Auto-pathing in MMOs

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.

Over you go!

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.

Most journeys in BDO can be auto-pathed, if you so choose

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.

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2 Responses to Auto-pathing in MMOs

  1. I am somewhat indifferent to auto-pathing. I turn off that feature in LOTRO because I have had it drag me off by accidental click too many times. I also gave BDO a try and used it there, but found it to be problematic. I couldn’t trust it to actually go anywhere without paying close attention as my avatar would get hung up on the scenery as it moved.

    For me it is one of those features that ought to be cool, but which becomes a problem often enough that I start to question its value.

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