I made my account in Atlas but I was a lost noob so I didn’t start playing till Arcas. Because of this, my opinion of different worlds and lands to explore will primarily come from my experiences outside of Lotc.
When I think of Arcas, the first thing that comes to mind is that the world feels very.... generic. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing. The world of middle earth could be argued to be generic, yet it’s still loved to this day. No, I think what I mean by generic is that the world doesn’t ever feel like it has an Identity. Something that defines what makes this world special and worth my time. When I explore Arcas, I keep running into the same environments, with the same biomes and a very similar height map to everything. Nothing feels unique, aside from the voidal tears recently, and the different player made areas/kingdoms. Yes you could argue there are interesting areas like the mushroom biome, or the bamboo forest, but those are so far and few apart from each other, and with no reason to visit them, that it makes the world feel even more sparse.
Contrast that to something like Azeroth in World of Warcraft. The different lands and biomes, and the contrast between each land is evident and interesting with almost no two areas being exactly the same. There is also a story localized to each region through the use of quests. Some of these stories help immerse players into that region and give them reason to care. I’m not advocating a quest based system for the server, that’s not what I believe Lotc is about. What I am highlighting is an apparent lack of history, and activity outside of player action.
The thing that makes a world feel immersive and real is that things are happening in the world apart from your actions. While you were role playing in a tavern, there was a war going on between two kingdoms. You might be away for a week and come back to someone you know being ousted as a murderer. Things happen and that’s what makes a world feel real. But it feels as though almost nothing is happening in Arcas.
This isn’t helped by the current system used to check activity. The system makes sense on paper. Roleplay in your region to keep activity up. It encourages roleplay, and makes cities/towns feel more alive. But in practice, this can get really stressful and it soon starts becoming about just keeping up your little percentage number, and not about creating fun and interesting roleplay. No one wants their activity to fall, yet roleplaying in the same area gets tiring very fast, and with these activity checks it can feel like your locked into an area.
Until there are some key changes to the way that we check and maintain roleplay, I don’t believe we will be seeing a lot of exploration anytime soon.
So we have a generic map with very few interesting story hooks and areas to explore, and a mechanical incentive to not explore them. The question is then, what can be done to fix this?
Well there are many things that could be done, but these are a few that come to mind.
Make the world it’s own.
World building is hard. At least I believe so. There are so many factors that go into creating a world that it can be hard to know where to start or how to flesh out a world you already have built. I believe the best place to start when creating a world is knowing what happened/what is happening in it, to allow yourself a setting to create something interesting and unique. For Arcas, that could be creating ruins of temples with statues of creatures that seem very reminiscent of the void. This both creates history of the void within the land, and hints that there are clues about the void within the world that players can try and find out. This also creates more reason for people to explore.
I would also say making the biomes and lands more interesting in general. I can see generic grasslands, planes, and mountains on any default survival server. Infact, I’m more likely to run into a floating island or an extremely insane hill/cliff on a default map than I am on Arcas. So then what does Arcas have that I haven’t already seen? That’s something that you don’t want players asking themselves, so creating some geological wonders with stories and events behind them is something that should be implemented.
I would start talking about the activity check system but this is already getting to long and there is so much to talk about when it comes to the activity check system that I would rather just make a separate post about it so for now I’ll just say this. Either do a major rework of the mechanic, or just remove it.
I guess that’s all I have to say. I want Arcas, and subsequently, all future maps to be amazing, and I hope that my feedback has been helpful in some way.