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Default The Witcher-There and back again

April 11th, 2011, 19:45
I really loved the Witcher when it came out and I finished it. I've been playing it for the last few weeks again, but I can't believe how much of the game is filled with running back and forth. I'd say over half the game is just spent running. It's terrible design, that I totally overlooked the first time thru the game. I really hope that TW2 doesn't make that mistake, and from one of the interviews, they've at least said that there is much less back and forth. I've reached Chapter IV in the game and it has 4 maps that you're constantly traversing; I'm about to give up. This game is in serious need of fast travel!

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April 11th, 2011, 20:05
Well, I can see how after the city marathon that is Chapter 3 you'd be feeling this way - consider yourself at least past the really hard part! Chapter 4 at least has the best scenery and overall areas in the game, it shouldnt be that bad.
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April 11th, 2011, 21:10
That's because of that sort of complain that old style RPG disappeared and now many players (not a crowd but well) whine about them.

Too much walk, bad hints for puzzles, get lost in maze like, too many fights, and more and more.
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April 11th, 2011, 21:20
BS. "Old Style" RPGs do not have too much walk necessarily. They had good workarounds, like teleports, portals, or fast travel. For example World of Xeen is huge. And it provides LOTS of tools to get around the back and forth. That's good design.

The Witcher, sadly, missed a chance to remove this tedium. I was rather surprised that they were unaware of time tested solutions, but perhaps it was a design choice that favored the vaulted imershun since, in general, I feel that gameplay was not it's strong point…
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April 11th, 2011, 21:35
It's certainly a legitimate complaint, but I think it applies to the majority of RPGs I've played. I didn't find walking around in The Witcher to be particularly more tedious than most.
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April 11th, 2011, 22:02
Heh. Morrowind was called a hiking simulator, so why shouldn't we have a city marathon simulator, too? Actually its a balance. I really enjoy running around in the scenery of a new game (the more interactive it is, the better). But there is always a tipping point where it gets tedious (which, I assume, will vary wildly by player, too). So its always good design to provide options for fast travel as you progress through a game, I reckon.
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April 11th, 2011, 22:45
Ooh, Morrowind was a hiking simulator! I loved the game, but never wished harder for the mark and recall spells. Glad they got modded in. It's about the only complaint I have with this game, JDR13, so I have to use it or I'll lose my grumpy old gamer status One of the bummers of TW1's running is that you're fastest when equipping a silver sword in the fast style. If you don't have a weapon drawn, you run much slower. I timed one quest, where I ran 3 maps to kill 5 critters and then return those 3 maps to get the reward. 11 minutes of real time, for a 15 second quest. There are many games in need of better fast travel arrangements, but TW1 sticks out.

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April 11th, 2011, 22:52
Here are the RPG games I can remember enough from my playthroughs to rank their tedium for back and forth, and provide rationale/criteria.

From most tedious to least…

The Witcher - has limited area map with a few fast travel predefined locations, slow transitions between areas, very limited personal inventory, unlimited and omnipresent storage boxes, quests require a lot of back and forth, need money for best armor
POR 2 - no fast travel, fast transitions between areas, no storage boxes (can use NPCs for this if careful), quests require more back and forth, unecessary to sell extra loot (nothing to buy, so just drop it)
POR 1, COtAB, SotSB, PoD, IWD 1 & 2 - No storage boxes, has limited area map with a few fast travel predefined locations, no travel spells, limited personal inventory.
NWN 1 - No area map travel, no travel spells, no storage boxes, limited personal inventory.
BG 2, NWN 2 - Has storage boxes, has limited area map with fast travel to a few predefined locations, no travel spells, limited personal inventory.
BG 1, FO 1 and 2 - Has storage boxes, has area map with fast travel to predefined locations, no travel spells, limited personal inventory.
Gothic 2 - Teleport runes to specific locations, no storage boxes yet mitigated by unlimited personal inventory, quests require back and forth.
DD 1 - No area map travel, mark and recall teleport pyramids, somewhat limited inventory, infinite storage almost anywhere on the ground.
Daggerfall - Has extensive area map with many fast travel predefined locations, has mark and recall spells, has storage locations, has cart to carry lots of loot.
Morrowind - No area map travel, has mark and recall spells, has temple teleport spells, has fast travel via boat, silt strider, mage guild, or propylon indices, has storage locations, limited personal inventory.
Might and Magic 4 and 5 - No area map travel, has lloyd's beacon spells, has town portal spells, has mirror portals, has teleport spells, has fast travel via boat, no storage, limited personal inventory, super fast movement and transitions.
Fallout 3, Oblivion - has storage boxes, has huge area map with many fast travel predefined locations, limited personal inventory.

