I happened to be watching some of MJ’s recent stream for Bless Online over at Massively OP last night and realised that auto-pathing was going on both in that video on my second monitor, and also in the game I was playing: Lord of the Rings Online. The two games use of auto-pathing – movement towards a selected point by your character more-or-less automatically is at different levels of implementation – but nonetheless there’s some measure of auto-pilot in both.
Lord of the Rings Online has a limited form of auto-pathing in that if you click on a gathering node or a clickable quest objective from a distance your character will ride or walk over and interact with it. I use this a lot while playing, especially when gathering crafting materials. It’s very convenient and I miss it when I play other games that lack the same.
Arguably it might reduce my immersion slightly to be doing so as I can be distracted by other things while my character trots or strides across the field to this ore node or that fruit bush. But equally it makes for very relaxed gaming indeed if I’m on a gathering session.
From what I’ve seen of Bless Online (I haven’t played it), you have the more expansive form of auto-pathing. As in click on a location on the map and your character travels there on auto-pilot. It’s a feature in mainly Asian MMO games (e.g. Black Desert Online, Runes of Magic) that your character can make their own way to a destination, if you don’t mind the occasional risk of wandering through or getting stuck in a dangerous area and potentially dying as a result.
Other than LOTROs node and clickable auto-pathing I’ve not seen this form of automatic movement much in Western MMORPGs. We’re expected to do the driving manually all the time for our characters, other than the odd horse or griffon-taxi ride. Even in this limited form I do appreciate it as an entirely optional feature in LOTRO though, it just feels more efficient somehow – I can be planning where to go next while my character trots over to this quest item or that node.