Fast Travelling in video games is a super convenient way to get around the world, especially in open-world games. When the size of a game’s map rivals the size of some real-life small countries, there have to be methods to speed up travel from one location to the next.
However, many open-world games thrive on the beauty and aesthetics of innumerable areas of the world. They’re built to be explored, savored, and combed for details. Fast travel helps a lot with finishing a game quickly, but sometimes it’s better to relax, take your time, and immerse yourself in these open worlds so painstakingly detailed for patient eyes.
5 The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 is among the most beautiful games ever made. It has an incredibly vibrant color palette, more like an oil painting than a video game, and a lighting style that highlights the somehow highly-realistic-yet-cartoonishly-exaggerated visuals. Fast travel is implemented in The Witcher 3 through signposts that dot the landscape. Once Geralt discovers one, he can travel back to it from any other.
All things considered, fast travel in The Witcher 3 is not as immersion-breaking as it is in other games. Geralt must go to a signpost to fast travel to another, and can’t fast travel from anywhere whenever he wants. You still get to see much of the world by using fast travel, but ultimately The Witcher 3 hides a lot of its best side quests and content off the beaten path.
4 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most well-known RPGs of all time, and for good reason. It was perhaps the most ubiquitous RPG of its time upon release, partly for its incredibly deep lore and breadth of choices in-game. Skyrim’s fast travel system is more of a “click here to go here” type of system, which works almost anywhere in the game.
The problem with Skyrim’s fast travel system is that the player will sometimes skip over random events that happen while journeying, even to already-visited locations. Having a horse makes any journey trivial. Plus, the horse can get to areas the player normally can’t. Aside from all the intentional side-content in the wilds of Skyrim, unintentional side-content like having to climb the Thousand Steps on horseback makes the journey that much more fun.
3 The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of those games that just feels good to play. The movement system on land is perfectly intuitive, even with a horse, and so are the vertical and swimming movement systems too. Mountain climbing in Breath of the Wild is one of the most exhilarating experiences on the Nintendo Switch, requiring the player to plan ahead and make precise movements. Surfing down mountains, too, is a fantastically fun way to move.
Fast travel in Breath of the Wild works between discovered Shrines, and can be used anywhere in the world to quickly relocate. Although the world of Breath of the Wild is vast, it’s not so vast that Link cannot traverse Hyrule on foot or on horseback the entire way – plus, Link can find merchants, Korok seeds, and rare items dotting the landscape just about everywhere. The game is already incredibly immersive, and avoiding fast travel will suck you into the world much more.
2 Dark Souls 3
The first Dark Souls game was a breath of fresh air for many gamers because it didn’t hold the player’s hand at all. Games of the time and in years before had been very kind to players and explained everything in great detail so the player didn’t miss any points. Dark Souls, on the other hand, brought back the days of the arcade to the RPG genre and inspired a generation of games that focused on the pairing of a deep, complex world with unforgiving gameplay elements.
Fast travel in Dark Souls was a late-game feat that was only useful for a short while, but in Dark Souls 3 it was a main part of the game. The player could teleport from any bonfire to any other they had discovered. This made for a much easier late-game, but ultimately something was lost in giving players such an easy way to get around. There are lots of hidden items and secrets in Dark Souls 3 that aren’t discoverable if you fast-travel constantly and aren’t patient in your exploration.
1 World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft Classic boast perhaps the largest, most complex, deepest worlds in any modern game. It’s a wonder, then, that players tend to go from one point the next as fast as they possibly can when there is so much world to explore. Players who min-max and speedrun the leveling process will miss out on what makes World of Warcraft truly special. It’s necessary for cross-world travel, though, as there’s no way to get from Booty Bay to Darnassus in any reasonable amount of time without the flight path.
When questing in a zone, try not to simply hearth or fly back to the quest hub and take some time to explore the vast world that’s been in constant development for the better part of two decades. A top tip for the traveling Azeroth explorer is to turn off the HUD with Alt-Z. Don’t necessarily stick to the path either, as World of Warcraft hosts a number of little secrets and out-of-the-way features. Plus, avoiding flight paths is a great way to stock up on materials for trade professions (or to sell on the Auction House).