Hail! This week I wanted to bring up something I felt related to last week's thread about immersion and that is world design. I feel the world itself and its design in an MMO is a lot more important than many people think and in some games it isn't getting the care and long term attention that it deserves. (As an aside, I'd like to gladly point you to John's journey thread instead of cursing him for beating me to it. ) TL;DR: World design has a lot to it and is very important. It comes in many forms like seamless worlds, zones with loading screens, along with simply lobby-based game worlds. Worlds are big and small and have an effect on the 'feel' of the world. With size comes travel, with its boons and time consumption. Flying mounts is definitely a thing. It has such a great effect that people just won't shut up about it. I definitely won't. Points of interest and hubs are cool, but are they cool enough? My little batch of "interesting" questions are at the bottom of the post! One Big World or a Bunch of Boxes? The world of an MMO comes in many flavours. You have the seamless words (WoW, DAoC, Wildstar, etc) then you have the zoned/boxed worlds (EQ, AoC, SWTOR, etc,) which have their effects on 'feeling' of the world itself. Then you have games where the 'world' is instanced per person/party (GW, Vindictus, etc) and instead there are hubs where you meet the people. It's a Small World After All Worlds and zones come in many sizes. You can find rather large zones in WoW like the Barrens (Now Northern and Southern Barrens) and on that topic, WoW had a pretty large world, or at least seemed large due to its seamless nature. Then you get worlds and zones that are rather smallish like in TOR, especially due to its boxlike nature (At least that's how I felt.) Actually, it's pretty interesting thinking about how that approach can effect the perception on the world's size. The Road Goes Ever On Related to size, I'd like to bring up the concept of distance and travel. This is something pretty simple and well known, due to it being quite founded in our grasp of reality, but something I find interesting in MMOs for some reason. Traveling between places takes time and effort, this reduced by systems to reduce the time and effort required, such as taxi services, class abilities, and the current trend of teleporting to dungeons. On that trend, you can see with games such as GW2 that 'hassle' of traveling is being increasingly reduced. This also effects the sense of scale of the world's size. That Z-Axis Can Be a Real Bugger I really wanted to avoid mentioning flying mounts, considering the discussions we've already had on this subject, but I feel that I cannot avoid it when it connects to world design so much. There is a huge difference between travelling on the ground and in the air. The world on the ground has paths and 'corridors' to direct players into and through various areas. The world in the air is one of utmost freedom, I've even likened it to 'no-clipping' like in Doom where you can just ignore all the obstacles and go to where you want with minimal effort. This is a huge boon in terms of convenience because suddenly walls can be easily bypassed, dangerous areas avoided, mountains ignored. This also, obviously enough, puts everyone in the air. It is such a convenience that without restrictions that fewer people are on the ground. Overall, this has an effect on how players view the world, affects the sense of scale, and reduces spontaneous interactions and events. Towns, Outposts and Dragon Heads, Oh My! Points of interests and hubs are an interesting topic. PoIs can be a point of congregation or it can be simply cool to look at, such as Hemet Nessingwary's Camp in WoW and the variety of neat locations in LotRO. Hubs have now increasingly turned into simply quest hubs rather than a point of congregation in an area before heading off into the wild unknown. Related to this are capital cities, which are massive hubs in themselves, usually made so due to services available along with being centralized hub of travel. Now I'd like to ask: How important is the world to you? Is it just a piece of leveling content before endgame? Is it outdated and a more lobby-like system used instead? Do you prefer seamless worlds or instanced zone-based worlds? Do you feel it has a significant effect on how you perceive the world? How important is the world size to you? Do you prefer smaller, condensed worlds with minimal distance between PoIs or do you prefer large, expansive worlds with an increased distance between PoIs? How important is traveling in the world to you? Should the trend to decreased travel time and effort continue or should we take a step back and maintain a system that has increased travel time and effort involved? Where do you draw the line? How do you feel about flying mounts? Is the convenience worth the side-effects? Are there better ways? Try to avoid turning the thread into being about nothing other than flying, though. How important are hubs of congregation in areas and PoIs to you? Do you feel they get enough love? Any suggestions on how to improve these parts of the world? How do people feel about objects in the distance you cannot reach? Here I'm meaning scenic pieces like towers on a mountain you cannot reach, etc. An example would be the things you'd see back in older times in WoW while on a flight path like the dancing troll village or ruins in the mountains.