-way across the zone so far, so plenty more exploration to be had in future sessions!