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February 6th, 2014, 22:39
The Rampant Coyote talks in his latest blog on what makes exploration fun, using Minecraft as an exmple and raising 5 points that should be addressed in order to make it fun.

3. Reward or Purpose. There should be some benefit to exploration, even if itís largely self-directed. In Minecraft, itís fairly intrinsic. The world is your reward Ė you are master of all you survey, and itís all ripe for your exploitation Ė or simply exploration. In Diablo-likes, unexplored territory is more likely to contain something of value, or a key object / enemy that you are seeking. Is that too fine of a point? Maybe.

Many people think exploration should be itís own reward Ė a fully intrinsic benefit to the player. For me, itís like the motivation of a character in a story. It may not be key, or all that important, but without a strong motivation the whole thing falls flat. Iím a little bit goal-directed as a player most times, so I want to know that at least sometimes Iíll be able to tell myself that Iíve benefited from time spent off the rails. Note that knowledge can be power Ė the purpose or reward doesnít have to be an actual in-game ďitemĒ or experience point bump or anything like that, but simply an improved understanding of the game or the world, or discovery (thereís that word again!) of secrets.
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February 6th, 2014, 22:39
Exploration was a big part of what drew me in to RPGs. I have always loved to travel and see new sights. I traveled quite a bit when I was younger and lived in two foreign countries. I couldn't afford to travel all the places I wanted to go to, so the exploration in games helped scratch that itch to some extent.

In a game, I always want to see what lies over the next hill, or uncover what lays hidden beneath the fog of war. With the rise of automaps, I wanted to make sure every location was revealed on the map and every corner explored.

To answer the question posed in the topic, what made exploration fun for me was the thrill of discovery. From finding the hidden continent of Ambrosia in Ultima III to reaching the summit of a hill and getting the first glimpse of Cyrodiil's Imperial City in Oblivion, these are the things that drove me to keep exploring and see what else I could find.
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