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As I set off to sail around sunny islands in real life, I was reminded of the joy of ship travel in MMORPGs. I have fond memories going back to my start in the genre in World of Warcraft circa 2007 of being awed by the majesty of taking a ship between the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.
I have a rather nostalgic view of such travel, it’s not exactly convenient or fast by modern MMO standards, but there a kind of gameplay in working out just how to get from A to B for a quest when those two points were many zones or even continents apart. All the talk of WoW Classic at and since Blizzcon 2018 does have me thinking about that aspect of a Vanilla WoW game – the Deeprun Tram and the ships/zepplins will suddenly have real purpose once more. Such travel methods still exist in WoW of course, but why bother when teleports, portals, multiple hearthstones and flight offer more direct and faster methods to move about Azeroth.
Ship travel as a background to adventuring has come back in force in the Battle for Azeroth expansion as ships are our factional class-hall equivalents and for the War Campaign on either side you’ll be taking ship rides a lot even if they just lead to a loading screen. Tiragarde Sound as a zone also has rowboats as a ‘fast’ travel mode, although usually the griffin network is faster.
Other games have ship travel as well, some that I’ve played even make ships more of a gameplay feature than just a means of transportation. I’ve not explored ships that deeply in Archeage or Black Desert Online, I haven’t gotten that far into either game and the association of ship use and PVP in most sandbox games made me hesitate in any case. PVP just isn’t for me, ship travel should be about freedom, graceful movement and taking some time to enjoy the journey. That a journey could be interrupted by player pirates detracts too much from the experience for me. Seeing another ship when on a cruise in real life is an event, something to watch as the ship docks or sails past. In gaming it’s more likely to be a source of tensions – a momentary decision to flee or fight.
I did do some sailing in Vanguard actually just before the official game shut down, each player received some very generous login rewards including housing materials and a small boat. So I had an opportunity to do some sailing around the coast of Thestra. I have few screenshots from the game, thankfully the blog provides some examples. I wish I’d had more time in the game to explore how ships fitted into various gameplay activities!
IntPiPoMo2018 total 26/50