Have you ever really thought about the significance of fast travel? What an imperative luxury the mechanic is to any adventure? To migrate instantaneously from the snow capped peak of a secluded monastery, buffeted by an incessant snowstorm. To the boundary of some tranquil river. With the sun’s gleaming light reflecting off it’s cool surface, as a delicate cascade of water ripples over the jutted remains of a once rooted tree. RPG’s, in all of there singular variations, imbue the user with a sense of freedom. They portray these world’s as an unfurled canopy. Exposed for you to survey its verdant pastures and replete in unknown dangers. Emphasising this huge interactive terrain that is just aching to be discovered. Only for you to select your preferred destination and completely disregard the journey. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I should be opposed to the curtailment of fleeting exploration. It is a very frenetic means of traversal, one that by design circumnavigates the natural fluidity of an open world game. But its such a necessity. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing more satisfying than the fortuitous discovery of some abandoned treasure, guarded by undead pacifists wielding rubber swords, and possessing bone density as brittle as the world’s sanity. But the ability to magic one’s self to a more desirable location at a whim is a most provident means of exploration. Just think about Skyrim, a region bloated with dense, labyrinthine cave’s, that requires a significant chunk of time to explore thoroughly, that even the most dedicated and ardent of explorers would consider utilising an idle method to reduce the labour of forced rambling.
Your mind after a time begins to rebel against the monolithic expanse that’s more intimidating than it is liberating. Besides, if you really start to explore every little nuance, you begin to notice the cracks in the veneer of even the most polished of world’s. Revealing the shallow, surface level autonomy you actually have, especially when you encounter an npc buying groceries from a mage in one town, and the same “individual” lamenting the loss of his goat in a tavern that’s a one minute fast travel away. In many ways the interspersed intrusions of automatic traversal actually illicits greater immersion. It negates the inevitable stagnation that occurs from the repetition of travelling from one errand to another, briefly engaging in a minor grievance, before setting off to some far-flung corner of the map to vanquish the specified adversary. I doubt I would have finished half the RPG’s I have if it wasn’t for fast travel.