Others I've played, too, but I can't remember enough of their back and forth quotient to comment, but I think this is enough to understand my complaint with The Witcher.

Note, I am purposely leaving out action RPGS like Diablo which usually have a TON of back forth, but it's usually designed to be very fast.
Last edited by Thrasher; April 12th, 2011 at 17:53. Reason: added limited fast travel map to The Witcher, and teleport runes to Gothic 2
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April 11th, 2011, 23:11
Why are you putting the storage in the equation? I don't remember had problem of storage in The Witcher.

Otherwise your comparison isn't right, The Witcher also use limited area maps so it puts it on par with many games you quote.

Your complain seems more about loading time between area, improved in EE but yes a weak point of the game among some other.

I admit I didn't quote the "there and back problem" and feel it more a complain from impatient players. Anyway good point, they seem have specifically targeted this problem for The Witcher 2, I remember an interview highlighting it. I still think it's a typical complain of modern players and if you don't see it in many old games then I wonder.

Also the Witcher has some fast travel, the lake!
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April 11th, 2011, 23:16
It's just an example of how people view games differently. Personally, travel in The Witcher wasn't nearly as tedious as some of the other games that have been mentioned here. That's just me though.
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April 11th, 2011, 23:28
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
Why are you putting the storage in the equation? I don't remember had problem of storage in The Witcher.
Storage is part of the equation. If you have to go back to the shop and keep selling stuff or lose it because of no storage, that's extra tedium. It's less tedious if you can just store it rather than having to decide on whether to sell it or not or not bother taking it to begin with.

Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
Otherwise your comparison isn't right, The Witcher also use limited area maps so it puts it on par with many games you quote.
It should say that it is has a limited travel map similar to NWN 2. I'll fix that. But it's not enough to help it much. The Witcher travel map is about the most limited travel map out there. It has very few fast travel locations. This in combination with the slow loading times, lots of running on location, sheer number of back and forth trips required far overshadowed for me the excellent storage design.
Last edited by Thrasher; April 12th, 2011 at 05:26.
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April 12th, 2011, 05:02
Gothic 2 does have some fast travel to alleviate a fair bit of the running around.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 12th, 2011, 05:39
Right! I forgot about the teleport runes! I'll fix that.
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April 12th, 2011, 10:25
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Gothic 2 does have some fast travel to alleviate a fair bit of the running around.
That is actually the best solution I think. I always like exploring places/routes for the first time and maybe even for the second or third time. But if gameplay elements or quests force the player to run from one end of the map to other end a dozen or more times and there is no fast travel of any I kind I usually get rather cranky.
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April 12th, 2011, 10:25
For the most part I found the lack of quick travel in "The Wither" to be ok - but it's true that there were too much unnecessary running around in some of the maps. And often this was just due to poor level design.

For example, in the region outside the city I remember being able to walk away from the roads onto some grassy areas - but I would then be completely caged in by some ridiculous low fence that, for some reason, the Witcher couldn't scale. My only option would be to back track (a lot) and then follow the road back to where I was just before. This time on the right side of the fence…

If you can't jump in games, then there should *always* be openings and paths available where a jump would otherwise be the logical move.
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April 12th, 2011, 11:06
That's another point, bad obstacle management. Yes that was quite lazy designed in The Witcher.

I consider limited fast travel a good point but in general a bad solution. Modern games tend abuse a lot of it and break something, I think more particularly of FNV, I agree it's practical but felt it artificial.

Smaller area with a global map is working better for me. But the best is something that disappeared, the multi scale approach, 3 or 4 different scales, 3 is more classical. With 3D and absolute necessity to have everything "realistic" it's incompatible but I consider it one of the biggest lost.
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April 12th, 2011, 11:19
The running combined with the loading times is one of the reasons why I still consider The Witcher a mediocre game. I kept thinking "I really want to talk to this guy in the house over there, but.. bah, I'll just do the main quest and be done with it".
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April 12th, 2011, 12:21
Ha those young modern players, no patience anymore.

That's a bit rude to stick to such a superficial barrier, but well your feeling.
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April 12th, 2011, 13:09
There are very short loading times in enhanced edition .
The worst part of Witcher was inventory for special items , i got the head of a monster + a wing of a monster quests and completed it at the same swamp go yet i could only carry 1 each time, had to go back and forth …

"No area maps in Morrowind" ?????
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April 12th, 2011, 13:49
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post

I consider limited fast travel a good point but in general a bad solution. Modern games tend abuse a lot of it and break something, I think more particularly of FNV, I
Why did it feel artificial? The fast travel was just that: Fast traveling (aka walking) to known locations.
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