Character Development: The Importance of Walk
By Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG Journalist
The first time I encountered the ability to walk in an MMO was City of Heroes in 2009. By then I had already been playing City of Heroes for 3 years and I thought it was a very neat little addition, but not vital. Now here we are in 2012 and I can’t imagine an MMO without it. More importantly, I can’t imagine role playing without it. So imagine the surprise I had when I logged into my High Elf in Tera to find that there was no walk. The importance of walk varies from game to game though. In some games I almost never use walk. In others I almost exclusively walk.
Not having it in Tera got me thinking about walk. The basic questions any five year old loves to ask.
Roleplayers. Simply put roleplayers are the one people who will get anything from walk. Sure, some nonrpers can also use it. But that would mostly be to enjoy the eye candy. Who puts it in their game? These days the answer is everyone. City of Heroes added it several years after its release. The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 both started out with it. Yet Tera doesn’t have it. Tera does have a dedicated rp server though. I wonder if maybe it is because it’s an Asian MMO? I don’t really have a lot of experience with Asian games so I couldn’t really say.
Walk is…well its walking. Most MMOs have you running all the time. Sure, you can run faster with various speed boosts but walking is something of a novelty. A little treat for roleplayers. It makes movement inside buildings much easier to control and gives a realism that was lacking in the MMO world for a long time.
I’m not entirely sure when walk finally started appearing in MMOs. I know it has been asked for since the beginning of time. And in every MMO that doesn’t have it already there is always a thread or two about how they really need to make it possible. When is it appropriate to use? Well that depends. In some games, toggling walk shuts down all your other abilities, leaving you unable to use them. So, in that case using them in the open world isn’t advised. But in most games that isn’t the case. In The Secret World my small party walks everywhere. We don’t shut it off unless we’re crossing zones or are out of character. It gives a great sense of actually being there when four of you are walking down an abandoned street rifles, claws, and other weapons drawn waiting for the zombies that are always coming. Before Rift slowed walking down to be painfully slow my husband and I had started a duo who were going to walk everywhere. In GW2 though I almost never have walk on unless I’m actively roleplaying in a city or building. I tried to do a character who walked everywhere but quickly got bored.
Where you use it is really entirely up to the individual. Generally speaking though using it in an even level or higher zone is a bad idea. After all it is difficult to make a quick get away if you’re stuck walking. At the same time though that can make for a great laugh. PvP is also a bad time to do it. The best times to do it are in combat free zones, Major cities in Guild Wars 2 or Pocket D in City of Heroes. Indoors where rp events regularly take place is also a good spot. The reasons for which lead me to….
Why walk? It is a pretty good way to identify that you’re a roleplayer. I’ve had tons of people walk up to me and start randomly roleplaying with me just because I was walking. Why else? The realism. It makes for more realistic roleplay being able to walk. After all do you know anyone who runs everywhere? I don’t. Then again I don’t know any giant barbarian cat people either, so maybe I’m just missing something in life.
Any MMO that has a dedicated RP server should almost be duty bound to offer the ability to walk. More importantly though I think if a game wants to attract any rpers at all it needs to have walk. But I want to hear your thoughts on the matter! Should MMOs offer walk? Do you like to use it? Do you find it annoying? Head on over to the forums to the Only @ OnRPG section and let us know.